Category Archives: Science – General

General Public health and other interesting cross-topic subjects.

Human embryos cultured in lab for record time a ‘major step forward’ that opens ethical debate

ABC News Bianca Nogrady 5 May 2016

For the first time, scientists have kept human embryos alive in the laboratory for six days beyond the point at which it would normally implant into the uterus.
Two separate groups of scientists today report in Nature and Nature Cell Biology their successful development of human embryos in a petri dish for up to 13 days after fertilisation.
The research teams said the advance shines a light into an unexplored period of early embryonic development.

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Link to NATURE article:

Link to Nature Cell Biology article:

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Scientists need to engage more with the public to secure funding

The Conversation 2 May 2016

We live in an age when society is crying out for scientific solutions to global problems. Just a few of the many considerable challenges we face include the urgent need to transition to a carbon-free economy, the need for new drugs to combat disease and improved agricultural yields to meet the needs of a growing world population.

But in parallel to this increasing demand for science we face worrying trends in Australia and across the wider Western world. From high schools to universities, there is a long-term decline in students in the so-called STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Meanwhile, government funding in many Western countries is also falling, with Australia continuing to reduce the total science budget.

Repeated studies demonstrate public science investment has a strong multiplier effect on the economy, with estimates suggesting a minimum 10:1 return.

With governments fixated on economic growth, the cutting of science funding seems particularly perverse. Science needs to flourish if it will continue to innovate for future generations.

Job insecurity is driving the best and brightest out of medical research

Brisbane Times Anna Patty April 29 2016

Darren Saunders was developing a cure for pancreatic cancer when he gave up his medical research job to find one that was more secure.
The constant stress of going from contract to contract each year and spending precious time applying for research grants finally took its toll.

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MRPSA Report link:

Disease evolution: how new illnesses emerge when we change how we live

The Conversation Simon Reid April 29, 2016

Humans have been “acquiring” infectious diseases from animals (zoonotic diseases) since we first started hunting wild game on the African savannahs. Indeed, nearly 60% of bugs that infect humans originated in animals.
These days, we seem to see more “new” diseases, such as Zika, Ebola and SARS. But there are plenty more lurking. A recent study suggests there are around 300,000 pathogens we don’t even know about and some have the potential to spread from animals to humans.
The world’s scientific community is focused on how to improve detection and responses to emerging diseases such as Zika virus and Ebola. So what can we learn from the most recent large-scale outbreaks?

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Link to mBio article:

Australia produces $30 billion worth of ‘grey literature’ that we can’t read

Brisbane Times Timothy McCallum April 28 2016

Australia spends more than $30 billion a year on projects which produce “grey literature” – documents which are produced by government departments, academic institutions, private companies and more. But despite all this effort, Australia lacks a standardised mechanism to curate and freely distribute grey literature.

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Cancer researchers find protein link that could boost detection and treatment

ABC News 20 April 2016

A protein that could play a key role in treating brain cancer has been detected by medical researchers in Queensland.

Breakthrough Parkinson’s disease blood test

20 April 2016 Brisbane Times

A blood test to detect Parkinson’s disease has been developed by Australian researchers, a breakthrough which will allow for earlier intervention and treatment of the debilitating condition.