Latest research news

July 13, 2005

Parkinson's drugs linked to gambling
People with Parkinson's disease were urged yesterday to be candid with doctors if they developed a gambling habit, following evidence that drugs used to treat the condition might, on rare occasions, trigger compulsive behaviour. Patients have lower than normal levels of dopamine, a compound which transmits nerve impulses, so often take a drug that mimics the chemical. The medication seems to unbalance parts of the brain which control emotions and one's internal "reward system".
The Guardian , Daily Telegraph , The Scotsman

Hands-free cellphones carry car crash risk
Using hands-free cellphone headsets while driving is not risk free. People who chat on their mobiles while driving are four times more likely to crash - and that includes those using hands-free devices. The research, conducted in Perth, Western Australia, was based on 456 drivers who had been involved in road crashes requiring hospital attention. By comparing the time of crash with records from phone companies, it was found that cellphone use significantly increased the chance of a crash. That was regardless of sex, age group, or whether or not a hands-free device was used.
New Scientist

Test to end genetically inherited disorders
Scientist are on the verge of eradicating genetically inherited diseases after the development of a test to spot haemophilia A in IVF embryos. The technique was created by scientists at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's Hospital and a couple have gone through the IVF procedure for the first time in order to avoid having a child with the blood disorder.
The Scotsman

Nasa confident shuttle will launch on time
Nasa managers forged ahead with the countdown to the launch of space shuttle Discovery , confident they would be able to fix a few minor problems and would remain untroubled by summer storms. "I think we're on our way," Bill Parsons, manager of the space shuttle program, said on Monday following a meeting to review any potential problems.
Washington Post

'Private researcher' aims for the stars
A US millionaire has booked a holiday with the Russian space agency that should put him in space in October. But businessman, scientist and adventurer Gregory Olsen won't just be taking in the view; he says he plans to perform some experiments during his stay on the International Space Station.
Nature

Gorilla deaths show tourists should keep their distance
Poaching is the biggest killer of mountain gorillas, but respiratory diseases come a close second, accounting for about a quarter of deaths, according to a major survey. The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, based in Rwanda, investigated 100 gorilla deaths dating back to 1968. The team found that 40 were due to trauma, for which poaching is almost always the cause in adults. More surprising was the detrimental effect of respiratory diseases, including influenza A and parainfluenza viruses, which killed 24 of the animals.
New Scientist

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