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Showing posts from 2016

One Paragraph on Brexit and Science

It’s a time of uncertainty. Ever since the vote for Brexit happened science in the UK has been affected and that’s certainly no secret.  Although Britain is not completely out of the European Union yet, there are a few disturbances which have started to show ever since the results were released. The main consequence was the “burning of the bridges” - the relationship between the UK and the EU has been severed so that scientists in the EU do not feel welcome to collaborating with scientists in the UK. Brexit has even affected the quantity of international students who applied to study in higher education in the U.K this year, with many international students pulling out their places from UK universities after the Brexit vote, leaving many gaps unfilled.  This shouldn’t be a time where collaborating over research becomes a difficult task says Martin Rees in Nature’s micro article. Convinced that independent research councils work better than governmental agencies; he also recomme

Does the public trust clinical trials?

Whilst you're reading this, hundreds of clinical studies are taking place to find the latest breakthrough drug in diabetes, heart, immunological or rare diseases that only affect a handful of people but are debilitating. The results of these trials are being published monthly in medical journals, most with positive results; but to what degree can a member of the public trust the results of clinical trials; particularly those sponsored by big pharmaceutical companies? How much does the public trust clinical trials? With the amount of work that is being done recently,   public trust in clinical trials has been improving although not to the needed extent. In 2013, a public survey conducted by the Health Research Authority (HRA) for the NHS, respondents had less confidence in health research studies undertaken by the pharmaceutical industry. In this survey, there were 1,295 adults aged 18 years or more from across England in 2013. Only 27% of participants in t

My rollercoaster attempt at moving to WordPress and what I learnt from it

You may or may not have realised that there's been a bit of confusion around my blog over the weekend as I tried to move my blog over to (there's a big difference between and - will explain in depth below) but I wasn't completely successful and so I restored my blog back on blogger - my safe home. :) Reasons why I wanted to move to WordPress: It's a more professional It's recommended that more bloggers should use it since it's more flexible and professional for blogging The majority of science blogs are hosted on WordPress How I tried to move over (and only partially succeeded) I used the instructions from this website , and the coding to move to WordPress, I imported my files to my blog and I managed to set a redirect from my blogger blog to my WordPress blog that I had set up. But, this was only partly successful because I couldn't figure out how to set up a redirect for my individu

Butter or Fish Oil for the Brain? (Infographic)

 Today's posts is in the form of an infographic, with a simple topic today: the brain and controlling how much food we eat and what types of food we eat.  Please give all the right credits and link back to this post if you'd like to share this infographic. Thanks!

One Paragraph on Green Energy From Grass

Garden grass could become a source of cheap and clean renewable energy, scientists at Cardiff University, UK, have claimed . They have shown that significant amounts of hydrogen can be unlocked from fescue grass with the help of sunlight and a cheap catalyst; hy drogen is contained in enormous quantities all over in the world in water, hydrocarbons and other organic matter and there is a serious need to release hydrogen from these sources in a cheap, efficient and sustainable way. This process is called photoreforming or photocatalysis and involves the sunlight activating the catalyst (metal based: palladium, gold and nickel) which then gets to work on converting cellulose and water into hydrogen− their “results show that significant amounts of hydrogen can be produced using this method with the help of a bit of sunlight and a cheap catalyst”. [1] Caravaca A. et al,    Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science , 2016; 472 (2191) [2]

Happy 2 Years Crystals and Catalysts!

Happy 2nd Birthday to my blog! - what have I achieved in the last two years? I cannot believe it's been two years since I started blogging about science (where does time go?!) But I guess time flies when you're having fun... I dived into the deep end when I started this blog, after being hesitant to start it for about a year. Now it's something I am very happy and proud to have initiated and made it into a "portfolio" for my writing - which I'm still working on, still practising (I am not a professional - yet! ;) ). Why I started my blog? Becuase I wanted a career change. After I graduated I didn't feel like my place was in the lab. Not that I hate working in the lab, actually the opposite, I loved it. But I think that as much as the world needs great scientific research it also needs great science communication. What have I gained so far? My job as a junior medical writer in medical communications! (although medical communi

One paragraph on Migraines caused by Vitamin Deficiencies

Whether it's stress or spending too much time focusing on computer/laptop screens we’re all susceptible to experiencing migraines and some people suffer from them even more than others; and we have heard many recommendations on how to prevent migraines, such as drinking plenty of water, but not the actual reasons why we get migraines. Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre have found that a high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10. It’s possible that these deficiencies may play a role in the onset of migraines but this is still unclear, based on existing studies. In this study, the researchers’ trial drew from a database that looks at vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10, all of which are all associated with migraines to some degree, and this has been reported in many previous research studies, some studies have even conflicted each other. Most of

4 New Elements - Half A Year Later

It has been just over 6 months since we had heard of the identification of 4 new elements in the periodic table. Just recently the elements have been given proposed names.  As a reminder, here's is some information about the four new elements which had their discovery confirmed in January of this year (2016) Element 113 – currently known by its placeholder name ununtrium – is the first to be discovered in east Asia. It was created by  Kosuke Morita ’s group at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science in Japan, by firing a beam of zinc-70 at a target made of bismuth-209. The group first claimed to have created the element in 2004, but there was still some uncertainty at that time because of the instability of one of its decay products. They followed up these experiments with  more convincing evidence in 2012 . Elements 115 (ununpentium) and 117 (ununseptium) were discovered by groups collaborating across three institutions – Lawrence Livermore National Labora

