Category Archives: Research

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Larry Marshall: the CSIRO leader who divides opinions

Sydney Morning Herald Tim Elliot 28 May 2016

Confident and outspoken, the 54-year old Sydney-born Marshall was appointed CSIRO chief executive in late 2014, after what then chairman Simon McKeon described as a “worldwide search involving more than 160 candidates” led by international recruitment firm Egon Zehnder. Billed as a serial entrepreneur and Silicon Valley veteran, Marshall was seen as the perfect choice to take the 100-year old CSIRO into a modern age of innovation and digital disruption.

But a closer look into Marshall’s past raises questions about his successes before landing the job, as well as the recruitment process that put him there.

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Concern Zika causes baby eye problems

BBC News 25 May 2016

Scientists studying the Zika outbreak in Brazil are becoming increasingly concerned the virus may cause eye damage in babies.
Stanford University researchers found abnormal bleeding and lesions in the eyes of three infant boys whose mothers had caught Zika while pregnant.

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Link to article in Ophthalmology:

The superbug that could render antibiotics useless just hit the US

Brisbane Times Lena H. Sun and Brady Dennis May 27 2016

For the first time, researchers have found a person in the United States carrying a bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort, an alarming development that the top US public health official says could mean “the end of the road” for antibiotics.
The antibiotic-resistant strain was found last month in the urine of a 49-year-old woman in the US state of Pennsylvania. Department of Defence researchers determined that carried a strain of E. coli resistant to the antibiotic colistin, according to a study published on Thursday. The authors wrote that the discovery “heralds the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria.”

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Link to Abstract & Full-text article:

ABC News article: Drug-resistant superbug bound to reach Australia in time, expert says
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Air pollution could increase risk of stillbirth, study suggests

The Guardian Australia 25 May 2016

Exposure to air pollution may increase the risk of stillbirth, new research suggests.
Stillbirths, classed as such if a baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy, occur in one in every 200 births. Around 11 babies are stillborn every day in the UK, with aproximately 3,600 cases a year.
Researchers have called for tighter curbs on car exhausts and industrial waste emissions to reduce the risk of air pollutants after their research concluded that exposure to ambient air pollution heightens the risk of stillbirth.

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Link to full-text article in O&EM jnl:

Protein implicated in Alzheimer’s disease may protect against infection

ABC News Anna Salleh 26 May 2016

The protein that has been implicated as the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, beta amyloid, can fight microbial infection, a new study in animals has found.
The findings, published today in Science Translational Medicine, have renewed debate about the role of beta amyloid in Alzheimer’s, and raised questions about whether finding a drug to clear it from the brain should be the holy grail for researchers.
“Historically beta amyloid has been thought of as junk — something we don’t want,” said Dr Gawain McColl, an expert in the biology of ageing from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and a co-author of the study.

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Link to article abstract in Science Translational Medicine:

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Down syndrome points to key gene responsible for type 2 diabetes

ABC News Dani Cooper 20 May 2016

One of the key genes responsible for the onset of type 2 diabetes has been identified, opening up possibilities to develop a drug to combat the condition.
The discovery, published today in PLOS Genetics, was made by comparing genes involved with defects in insulin secretion of people with type 2 diabetes and those with Down syndrome.

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Link to full-text article in PLOS Genetics:

Sewage tests could soon reveal secrets of Australians’ health

ABC News Matt Wordsworth 12 May 2016

Scientists are already analysing the nation’s sewage to measure drug use, but their tests could soon have widespread implications for understanding Australians’ health, including the rate of illnesses such as depression.
Each day researchers analyse samples of wastewater from treatment plants at secret locations around the country.
“Last year we managed to collect samples from 44 per cent of the Australian population from one week and that was just 15 wastewater treatment plants,” University of Queensland researcher Jake O’Brien told Lateline.

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Transcript & link to Lateline feature: