News

Flotsam and jetsam: microplastics amass on NZ shores

Erica Mather May 10, 2016

The New Zealand shoreline is being clogged with microplastics.  A new study by the University of Canterbury reveals that the high quantities of microplastics found in coastal environments is comparable to levels identified overseas, which is surprising given New Zealand’s geographical isolation. Microplastics are small plastic particles less than 5mm in size that are found in exfoliant facial scrubs and … Read More

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Shallowest slow-motion earthquake recorded off NZ

Erica Mather May 06, 2016

BREAKING: Scientists from New Zealand and overseas have recorded a slow-motion earthquake below the seafloor off the coast of Gisborne. This unprecedented study contributes crucial information to the understanding of earthquake and tsunami risk for New Zealand and worldwide. For the first time, scientists have recorded detailed, centimeter-level movement beneath the seafloor in area called the Hikurangi subduction zone. Read More

Norovirus: culprit for gastroenteritis in NZ and worldwide

Erica Mather May 04, 2016

The widely reported gastroenteritis outbreak in NZ and Australia in 2013-14 has been traced to a single strain of norovirus that emerged in 2012 in Sydney. Norovirus is a ubiquitous virus found throughout low to high income countries. The virus is incredibly common, causing vomiting and diarrhea especially in young children from low income countries. Norovirus is responsible for … Read More

Robotics Championships: NZ named world champions

Erica Mather Apr 29, 2016

New Zealand competed at the VEX Robotics World Championships held in Louisville last week and are world champions for the eighth year running. The VEX Worlds provides the opportunity for the hard work and dedication of a growing community of robotics teams to be recognised.  The competition requires students in small teams, with guidance from their teachers, to design and … Read More

Re-examining the therapeutic potential of LSD

Erica Mather Apr 20, 2016

Humans have paired psychedelic drugs with music to alter their consciousness for millennia. Retro psychiatric therapies actually made patients listen to music while high on LSD and now scientists from New Zealand and Europe have found that these therapies weren’t so outrageous after all. Despite the lack of formal investigation, music has been considered essential for psychedelic psychotherapy as it … Read More

Gaps in conservation work

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Mar 30, 2016

Some of the countries that need conservation work the most are missing out, undermining global efforts to protect biodiversity, a new study suggests. The research, published today in PLOS Biology, analysed over 10,000 scientific papers from more than 1000 journals published in 2014. The Australian researchers looked at where the research was done, by whom and how that related to … Read More

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Paracetamol ineffective for osteoarthritis pain

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Mar 18, 2016

Paracetamol has no clinical effect in treating osteoarthritis pain or improving physical function, according to a large-scale analysis of pain-relief medication. The study, published today in The Lancet, found that while paracetamol was slightly better than a placebo, it did not meet the minimum standard of clinical effectiveness for patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis. Taken on its own, … Read More

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Whales still scarce after historic hunts

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Mar 16, 2016

It took less than 150 years to decimate a population of the southern right whales around New Zealand and the species has yet to recover beyond a fraction of the pre-whaling size, genetic and historic data shows. Researchers at Oregon State University – including Scott Baker who is an adjunct professor at the University of Auckland – combined historic information on … Read More

Allergy-reducing baby formula debunked by experts

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Mar 09, 2016

Baby formula that supposedly reduces a baby’s immune response to cows’ milk doesn’t work and international guidelines should stop recommending the products, scientists say. Hydrolysed infant milk formula – marked with ‘HA’ on the tin – is recommended in many countries to lower the risk of allergic diseases in children, but a systematic review published today in The … Read More

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