news 2012


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Health - 07.12.2012
Cognitive behavioural therapy is effective in reducing depression in people whose symptoms have not responded to treatment with antidepressants
Cognitive behavioural therapy is effective in reducing depression in people whose symptoms have not responded to treatment with antidepressants
Antidepressants are the most widely used treatment for people with moderate to severe depression. However, up to two thirds of people with depression don't respond fully to this type of treatment. New findings, published in The Lancet , have shown cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)*, provided in addition to usual care, can reduce symptoms of depression and help improve patients' quality of life.

Health - Life Sciences - 06.12.2012
Stem cells to aid search for new drugs in hard-to-treat conditions
Stem cells to aid search for new drugs in hard-to-treat conditions
Stem cells are to be used in a 45m effort to look at providing new treatments for a host of complex conditions affecting large numbers of people, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, autism and diabetes. However, it's not the stem cells themselves that would form the new treatments. Instead, the stem cells would provide a platform to transform the process of discovering new drugs.

Environment - Life Sciences - 06.12.2012
Top conservation issues to look out for in 2013
Top conservation issues to look out for in 2013
This kind of horizon scanning exercise can be useful to avoid situations where we're ill-prepared to deal with the consequences." —Professor Bill Sutherland A UK-led team of researchers has identified 15 issues that could affect the diversity of life on Earth in 2013. They include using synthetic DNA to genetically modify organisms, soaring demand for coconut water, and competition for land to grow plants for fish farming.

Life Sciences - Health - 06.12.2012
Discovery of pathway leading to depression reveals new drug targets
Scientists have identified the key molecular pathway leading to depression, revealing potential new targets for drug discovery, according to research led by King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry. The study, published today , reveals for the first time that the ‘Hedgehog pathway' regulates how stress hormones, usually elevated during depression, reduce the number of brain cells.

Health - 06.12.2012
Cycling safer than driving for young people
Cycling safer than driving for young people
Researchers from UCL have found that cycling is safer than driving for young males, with 17 to 20 year old drivers facing almost five times greater risk per hour than cyclists of the same age. The researchers looked at hospital admissions and deaths in England between 2007 and 2009 for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

Earth Sciences - 06.12.2012
New light on the Nazca Lines
New light on the Nazca Lines
The first findings of the most detailed study yet by two British archaeologists into the Nazca Lines - enigmatic drawings created between 2,100 and 1,300 years ago in the Peruvian desert - have been published in the latest issue of the journal Antiquity. As part of a five-year investigation, Nicholas Saunders of the University of Bristol's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology and Clive Ruggles of the University of Leicester walked 1,500 km of desert in southern Peru, tracing the lines and geometric figures created by the Nasca people between 100 BC and AD 700.

Health - 06.12.2012
IVF children more likely to have asthma
Asthma is more common among children born after IVF and other treatments than among children who have been planned and conceived naturally, suggests a study led by Oxford University researchers. However, the researchers say that their findings should not worry parents of children born after assisted reproduction technology (ART).

Astronomy / Space Science - 05.12.2012
Sussex space scientists help to reveal brilliant world of starburst galaxies
Sussex space scientists help to reveal brilliant world of starburst galaxies
University of Sussex astronomers and space scientists in Hawaii have helped to reveal hundreds of previously unseen starburst galaxies - the birthplace of the stars that populate our Universe. The number of starburst galaxies observed by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Herschel space observatory and the ground-based Keck telescopes in Hawaii reveals the extraordinarily high star-formation rates across the history of the Universe.

Business / Economics - Mechanical Engineering - 05.12.2012
The detectives of corrosion
Corrosion costs the oil and gas industry billions of dollars every year, it can also have far reaching environmental consequences. But so far no one has managed to stop corrosion happening. A detective style research team based at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus are working closely with industry to investigate real world problems and are taking a forensic look at the nature of corrosion — particularly in the oil and gas sector.

Health - 05.12.2012
Longer use of tamoxifen improves breast cancer survival
Longer use of tamoxifen improves breast cancer survival
Taking the drug tamoxifen for ten years after breast cancer surgery, rather than the usual five, further reduces the chances of dying from breast cancer. The findings - for women with oestrogen receptor positive (ER-positive) breast cancer - come from the long-running ATLAS trial led by Oxford University's Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU).

