Latest research news

July 19, 2006

City's SCS in tie-up with neurology research firm
Stem Cell Sciences, the Edinburgh-based research company, has agreed a one-year strategic collaboration with an Australian neurology research firm. The company will work with NeuroSolutions, the UK-based subsidiary of NeuroDiscovery, to provide contract services and supply native human neurones to biopharmaceutical companies. SCS was founded in 1994 to commercialise research conducted by Professor Austin Smith and Peter Mountford at the Institute of Stem Cell Research, in Edinburgh, and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Mr Mountford said the initial focus of the collaboration would be on targets that are relevant to the future treatment of major neurological diseases.
The Scotsman

Radio wand to reduce dangerous patient stitch-ups
A deadly type of surgical error - accidentally leaving sponges inside patients - could be eliminated by waving a special type of wand over the patient's wound, according to researchers. They have invented special medical sponges containing radio frequency identification chips - a technology currently used to find lost pets and track food items in stores. Doctors will be less likely to accidentally leave these sponges inside surgery patients, suggests their new study. Previous studies have suggested that doctors make this mistake in about one in every 10,000 surgeries in the US. And in the year 2000 alone, experts estimated that nearly 60 US patients died as result of this error.
New Scientist, The Scotsman, Nature

Plasma bubble could protect astronauts on Mars trip
A bubble of plasma could shield astronauts from radiation during long journeys through space, researchers are suggesting. If the idea proves viable, it means heavy metal protective panels could be replaced by a plasma shield of just a few grams. Astronauts travelling beyond the Earth's orbit would be at risk of cancer and other illnesses due to their long term exposure to cosmic rays. Some of these energetic particles are spewed forth during outbursts from the Sun. Others come from outside our solar system and are more mysterious in origin. The Earth's magnetic field protects spacecraft in low Earth orbits, such as the space shuttle and International Space Station.
New Scientist

Football injuries 'strike twice'
Top footballers are likely to sustain the same injuries season after season, a new study shows. Swedish researchers found that suffering a hamstring, groin or knee joint injury almost tripled a player's chances of an identical injury the following season. However, the same pattern was not found for ankle sprains. The metatarsal injury that jeopardised England player Wayne Rooney's chances of competing in the World Cup did not form part of the research. Dr Martin Hagglund, from Linkoping University, led the study of injury reports involving 197 players from 12 top Swedish football teams.
The Guardian

Corking challenge as scientists try to stop wine turning sour
Scientists in Scotland are to play a key role in a research project to stop wine becoming spoiled by tainted corks. The three-year project will see Paisley-based researchers work with scientists from Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia and Italy to investigate the role of a potent pesticide in causing wine to go bad, or becoming "corked". Pesticide contamination in cork forests is thought to be responsible for the problem, which costs the wine industry more than £5.5 billion a year and affects between 1 and 5 per cent of wine products.
The Scotsman

Swimming pools linked to children's asthma
Asthma in children is being blamed, in part, on chlorine in indoor swimming pools, following a new study by Belgian doctors. A study across 21 countries in western and eastern Europe involved 190,000 13 and 14-year-olds. It found that the incidence of wheezing rose by 3.39 per cent for every indoor swimming pool per 100,00 population while the incidence of asthma rose by 2.73 per cent. The study, conducted by Professor Alfred Bernard of the Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, lent credence to the theory that the bi-products of chlorine in pools were an irritant when mixed with urine.
The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman

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