News

Mental health disorders among leading causes of children’ illness

Jean Balchin Apr 13, 2018

According to a study published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, although global rates of mental disorders in children have remained stable over time, the decline of infectious diseases will place mental disorders among the main causes of disease in children aged 4-15 years. In the study, Marie-Laure Baranne and Bruno Falissard at INSERM, France describe the prevalence of mental … Read More

Higher cigarette prices would help millions avoid poor health and extreme poverty

Jean Balchin Apr 12, 2018

According to a study published in the BMJ today, a significant increase in cigarette prices would aid millions of people around the world avoid poor health and extreme poverty. The study concluded that people on low incomes have the most to gain, and the researchers argue that modest action by many governments “could yield unprecedented health gains and poverty reduction.” Smoking … Read More

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Brows on fleek: Expressive eyebrows in early humans

Jean Balchin Apr 11, 2018

There are a number of things about my physical appearance I’m not 100% happy with. I’m pale, covered in freckles and I burn like a crisp on the odd sunny day. But perhaps worst of all is the fact that my eyebrows are virtually non-existent. Unless I carefully pencil them in each morning, my friends and coworkers struggle to ascertain … Read More

iWitnessed: What is it, and how can it help us?

Guest Author Apr 09, 2018

New app iWitnessed will allow eye witnesses and victims to record details of their testimony to help with police investigations. The app guides users through a list of key interview questions allowing specifics to be captured as quickly as possible after a crime. Developed by experts in forensic psychology at the University of Sydney and … Read More

Solution to 50-year-old mystery could lead to gene therapy for common blood disorders

Jean Balchin Apr 06, 2018

In a recent study published in the journal Nature Genetics, UNSW Sydney-led researchers have used CRISPR-gene editing to introduce beneficial natural mutations into blood cells to boost their production of foetal haemoglobin. This study solves a 50-year-old mystery about how these mutations operate and alter the expression of human genes. Naturally carried by a small percentage of people, these mutations contribute to … Read More

Free online tool could help women decide on breast reconstruction

Jean Balchin Apr 05, 2018

A new study published in Psycho-Oncology has revealed that a free web-based decision aid that helps women with breast cancer make decisions regarding reconstruction surgery after mastectomy is likely cost-effective. BRECONDA (Breast Reconstruction Decision Aid) is a tool that helps people make decisions about breast reconstruction surgery. It was developed in collaboration with an international team of breast surgeons, oncologists, … Read More

Five things to consider before ordering an online DNA test

Guest Author Apr 05, 2018

Jane Tiller, Monash University and Paul Lacaze, Monash University This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. You might be intrigued by what your genes could tell you about your ancestry or the health risks hidden in your DNA. If so, you’re not alone. Fascination with personal genetics … Read More

The SMC Video Competition: John Mortimer, Chaucer, and a mysterious manuscript

Jean Balchin Apr 05, 2018

Last week, the results of the Science Media Centre Video Competition was judged. It was an incredible competition, open to previous participants of the SMC’s science video workshops. There were eight entries, and the judges were incredibly impressed with the creativity and quality of the entries. I was fortunate enough to watch all eight entries and chat to a … Read More

Careful of that flying bottle top!

Jean Balchin Apr 03, 2018

I don’t know about you, but the soundtrack to my summer was characterised by the crash of waves upon the beach, the sizzle of sausages on the barbeque and the sweet “pop” of a Corona bottle. Unlike many people across New Zealand – my friends included – I did not receive a bottle top to the eyeball. Read More

Potential genetic link in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) identified

Jean Balchin Apr 02, 2018

A case-control study in the UK and USA has found that rare genetic mutations associated with impairment of the breathing muscles are more common in children who have died from sudden infant death syndrome (cot death) than in healthy control children. Published recently in The Lancet, this study seems to indicate that there exists a possible genetic element of the disorder. Sudden … Read More