[ASC-media] Nicotine therapy, eating insects, carbon busters and Australia's biggest fossil

Wilson da Silva wdas at nasw.org
Tue Sep 30 21:37:41 CEST 2008

In the Oct/Nov 2008 issue of COSMOS, Australia's #1 science magazine ...

    While smoking remains public health enemy number one, there's a
growing body of evidence that nicotine can help delay the progression
of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and ADHD.
It may even help dementia patients to live independently for longer.
    The latest issue of COSMOS magazine lifts the lid on the
controversial new findings, that could see conventional health
warnings turned on their head when it comes to certain cognitive
diseases, where untreated side effects (death and dementia) may be
worse than the health impact of nicotine treatment.
    The health dangers of smoking are well documented and hammered
home at every opportunity, but less publicised studies show
non-smokers are twice as likely to develop Parkinson's disease as
smokers. Serious research and clinical trials are underway.
    Cigarettes contain 4,000 different chemicals, most of which are
dangerous to our health; but it's the specific influence of nicotine
that is drawing attention – especially with its stimulation of the
brain, heart and other muscles – and its ability to improve
concentration and quicken responses.

    Depending on where the product comes from, certain popular foods
can have a permissible quotient of insect pieces. Some peanut butter
can have up to 30 insect pieces per 100 grams, and some chocolate
could have twice that amount.
    But it may be time to change our attitude to eating bugs, as
plenty of people around the world are already enjoying so-called
'mini-livestock' delicacies. And 'insect meat' is not without its
advantages: it's more nutritious, low-fat, and more
environment-friendly than meat.
    The latest issue of COSMOS examines the varied benefits of eating
bugs, and the types of insects that are eagerly consumed by certain
cultures. (Aboriginal bush tucker may be the place for Aussies to
start re-adjusting their taste buds and dining habits.)

    Dire predictions abound about the impact of climate change –
driven by pollution – but scientists are also trying to find ways of
putting the greenhouse gas in its place. From planting more trees to
creating massive algal blooms in the ocean, scientists are exploring a
wide range of possible solutions.
    Australia's leading science magazine COSMOS carries a special
report on "Carbon Busters", and what it's going to take to turn the
tide. The challenge may seem daunting, but it's that very challenge
which is encouraging some of the world's best minds to tackle the
issue of our time.

    What may be the world's largest fossil has been found off the
Queensland coast. Perhaps as long as the Great Barrier Reef itself, it
was another extensive reef which was drowned long ago by rising seas.
Only just discovered, the mystery of this drowned reef is finally
being unravelled.
    COSMOS magazine details the scientific quest to map out a new
vision of the ancient Australia of 20,000 years ago, when much of our
planet's water was locked up in Ice Age glaciers. Today's Great
Barrier Reef was then a marshy mangrove plain, where Aborigines would
have been hunting and fishing, and the coastline – as well as this
ancient reef – would have been some 50 km away.

To find out more, visit http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/issues/2008/23/

To arrange an interview, please contact Caitlin Howlett on 02 9310 8500.

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