[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 3 DECEMBER 2005

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Wed Nov 30 09:28:36 EST 2005


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE
 
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 3 DECEMBER 2005 (Vol. 188 No 2528)
 
EMBARGO: 
THESE ITEMS BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION BEFORE:- 04:00 AEST THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER 2005 
 
IF MUMS PUT ON THE POUNDS, SO DO KIDS
Overeating by expectant mothers is an important but overlooked factor in childhood obesity according to two new studies. The most alarmingly of the two is the conclusion of a team from Harvard Medical School who say that even women who follow official guidelines in the US on how much weight to gain during pregnancy may be priming their children to become obese. 
NEWS Pages 14-15
 
PREGNANCY DRUG CAN AFFECT GRANDKIDS
Drugs given to a woman at risk of having a premature baby may inadvertently be affecting her grandchildren as well. This alarming study carried out in guinea pigs by Canadian researchers suggests that multiple doses of a drug commonly given to woman to help the development of a fetus's lungs can also affect the brains and behaviour of their grandchildren. NEWS Page 8
 
REWRITING YOUR PAST
It may soon be possible to block or erase a terrifying or traumatic memory using a drug. With significant advances in how the brain forms and retrieves memories, neuroscientists say that a memory-altering drug could be available within 5 to 10 years. For those plagued with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder it could offer a lifeline. But is it morally acceptable? 
FEATURE Pages 32-35
 
THE GATHERING STORM
A bitter argument is raging over whether global warming is making hurricanes more destructive. Not long ago, the general consensus among leading hurricane experts was that the upsurge in Atlantic hurricanes was just part of a normal long-term cycle. But evidence is starting to emerge to suggest that a global rise in sea surface temperature is making hurricanes more intense. FEATURE Pages 37-41
 
TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH!
Our ultra-clean water supplies were designed to kill off any dangerous water-borne diseases. But it could perversely be making us sick. A handful of scientists are convinced that our ever-purer drinking water is not giving us the protective immunity that mildly contaminated water can give us. One study has found that those people who drank water with low-level cryptosporidium contamination from livestock faeces, had a stronger immune response, primed to cope with more deadly encounters. FEATURE Pages 47-49
 
CONCERNS OVER IVF CONTAMINATION RISK
Some children conceived by a common IVF procedure could be carrying chunks of bacterial DNA in their chromosomes, according to an experiment in mice. Spanish researchers say that it is possible for children's DNA to be accidentally modified if the sperm sample that was injected into a woman's egg was contaminated with bacteria. The team say such accidental genetic modification would be very rare but are calling for fertility doctors to take more precautions. NEWS Page 10 
 
ENERGY DIARY HELPS CORRECT BAD HABITS
A system trialled in Japan which tells people how much energy they are using in their home, is helping people cut their fuel bills and carbon emissions. The experimental system allows householders to log on to a PC each day and view their overall consumption of electricity and gas, the temperature of rooms and how long televisions or other appliances were kept on. Residents quickly became used to regulating their power use accordingly. NEWS Page 30
 
TELL LAURA I LOVE HER
It may sound bizarre, but your ideal partner could soon be your digital buddy. This is the idea of a group of researchers pioneering "affective computing", an attempt to design software that can recognise their users' emotional states. They envisage a software character that can judge how you're feeling, calm you down, encourage you to do exercise or offer support just at the right moment with an artificial but soothing voice. FEATURE Pages 42-46
 
TERROR CLAIMS 'MISLEADING'
The UK government's argument for holding terror suspects for longer than 14 days without charge was that a longer period was necessary to break into encrypted files on suspects' computers. But, according to a top computer security specialist, this is misleading. He says that breaking into highly encrypted material is no longer possible and that a 14-day limit is long enough to trawl through the hard disc for any passwords or clues. NEWS Page 27
  
- ENDS -
 
New Scientist are proud to announce that Emma Young, our Acting Australasian Editor, won Best Single Article and was highly commended in the categories for Best Analytical Writing and Writer of the Year at the 2005 Bell Awards, given annually by the magazine industry association, Australian Business and Specialist Publishers. 


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New Scientist 
 
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