Latest research news

January 31, 2007

Nobel prize winners join calls to open research to all
More than 12,000 academics including two Nobel laureates have signed a petition urging the European commission to make publicly funded academic research available for free on the internet. The online petition, a direct challenge to the lucrative businesses of many scientific publishers, comes ahead of an EC conference next month where "open access" to research will be debated. The conference will be attended by the Brussels information commissioner, Viviane Reding, and commissioner for science and research, Janez Potonik.
The Guardian

Life may be lurking in Mars' frozen sea
Space probes looking for life on Mars must dig deeper to have any chance of success, according to new research. And they should start in what is thought to be a frozen sea of ice known as Elysium. Unlike Earth, the Red Planet is not protected by a global magnetic field or thick atmosphere and is bombarded by radiation from space. For cellular life to have any chance of surviving such high radiation levels it would have to be several metres below the surface – beyond the reach of even state-of-the-art drills. A team from University College London has been studying cosmic radiation levels at various depths on Mars and has published its findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters .
The Daily Telegraph

How cannabis use causes schizophrenia
Studies have shown that heavy use of cannabis can be associated with a fourfold increased risk of developing schizophrenia. Recent research by Yale University School of Medicine suggests the drug may induce psychosis by its action on receptors in the brain. The use of cannabis is not thought to be a primary cause of schizophrenia, although there is strong evidence to suggest that the drug can trigger the onset of mental illness in some people with a prior disposition.
The Daily Telegraph

Straighter teeth won't guarantee happiness - study
Straightening children's crooked teeth with braces may improve their smile but it is no guarantee of happiness and improved self esteem. A 20-year study by scientists in Britain that looked at the impact of braces on more than 300 children in Wales showed that having straighter teeth had little positive impact on their psychological health later in life. When they were questioned as adults, none of them regretted having had their teeth improved and most were satisfied with the way they looked.
The Scotsman

Cancer risk from sunbeds doubles
The risk of developing skin cancer from using sunbeds has more than doubled in a decade, according to researchers. A 30 per cent rise in the number of unregulated, privately operated tanning centres with increasingly high-strength lamps means that those seeking a perfect tan may be seriously damaging their health through exposure to ultraviolet light. A survey of tanning facilities in Scotland found that 83 per cent of sunbeds tested had UV light outputs that exceeded the limit laid down in the British and European standard.
The Times

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