Latest Science


Researchers flag possible blood test for Alzheimer’s disease

Breakthrough diagnostics could be a game-changer in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. An Australian-Japanese research team has used the protein, amyloid-β, which is already associated with Alzheimer’s disease, as a marker to develop a test that predicts people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease with an accuracy greater than 90 per cent. Amyloid-ß is a protein that is currently the best marker we have that correlates with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. These proteins build up and form […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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The 10 biggest challenges facing robotics

The robot revolution is coming, here’s what needs to be tackled first. Robotics will be one of the biggest changes to the way that we live and operate in the future, and it’s rapidly approaching. With the power to completely revolutionise science, medicine, manufacturing, exploration and our day to day lives, the next decade will be an incredibly exciting time to live through. However, there are a number of challenges we will need to overcome […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

Astro image of the week: glory out of the gloom

Take a look at the birth of new stars This dense cloud is a star-forming region called Lupus 3, where dazzlingly hot stars are born from collapsing masses of gas and dust. This image was created from images taken using the VLT Survey Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope and is the most detailed image taken so far of this region. The Lupus 3 star forming region lies within the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), only 600 […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Baby fish fail to learn around noisy boats

Noise from motor boats can confuse fish and increase their risk of being eaten. An experiment to test whether boat noise has long-term effects on the way fish learn, suggests it could be a major – and life-threatening – distraction. Researchers trained baby damsel fish to recognise the smell of a predator fish, while they played normal reef sounds to half the fish, the other half were played reef and boat noise. The next day […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Chinese scientists to test a laser so powerful it could rip apart empty space

Empty space might appear empty, but strike it with enough energy and you can ‘break’ the vacuum and create particles from nothing. The most powerful laser in the world, the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF), is planned to burst into life later this year when it attempts to reach a power level equivalent to 1,000 times the entire world’s electricity grid combined. But reaching such extraordinary power levels will not consume the world’s electricity […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel

Orca taught to mimic human speech – and to blow a great raspberry

Listen as killer whale Wikie learns how to say, ‘hello’, ‘bye bye’, and something rude. Wikie is a 14-year old Orca, or killer whale, held in captivity in a French aquarium, and she has learned to blow a great raspberry. Listen to this without giggling, I dare you. Even more remarkably, Wikie was able to copy human sounds that she had never heard before or received any training on, surprisingly quickly, after hearing it only […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Misuse of over-the-counter painkillers 'costing Australia millions'

A University of South Australia study looking at the health impacts of over-the-counter painkillers has revealed the high costs of the nation’s growing dependency on codeine. The results of the study appear to justify a Federal Government decision to ban over-the-counter (OTC) access to combination painkillers containing codeine (CACC) from Australian pharmacies from 1 February 2018. After that date, these products will only be available on prescription. In a five-year review of hospital admissions relating […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Candy Gibson from University of South Australia
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Friends don't just have common interests, their brains work the same way, too

Similarities in neural responses could be used to predict who your friends are. Have you ever wondered about who your real friends are? Researchers took a group of students to create a social network using an online survey. With this, they observed the brain’s neural responses to video clips from some of the subjects to determine the relationship between social network proximity to neural similarity. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan subjects’ brains from 42 people, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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IVF chances improve with a Mediterranean diet

Healthy eating could be one of the determining factors in a successful IVF procedure for younger women. A Greek study suggests that women under 35 who follow a “Mediterranean” diet in the six months before assisted reproductive treatment have a significantly greater likelihood of achieving pregnancy and a live birth. The same does not apply to women aged over 35 , but the researchers believe that is because fewer available eggs and the hormonal and […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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How artificial sweeteners are helping to monitor wastewater pollution

Environmentalists are using sugar substitutes as markers of groundwater contamination. There’s an unexpected use for artificial sweeteners that has nothing to do with watching your weight. They proved to be the best possible marker for Canadian researchers wanting to monitor where waste from toilets and sinks ends up. Why? Because they are common to wastewater, and also pretty well unique – there are very few other possible sources in the environment. They are also found […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Why do we trust (or mistrust) strangers at first sight?

We are conditioned to a Pavlovian response by people’s looks. Nick Carne explains. If you’re having trouble making new friends, it may not be your fault. Chances are your doppelgänger has a chequered past. Psychology research from New York University suggests that our trust in strangers is dependent on their resemblance to others we’ve previously known. Strangers resembling past individuals known to be trustworthy are trusted more; by contrast, those similar to others known to […] See more

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

Painting buildings white could help avoid extreme heat

Simple actions could lower extreme temperatures by 2-3 °C according to new research. One of the ways to cool the planet is to increase the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface, it’s albedo – the amount of light reflected from a surface. By reflecting more solar radiation, the amount of heat absorbed by a building (or road, or pavement) can be reduced by as much as 95%. This reduces air-conditioning costs, and can reduce the urban […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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A huge dinosaur discovery fills gaps in Africa’s history

Fossil tells a previously unknown story about the evolution of Earth itself. For hundreds of years we’ve been studying dinosaur fossils, but Africa around 100-66 million years ago is still a bit of a blank page. A new dinosaur discovery has started filling in those details, and also revealed far more about the Earth at that time than we expected. In the Sahara Desert, palaeontologists from Mansoura University in Egypt have discovered the fossils of […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Birds and mammals beat lizards and amphibians to survive climate change

