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Robots help autistic children

With all the research being conducted around autism, (trying to detect it earlier using biomarkers , therapy sessions, and trying to make life easier for the autistic child by engaging them in society) it's been found that sometimes, humans are not enough to solve the problem and so they've sought the help of robots. Yes, you've read that correctly, robots.  Diagnosed from early childhood, children with autism are restricted with a mental condition that prevents them from communications, expressing themselves and forming relationships with other people (adults and other children). Autistic children also have troubles with language and communicating abstract concepts. So to try and find a better method of treatment for the children, r esearchers at the Universidad Miguel Hern├índez (UMH) and AISOY Robotics are working together to expand the potential of their robot assistant for the treatment of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).   Welcome AIS

Are we, as science communicators, doing our job?

Sometimes when I blog, I feel like my posts aren’t being read by the audience I want it to reach – what I’m communicating isn’t reaching the audience which includes people who aren’t scientists or science communicators. It’s fantastic that scientists and science communicators encourage each other, read and learn from each other’s science blogs, but I don’t think we should keep science to ourselves, just between us scientists, or as Richard P Grant described it (albeit a bit harshly) as “tribalism”. We need to think about the impact science communicators have on the public in this day and age; although there may be a lot of science communicators, our message is not getting out to the public; who is meant to be our main audience, so science isn’t restricted to scientists only. Why should we care about who reads our blogs? One of the major issues we are facing is the issue regarding parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children.  In the year 1998, Dr Andrew Wa

My experience at the science communication primer

It has been a couple of months since I attended the science communication primer, held by the British Science Association, and I wasn’t originally going to review the day, but I thought it would be useful for those of you who might be thinking about going into science communication, and if your thinking about attending a similar event. It was held at Conway Hall in Holborn, London and was attended by a range of speakers including Dr Stephen Webster (ICL), Tom Chivers (Buzzfeed) and Mun Keat Looi (Mosaic) and much more. Overall the day was an enlightening experience and I learnt a lot from each of the speakers and their views of science communication and their backgrounds. Although it was a chilly October day, the hall was packed with a full-house of aspiring science communicators.  We all came from extremely different backgrounds but our intentions/goals were the same. The day started off with an introduction and welcome by Katherine Mathieson who then introduce

We have a new organ in our bodies!

Doesn't that sound crazy? After years of research, scientists have discovered that we have a new organ in our bodies. You'd think that with all of the dissections of the human body over 100 years of anatomy study, that we would know everything about the human body by now, but no! There is still more to learn and I wonder what else do we not know about our bodies? The new organ is located in our digestive system, specifically connecting the abdomen and intestines and it looks like this and it's called the MESENTERY: Image courtesy of The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology and Science Alert For hundreds of years, the mesentery had been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts. However, research by Professor of Surgery at UL’s Graduate Entry Medical School, J Calvin Coffey, found the mesentery is one, continuous structure. J Calvin Coffey, University of Limerick  said: “In the paper, which has been peer reviewed and assessed,

Just add water: an emergency blood bank

I'm sure you've seen, fairly recently, a lot of advertisements calling for blood donation. Particularly in the U.K where the NHS pleads for blood donation so that hospitals and ambulances have enough blood in their blood bank to be able to provide it to patients during emergencies. However sometimes donations aren't enough, and science needs to find another solution, albeit temporary, to provide "man-made" blood for use in emergency blood transfusions. The need increases especially when stored blood is unavailable or undesirable. Undesirable being defined as the blood type of the donor blood is not compatible with the patient's blood type or there isn’t enough blood ready for transfusion with the patient’s blood type. Artificial Oxygen Carrier Dr. Doctor and his colleges and his team have developed ErythroMer which is a new artificial blood substitute which is currently under trials, testing its efficacy before its official use in health

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