Very exciting news from researchers at Kings college London – Richard Smith announced the development of a technique that extends the lifespan of a transplanted organ by combating the immune attack that donor organs receive immediately after transplantation. Their trick is to “tether” immune system modulating chemicals to the surfaces of the kidney, which then stop the attack in its tracks. They’ve done a pilot study that has shown it was safe in 16 patients.
(c) The British Science Association" alt="The British Science Association" />Another announcement from Kings College researchers, this time Dr Manuel Mayr, was of a cheap way to test people for diabetes risk. By looking for micro-RNA markers in the blood, this £2 test is able to identify around half of people with type 2 diabetes before symptoms develop – widening the possible treatment window. As diabetes accounts for about 15% of heart attacks in western Europe, this is an important discovery.
Thelma Lovick, a researcher at the University of Birmingham, announced that small doses of Prozac could block the bodily changes that result in symptoms of pre-menstrual stress, which affects up to 75% of women, in many cases enough to impair daily activities.
We heard that gaining a lover might cost you two friends, the Vatican astronomer dropped by and let slip that he’s a science fiction fan and that the Catholic Church will welcome aliens, should we ever find any. There was also an announcement that may seem very common sense – one in 10 people are injured whilst walking and texting!
This amounts to a drop in the ocean of science news published during the science festival. For more, visit the science festival's news pages.