news 2012

Environment - Oct 21
A rare element discovered in Great Barrier Reef coral skeletons will help scientists understand the environmental history of nearby regions. Researchers at The University of Queensland's Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) found concentrations of the element vanadium in coral is directly linked to forest burning and land clearing in the area.
Astronomy - Oct 18

The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter, which carries instruments proposed, designed and built at UCL, is completing final testing in Germany before travelling to Cape Canaveral, USA, for launch in February 2020.

Health - Oct 18

Creatine, the organic acid that is popularly taken as a supplement by athletes and bodybuilders, serves as a molecular battery for immune cells by storing and distributing energy to power their fight against cancer, according to new UCLA research.

Innovation - Oct 18

Crowd density estimation provides organisers with valuable information. Festivals and other large-scale events attract many people, but organisers often lack insight into the number of people attending the event and their movements.

Life Sciences - Oct 18

Scientists at the Morgridge Institute for Research have isolated a natural chemical that acts as a potent kryptonite against schistosomes, the parasitic worms that burrow through human skin and cause devastating health problems.


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Life Sciences - 30.12.2012
Naked Scientists uncovers cyber security risks
Naked Scientists uncovers cyber security risks
Today, Sunday 30 December at 7pm, Cambridge University's Chris Smith and his fellow 'Naked Scientists' will present Science Night, which dedicates the first hour of the programme to examining some of the cyber security dangers currently facing technology users. In the first feature, the team describe just how easy it is to recover previously deleted items from hardware.

Earth Sciences - 28.12.2012
Living close to a rubbish tip reduces house prices by 2.6%, research shows
Living close to an active landfill site reduces house prices by 2.6% and the cost to home owners can still be counted two decades after the facility has shut, new research shows. Experts at the University of Birmingham have found that houses situated within 3 kilometres of an active site, or within 1 kilometre of a historic site, suffer a significant price drop.

Physics - 26.12.2012
One step closer: scarcity of anti-matter
A pool holding four anti-neutrino detectors begins filling with ultra-pure water in September, 2012 at the Daya Bay Neutrino experiment. The experiment, just recognized by Science magazine as a breakthrough of the year, is helping to explain why the universe contains virtually no anti-matter. A collaboration with major participation by physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has made a precise measurement of elusive, nearly massless particles, and obtained a crucial hint as to why the universe is dominated by matter, not by its close relative, anti-matter.

Life Sciences - Health - 25.12.2012
Team Mimicking a Natural Defense Against Malaria to Develop New Treatments
Team Mimicking a Natural Defense Against Malaria to Develop New Treatments
One of the world's most devastating diseases is malaria, responsible for at least a million deaths annually, despite global efforts to combat it. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania , working with collaborators from Drexel University, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Johns Hopkins University, have identified a protein in human blood platelets that points to a powerful new weapon against the disease.

Life Sciences - Health - 25.12.2012
Team Developing New Class of Malaria Drugs Using Essential Calcium Enzyme
Team Developing New Class of Malaria Drugs Using Essential Calcium Enzyme
Calpain, a calcium-regulated enzyme, is essential to a host of cellular processes, but can cause severe problems in its overactivated state. It has been implicated as a factor in muscular dystrophy, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. As such, finding and exploiting calpain inhibitors is an important area of research.

Health - Life Sciences - 25.12.2012
Using Penn-designed Model, MRI Can Screen Patients for Alzheimer's Disease or Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration
When trying to determine the root cause of a person's dementia, using an MRI can effectively and non-invasively screen patients for Alzheimer's disease or Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), according to a new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Life Sciences - Health - 24.12.2012
Lethal weapon: bacteria’s high-risk suicide strategy
Lethal weapon: bacteria’s high-risk suicide strategy
" Research published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that some bacterial cells carry a molecular 'suicide complex' to kill themselves in the event of lethal infection by viral parasites. Such 'altruistic suicide' prevents or limits viral replication and protects the rest of the bacterial population from subsequent infection.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.12.2012
Bumblebees Do Best Where There Is Less Pavement and More Floral Diversity
Bumblebees Do Best Where There Is Less Pavement and More Floral Diversity
AUSTIN, Texas — Landscapes with large amounts of paved roads and impervious construction have lower numbers of ground-nesting bumblebees, which are important native pollinators, a study from The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley shows. The study suggests that management strategies that reduce the local use of pavement and increase natural habitat within the landscape could improve nesting opportunities for wild bees and help protect food supplies around the word.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 24.12.2012
Fluctuating environment may have driven human evolution
Fluctuating environment may have driven human evolution
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. A series of rapid environmental changes in East Africa roughly 2 million years ago may be responsible for driving human evolution, according to researchers at Penn State and Rutgers University. "The landscape early humans were inhabiting transitioned rapidly back and forth between a closed woodland and an open grassland about five to six times during a period of 200,000 years," said Clayton Magill, graduate student in geosciences at Penn State.

