[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 7 APRIL 2007

RBI - NewScientist - Media (RBI - AUS) media at newscientist.com.au
Tue Apr 3 02:03:52 CEST 2007


NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 7 APRIL 2007



NOTE TO EDITORS: 

Due to the Easter Holidays, this week's New Scientist will be published
in Australia one day earlier than usual. Therefore please note an
earlier embargo time for this week only.

 

MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE:  7 APRIL 2007 (Vol. 193 No's 2598)


 

EMBARGO: 


THESE STORIES BELOW ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST
BEFORE:- 04:00 HRS AEST WED 4 APRIL 2007. 


 

BILLIONS AT RISK FROM WHEAT SUPER-BLIGHT

A formidable disease is on its way and almost nobody has heard of it.
The disease is Ug99, a virulent strain of black stem rust fungus that
attacks wheat plants - a crop that feeds more people than any other food
source on this planet. Since the Green Revolution of the 1960s, farmers
have been successfully growing disease-resistant wheat varieties. But
now Ug99 has evolved to the extent that there are almost no wheat crops
anywhere that are resistant to it. Ug99 has already crossed Africa into
Asia and there are fears it will spread further into regions where a
billion people depend on wheat for their survival. Page 6-7 

 

MORE IVF KEEPS THE BIRTH RATE UP

While low birth rates continue to cause concern in many developed
countries, with birth rates falling to as low as 1.3 babies per woman,
one country seems to be bucking the trend. Denmark has a birth rate of
1.9 children per woman, and this is in spite of an increase in the
average age of women having children. The secret of Denmark's success
seems to be a surge in the uptake of artificial reproductive
technologies, including IVF. Page 13

 

MAN'S PIG CELL IMPLANTS STILL ACTIVE 10 YEARS ON

Ten years ago a diabetic was implanted with pancreatic cells from pigs
to help control his blood glucose levels. Now, not only are the same
cells still alive, but a few continue to produce insulin. Though the
patient from New Zealand still has to inject himself with supplementary
insulin, he says his diabetes is under better control. This newly
published finding is restoring faith in the hope that
"xenotransplantation" of tissue from pigs into humans could help combat
diabetes and other diseases. Page 8

 

A SLIMMING TREATMENT FOR ARTIFICIAL LUNGS

Artificial lungs are not only huge cumbersome machines, but inefficient.
Existing devices siphon off large amounts of blood and pump oxygen
through tubes and into the blood. Now American researchers have come up
with a way to make artificial lungs more efficient, by using an enzyme
that helps remove C02 from the blood, cutting down the amount of blood
that needs to be fed to the artificial lung. The researchers hope this
will lead to smaller units that can be used on a wider range of
patients. Page 26

 

SNOWY INVADERS POINT TO ARCTIC THAW

Could climate change be to blame for the increase in numbers of snow
geese that visit the US each winter? Wildlife experts say that warming
temperatures on the Arctic Island where the birds nest, has led to a
breeding boom. But not everyone is happy with the invading birds. Some
farmers are declaring war on the geese where thousands of them have
ravaged their fields and crops. Page 9 

 

UTERUS PLUS

Human uterus transplants are a step closer with the announcement that
four ewes have become pregnant after successful womb transplants. The
Swedish researchers transplanted the uteruses back into the same sheep.
They now hope to carry out a uterus swap between two ewes, which if
successful would increase hopes of transplants in humans. SHORT STORY
Page 4 

 

The following four stories are not available on the press site. For full
text articles please contact Nicole Scott at media at newscientist.com.au.

 

MULTITASKING

Being able to juggle five different tasks simultaneously is a badge of
honour in today's time-poor society, but new research suggests it's not
such a good idea after all. Multitaskers end up performing worse in
almost all the tasks they're trying to do, which can be fatal if those
tasks involve driving a car while talking on a mobile phone. It seems
human brains - both male and female - have a built-in bottleneck against
multitasking. Page 28-31

 

SWITCHED ON

The discovery of RNA interference in 2002 was a revolution, allowing
researchers to selectively switch off certain genes and opening up the
possibility of treatments for all kinds of diseases. Now researchers
have discovered RNA activation, which appears to switch genes on. No one
is quite sure how it works, but with promising results from cancer
studies in animals, there's no doubt RNA activation could hold as much
potential as interference. Page 42-45

 

CANNIBAL STARS

V383 Mon was supposed to be just another run-of-the-mill star explosion.
But then things got very weird. Instead of just fading away, this star
flared two more times, changed colour, vanished, then reappeared as an
infrared star. Five years after the event, astronomers now think V383
Mon is a "cannibal star", and they caught it in the act of devouring its
prey. But what was it eating? Page 32-36

 

PACKAGING UNWRAPPED

More than one-third of the rubbish we throw into the bin is packaging,
yet packaging manufacturers claim packaging prevents more waste than it
creates by reducing the risk of damaged or spoiled goods. But is it
possible to live a life without packaging? Many consumers think so and
are now rejecting useless packaging and drastically cutting down their
rubbish burden in the process. Page 37-41

 

 

- ENDS -

 

IF REPORTING ON ANY OF THE STORIES ABOVE, PLEASE CREDIT NEW SCIENTIST AS
THE SOURCE, AND IF REPORTING ONLINE, PLEASE INCLUDE A LINK TO:
www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com/> .

 

NOTES TO EDITOR:

*	New Scientist magazine is the world's leading science and
technology news weekly, boasting a circulation of over 175,000 (ABC
Audit March 2007). 

 

*	The magazine is complimented by NewScientist.com, your ultimate
science and technology website. It includes breaking news updated
throughout the day by our global network of specialist correspondents
providing comprehensive coverage of science and technology news. 

 

*	New Scientist offers a syndication service. If you are
interested in reproducing any of our full-text articles or graphics,
please email your details and the article in question to:
claire.bowles at rbi.co.uk. 

 

 

PRESS CONTACT IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND:

If you'd like to view the above articles in full-text AND/OR for radio &
TV interviews, please contact Nicole Scott, Marketing and PR Coordinator
-  Australia, Tel: 61 2 9422 2893 or email: media at newscientist.com.au

 

PRESS CONTACT IN EUROPE: 

If you'd like to register for our Online Press Site, please contact
Claire Bowles, New Scientist Press Officer Europe, Tel: +44 (0)20 7611
1210 or email: claire.bowles at rbi.co.uk

 

PRESS CONTACT IN THE US:

New Scientist Boston: Tel: +1 617 558 4939 or email:
kyre.austin at newscientist.com

 

 

For breaking science and technology stories everyday visit
www.newscientist.com <http://www.newscientist.com/> 

 

Nicole Scott

Marketing and PR Coordinator - Australia

New Scientist 

Tel: 61 2 9422 2893

Email: media at newscientist.com.au



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