Latest Science


Asthma warning over potential killer dust storm

Storms heading for South Australia could be a health risk. People with respiratory and cardiac conditions are being urged to take precautions ahead of a dust storm due to hit South Australia on Thursday afternoon. Dust from parched countryside has been picked up in high winds thanks to unusually dry conditions. “There is strong evidence to support that exposure to air pollution can cause adverse health outcomes including asthma and cardiovascular events,”  said Dr Pawan […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors

New pieces to the puzzle of intellectual disability

Study finds neuronal connections are undermined in FXS. Stanford University researchers have identified a mechanism that alters the behaviour of neurons in Fragile X syndrome (FXS), an inherited genetic disorder that is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability. Their study also shows that targeting the mechanism could serve as the basis for new therapeutic interventions for FXS, which is currently difficult to treat. FXS leads to severe intellectual disability and autistic-like behaviour. Screens […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Bacteria becoming tolerant to hand wash

Australian study has implications for hospitals worldwide. A dangerous bacterial species is becoming increasingly tolerant to the disinfectants hospitals use to resist it, an Australian study has found. Hospitals around the world have stringent hygienic procedures that often include the use of hand rubs and washes containing disinfectants based on isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. However, analysis of bacterial samples taken from two Melbourne hospitals over 19 years suggests the drug-resistant species Enterococcus faecium is adapting to […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel

Super rare blue diamonds are a geologist’s best friend

Blue diamonds come from far deeper than any other diamond, revealing the incredible processes that occur under the Earth’s surface. Blue diamonds, which account for less than 0.02% of all diamonds ever mined, form up to four times deeper in the Earth’s crust than other types, geologists have established. Mineral impurities found in common diamonds indicate that the gems form in the upper part of the planet’s mantle, a region known as the cratonic lithosphere, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Bushland and farmland not always good neighbours

Relying on natural habitat for crop pest control is a standard method – but it doesn’t always work. Despite an analysis of the largest dataset of its kind, a simple landscape model for accurate pest control predictions on farms worldwide remains out of reach. Natural habitat next to farms can improve crop yields by encouraging predators of crop pests – ladybugs thus protect soybeans in mid-west America, for instance, and songbirds keep down insect numbers […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Tanya Loos from Australia's Science Channel
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HK’s microbes like to mingle, at least on the subway

Study shows they become one uniform group by day’s end. There’s more movement than you might imagine along Hong Kong’s 160 kilometres of subway. Not only do nearly five million people use it to commute each day, some from as far away as the Chinese mainland, but many millions more microbes are moving in quite distinct ways. A new study shows that while each subway line hosts a characteristic set of bacteria during morning rush […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Heatwave deaths likely to rise steadily

Australia to be hit hard as global warming increases. The first global study to predict future heatwave-related deaths makes grim reading. It suggests there will be dramatic increases in tropical and subtropical regions, followed closely by Australia, Europe and the US, if people and governments cannot adapt to global climate change. In an extreme scenario, there will be a 471 per cent increase in heatwave-related deaths in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne compared with the period […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Island life makes birds smarter

Isolation requires more elaborate behavioural responses. Birds living on isolated islands are smarter because they have to be, according to new research. Scientists from Spain, Sweden and Canada have discovered that species found on oceanic islands – islands that rise from the ocean floor due to seismic or volcanic activity – have larger brains than mainland relatives. And their results suggest the differences are the result of evolutionary processes rather than simply varied colonisation success. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Old bones shed light on evolution of the human skeleton

X-ray study solves 160-year-old mystery. Palaeontologists have identified the oldest known form of bone, solving a 160-year-old mystery about the evolution of the human skeleton. Led by Joseph Keating from the University of Manchester in the UK, a team of researchers used high-energy X-rays to examine the fossilised skeletons of one of our oldest vertebrate relatives: ancient fish called heterostracans. The fish skeletons are made of aspidin, a tissue with a structure of crisscrossing tubes. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kimberly Riskas from Australia's Science Channel
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Compound from cannabis shows promise in pancreatic cancer treatment

Cannabidiol and chemotherapy shows dramatic results in mice. Cannabidiol, a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis, has been found to vastly increase the survival of mice with pancreatic cancer when used in combination with chemotherapy, a new study has revealed. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and least survivable cancers – in Australia only around 7.7% of patients survive five years. Nearly 3,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed in Australia in […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Terraforming Mars no plan(et) B

Hopes of turning Mars into an Earth-lite are unlikely due to the opposite CO2 problem. Mars is a freezing world devoid of a significant atmosphere, but by releasing trapped carbon dioxide it can be terraformed into a second home for plants and humans. At least that was the hope but, as the latest research in Nature Astronomy shows, there’s simply not enough of the greenhouse gas available to do the job. Carbon dioxide has a […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Space pic of the week: Hubble snaps Mars and Saturn's portraits

Hubble took advantage of close passes to capture incredible snaps of Saturn and Mars. As Saturn and Mars ventured close to Earth, the Hubble Space Telescope captured these exquisite photographs. Hubble captured Saturn when the ringed world was approximately 2.18 billion kilometres from Earth, and Mars when it was just 59.4 million kilometres from Earth – a mere stones throw in astronomical terms. The close passes from the planets occur when the planets are in […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Opening the gate to the brain to tackle Alzheimer's

