Latest research news

December 8, 2004

Medical research 'stifled by rules'
A "catastrophic" increase in bureaucracy from new European regulations has slowed the pace of medical research in the UK and will make academics reliant on funding from the pharmaceutical industry, researchers have warned. Small-scale clinical trials at British universities have become too expensive and the problems could eventually move research to eastern Europe and Asia, according to academics.
The Guardian

A lack of sleep weighs heavily on the body
People who sleep less are more likely to be obese, according to research published on Tuesday. Shahrad Taheri, a scientist at Bristol University, found that people who sleep for five hours a night are often hungrier, and likely to eat more than those who sleep for eight hours.
The Times
British patients in pioneering trial to repair heart attack damage
British heart patients are taking part in a trial which researchers hope will help clear the next hurdle in the race to find the best way of repairing their damaged organs. Cells from their legs are being injected into their hearts to discover whether cardiac muscle can be prompted to grow new cells.
The Guardian

Scientists develop thought-powered device
Scientists have taken a major step towards developing practical thought-powered devices for severely disabled people. In tests, four volunteers wearing a "thinking cap" showed they could move a cursor across a computer screen in complex ways using willpower alone. The findings could pave the way for new methods of controlling robot limbs simply by thinking.

Gland that holds a clue to watery origin of humans
Humans still retain a reminder of when our ancestors had gills. A gland in the neck which regulates calcium levels in the blood probably evolved from the gills of fish, according to British researchers. Professor Anthony Graham and Dr Masataka Okabe maintain that gills were internalised rather than lost when fish moved on to the land and evolved into four-limbed animals, known as tetrapods.

China was drinking wine 9,000 years ago
A mixed fermented wine of rice, honey and fruit was being drunk in northern China 9,000 years ago, more than a thousand years before the previously oldest known fermented drinks, brewed in the Middle East. In the past scientists relied on the stylistic similarities of early pottery and bronze vessels to argue for the existence of a prehistoric fermented beverage in China. Today's findings provide the first direct chemical evidence from ancient China for such beverages, which were of cultural, religious, and medical significance.
Daily Telegraph

Back from dead, the mouse not seen for 40 years
The Bavarian short-eared mouse - a unique species of rodent that lives in a remote part of the Alps - has made a surprise comeback. A German zoologist last spotted the extremely rare mouse in 1962, after discovering the species in Bavaria. On Monday, however, it emerged that the species was not extinct after all but was still alive and well and living in the Austrian mountains. An Austrian scientist, Friederike Spitzenberger, stumbled upon the species in one of her "living traps".
The Guardian



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