Health - Life Sciences - 24.12.2012
Rare genetic faults identified in families with bowel cancer
Rare DNA faults in two genes have been strongly linked to bowel cancer by Oxford University researchers, who sequenced the genomes of people from families with a strong history of developing the disease. The researchers sequenced the entire DNA genomes of 20 people from families with a strong history of bowel cancer.

Pedagogy - Health - 24.12.2012
Youth seeking weight loss treatment report bullying by those they trust
Even as adolescents struggle to lose weight through treatment programs, they often continue to experience weight-based discrimination - not just from their peers, but from adults they trust, including parents and teachers. The study by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale appears online in the journal Pediatrics, and is the first comprehensive examination of how weight-based victimization impacts youth seeking weight-loss treatment.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 23.12.2012
Fat influences decisions taken by brain cells for production and survival
Fat influences decisions taken by brain cells for production and survival
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified two molecules that play an important role in the survival and production of nerve cells in the brain, including nerve cells that produce dopamine. The discovery, which is published Chemical Biology, may be significant in the long term for the treatment of several diseases, such as Parkinson's disease.

Health - Life Sciences - 23.12.2012
Study turns parasite invasion theory on its head
Current thinking on how the Toxoplasma gondii parasite invades its host is incorrect, according to a study published today describing a new technique to knock out genes. The findings could have implications for other parasites from the same family, including malaria, and suggest that drugs that are currently being developed to block this invasion pathway may be unsuccessful.

Health - 23.12.2012
Disruption of cellular signaling identified in pulmonary arterial hypertension
Impairment of a key signaling cascade in the pulmonary blood vessels plays an important role in pulmonary arterial hypertension, a Yale study has found. The study appears in the advance online publication of Nature Medicine. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a disease caused by an increase of blood pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs.

Health - 23.12.2012
Understanding cell organisation to tackle cancer
Understanding cell organisation to tackle cancer
23 Dec 2012 Charles Streuli and Nasreen Akhtar of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research have conducted new research that leads to a better understanding of cell polarity. Properly organised tissues are vital to maintaining functional organs and a healthy body. Part of being organised includes cells being in the correct position within the tissue and the right way up, because the top and bottom of cells have different functions.

Social Sciences - Health - 21.12.2012
New research findings on causes of suicide
A new research report sheds fresh light on the processes in the brain that can lead to suicide. In tests on patients who have previously tried to take their own lives, researchers have measured high levels of quinolinic acid, a substance that strengthens glutamate signalling in the brain. Quinolinic acid is formed in the brain as a by-product of inflammation.

Health - Agronomy / Food Science - 21.12.2012
Could normal water prevent diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease?
Researchers at Lund University, Sweden, are studying whether it is possible to prevent obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease by reducing levels of the hormone vasopressin in the blood. “If you dilute the blood by drinking water, the body releases less of the hormone vasopressin, which can potentially lead to diabetes”, says Sofia Enhörning, a doctor who has recently completed her PhD at Lund University.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.12.2012
Association funded researchers identify quadruplex structure in C9ORF72
Association funded researchers identify quadruplex structure in C9ORF72
A Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association funded research project at UCL has given new insights into the structure and function of an MND gene called C9ORF72. The work is published in the journal Scientific Reports . Pietro Fratta (UCL Institute of Neurology) is first author of the paper which successfully identifies the structure of the six-letter genetic mistake in C9ORF72.

Health - Life Sciences - 21.12.2012
World-leading cancer expert to head-up Cambridge Institute
I am delighted that Tavaré will be leading the Cambridge Institute. One of my main aims in Cambridge is to cross-fertilise different disciplines and Simon's work applying mathematical approaches to understanding cancer is a fantastic example of how powerful this can be." —Patrick Maxwell, Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge The University of Cambridge and Cancer Research UK have appointed Simon Tavaré to be the next director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.12.2012
Genetic differences may influence sensitivity to pain
A team of scientists led by King's College London has identified a particular set of genes that interact with one another to regulate pain in humans, and found that differences in these genes may influence people's sensitivity to pain. The study, published today in PLoS Genetics , adds to a growing body of evidence that particular genes are involved in chronic pain and highlights this pathway as a potential target for more effective pain relief treatments for patients.
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