Scientists sidestep stem cell dispute
US scientists have fused a human embryo stem cell and a scrap of adult skin to make cells that could become almost any tissue in the human body. In doing so, they claim to have created a new tool for research, confirmed hopes of new ways of treating hitherto intractable human diseases - and sidestepped a bitter controversy.
The Guardian , The Times , The Independent
Pro-GM scientist to give TV lectures
One of Britain's most provocative scientists, who has been accused of protecting the biotech food industry and has dismissed organic produce as "an image-led fad", will give the televised BBC Christmas science lectures, which are aimed at children and young adults. Professor Sir John Krebs, who was appointed by the government in 2000 to be the first head of the independent Food Standards Agency, will devote the Royal Institution lectures to the subject of food.
Dementia levels not helped by improved health
Rising levels of dementia in Britain may not be helped by efforts to improve the health of the population, according to the first study of its kind, published yesterday. The research from the Medical Research Council found that levels of dementia were "surprisingly" constant across England and Wales. The findings, published in Public Library of Science Medicine throw into doubt the hope that reducing risk factors for conditions like stroke would lower the risk of dementia.
Cholesterol drug offers new hope in asthma battle
A heart drug used to lower blood cholesterol is being harnessed by Glasgow University scientists to fight the effects of asthma. The team of researchers headed by Professor Neil Thomson, the UK's leading asthma expert, are preparing to begin a trial on the statin group of drugs to test their ability to control the impact of the potentially lethal condition, which affects 390,000 people in Scotland alone, 100,000 of whom are children.
A compass gets chicken across road
We might never solve the mystery of why the chicken crossed the road, but at least we now have an idea of how it found its way across. In earlier work, scientists discovered that domestic fowl can find their way around using a sophisticated navigational system based on the position of the Sun. Yesterday, in the journal Current Biology, a team reported that the chicken also possesses a compass that is sensitive to the Earth's magnetic field, despite having been domesticated from the Asian red jungle fowl thousands of years ago.
Scientists prove why accountants are boring
The caricature of accountants as boring has been given a scientific basis by researchers who say the language they use and the environment in which they work are, frankly, grey. The study from the City University of Hong Kong said that the "dull and uninspired, jargon-heavy language", including such words and phrases as "holdover" and "provisional tax liability", is partly responsible for their dusty image.