Latest Science and Society News

Interaction of the monoamine oxidase A genotype with childhood adversity is predictive of crime rates in a group of incarcerated men. This is the main finding of a new study from researchers in Sam Houston State University published in the journal Psychiatric Genetics.

 

While touch always involves awareness, it also sometimes involves emotion. For example, picking up a spoon triggers no real emotion, while feeling a gentle caress often does. Now, scientists in the Cell Press journal Neuron describe a system of slowly conducting nerves in the skin that respond to such gentle touch. Using a range of scientific techniques, investigators are beginning to characterize these nerves and to describe the fundamental role they play in our lives as a social species—from a nurturing touch to an infant to a reassuring pat on the back. Their work also suggests that this soft touch wiring may go awry in disorders such as autism.

 

A new international study led by Imperial College London has estimated how achieving globally-agreed targets for six important health risks between 2010 and 2025 will reduce deaths caused by the big-four chronic diseases: cancers, diabetes, lung disease and cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke).

 

The majority opinion of advisory groups to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that remaining stocks of live variola, the virus that causes smallpox, should be discontinued. The issue is on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), which is the governing body of WHO.

 

Produced by the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), part of the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment & Health based at Imperial College London, the open-access atlas allows researchers, policy makers and members of the public to study the geographical pattern of 14 diseases and conditions such as lung cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, leukaemia and low birth weight. Alongside this it provides maps of geographical variations of selected environmental agents such as air pollution, sunshine and pesticides.

 

Dust off those Bic ballpoints and college-ruled notebooks — research shows that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop for remembering conceptual information over the long term. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.