A technique to open and close the blood-brain barrier raises hope for Alzheimer’s treatments. Scientists have used ultrasound like a key to open the protective shield that surrounds the brain in five Alzheimer’s patients. The blood-brain barrier prevents toxins, bacteria, particles and large molecules from passing from the bloodstream into the cerebrospinal fluid and brain. While a protective mechanism, it also can block drugs and other therapies from entering the brain, posing a challenge for […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Milky Way’s long-lost sibling found

The Milky Way had another sibling until it was eaten by the Andromeda galaxy. Astronomers have revised the Milky Way’s family history after discovering the remains of a gigantic galaxy hiding in plain sight. The lost galaxy would have been the third largest in the local group which includes the Milky Way and Andromeda. Wrapping around the Andromeda galaxy, the Milky Way’s larger sibling, is a vast collection of stars thought to be from a […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Global marine wilderness areas are shrinking

Just 13% of the world’s oceans are classified as untouched marine wilderness. Scientists have completed the first systemic analysis of marine wilderness around the world. They found that just 13.2% (53 million km2) of the world’s oceans are classed as marine wilderness. Previously land wilderness has been much easier to assess, however, it seems ironic that we knew little about the oceans which cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface. Marine wilderness here is […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Huge lake of water found under the surface of Mars

It might be the best chance we’ve had to discover life on another planet. For decades scientists have argued whether there is liquid water on Mars. But we may have just received a definitive answer with the discovery of a giant lake under the surface near the South Pole. Some scientists have described the finding, published in Science, as the most exciting result in planetary science in recent years. Using the Mars Express satellite to […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Gene further linked to Parkinson’s disease

Study suggests even the ‘normal’ version may be implicated.  A gene linked to Parkinson’s disease may be having a greater impact than first thought. A decade ago mutations in the gene LRRK2 were linked to about three per cent of Parkinson’s cases, but new US research has shown how normal LRRK2 may contribute to the development of the disease and has  identified the gene as an integral protein in the neurobiological pathways affected by the disease. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Tropics need care and attention

Scientists call for action to avoid irrevocable diversity loss. Tropical ecosystems are at risk as much from our lack of knowledge as a lack of interest, an international group of scientists has warned. And they caution that failure to act decisively – and now – will greatly increase the risk of unprecedented and irrevocable biodiversity loss. Writing in Nature, they note the recent “awakening of environmental consciousness” and decisive action in initiatives such as the […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Experts issue warning about pet genetic testing

Pet genetic testing is not offering useful insight to pet owners, due to lack of regulation. The love between a pet owner and their pet is limitless. Some owners are prepared to dig very deep into their wallets. Looking after your pets is an expensive industry especially with countless companies offering pet genetic testing. Global trends have shown that owners are spending more than ever; the worldwide annual spend on pet care is estimated to […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Reef bleaching changed marine communities

Study reveals impact at a regional scale. The mass bleaching across the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea in 2016 resulted in rapid, regional scale changes in marine communities. A new study by researchers from the University of Tasmania shows that fish community structures on southern reefs have become more similar to those in the north and invertebrate communities also changed considerably. Rick Stuart-Smith and colleagues investigated the ecological changes in corals, algae, fish and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Australia's Science Channel Editors from Australia's Science Channel
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Cat poo parasite may make you more entrepreneurial

Study suggests it reduces the fear of business failure. The words “business” and “parasite” don’t usually sit well together, but in a physical sense they might do. New research suggests people infected with a parasite found in cat poo are more likely to have an entrepreneurial spirit and less likely to fear failure when considering new ventures. It even shows that countries with low rates of Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), including Australia, have fewer people […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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The amazing dragon of Lingwu

Superfamily spread out across the supercontinent. When dinosaurs roamed the Earth, diplodocoids roamed more widely that previously thought, according to a new study. International researchers now believe members of the superfamily of sauropod dinosaurs were distributed right across the supercontinent Pangaea, the giant landmass that included all the present continents, challenging conventional views on the origin and dispersal of diplodocoids and other neosauropods. In a paper published in Nature Communications they report a new diplodocoid […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Get ready for the longest Lunar Eclipse of the century

It might come with apocalyptic predictions, but no, we aren’t all going to die. The majestic sight of the Full Moon turning “Blood Red” as the Earth passes directly between it and the Sun is a reminder that we live in a dynamic Universe with moving celestial bodies. On the 27th – 28th July it is a wonderful opportunity that huge swaths of Australia, India, Asia, Africa and the Middle East can enjoy. Especially as […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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The search for the signature of life on Europa might have just gotten easier

Differences in the radiation hitting Jupiter’s moon may mean we literally only need to scratch the surface. Whether it’s on an exoplanet, or within our own solar system, recent research is revealing more and more potential for life to exist off Earth. One of the key places to look is Jupiter’s moon Europa. Below its thick crust of ice is a liquid ocean where life could potentially thrive. And if life exists, it should leave […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Ebola may have helped bats resist infection

Study suggests they integrated into the Myotis genome 18 million years ago. You don’t read a lot of good things about Ebola, but it appears the Myotis or mouse-eared bat may have the deadly virus to thank for reducing its susceptibility to viral infection. Researchers from Georgia State University in the US believe that genes encoding viral proteins 35 (VP35s) produced by the Ebola and Marburg viruses integrated into the genomes of Myotis bats around […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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