New medication “clears up” Psoriasis almost completely

Researchers at Northwestern University, USA, have succeeded in finding a drug that can clear psoriasis in the body, almost completely and   the great majority of the responses persist at least 60 weeks . The new drug called ixekizumab, tradename Taltz ® , is  a monoclonal antibody, prescribed to those with moderate to severe psoriasis. Research published in the prestigious journal, New England Journal of Medicine ; reports the results of 3 large, long-term clinical trials which saw 80% of patients psoriasis completely or almost completely cleared.  Psoriasis affects 3% of the world population. It is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease and its most significant symptom is itchy, dry and red skin. Accompanying those uncomfortable symptoms, psoriasis is also associated with an increased risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes. What are Phase 3 trials? ( Understanding the Drug Discovery Process- Compound Interest ) "Usually 1000-3000 people, gauge

One Paragraph on Origami Surgical Robots

New experiments conducted as a simulation of the human oesophagus and stomach, have shown that a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound. Could we already be seeing the future in the technology of surgeries? This isn’t the first time that this type of technology has been introduced to the world. A predecessor was introduced last year at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation . Even though this years new robot is a successor to one reported at the same conference last year, the design of its body is significantly different. Like its predecessor, it can propel itself using what's called a "stick-slip" motion, in which its appendages stick to a surface through friction when it executes a move, but slip free again when its body flexes to change its weight distribution. Also like its predecessor -- a

Paracetamol Switches Off Your Empathy

Paracetamol is the most common painkiller which we all rely on to treat our aches and pains, but it turns out that you might also be  decreasing your empathy for both the physical and social pains that other people experience, a new study conducted at Ohio State University suggests.  It turns out that paracetamol may not only be a painkiller but also an emotion-killer. Researchers found that, for example, when participants in the study took paracetamol and were informed of the misfortunes of others  they thought these individuals experienced less pain and suffering,when compared to those who took no painkiller. "These findings suggest other people's pain doesn't seem as big of a deal to you when you've taken acetaminophen," said Dominik Mischkowski, co-author of the study and a former Ph.D. student at Ohio State, now at the National Institutes of Health. "Acetaminophen can reduce empathy as well as serve as a painkiller." This research

Are common painkillers more dangerous than we think?

We can buy common painkillers over-the-counter at  a pharmacy or even be prescribed them in copious amounts for the treatment  of difficult conditions such as colds, flu, pain, inflammation, and fever. However, all drugs come with side effects, such as increased blood pressure or an increased risk of ulcers. A new study has gathered all the information on each side effect of each common painkiller and its effect on patients with different health conditions (such as diabetes or heart-related diseases). What you need to know about NSAIDs: NSAIDs is an abbreviation for Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and is used to treat a wide range of diseases, in particular, disorders in the muscular and bone system, where the drug counteracts swelling, pain and limitations in movement associated with inflammation. NSAIDs are not antibiotics and therefore do not help to fight infections caused by bacteria. NSAIDs are in Denmark sold both in low doses (Ibuprofen 200 mg/tablet) withou

Possibility for Future AIDS Vaccine

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and weakens your ability to fight incoming infections and diseases. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus currently has no cure but there are currently treatments which are able to help people with the virus to live a prolonged, healthy life.  Since there is no cure for HIV, the best way to approach preventing the spread of the virus is by vaccination; enabling the body to fight off the virus before it attacks the immune system.  Researchers in the USA have been working on developing a vaccine capable of inducing "broadly neutralizing" antibodies that can prevent HIV infections.  This new vaccine technique aims to immunize people with a series of different engineered HIV proteins as immunogens to "teach" the immune system to produce broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV. This in turn, will prepare the immune system to fight off an incoming virus which carries similar proteins to the HIV proteins. The group of

Where have I been?

First of all sorry that I have been M.I.A recently. It's been just over a month since I've last posted a science blog on here. Click here to see my latest blog post- :) Within the last month, I came down with the cold, gotten better then suddenly relapsing into another cold, which was 10 times worse than the previous one (imagine coughing continuously - ALL DAY!). Thankfully, I am feeling better now and I am trying to get back into my usual routine. So starting this week expect more regular posting from me! The funny thing is I have a post on how to prevent cold and flu - and I couldn't prevent it from myself! #NeedMoreImmunity #VitaminC The science of a "relapsing cold" Actually, a cold cannot relapse, you've most likely caught another cold virus (unlucky, I know). F.Y.I  a cold/flu is a virus, not a bacteria, so you won't and cannot be prescribed antibiotics for it.  This awesome video by ASAP science goes through the different type

Candy Floss Machines May Be The Future For Making Artificial Organs

For any medical reason, sometimes artificial organs are required to take place instead of the real organ in the human body. But making artificial organs, which have complicated and  intricate structures, aren't easy to make and there have been many methods which have been devised but don't work as efficiently.  Leon Bellan is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University, who has been working with candy floss machines, getting them to spin out networks of tiny threads similar in size, density and complexity to the patterns formed by capillaries - the minuscule, thin-walled vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells and carry away waste. His main aim has been to make fibre networks that can be used as templates to produce the capillary systems required to create full-scale artificial organs. This research has been published in the Advanced Healthcare Materials  journal. Bellan and his colleagues have been successful in using their