Sunday, 27 July 2014

Roundup of weekly science headlines

World's first three-parent baby could soon be born in UK, as Government approves treatment
Three parent babies made headlines this week not so much for the possibility of preventing mitochondrial disease but because the third parent remains anonymous. However the scientific benefit of three parent babies is the prevention of mitochondrial diseases which can lead to severely disabled babies. I’ve got a blog post coming up on the ethics of this debate. Stay tuned.

Cancer blood test moves closer after promising results
Scientist at the University of Bradford have developed a technique to detect cancer from a simple blood test. This could lead to an end to current invasive diagnostics test such as biopsies and colonoscopies. Their technique is different to current cancer blood test in that it is universal. So far, the technique has been used on three types of cancer with promising results.

Africa 'missing out on biotech green revolution'
In line with the GM debate and climate change, another research report by Chatham house suggests the need to introduce new varieties of crops to boost yield and increase resistance whiles highlighting the challenge to attract funding for biotechnology projects on staple crops, such as cassava due to their limited market.

Trees save lives, reduce respiratory problems
If you ever wondered why forestry was so important, well basically the trees just saved your life.

Nigeria tests for first suspected Ebola case
Ebola continues to threaten the West African continent after reports suggest the virus has now reached Nigeria. The current death toll in the region has exceeded 600 according to WHO.

Shift workers at higher risk of diabetes, study finds
A study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests that shift workers have a 9% increased risk of type 2 diabetes with the risk higher in men. That goes for the hard working health care professionals, fire fighters etc.  Shift workers have previously been reported to be at higher risk of weight gain and increased appetite – both of which are risk factors for diabetes. I guess bottom line, if you work shifts, take extra caution. Expert reaction from the SMC here.

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