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Scientists will only make real breakthroughs in children’s medicine if they include children in research programmes as well as adults, according to a leading paediatric expert.

Professor John Warner was speaking today at the opening of the Paediatric Research Unit, the UK’s first unit solely devoted to paediatric clinical research. The unit is run by researchers from Imperial College London and St Mary’s Hospital, and it is based next to the hospital’s paediatric wards in Paddington.

Compounds found in pumpkin could potentially replace or at least drastically reduce the daily insulin injections that so many diabetics currently have to endure. Recent research reveals that pumpkin extract promotes regeneration of damaged pancreatic cells in diabetic rats, boosting levels of insulin-producing beta cells and insulin in the blood, reports Lisa Richards in Chemistry & Industry.

Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Michigan have discovered a gene that protects us against a serious kidney disease. In the current online issue of Nature Genetics they report that mutations in the gene cause nephronopthisis (NPHP) in humans and mice. NPHP is a disease marked by kidney degeneration during childhood that leads to kidney failure requiring organ transplantation. The insights might help develop effective, noninvasive therapies.

No one likes a cheater, even a single-celled one.

New research from Rice University shows how cooperative single-celled amoebae rely on family ties to keep cheaters from undermining the health of their colonies. The research appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May.

"It's very unusual to get a complete story in biology -- one that marries careful field work with painstaking work in the laboratory -- and that's what we have here," said research co-author Joan Strassmann, chair of Rice's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

A virus that has been specifically designed by scientists to be safe to normal tissue but deadly to cancer is showing early promise in a preliminary study, researchers said today at the ESMO Conference Lugano (ECLU), Switzerland, 5-8 July 2007.

The virus, called NV1020, is a type of herpes simplex virus modified so that it selectively replicates in virus cells, killing them in the process.

We all share our genetic make up with relatives, but should we also share ownership of the results of DNA analysis or should this knowledge be considered private?

Dr Anneke Lucassen, a clinical geneticist at the University of Southampton, believes that if anyone is to own genetic information, it has to be all those who have inherited it and, more importantly, it must be available to all those who might be at risk.

The question, she says, is how to balance a right to privacy with disclosing risks to others.

Should a ban on smoking exempt people who do it for 'cultural' reasons? What if the science regarding the detrimental effects of certain types of smoking is inconclusive?

This is an issue lawmakers in the UK will have to struggle with as advocates try to get hookah smoking exempted from England’s smoking ban.

New research led by University of New Hampshire physicists has proved the existence of a new type of electron wave on metal surfaces: the acoustic surface plasmon, which will have implications for developments in nano-optics, high-temperature superconductors, and the fundamental understanding of chemical reactions on surfaces. The research, led by Bogdan Diaconescu and Karsten Pohl of UNH, is published in the July 5 issue of the journal “Nature.”

The Ugandan government wants to change the law to allow Mabira Forest Reserve, the 30,000 hectare rainforest in Uganda which has been protected since 1932, to be carved up and a quarter of it used for sugar cane production by huge firms, notably the Mehta Group, which has close ties to politicians within and outside the country.

The forest is home to nearly one third of Uganda's bird life. Sugar cane is a notoriously un-economical crop.

For some years now, scientists throughout the world have been in a position to use the complete base sequence of the human genome for their analyses.

A question often encountered is whether or not specific sequence motifs have a special function. This is likely in cases where the motif is found in a particular place more often than mere chance distribution would suggest. So far, such calculations have only been possible using time-consuming computer simulations.