Wheelchair Basketball, Earliest Arctic Settlements, the 'Other' BSA

In this NewsFlash, we look at improving wheelchair design for paralympic wheelchair basketball players, the link between movement and the perception of time, and uncovering the...
10 September 2012


In this NewsFlash, we look at improving wheelchair design for paralympic wheelchair basketball players, the link between movement and the perception of time, and uncovering the earliest Arctic settlements. Plus, we go to the 'other' BSA, the British Society of Audiology Conference in Nottingham, to hear all about what's new in auditory science.

In this episode

00:23 - The technology behind wheelchair basketball

Away from the stories of athletes training and stadium building there’s another side to London 2012 that is often overlooked. A significant amount of research and innovation goes on in the run up to the event.Researchers at Loughborough University have been talking to Jane Reck about one sport in particular that is benefiting – wheelchair basketball.

The technology behind wheelchair basketball
Prof. Mike Caine and Dr. Gavin Williams, Sports Technology Institute at Loughborough University


06:43 - Stretching Time and Sensing Food

Slowing down time to make your move, rediced rainfall from deforestation, Visualising the potency of drug candidates and Sensing Sex for food...

Stretching Time and Sensing Food
Nobuhiro Hagura, UCL; Stewart Cole, Ecole Polytechnique de Federale; Dominick Spracklen, University of Leeds; Emmanuelle Jaquin-Joly, INRA

Take your Time

Justine Henin at the 2006 Medibank Tennis InternationalThe idea that time slows down for athletes as they prepare for actions during a sport, such as hitting a ball, may hold some truth.

By testing the reactions of volunteers to lights flashing on a screen, Nobuhiro Hagura form University College London found that when tests involved a physical movement to tap the screen, individuals felt they had more time to react than when no movement was needed at all.

The results published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggest this slowing down of time could be due to more visual information coming in through the eyes as someone prepares  to move.


Regional Rain

Deforestation could cause a reduction in rainfall by up to 21% in regions surrounding  the Amazon basin, according to work published in Nature.

When forests are cleared to provide land for crops or pastures, the water returned into the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration is decreased, leading to lower humidity and rainfall in surroundings areas as air passes over the region.

Using satellite data of tropical rainfall and atmospheric models, Dominick Spracklen from the University of Leeds found that air passing over a rainforest region produces at least twice as much rainfall in the following days than air passing over more scarce vegetation. Continued deforestation in these areas could have large effect on local economies.


Dimensional Drugs

3D imaging has identified the potency  and mechanisms of a new drug to fightMycobacterium Tuberculosis Tuberculosis.

Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, Stewart Cole and colleagues from the Ecole Polytechnique de Federale in Lausanne used X-ray crystallography to create a 3D model of the benzothiazinone drug BTZ043 and its interaction with an enzyme crucial to the production of the cell wall in Mycobacterium tuberculosis - the bacterium behind the disease.

The team identified the presence of a 'weakspot' in the enzyme which the drug targets to inhibit enzyme activity and kill the bacterium, revealing the potency of this potential drug candidate.

Sniffing out Food

Sex pheromones release by adult moths to attract a mate, also attract a hungry caterpillar, as revealed by researchers at  INRA in Versailles.

Working with larvae of cotton leafworms and feeding them with plain food or food mixed with pheromones , Emmanuelle Jacquin-Joly found that the caterpillars were attracted to meals laced with female pheromone regardless of their own gender and their sexual immaturity.

The use of pheromones to find food could be a way to ensure suitable plants as food sources for the growing insect and offers potential for the pheromones to be used in pest control.

And that work was published in the journal Nature Communications.

The Arctic Ocean

11:51 - The earliest Arctic settlements

An abandoned Arctic settlement, called Nunalek, has been uncovered in West Alaska...

The earliest Arctic settlements
Kate Britton, University of Aberdeen

Kate Britton at the University of Aberdeen, has been investigating an abandoned Arctic settlement in West Alaska called Nunalek, which was active from 1350 to 1650 AD.

Britton and her colleagues found thousands of man-made artefacts from this abandoned settlement that were preserved in the permafrost.

Now because of climate change the permafrost is melting, releasing the settlement for archaeologists to study.

15:25 - The 'Other' BSA

While some of The Naked Scientists were in Aberdeen for the British Science Association’s Science Festival, another Naked Scientist, Alan Boyd was at the other BSA conference – the British Society for Audiology Conference in Nottingham, to find out what’s new in hearing research.

The 'Other' BSA
Prof. Kevin Munro, University of Manchester, Dr. Owen Brimijoin, MRC Institute of Hearing Research (Scottish Section), Andrew Neil, Med EL UK, Anne Wheatley, ISVR University of Southampton, Rob McKinnon, NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit



Add a comment