Latest research news

May 4, 2006

What the ape can tell us about that horrific human drug trial
New drugs such as the one used in the Northwick Park Hospital trial may be intrinsically unsafe for human beings because of an immune system quirk, research suggests. Scientists have identified a mechanism designed to prevent the immune system overreacting that is present in apes but not in humans. The finding, published Tuesday, may explain why animal tests uncovered no adverse reaction to TGN1412, a monoclonal antibody that caused multiple organ failure in six volunteers at Northwick Park.
The Times

One in 20 suffers from personality disorder
Almost one in 20 people in the UK has a personality disorder, according to a study. The research also found that men were more likely to suffer from disorders than women and that the most common condition was obsessive-compulsive disorder. The study, conducted by The British Journal of Psychiatry , found that those who had been in care were more likely to suffer from disorders and were three times more likely to suffer from paranoid or schizoid disorders, where they felt withdrawn or isolated. Researchers interviewed 8,886 people, followed by in-depth discussions with 638 people.
The Independent, The Guardian

Giant turtle's 5,000-mile odyssey in search of food
An astonishing 5,000-mile journey by the first giant turtle to be caught and tagged off the British Isles has excited scientists studying the endangered creatures. For eight months marine biologists have been tracking a 65st leatherback sea turtle that was caught off south-west Ireland last summer. Experts from University College Cork and the University of Wales, Swansea, fitted a satellite tracking device to the turtle before she was returned to the Atlantic.
The Daily Telegraph

Spring babies in suicide link
People born in spring or early summer are almost 20 per cent more likely to commit suicide than those born at other times of the year, research suggests. The month in which a person was born has been linked with several conditions, including Alzheimer's, autism and multiple sclerosis. Now a study of almost ,000 people in England and Wales who took their own lives has found those born in April, May and June face a 17 per cent higher risk of suicide than those born in autumn and early winter.
The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph

More than 3m babies stillborn each year
More than 3 million babies around the world are born dead every year, even though most of these deaths could be avoided, according to a new study. In a paper published online by The Lancet medical journal yesterday, researchers in South Africa and the US warn that the true figure may be much higher, saying that without reliable statistics on stillbirths, health workers are left "stumbling around in the dark".
The Guardian

Humans back in frame for ancient horse extinction
Humans are back in the frame as suspects in the extinction of ancient horses in Alaska thousands of years ago. Previous dating of the youngest fossils indicates the horses disappeared about 500 years before the arrival of humans from Asia. But a new statistical analysis of the fossil dates suggests the animals actually went extinct a few hundred years after humans turned up. The end of the Pleistocene epoch saw extinctions of many large animals, including mammoths and caballoid horses in North America and elsewhere.
New Scientist

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