Science policies win over experts
More than 30 senior British scientists have signed a letter endorsing Labour - because eight years in office have generated "a new spirit of optimism" among their younger colleagues. The letter notes that British universities are undergoing "a cultural change" that will give a competitive advantage to research-based enterprise."Since 1997, the Labour government has more than doubled the budget of the Office of Science and Technology from £1.3 billion to £2.8 billion today. This has involved investing £3 billion in new scientific facilities to start repairing the chronic underfunding of the 1980s and early 1990s," they write.
Scientists working at British universities and research institutes have an enviable track record in winning Nobel prizes, widely seen as the world's highest rewards for intellectual endeavour. The government is fond of saying that the harvest of Nobels over the past 50 years is a measure of the vitality of our research culture. But this masks a recent decline in Nobel-winning science at British universities. In the past two decades, the flow of prizes to academics in Britain for chemistry, medicine and physics has slowed remarkably, while scientists at research institutes have caught up with their university colleagues in the laureate stakes.
Exploring the fatty issue
Be fat and laugh, you might say. The news seemed to fly in the face of all the warnings about obesity with which we’ve been bombarded over the past few years by governments, nutritionists and celebrity chefs, but research published in the United States last week suggested that people who were "moderately overweight" were relatively more likely to live longer than those of normal weight.
Low oxygen 'increases DVT risk for most air passengers'
More than half of all air travellers suffer so much oxygen deprivation that they are at risk of deep vein thrombosis, according to a study. The proportion of oxygen in the air breathed in on board an aircraft in flight falls from 21 per cent to as little as 15 per cent. Researchers in Belfast found that in 54 per cent of those they examined during flight many hospital doctors would have prescribed extra oxygen because their blood was unable to carry oxygen to the body's organs easily.
The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, The Evening Standard
Aspirin can be a life saver, but be careful
A major study suggesting that almost everyone over 50 should be taking low-dose aspirin to prevent strokes and heart attacks has prompted a number of my middle-aged patients to come in to the surgery for clarification. Who should and who shouldn’t be taking low-dose aspirin, in the light of the latest research?
Reef fish lives fastest, dies youngest
If there is a one in 10 chance you will be eaten before the day is out, you have to live life fast. That could be why a tiny fish found on the Great Barrier Reef has the dubious distinction of being the shortest-lived vertebrate known. The pygmy goby’s life span is a mere eight weeks, researchers in Australia have discovered. The previous record holder, with a life span of 12 weeks, was the African turquoise killifish, which lives in seasonal waterholes and must mature and breed before they dry up. Now, studies of the pygmy goby - Eviota sigillata - have shown their life span is even shorter.