News

What happens to our health records when we die?

Jean Balchin Jul 21, 2017

Leaps and strides in digital data acquisition and storage has lead to the phenomenon of electronic mortality, where digital data — from medical records to genomic information — can exist, and be accessed, for a potentially infinite period. Consequently, there are major ramifications in a variety of different areas. In particular, health research relies of large data sets. All over the … Read More

The dramatic decrease in life-saving tobacco control policies

Jean Balchin Jul 20, 2017

4.7 billion people – 63% of world’s population – are covered by polices such as strong graphic warnings, smoke-free public places or other measures. According to the latest World Health Organisation report, more countries have implemented tobacco control policies, ranging from graphic pack warnings and advertising bans to no smoking areas. Roughly 4.7 billion people, or 63% of the world’s … Read More

Natural Mutations and Sickle Cell Anaemia

Jean Balchin Jul 19, 2017

Using the gene-editing technique CRISPR, a UNSW Sydney-led team of scientists has introduced a beneficial natural mutation into blood cells, switching on production of foetal haemoglobin. This advance could eventually lead to a cure for sickle cell anaemia and other blood disorders. Sickle Cell Anaemia Cells in tissues need a constant, steady supply of oxygen to function properly. Normally, … Read More

The temperamental past of Auckland’s Volcanoes

Jean Balchin Jul 18, 2017

Two recent studies have found that Auckland’s volcanoes had a rather stormy and temperamental past. At one stage, several large eruptions happened within 4,000 years, whereas at other times there were thousands of years of silence. The two studies were published this month in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research … Read More

Weeds head for the hills as climate warms

Jean Balchin Jul 11, 2017

As temperatures rise, plants head up mountainsides, with weeds spreading to higher altitudes twice as fast as native plants. An international team of researchers, including a New Zealander conducted the first study to look at non-native weed spread. The study specifically examined the European Alps, but a local researcher who was involved said that the situation might be even more dire … Read More

Myths about psychosis affect employment

Jean Balchin Jul 10, 2017

The public’s preconceptions about psychosis makes it rather difficult for those living with the condition to gain employment and achieve their goals, a new Australian study finds. The study, published today in the Australian Journal of Psychology set out to examine the barriers there were to employment for people with psychosis. What is Psychosis? … Read More

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Thousands of NZ children continue to be exposed to second-hand smoke in cars

Jean Balchin Jul 07, 2017

New evidence shows one in five children continue to be exposed to smoking in cars. Exposure even increased in 2015. According to Action on Smoking and Health New Zealand (ASH), secondhand smoke (SHS) consists of the smoke that is either exhaled by the smoker, or that is given of by the burning tobacco and released into … Read More

Mice lacking a sense of smell stay thin

Jean Balchin Jul 06, 2017

Mice that have been engineered to lack a sense of smell lose weight on a high-fat diet, according to a report in today’s issue of Cell Metabolism. The mice ate just as much as counterparts with unaltered senses, yet lost an average of about 16 percent of their body weight. This weight loss was almost entirely from … Read More

Deep water corals glow in the dark to survive

Jean Balchin Jul 05, 2017

It has long been established that corals in shallow waters glow because of fluorescent proteins that act as sunblock, protecting the endangered species from the sun’s intense rays. As any kiwi can attest, too much sunlight is bad for humans. Excess sunlight is also detrimental to corals. Some shallow water corals produce fluorescent proteins to block excessive sunlight that could … Read More

Radar-sensing albatrosses could become ‘patrollers of the Southern Ocean’

John Kerr Jun 21, 2017

New technology which tracks how much time seabirds spend around fishing vessels could be recruited into the fight against illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean. The use of GPS trackers to chart the travels of wildlife is not exactly new, but developments in animal tracking now allow researchers to not only see where animals are, but also who else might … Read More

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