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Science Alert: Experts Respond:

A round-up of comment from experts on breaking stories and ongoing issues in science and technology.

Science Alert: Experts Respond

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Science Alert: Experts Respond

Gold and white (or is it blue and black?) dress conundrum

Posted in Science Alert: Experts Respond on February 28th, 2015.

AusSMC: The social media world has erupted into debate today over a visual conundrum – why is it that a dress that looks gold and white to some people looks blue and black to others? See the dress here. Below a vision scientist offers a scientific explanation. Associate Professor Andrew Metha is in the Department […]

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Water fluoridation and underactive thyroid – experts respond

Experts are challenging claims that water fluoridation is linked to higher than expected rates of hypothyroidism. A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health suggests water fluoridation — at rates used in New Zealand — is linked to 30 per cent higher than expected rates of underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) in England. […]

February 24th, 2015 Read full Story

Fruit fly incursion – experts respond

Containment at early stages is critical, say experts commenting on the detection of Queensland fruit flies in Auckland. The flies, which pose a threat to export fruit and vegetable markets, were first detected in a surveillance trap last week. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has put in place a restriction zone, limiting the movement […]

February 24th, 2015 Read full Story

Kiwi diet pill claims – experts respond

The company behind a new New Zealand weight loss product claim their latest clinical trial shows the pill works — but experts say more rigorous studies are needed to show it is actually effective. Satisfax, a blend of grape and kiwifruit extracts, was developed by Tuatara Natural Products as a weight loss aid which slows […]

February 20th, 2015 Read full Story

Ozone progress threatened – Experts respond

Scientists report that chemicals that are not controlled by a United Nations treaty designed to protect the Ozone Layer are contributing to ozone depletion. In the new study, published in Nature Geoscience, UK scientists also report that the atmospheric abundance of one of these ‘very short-lived substances’ (VSLSs), dichloromethane,  is growing rapidly. VSLSs, which includes gases […]

February 19th, 2015 Read full Story

Berries contaminated with hepatitis A – experts respond

An outbreak of hepatitis A in Australia has been linked to imported frozen berries from China. ABC News reports that up to nine people in  have become sick with the disease prompting a recall of products including mixed berries frozen pack from Nanna’s and Creative Gourmet brands. Our colleagues at the Australian SMC collected the […]

February 17th, 2015 Read full Story

Dietary fat recommendations – experts respond

A research review published in the journal Open Heart claims that decades-old recommendations on dietary fat intake in the UK and US are completely unfounded. The authors of the study say that the trials that the recommendations were based on did not include any women, and that no trials tested any dietary guidelines or recommended that any dietary guidelines be drawn up. “It […]

February 12th, 2015 Read full Story

HIV court case controversy – Experts respond

A court case is currently underway in which a District Health Board is seeking guardianship of an HIV-positive boy being refused treatment by his father, as reported in the New Zealand Herald over the weekend. The case has opened discussions about the rights of parents whose children are HIV-positive, the rights of children to know […]

February 11th, 2015 Read full Story

UK mitochondrial donation vote – experts respond

The UK House of Commons has voted in favour of a law allowing the creation of embryos where DNA from a fertilised or unfertilised egg is transplanted to a donor egg to avoid certain inherited diseases. In a free vote, 382 MPs were in favour and 128 against the process that allows women carrying defective […]

February 4th, 2015 Read full Story

Size matters in language evolution – experts respond

When it comes to new words, size matters. An Australian-based study of 20 Polynesian languages, including New Zealand Maori, suggests that widely-spoken languages gain new words more frequently while those with just a few speakers tend to lose words faster. How the size of a population affects the evolution of language is unclear. Do languages […]

February 3rd, 2015 Read full Story


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