Life Sciences - 05.12.2012
Learning to control brain activity improves visual sensitivity
Training human volunteers to control their own brain activity in precise areas of the brain can enhance fundamental aspects of their visual sensitivity, according to a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience . This non-invasive 'neurofeedback' approach could one day be used to improve brain function in patients with abnormal patterns of activity, for example stroke patients.

Life Sciences - Environment - 05.12.2012
Discovery of 100 million-year-old regions of DNA shows short cut to crop science advances
Scientists have discovered 100 million-year-old regions in the DNA of several plant species which could hold secrets about how specific genes are turned ‘on' or ‘off'. The findings, which are hoped will accelerate the pace of research into crop science and food security, are detailed by University of Warwick researchers in the journal The Plant Cell.

Life Sciences - 05.12.2012
Hushed hoarders and prying pilferers
Hushed hoarders and prying pilferers
As humans, we understand that other people can hear what we are doing, but there is only limited evidence for this ability in other animals. Our study of Eurasian jays is the first to report that a member of the crow family will suppress acoustic information by vocalising less when spying on another individual that is caching." —Rachael Shaw In order to prevent other birds from stealing the food they are storing for later, Eurasian jays, a type of corvid, minimizes any auditory hints a potential pilferer may use to steal their cache (food that is buried for later use).

Health - 04.12.2012
Undetected malaria carriers identified as a likely source of infection
Undetected malaria carriers identified as a likely source of infection
People who have low-level malaria infections that are not detected by standard tests may be a source of up to 20-50 per cent of onward transmissions, a new study has found. These carriers have a low number of parasites in their blood and are usually unaware that they have malaria, but mosquitoes taking a bite on these people can still become infected and then go on to transmit the parasite to other people.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.12.2012
’Smart’ genes put us at risk of mental illness
Humans may be endowed with the ability to perform complex forms of learning, attention and function but the evolutionary process that led to this has put us at risk of mental illness. Data from new research, published today , was analysed by Richard Emes, a bioinformatics expert from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at The University of Nottingham.

Environment - 04.12.2012
Canopy structure explains supposed link between leaf nitrogen and climate
Canopy structure explains supposed link between leaf nitrogen and climate
Claims that forest leaves rich in nitrogen may aid in reflecting infrared radiation - thereby cooling the atmosphere - have been challenged by new research that shows that the structure of forests' canopies is a more important factor in infrared reflection. Recent studies have noticed a strong positive correlation between the concentration of nitrogen in forests and infrared reflectance measured from aircraft and satellites.

Health - Life Sciences - 03.12.2012
Brain and nervous system damaged by low-level exposure to pesticides
Brain and nervous system damaged by low-level exposure to pesticides
Scientists have found that low-level exposure to organophosphates (OPs) produces lasting decrements in neurological and cognitive function. Memory and information processing speed are affected to a greater degree than other cognitive functions such as language. The systematic review of the literature was carried out by researchers at UCL and the Open University.

Health - Life Sciences - 03.12.2012
Genes link growth in the womb with adult metabolism and disease
Genes link growth in the womb with adult metabolism and disease
Based on a news release from the Wellcome Trust Researchers have identified four new genetic regions that influence birth weight, providing further evidence that genes as well as maternal nutrition are important for growth in the womb. Three of the regions are also linked to adult metabolism, helping to explain why smaller babies have higher rates of chronic diseases later in life.

Health - Life Sciences - 03.12.2012
Genes link growth in the womb with diseases in adulthood
Genes link growth in the womb with diseases in adulthood
Four new genetic regions that influence babies' birth weight have been identified by an international research team involving the University of Oxford. The findings provide further evidence that genes are important for growth in the womb, as well as the mother's nutrition. Together, the newly identified genetic regions have a surprisingly large effect on birth weight when compared with other known influences.

Health - Mathematics - 03.12.2012
5.2 million to improve understanding of ageing immune system
A team of researchers from the University of Warwick, working with the University of Manchester, have been awarded 5.2 million to investigate our immune response and how it is affected by ageing. The grant is part of BBSRC 's Strategic Longer and Larger Awards scheme, which give world-leading teams the time and resources to address areas of key strategic importance.