News

First baby ‘Dumbo’ octopods found

Jean Balchin Feb 23, 2018

“Ridiculed because of his enormous ears, a young circus elephant is assisted by a mouse to achieve his full potential.” You’ve heard of Dumbo the Elephant (if you haven’t, you are missing out!), but have you heard of Dumbo the Octopod?  In a report in Current Biology on February 19, researchers have described a deep sea “dumbo” octopod. These young octopods look … Read More

Your Fitbit could warn you about heart disease

Jean Balchin Feb 23, 2018

It seems that almost everyone these days has a fitbit, or some other form of wearable sensor for personal fitness tracking. However, a research article published in the open access journal PLOS Biology has revealed that these finicky little devices can be used to gain new insights in several fields of biomedical research.  Weng Khong Lim and colleagues from the SingHealth … Read More

Meta-analysis finds antidepressants ARE probably effective

Jean Balchin Feb 22, 2018

A major meta-analysis study comparing commonly used antidepressants has concluded that all are more effective than placebo for the short-term treatment of acute depression in adults, with effectiveness ranging from small to moderate for different drugs. What is depression? According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression “is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, … Read More

Even light physical activity in your 70s can prolong life

Jean Balchin Feb 21, 2018

A recent study has revealed that even short bursts of exercise, including those of light intensity, is linked to a lower risk of death in older men. Published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that providing the recommended 150 minute weekly tally of moderate to physical activity is reached, total volume, rather than activity in 10 … Read More

Walk this Way! Lizards may have run on two feet as early as 110 million years ago

Jean Balchin Feb 20, 2018

A recent study in Scientific Reports has concluded that lizards may have run on two feet (bipedally) as early as 110 million years ago. Although typical lizard locomotion is quadrupedal (on four feet), bipedalism is a behaviour exhibited by over 50 species of lizards. During bipedal locomotion, the forelimbs leave the ground and the trunk of the lizard is elevated; essentially the lizard … Read More

Whole Lotta Rosie! Ancient fossil found in Waipara

Jean Balchin Feb 19, 2018

Canterbury Museum is now the proud home of the world’s oldest penguin fossil and the world’s most complete specimen of any bird (also a penguin) that lived during the 10 million years following the extinction of the dinosaurs. Left to Right: Dr Paul Scofield, Dr Vanesa De Pietri and Dr Gerald Mayr with the skull of Rosie’s Penguin. The story … Read More

Highly processed foods may be linked to cancer

Jean Balchin Feb 16, 2018

There may exist an association between intake of highly processed food in the diet and cancer. Published yesterday by The BMJ, the study suggests that while further exploration is needed, the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods “may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades.”  What are Ultra-processed foods? Ultra-processed foods include packaged baked goods and snacks, … Read More

Our psychological biases mean order matters when we judge items in sequence

Guest Author Feb 15, 2018

Robin Kramer, University of Lincoln This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. We often need to make decisions about sequences of things or people rather than just a single item in isolation. For instance, in an everyday setting, we might choose which smartphone to buy after trying out several. There are … Read More

What’s that smell? Perfect poo pills!

Jean Balchin Feb 15, 2018

Gut scientists have pored over numbers and come up with a way of predicting which good bacteria can be successfully transplanted in a poo transplant. What is a Poo Transplant? Fecal microorganism transplant (FMT) is a process wherein fecal matter (aka poo) is collected from a tested donor, mixed with a saline solution, strained, and reintroduced to a patient, … Read More

Happy Valentines Day! Temporary e-tattoo can record your beating heart

Jean Balchin Feb 14, 2018

“Close your eyes, give me your hand, darlin’ Do you feel my heart beating Do you understand” You know what else can record heart beats? That’s right, an electronic tattoo! Temporary tattoos may no longer be as popular as they once were, but researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology and the University of Texas at Austin have come … Read More