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Pregnant smokers quit…if the money is right

Pregnant women are more likely to quit smoking when they are offered a financial incentive according to a new study. The researchers found the financial incentive was cost-effective for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, which determines cost-effectiveness in a similar method to other high-income countries. In a randomized controlled trial the researchers […]

The science of social media

A group of researchers is calling for further research into social media. The authors suggest that using social media as a proxy for real-world behaviours could help provide insights into an individual’s emotional state or personality traits, as well as being used to measure social conformity. Original research paper published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences on November […]

The diatoms (green) target the cancer cells (purple) using the antibodies (blue) and release the medicine they are carrying (yellow). (Image credit: Mr. Marc Cirera)

Fighting cancer with algae

A microscopic algae, called diatoms, have been genetically altered to target and deliver drugs to cancerous cells without harming healthy tissue. Researchers used a two-step strategy to attach antibodies as well as drug molecules to the algae, creating a targeted delivery system. The authors of the paper say the efficacy of the system, as well […]

Repairing DNA in a matter of weeks

Reprogramming and genetically correcting stem cells can be achieved in as little as two weeks thanks to a new technique. This advance could offer potential therapies for individuals with a range of genetic disorders. Previous techniques to create stem cells from a patient’s tissue and reprogram the stem cell to remove a negative mutation took […]

(Image credit: Credit: Eric Tournere)

Ancient farming bee-haviour

Researchers have found evidence that humans have been gathering bee products, such as honey and honeycomb, for at least 9,000 years. The researchers examined residues preserved on thousands of pottery vessels from across Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The earliest evidence was found in pots from Neolithic sites in Anatolia, where Europe and Asia join, […]

Human sperm (shown here in red and green for ease) swim in a slithering motion when close to a surface. (Image credit: Gilberto Santa Rosa)

Human sperm are surface swimmers

Human sperm are able to swim faster and straighter when they are close to a surface by adopting a unique ‘slither’ according to new research. The research team believes this slither may have adapted to the confined space in the reproductive system. Researchers filmed human sperm swimming within a micron of a glass surface and […]

A: Under a light microscope, the above fossil shows traces of preserved neural tissues in black. B: An elemental scan of this fossil uncovered that carbon (in pink) and iron (in green) do not overlap in the preserved neural tissue. (Image credit: Strausfeld et al. and Current Biology)

Proving paleontology wrong

Researchers have found what they believe is definitive evidence that brains do fossilize. In 2012 Nicholas Strausfeld co-authored the first ever report of a fossilized brain in an edition of Nature, however the findings were widely doubted as only one sample was found. Strausfeld and his team have now found seven fossil of the same […]

As tough as tendons on bone: The new hydrogel

Researchers have developed a hydrogel which is more than 90 per cent water and able to adhere to slippery surfaces with the strength of tendon adhering to bone. They believe the gel will be ideal for protective coatings on underwater surfaces, such as boats, oil rigs, and submarines. The hydrogel is able to stick to glass, silicon, […]

(Image courtesy of Eric Norris)

The dangers of prescription painkillers for women

  Women suffering from opioid addiction are more likely to become addicted from doctor-prescribed painkillers, such as OxyContin and codeine, than men according to a new study. Researchers believe more studies examining the development and effects of opioid addiction in women are needed to provide better treatment options. The study of 503 patients attending methadone […]

Research is too conservative

A pair of papers calls for researchers to take greater risks when choosing research problems to study in order to speed up scientific discovery and innovation. The two papers, one from PNAS and another from the American Sociological Review, used computer models to analyze millions of research papers. The study published by PNAS found that […]

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