Latest research news

April 26, 2006

Roslin sued for £150,000 over dismissal
A scientist is claiming £150,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal from the country's biggest research centre. Anne Knox, of Aberlady, East Lothian, was on secondment at Roslin Nutrition - a spin-off company from the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, which is backed by the British Biological Science Research Centre - when she was dismissed two-and-a-half years ago. BBSRC bosses claimed that Ms Knox - who worked at Roslin for nearly 20 years - refused to co-operate with a redeployment programme during a round of redundancies. Ms Knox said they tried to shoehorn her into a temporary job she was not qualified for to avoid paying redundancy.
The Scotsman

World Bank accused of bungling malaria promises
A group of public health experts has accused the World Bank of publishing false statistics to exaggerate the performance of its anti-malaria projects, and of funding inappropriate treatments against the disease in India. But in a rebuttal, published alongside the allegations in The Lancet , the World Bank counters that the accusations include many “inaccuracies and misunderstandings”. It does concede that its past efforts to fight malaria were understaffed and under-funded, but says that its recently amended strategy to fight malaria will function better.
New Scientist

Spirit to start digging the Martian dirt
NASA's Spirit rover, now safely holed up for the forthcoming Martian winter, is poised to start digging in the dirt. The rover is due to spend the next eight months at Low Ridge Haven and will take the opportunity to do something it has not had a chance to do since landing – an in-depth survey of a single spot on Mars. Since it touched down on 3 January 2004, Spirit has travelled 6.9 kilometres, and investigated a series of locations.
New Scientist

Pregnant women 'need to drink milk'
Women who limit their milk consumption during pregnancy may stunt the growth of their babies, scientists have said. Researchers found that babies of mothers who drank at least half a pint of milk a day during pregnancy weighed on average 4oz more at birth than those born to women who drank less than this. Milk is an important source of vitamin D, calcium, riboflavin, protein and energy during pregnancy but some women are advised to cut down their consumption for various reasons including the prevention of allergies in their children.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times

Drug can make damaged lungs regrow
Scientists have discovered a drug that makes damaged lungs regrow - raising hopes of a cure for the crippling disease emphysema. It opens up a new field of biology which could potentially be applied to other organs that do not repair themselves naturally. Trials of the lung drug start this week. If they are successful, it could be available for patients in two to three years. In emphysema, the lungs' alveoli - tiny air sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged - become damaged, making it harder for air to get in and out.
The Daily Mail

Drug to protect babies from HIV creates resistance
Giving a single dose of the anti-retroviral drug, nevirapine, to HIV-infected mothers to prevent them infecting their babies at birth can cause drug resistance in about one-fifth of women, a new study suggests. Anti-retroviral drugs stop the maternal transmission of HIV, and ideally pregnant women with HIV should get full-time therapy with several drugs, as this prevents the virus becoming resistant to any one drug. But where women cannot afford this, clinics give a one-off treatment with the powerful drug nevirapine.
New Scientist

DIY coral is secret of economic growth
Wars have been fought over them, fortunes in oil, gas and fishing rights depend on them and they are the focus of territorial squabbles throughout the world. Now Japan has come up with an original solution to disputes over islands. Instead of arguing over who owns what, it is simply going to grow its own. Scientists are to implant coral “seeds” on an isolated reef 1,000 miles (1,740km) south of Tokyo in an effort to establish it as an official island, rather than just an ocean atoll. If they succeed they will secure the economic rights to 162,000sq miles (420,000sq km) of ocean that occupy a crucial strategic position and are rich in fishing.
The Times

Men turn jealous at the most fertile time of the month
Men become more jealous and wary of dominant males when their wives or girlfriends are at their most fertile, according to researchers. Men whose partners were close to ovulation were more aware of classically dominant facial features in other men, scientists found. The study backs up findings that women are both more likely to have affairs and are more attracted to alpha males during the fertile period of their menstrual cycle. It has been suggested this is because masculine features are linked to high testosterone levels, demonstrating good genes that can be passed on.
The Daily Telegraph

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