Some species can adapt faster to changing environmental conditions. Researchers have examined the distribution of 11,465 species over the last 270 million years to understand how animals adapt to changing climatic conditions. Endotherms are animals that use metabolic energy to keep themselves warm, like mammals and birds.  They are able to thrive in a wider range of climatic conditions than ectotherms like lizards or amphibians.  Because the environmental temperature influences the activity of cold-blooded animals, […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Bad news for writers, your words can't compete with one good picture

It appears not only that a picture is worth a thousand of a writer’s words, but also that the picture’s impact can be almost instantaneous. New research suggests that nearly invisible images shown for as little as 10 milliseconds can stimulate human responses but that words – even emotive words – have nowhere near the same effect. In previous work, Psychologist Professor Piotr Winkielman and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego, had reported […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Great Barrier Reef mapped in high resolution for the first time

This is the Great Barrier Reef like you’ve never seen before. All 1.5 million square kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef have been mapped. This four-year project is a collaboration between Geoscience Australia, James Cook University, and the Australian Hydrographic Service. This project collated millions of dollars’ worth of existing datasets from government sources including the Australian Hydrographic Service, along with new seafloor mapping data. It combined the use of airborne LiDAR technology, a remote […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Brain gains – How exercise improves your brain

Neuroscientist and CrossFit-enthusiast Dr Amy Reichelt reveals how exercise can help your brain. Exercise has a wide range of benefits for the body. It improves cardiovascular fitness, lowers blood pressure and reduces the chance of developing heart disease and stroke. But more than just improving your fitness, aerobic exercise has a range of benefits for your brain too. A recent study from researchers at UNSW Sydney showed that short burst of exercise after study could […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Amy Reichelt from Australia's Science Channel
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Parents who supply alcohol to teens are doing more harm than good

The relationship between parents and teenagers is a tricky one. It gets even more complicated with some parents believing that supplying alcohol to their teenagers will protect them from alcohol-related risks. New research shows that this is not the case. An Australian-led study of almost 2,000 teenagers between 12- and 18-years-old and their parents found there was no benefit or protective effects associated with giving teenagers alcohol compared to teens who were not given alcohol. […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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Health risks of Caesarean vs vaginal birth examined

Scottish scientists have compiled data from 80 studies looking at the risks of caesarean births and vaginal births in order to compare the risks. Encompassing nearly 30 million pregnancies, the study found that there were benefits and risks in both birth types. We’ve compiled the main findings into this handy infographic. The research was published in PLOS Medicine Related Pregnancy and paracetamol – researchers flag developmental concerns Detecting placental insufficiency in pregnant women The business […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Has human performance peaked?

Humans may have reached their maximum limits for height, lifespan and physical performance. A recent review suggests humans have biological limitations, and that anthropogenic impacts on the environment — including climate change — could have a deleterious effect on these limits. Published in Frontiers in Physiology, this review is the first of its kind spanning 120 years worth of historical information, while considering the effects of both genetic and environmental parameters. A transdisciplinary research team from across France studied trends emerging […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Freya Wilson from Australia's Science Channel
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Earliest modern human remains found out of Africa

Our ancestors may have left Africa 50,000 years earlier than previous thought. Researchers have discovered the earliest modern human fossil ever found outside of Africa, in Mislaya cave on Mount Carmel in Israel. “Misliya is an exciting discovery,” says Rolf Quam, Binghamton University anthropology professor and a coauthor of a study into the find. “It provides the clearest evidence yet that our ancestors first migrated out of Africa much earlier than we previously believed. Related: Did […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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A roadside test for marijuana intoxication? It’s not as easy as it sounds

Questions are being asked about how we test drivers for the effects of weed – and there are no easy answers. As more and more places legalise marijuana, there are worries about the effect it could have on road safety. Just like getting blotto on alcohol affects your ability to drive, researchers are concerned about the effect of being high behind the wheel. However, no roadside test for marijuana intoxication actually exists. And that is […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Music really is the universal language

People can quickly make accurate inferences about what a singer is singing, even if they don’t understand the words. If you enjoy world music, it may not just be the music that is ticking the boxes for you. Songs with a similar function – be it soothing you to sleep, expressing undying love or motivating you to dance – tend also to sound similar, irrespective of which country and culture they come from. “Despite the […] See more

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

Forgotten antibiotic could return to fight superbugs

A drug discovered 40 years ago, but never used, is being re-evaluated as pipeline for new antibiotics dries up. “Octapeptins were discovered in the late 1970s but were not selected for development at the time, as there was an abundance of new antibiotics with thousands of people working in antibiotic research and development,” says Professor Matt Cooper, Director of IMB’s Centre for Superbug Solutions. University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) researchers have synthesised the antibiotic, and demonstrated that […] See more

Published 2 years ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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That mosquito is targeting you on purpose, here's how to get payback

One of the reasons mosquitoes are so annoying could be that they are actually quite smart. The up side is that it may help us work out how to keep them away. The humble mossie can learn to associate a particular odour with an unpleasant mechanical shock akin to being swatted and will avoid that scent the next time. And it is quite a strong response. “Once mosquitoes learned odours in an aversive manner, those […] See more

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