Latest research news

August 3, 2005

Research funding boost for Scottish universities
Eight Scottish universities will share nearly £8 million to develop Scotland's research base in areas including clinical trials and carbon storage in North Sea oilfields, it was announced today. The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council said the money would strengthen areas of academic research that were of importance to Scotland, but did not receive funding or major levels of funding. The awards were also intended to bring together existing strengths at different universities.
The Guardian , The Scotsman

Elite group to get lion's share of health research cash
Ten hospitals in England are to spearhead government research in a shakeup aimed at channelling more funds towards an elite group of doctors, nurses and medical academics. Ministers also promise researchers more funds for travel and conferences and a reduction in the amount of red tape they face in applying for grants, as they try to reverse a slide in the number of medical academics, down to 3,500 from 4,000 four years ago.
The Guardian

First in orbit repair for shuttle heat shield
Astronaut Steve Robinson will make an unprecedented repair to the belly of the space shuttle Discovery as early as Wednesday, Nasa decided on Monday. Two gap fillers are sticking out from between heat-resistant tiles on the orbiter’s belly. Nasa could not be certain that it would be safe for Discovery to re-enter the atmosphere with the gap fillers protruding, even though they had done so on previous flights.
New Scientist

Scientists net £1.3m to fund technology to help elderly
New technology which will help keep elderly and disabled people out of care homes and living at home instead is being developed as part of a project involving Edinburgh scientists. The scheme was today given a £1.3 million grant to help fund research into devices which will help people live independently.
The Scotsman

Further pregnancy less likely after caesarean
Women who have their baby by caesarean section are less likely to have another pregnancy, a 17-year study following 25,370 women revealed yesterday. Researchers also found that the average amount of time between births was greater for those who had undergone caesareans than those who gave birth naturally.
The Guardian

Ecstasy eases Parkinson's in mice
The drug ecstasy relieves the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in mice, a team of researchers has found. The scientists did not look at the drug's effects in people, and do not advocate self-medication. "We don't want to give the idea that every Parkinson's patient should be standing on the street corner trying to buy amphetamines," says team leader Marc Caron, a cell biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Nevertheless, the team is hopeful that their findings may point to new treatments for Parkinson's, a debilitating disorder in which patients lose the ability to control their actions.
Nature , New Scientist

Ivory-billed woodpecker raps on
Evidence has come to light that the ivory-billed woodpecker ( Campephilus principalis ), once thought extinct, is alive and well in Arkansas. A sound recording of the woodpecker's distinctive call and tree rapping has convinced even some of the harshest sceptics that at least two of the birds are indeed still around.
Nature

City lawyer diagnoses a historic gem under floorboards
A lawyer has discovered a 370-year-old medical textbook under the floorboards of his Edinburgh home. The dirt-coated book was found by workmen at advocate Michael Stuart's home in the Grange when he was having conversion work carried out in the attic. The 17th-century illustrated surgical book was nearly thrown away in the rubbish until Mr Stuart decided to have it examined by experts. Mr Stuart has now given it to the Royal College of Surgeons who have put in on display in their museum.
The Scotsman

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