Latest research news

April 6, 2005

Have your say on human cloning research
A public vote on the future of stem cell research is being organised as part of the 2005 Edinburgh International Science Festival. The results will be compared to similar polls recently carried out in two city shopping centres, Cameron Toll and Ocean Terminal. Stem cells can be used to replace virtually any damaged cells in a body, from muscles to nerves, and could also be used for human cloning. Dr Marilyn Moore, of the Scottish Stem Cell Network, will ask for the opinions of Edinburgh people on the use of human embryos and cloning to make those stem cells.
The Scotsman

Arts and humanities research need not be solitary work
Think a postgraduate qualification in arts and humanities research is lonely work? Think again. The Arts and Humanities Research Council is celebrating coming into its own this month with schemes to banish the image of the "lone scholar" to the dustbin of history. On April 1, the AHRC was formed out of the Arts and Humanities Research Board, finally taking its rightful place among its big science siblings. It will build on its predecessor's efforts to raise the profile, and increase the funding, of arts and humanities in the UK.
The Guardian

£24m boost for HIV treatment trials
The UK Government has pledged £24 million to fund trials of an anti-HIV gel to prevent women catching the infection. International Development Secretary Hilary Benn said the cash would be used to fund a final stage field trial into the effectiveness of microbicides, which could offer protection against HIV infection. In a joint announcement, the Medical Research Council also pledged an extra £2 million for the three-and-a-half-year trial. Researchers will test the effectiveness and safety of the microbicide in four African countries - Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
The Daily Mail

Planet hunters feel the heat
For the first time, astronomers have directly detected radiation from planets that orbit distant stars. So far, more than 130 such planets have been identified indirectly, but with a new technique researchers have "seen" heat from two giant planets close to their stars. One planet, known as TrES-1, is 489 light years away in the constellation Lyra. The other, HD 209458b, is 153 light years off, in the constellation Pegasus.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

Metallic glass: a drop of the hard stuff
In the past year, researchers have made metallic glass three times stronger than the best industrial steel and 10 times springier. Metallic glass sounds like an oxymoron, and in a way it is. It describes a metal alloy with a chaotic structure. While metal atoms normally arrange themselves in ordered arrays, or crystals, the atoms in a metallic glass are a disordered jumble, rather like the atoms in a liquid or a glass. And although strictly speaking a metallic glass isn't a liquid, because the atoms are fixed in place, one company is already marketing the stuff as "liquid metal".
New Scientist

Here is the dairy news
How comforting it is for parents of the child who won’t eat to know that at least she’s getting calcium from that evening cup of milk. Drinking milk and eating dairy foods as a way to strengthen bones, has always been something of a mantra for the layman and nutritionist worried about the risks of developing osteoporosis in later life. But recent research has raised questions about the benefits of milk, yoghurt and cheese on bone health.
The Times

Mini 'light sabres' may battle gum disease
Mini “light sabres” might one day replace the toothbrush in the ongoing battle against gum disease and tooth decay, as scientists are working on a new hand-held device that kills only the “bad” bacteria. The researchers, from the Forsyth Institute in Boston, US, say that just 2 minutes of oral illumination with the new device every day should be enough to prevent, control or treat gum disease. The blue light emitted will be more effective at eradicating harmful bacteria than antiseptic mouthwash, they say.
New Scientist

Hundreds of seabirds hit by starvation
An increasing number of shags are being found starved to death around Scotland due to climate change. It is understood the birds are dying off because of a change in ocean currents which are stopping the flow of cold water into the North Sea, according to the British Trust for Ornithology. About 40 per cent of the world’s shag population is found in the British Isles, with the majority breeding off the east and west coasts of Scotland. The BTO has estimated that 1000 birds could have died in the past two months. The research provides additional evidence of the effect of climate change to bird life.
The Scotsman

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