Native grass could be key to super-thin condoms

Native grass could be key to super-thin condoms

Fibres from the Australian native spinifex grass are being used to improve latex that could be used to make condoms as thin as a human hair without any loss in strength.

Working in partnership with Aboriginal traditional owners of the Camooweal region in north-west Queensland, the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu People, researchers from The University of Queensland have developed a method of extracting nanocellulose -- which can be used as an additive in latex production -- from the grass.

Climate change will delay transatlantic flights

Climate change will delay transatlantic flights

IOP PUBLISHING PRESS RELEASE: This release is provided on behalf of the University of Reading.

Planes flying between Europe and North America will be spending more time in the air due to the effects of climate change, a new study has shown.

By accelerating the jet stream -- a high-altitude wind blowing from west to east across the Atlantic -- climate change will speed up eastbound flights but slow down westbound flights, the study found. The findings could have implications for airlines, passengers, and airports.

Teaching neurons to respond to placebos as potential treatment for Parkinson's

They found that it is possible to turn a neuron which previously hasn't responded to placebos (placebo 'non-responder' neuron) into a placebo 'responder' by conditioning Parkinson patients with apomorphine, a dopaminergic drug used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Fall in one-to-one nursing care of very sick newborns linked to higher death rate

University of Warwick research indicates that a fall in one to one nursing care of very sick and premature new-borns is linked to a higher death rate in neonatal intensive care.

The findings which have been published in the in the Archives of Disease in Childhood (Fetal & Neonatal Edition) show the proportion of this type of nursing care provided in intensive care units fell by around a third between 2008 and 2012.

Starfish reveal the origins of brain messenger molecules

Biologists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered the genes in starfish that encode neuropeptides - a common type of chemical found in human brains. The revelation gives researchers new insights into how neural function evolved in the animal kingdom.

Publishing in the Royal Society journal Open Biology, the team led by Professor Maurice Elphick at QMUL's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences report 40 new neuropeptide genes discovered for the first time in the common European starfish Asterias rubens.

Horses can read human emotions, University of Sussex research shows

For the first time horses have been shown to be able to distinguish between angry and happy human facial expressions.

Breeding wildness back into our fruit and veg

Wild tomatoes are better able to protect themselves against the destructive whitefly than our modern, commercial varieties, new research has shown.

The study, published today in the academic journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, shows that in our quest for larger redder, longer-lasting tomatoes we have inadvertently bred out key characteristics that help the plant defend itself against predators.

Dual mode of resistance in wild tomatoes

Stronger evidence found for link between prenatal exposure to paracetamol and the risk of developing

Researchers have provided new evidence that developing asthma can be linked to pregnant women and infants being exposed to paracetamol; by testing that the association was not simply due to the medical complaint for which the person is taking paracetamol. The findings were published today (Wednesday) in the International Journal of Epidemiology [1].

Co-author of the study, Maria Magnus, commented that: "uncovering potential adverse effects is of public health importance, as paracetamol is the most commonly used painkiller among pregnant women and infants."

Alcohol offender program associated with drop in deaths, study finds

An innovative program that requires alcohol-involved offenders to abstain from alcohol and submit to frequent alcohol tests may be associated with a reduction in deaths, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Higher nurse to patient ratio linked to reduced risk of inpatient death

A higher nurse to patient ratio is linked to a reduced risk of inpatient death, finds a study of staffing levels in NHS hospitals, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

In trusts where registered (professionally trained) nurses had six or fewer patients to care for, the death rate was 20 per cent lower than in those where they had more than 10.

Policies geared towards substituting registered nurses with healthcare support workers (healthcare assistants and nursing auxiliaries) should at the very least be reviewed, conclude the researchers