Science Media Centre

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Expert Reactions:

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

Police issue warning about synthetic cannabis – Expert Reaction

The Chief Coroner and NZ Police have issued a warning following at least seven recent deaths in Auckland that they say appears to be linked to the use of synthetic cannabis. The SMC asked experts to comment on the police announcement. Feel free to use these comments in your reporting. Dr Paul Quigley, emergency medicine specialist, Wellington […]

July 21st, 2017 Read full Story

Antidepressants during pregnancy and autism – Expert Reaction

A new study in the BMJ found a small increase in the rate of autism in children whose mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy The UK SMC prepared a ‘before the headlines’ analysis of the paper, along with expert reaction. The analysis, and the researchers themselves, highlighted the small increase in absolute risk: 95% of the women […]

July 21st, 2017 Read full Story

Larsen C iceberg breaks away – Expert Reaction

After weeks of teasing, a trillion-tonne iceberg has calved off the Larsen C ice shelf into the sea. A UK scientist who has been monitoring the ice shelf cautioned that it was too early to blame the calving of the ice shelf to human-generated climate change, and the event “may simply be a rare but natural occurrence”. […]

July 13th, 2017 Read full Story

Major slip blocks highway into Wellington – Expert reaction

Commuters heading north out of the capital face major delays getting home as a result of this afternoon’s landslip, which is still blocking a number of lanes in both directions. Geotechnical engineers have been surveying the area as the effort to clear the rock and debris continues. The slip in the Ngauranga Gorge follows a […]

July 11th, 2017 Read full Story

Supreme Court rejects Ruataniwha appeal – Expert Reaction

The Supreme Court has denied an appeal to allow a land swap for the proposed Ruataniwha Dam project in the Hawke’s Bay. The court’s decision was released today, following a Court of Appeal ruling last year that found the process of acquiring the land was unlawful. The SMC asked environmental policy experts to comment on the decision. Feel […]

July 6th, 2017 Read full Story

Sugar consumption and childhood allergies — Expert Reaction

Higher levels of sugar consumption during pregnancy might lead to an increased risk of allergic asthma and allergies in the child, new research from the UK suggests.   Published in the European Respiratory Journal, the researchers used data from a population-based birth cohort in the UK, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, and looked at […]

July 6th, 2017 Read full Story

Nanoparticles in baby formula – Expert Reaction

Experts say an environmental lobby group is misconstruing scientific evidence about the presence of nanoparticles in baby formula. The Sydney Morning Herald reported over the weekend on tests commissioned by Friends of the Earth that found the presence of nanoparticles in several Australian infant formula products. The advocacy group claimed the particles were potentially toxic. […]

July 3rd, 2017 Read full Story

Field tests show insecticide impact on bees – Expert Reaction

Two large-scale field experiments have shown mixed effects of certain insecticides on honey bees and wild bees. Neonicotinoids are insecticides broadly applied to many major crops but have been implicated in the decline of bees globally. Two studies, published today in Science, found mixed results. Insecticide residue in bees nests was associated with lower reproductive […]

June 30th, 2017 Read full Story

Another ozone-depleting substance on the rise – Expert Reaction

Now that CFCs and HFCs have been phased out, some smaller ozone-depleting substances are on the red list, with dichloromethane (DCM) identified as an increasing threat by British researchers. DCM is a common industrial solvent that was not regulated under the Montreal Protocol because it has a shorter life-span than other substances, but it still […]

June 28th, 2017 Read full Story

European Court of Justice ruling on vaccines – Expert Reaction

The European Court of Justice has ruled that national courts can decide that vaccines can cause adverse reactions, even in the absence of scientific evidence. The ruling follows a case of a French patient who was vaccinated against hepatitis B in 1998 and developed multiple sclerosis a year later. Prior to his death in 2011, […]

June 22nd, 2017 Read full Story


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