Sixth child dies from congenital syphilis in northern Australia

From the BMJ.com, 20 March 2018: Australia has recorded its sixth infant death from congenital syphilis, in a seven year long epidemic that has disproportionately impacted remote Aboriginal communities. The outbreak began in January 2011 in northwest Queensland, and over the following two years spread across to the Northern Territory, then to Western Australia, and Continue reading Sixth child dies from congenital syphilis in northern Australia

Hormone discovery opens path for new pre-eclampsia treatment

From A*STAR Research Highlights, January 29, 2018 (not bylined): A hormone secreted by the placenta during pregnancy may play a key role in the development of pre-eclampsia; a major worldwide cause of maternal and fetal death. A*STAR researchers first discovered the hormone, called ELABELA, or ELA, in 2013 and showed, in zebrafish, that it was Continue reading Hormone discovery opens path for new pre-eclampsia treatment

Fetal immune system developed, but tolerant

From A*STAR Research Highlights, December 19, 2017 (not bylined): The fetal immune system is fully developed and functional from as early as 16 weeks gestation, but has a mechanism to keep it suppressed until after birth, according to an A*STAR-led study. Their findings could shed light on the immunological mechanisms underlying fetal-maternal health problems such Continue reading Fetal immune system developed, but tolerant

Talking science on Triple J with Linda Marigliano and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I got to join Dr Karl and astrophysicist Professor Tara Murphy in the Triple J studio with Linda Marigliano, and talk science with Triple J callers. We had questions coming in on everything from whether burning hydrocarbons in fossil fuels add water to the hydrosphere to why some people Continue reading Talking science on Triple J with Linda Marigliano and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Mammography screening’s benefits for breast cancer mortality questioned

From Oncology Practice, 5 December 2017: Twenty-four years’ worth of data from the Netherlands’ mammography screening program suggest that it has achieved only a marginal impact on breast cancer mortality, according to a paper published online Dec. 5 in the British Medical Journal. Researchers used data on the stage-specific incidence of breast cancer in the Continue reading Mammography screening’s benefits for breast cancer mortality questioned

Age discrimination: older Australian workers viewed as slow to learn

From The Guardian, 20 April 2017: The trope of the older worker thrust back into the hurly-burly of working life made for great comedy in the 2015 film The Intern. But in reality this scenario isn’t always such a laughing matter. Older workers face unique hardships. Hampered by unfair stereotypes about their abilities, their role Continue reading Age discrimination: older Australian workers viewed as slow to learn

The past, present and future of food

From BBC Future, 8 November 2016: You look amazing – are you banting?” In the 1860s there was only one diet, and it was the Banting. Conceived of by a corpulent English undertaker and coffin-maker called William Banting – who was clearly well positioned to observe the consequences of over-indulgence – it became the first Continue reading The past, present and future of food

Gene mutation drives compulsion to eat fatty foods

From ABC Science, 5 October 2016: Can’t resist a chicken korma but pass up on a sweet dessert? A study, published today in Nature Communications, looked at the effect on human dietary preferences of a mutation in the gene for the melanocortin-4-receptor (MC4R). The MC4R is found on nerves in the brain, and influences what we Continue reading Gene mutation drives compulsion to eat fatty foods

Your Facebook status can reveal hidden signals about you

From BBC Future, 25 October 2016: “What’s on your mind?” This is how Facebook greets its 1.7 billion active users every day. It’s also a question that countless psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors have asked their clients at the start of a session; a question we instinctively ask of a friend or family member looking troubled. Continue reading Your Facebook status can reveal hidden signals about you