Health & Medicine

Preventing nickel allergy using various topcoats for decorative items

Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is a form of skin reaction that can be aggravated by nickel causing the skin to become red and itchy. Clive Whittington (Managing Director of C.M. Whittington & Associates Ltd) and Dr W. Y. Lo (Secretary General, Hong Kong Surface Finishing Society) have tested a range of coatings over nickel-based decorative articles such as costume jewellery and watches, to […]

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Health & Medicine

Robotics: the future of liver surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery, sometimes known as keyhole surgery, has proven benefits over traditional open surgery. One type of minimally invasive surgery involves the use of high-tech robotics. Dr Alejandro Mejia of the Methodist Digestive Institute, Dallas, TX, USA, is a leading expert in minimally invasive liver surgery. Along with his team, Dr Mejia uses his first-hand knowledge to investigate different […]

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Health & Medicine

Anagrelide: Finding new use as an adjuvant therapy in cancer management

Dr Richard Franklin, Anagrelide Project Director at SUDA Pharmaceuticals Ltd, is pioneering a radically new application which would see the platelet-lowering drug anagrelide developed as an oromucosal spray formulation. This has the potential to make the most of its recently discovered ability to block cancer cell-stimulated platelet formation and to inhibit cancer cell migration towards platelet precursors (megakaryocytes) while at […]

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Physical Sciences

Flame merging: Investigating the spread of wildland fires

Wildland fires spread when flames merge together: individual leaves ignite, the flames merge, and the fire spreads. Similarly, when adjacent bushes catch fire, the flames merge together forming a larger, more intense fire capable of spreading faster. Professor Thomas H. Fletcher of Brigham Young University has carried out laboratory experiments and computational simulations of flames merging together in order to […]

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Physical Sciences

Harnessing photosynthetic organisms for a bio-fuelled future

Algae and cyanobacteria have evolved to produce a variety of complex chemicals from the simple inputs of light and carbon dioxide. We can engineer these organisms to produce carbon neutral biofuels and other valuable byproducts, but large scale growth and production is still a major challenge. Dr Nanette Boyle, Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the Colorado School of […]

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Behavioural Sciences

In the wake of catastrophe Japanese media after the Fukushima nuclear disaster

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 saw a clamour among the Japanese media calling for the phase-out of nuclear power plants. In his research, Professor Katsuyuki Hidaka at Ritsumeikan University looks at the discussions around denuclearisation since the catastrophe, and how they reveal tensions within Japan’s social narrative. On 11 March 2011, an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale […]

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Health & Medicine

A valid and reliable clinical outcome measure for patellofemoral instability

Patellofemoral instability can be an extremely debilitating and painful condition. Recognising that the previous outcome measures used to assess patients after treatment were not ideal for patellofemoral instability, Dr Laurie Hiemstra, based at Banff Sport Medicine in Alberta, Canada, designed a new assessment questionnaire specifically for these patients. After testing and researching an initial version, the research team completed further […]

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Physical Sciences

pKa prediction from ab initio calculations

Most drugs, along with many other metabolically active compounds, behave in water solution as weak acids or bases. Their function and therapeutic activity are linked to their ability to exchange hydrogen ions with other molecules in physiological conditions. Professor Paul Popelier and Dr Beth Caine at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology have developed a powerful and accurate method to predict the acid/base […]

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Physical Sciences

Probing surface morphology with virtual plasmonic dimers

Nanoparticles exhibit electronic and optical properties that may significantly differ from those of bulk materials or small molecules. By exploiting the optical generation of plasmon dimers of nanoparticles in the vicinity of semiconducting surfaces, Dr Ingo Barke from the University of Rostock, Germany and his collaborators are proposing a new class of ultrasensitive sensors to probe the morphology of surfaces […]

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