[ASC-media] NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 5 JANUARY 2008
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Wed Jan 2 23:28:54 CET 2008
NEW SCIENTIST PRESS RELEASE 5 JANUARY 2008
MAGAZINE ISSUE DATE: 5 JANUARY 2008 (Vol. 196 No. 2637)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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NEW FORM OF vCJD DISCOVERED IN HUMANS?
Is a new wave of the human form of mad cow disease about to hit the UK?
That's the worry raised after the discovery of the first case of vCJD in
someone genetically distinct from all the previous cases. The big
question is whether this case is a new form of vCJD from the exposure of
BSE-infected beef, or whether it's simply a rare form of 'sporadic' CJD,
which occurs purely by chance. Page 11
MACAQUES PREPARED TO 'PAY' FOR SEX
When the opportunity arises, male macaque monkeys groom females as
payment for sex. Researchers in Singapore found there was an increase in
sexual activity after bouts of male-to-female grooming, and a male would
'buy' a female by grooming for longer if there were fewer females than
males around. According to experts this behaviour provides rare evidence
that market forces influence mating in nature. Page 6
TEENAGE SMOKERS FACE BADLY WIRED BRAINS
Teenagers who smoke, or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, are more
likely to develop changes to the structure of the brain together with
reduced auditory attention. The US researchers who carried out the study
noticed both prenatal and adolescent smoking was associated with changes
in white matter - the neural tissue through which messages are relayed.
STEM CELLS RESCUE TERMINALLY ILL CHILDREN
Children with a potentially fatal condition may have been saved by
injections of stem cells originally extracted from healthy bone marrow
donors. All the children who received the injections had
graft-versus-host disease, where bone marrow transplants aimed at
treating diseases such as leukaemia, end up attacking the child instead.
The trial was carried out on 12 children in the US. Page 10
KIDS HAVE A WORD FOR IT IF 'HE' OR 'SHE' WON'T DO.
Could "yo" be the gender-neutral personal pronoun the English language
is missing? US linguistics experts have documented growing use of the
word "yo" in schools in Baltimore, as a substitute for 'he'/'she' or
'his'/'her'. Experts say the remarkable thing about "yo" is it's
spontaneous emergence, unlike other gender-neutral pronouns that have
been introduced in the past - artificially - and unsuccessfully. Page 7
THE PENTAGON'S NEW LINE IN POWERED FLIGHT
Next time you see what looks like a plastic bag flapping in the wind on
an overhead power cable, look again. It could be a miniature aircraft in
disguise, stealing power from the line to recharge its batteries. The US
Air Force Research Lab has come up with this idea in order to keep tiny
spy planes known as micro air vehicles, in the air for longer. Page 22
TRAFFIC STILL STUNTING CHILDREN'S BRAINS
Removing lead from petrol was supposed to prevent damage to children's
mental development. Now according to a study in the US, traffic fumes
are still impairing children's learning - because of the soot particles.
Looking at 200 children in Boston, the researchers found that scores on
IQ tests were lower in those who were exposed to more traffic fumes.
Short Story Page 13
- ENDS -
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