News

Psychobiotics – bacteria as a psychiatric medicine?

John Kerr Oct 31, 2016

A growing field of research – psychobiotics – hints that the millions of bacteria living inside us have more of a say in our mental well-being than we think. The term ‘psychobiotics’ was coined in 2013 by Ted Dinan to describe bacteria that “produce a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness.” Since then there have already been leaps forward in … Read More

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Vaping: A new weapon in the battle against obesity?

John Kerr Oct 26, 2016

E-cigarettes may have a part to play in fighting the growing obesity epidemic, say New Zealand researchers. Electronic cigarettes have been welcomed by some, but not all,  public health researchers as a potential new tool to help smokers kick the tobacco habit. Now a new commentary published today in Nicotine & Tobacco Research lays out the case for vaping – using e-cigarettes – … Read More

No silver bullet for agricultural emissions, says Environment Commissioner

John Kerr Oct 19, 2016

New Zealanders need to work together to tackle the “complex problem of the biological greenhouse gases from agriculture,” warns the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in a new report.  The report Climate change and agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases, released today, aims to tease out various issues in the fraught area of biological emissions and signpost solutions. “In a way, my report … Read More

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Creating eggs from stem cells raises questions

John Kerr Oct 19, 2016

The successful production of functional mouse eggs entirely in cell culture by Japanese scientists has been lauded as a technical feat, but there might be some tricky issues to tackle before even thinking about progressing the technology to humans. In a paper published in Nature yesterday Katsuhiko Hayashi from Kyushu University and colleagues reported the results of their experiments … Read More

Swashbuckling NZ spider’s eight million year world tour

John Kerr Oct 14, 2016

Species of coastal New Zealand spiders likely rafted here as a part of an eight million year round-the-world trip, suggests a new study. The Amaurobioides genus of spiders has species dotted around the Southern Hemisphere, including New Zealand, Australia  and South America. These spiders eke out a tough life living in the coastal ‘spray zone’ on rocky shores. The genus includes the sea … Read More

Stunning photos from NIWA scientists

John Kerr Oct 12, 2016

Being a scientist out in the field can be hard work, with long days in sometimes uncomfortable (or even dangerous) settings collecting data. But it does come with the opportunity for some unbelievable photos. NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, has announced the winners of its annual photography competition: From one pole to the other, NIWA scientists work in some of the world’s most … Read More

NZ Sea Lion one of the world’s most murderous mammals

John Kerr Sep 29, 2016

The New Zealand Sea Lion ranks as one of the most murderous species on the planet, according to a new study examining lethal violence among mammals. Do dolphins duel to the death? Are hippos homicidal? And what about genocidal gerbils? Spanish researchers have mapped the extent of lethal violence across 1000 mammal species, from aardvarks to zebras, and their macabre analysis is … Read More

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