Scientists grow sperm from stem cells
Scientists have turned stem cells from an embryo into sperm that are capable of producing offspring. The advance in reproductive science raises new opportunities to treat male infertility and the possibility that women could make sperm. The professor behind the research believes that, when safe, the advance could help men with certain types of infertility to become fertile, to remain fertile for longer and, controversially, could even one day enable a lesbian couple to have children that, at the genetic level, are truly their own. The experiment used embryo cells to produce seven baby mice, six of which lived to adulthood, though the survivors suffered problems of the kind also seen with cloning.
The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph
Researcher dies after Andrea Doria dive
David Bright, a leading researcher into underwater exploration and shipwrecks, has died after diving to the site of the Andrea Doria off Nantucket, where he was working in preparation for the wreck's 50th anniversary. He was 49. Bright, of New Jersey, resurfaced from a dive late Saturday with decompression sickness and went into cardiac arrest, according to the Coast Guard. He was pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital a short time later. Bright was a historian and an experienced technical diver who had explored the Titanic , Andrea Doria and other shipwrecks many times - 120 times for the Andrea Doria.
The bigger the dinosaur, the hotter its blood
The debate over whether dinosaurs were cold-blooded like modern reptiles, or warm-blooded like us, may finally have been settled. According to some elegant biophysics, they were both – depending on how big they were. Dinosaurs were built like reptiles, so scientists originally assumed they were “cold-blooded”, seeking or avoiding sunlight to control their temperature as modern reptiles do. But more recently, details of dinosaur anatomy have led some to argue that they actively regulated their temperature, as mammals do. But other researchers contend that dinosaurs did not actively regulate temperature, but lost the heat generated by their metabolism so slowly that they stayed warm anyway.
Magic mushrooms can induce mystical effects, study finds
A universal mystical experience with life-changing effects can be produced by the hallucinogen contained in magic mushrooms, scientists claim. Forty years after Timothy Leary, the apostle of drug-induced mysticism, urged his hippie followers to "tune in, turn on, and drop out", researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, have for the first time demonstrated that mystical experiences can be produced safely in the laboratory. They say that there is no difference between drug-induced mystical experiences and the spontaneous religious ones that believers have reported for centuries. They are "descriptively identical".
Melons can stop sunburn
Melons are not only a summer thirst quencher - they help prevent sunburn. The discovery of the sun-protective powers of melon juice was made by a French farmer. He noticed that a particular type of cantaloupe lasted longer in storage than other melons. When scientists at Paris University studied them, they discovered they were rich in antioxidants that help protect against harmful oxygen-free radicals that can damage cells and are triggered by over-exposure to sun. The juice of the melon has been concentrated and freeze-dried into pills that can be taken daily to help protect against skin damage, in addition to wearing sunscreen.
The Daily Mail
Sleeping too much doubles your risk of Parkinson's
Sleeping too long could be bad for your health, new research shows. A team of scientists have found that people who sleep at least nine hours a night are almost twice as likely to develop Parkinson's disease as those who get by on six hours or less. The US study also showed that working night shifts may help ward off the devastating condition, which affects 120,000 people in Britain, with 10,000 cases diagnosed a year. The researchers from the National Institutes of Health, a US government body, tracked the health of 80,000 nurses for 24 years.
The Daily Mail
Herb tea fights breast cancer
Drinking herbal tea can lower the risk of developing breast cancer. Research based on 4,400 women who were monitored for more than six years shows that those who drank herbal tea more than halved the risk of developing the disease. The women were all cancer-free at the start of the study, but by the end nearly 100 breast cancers had been diagnosed. When their diets were analysed, it was found that those who had been drinking herbal teas, which are rich in antioxidants, had a 57 per cent lower risk than non-drinkers.
The Daily Mail