Nobel Prize winner Tim Hunt, who said that scientists should work in gender-segregated labs, has resigned from his position as honorary professor at University College London (UCL).
Sir Tim Hunt made comments about the “trouble with girls” in science because they cause men to fall in love with them.
UCL said Tim Hunt – a Royal Society fellow – had resigned from his position within its faculty of life sciences.
Tim Hunt, 72, also said at a conference in South Korea that women in labs “cry” when criticized and “fall in love” with male counterparts.
A statement from the university read: “UCL can confirm that Sir Tim Hunt FRS has resigned from his position as honorary professor with the UCL faculty of life sciences following comments he made about women in science at the World Conference of Science Journalists on June 9.
“UCL was the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men, and the university believes that this outcome is compatible with our commitment to gender equality.”
Tim Hunt – who was awarded the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 2001 for his work on how cells divide – reportedly told the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls.
“Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.”
The British biochemist, who was knighted in 2006, said the remarks were “intended as a light-hearted, ironic comment” but had been “interpreted deadly seriously by my audience”.
Tim Hunt also admitted that he had a reputation for being a “chauvinist”.
According to British scientists, the prospect of reversing blindness has made a significant leap.
An animal study in the journal Nature Biotechnology showed the part of the eye which actually detects light can be repaired using stem cells.
The team at Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London say human trials are now, for the first time, a realistic prospect.
Experts described it as a “significant breakthrough” and “huge leap” forward.
Photoreceptors are the cells in the retina which react to light and convert it into an electrical signal which can be sent to the brain.
However, these cells can die off in some causes of blindness such as Stargardt’s disease and age-related macular degeneration.
There are already trials in people to use stem cells to replace the “support” cells in the eye which keep the photoreceptors alive.
Now the London-based team has shown it is possible to replace the light-sensing cells themselves, raising the prospect of reversing blindness.
An animal study in the journal Nature Biotechnology showed the part of the eye which actually detects light can be repaired using stem cells
They have used a new technique for building retinas in the laboratory. It was used to collect thousands of stem cells, which were primed to transform into photoreceptors, and injected them into the eyes of blind mice.
The study showed that these cells could hook up with the existing architecture of the eye and begin to function.
However, the effectiveness is still low. Only about 1,000 cells out of a transplant of 200,000 actually hooked up with the rest of the eye.
Lead researcher Prof. Robin Ali said: “This is a real proof of concept that photoreceptors can be transplanted from an embryonic stem cells source and it give us a route map to now do this in humans.
“That’s why we’re so excited, five years is a now a realistic aim for starting a clinical trial.”
The eye is one of the most advanced fields for stem cell research.
It is relatively simple as the light sensing cells only have to pass their electrical message on to one more cell in order to get their message to the brain, unlike an attempt to reverse dementia which would require cells to hook up with far more cells all across the brain.
The immune system is also very weak in the eye so there is a low chance of the transplant being rejected. A few cells can also make a big difference in the eye. Tens of thousands of stem cells in the eye could improve vision, but that number of stem cells would not regenerate a much larger organ such as a failing liver.
A new research has found that getting enough exercise in midlife will help protect your heart.
Even those who make the switch in their late 40s and 50s can still benefit, the study of over 4,000 people suggests.
And it need not be hard toil in a gym – gardening and brisk walks count towards the required 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week, say experts.
But more work is needed since the study looked at markers linked to heart problems and not heart disease itself.
A new research has found that getting enough exercise in midlife will help protect your heart
And it relied on people accurately reporting how much exercise they did – something people tend to overestimate rather than underestimate.
In the study, which is published in the journal Circulation, people who did the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise a week had the lower levels of inflammatory markers in their blood.
Inflammatory markers are important, say experts, because high levels have been linked to increased heart risk.
People who said they consistently stuck to the recommended amount of exercise for the entire 10-year study had the lowest inflammatory levels overall.
But even those who said they only started doing the recommended amount of exercise when they were well into their 40s saw an improvement and had lower levels of inflammation than people who said they never did enough exercise.
The findings were unchanged when the researchers took into consideration other factors, such as obesity and smoking, that could have influenced the results.
Dr. Mark Hamer, of University College London, who led the research, said: “We should be encouraging more people to get active – for example, walking instead of taking the bus. You can gain health benefits from moderate activity at any time in your life.”
Maureen Talbot of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the work, said: “Donning your gardening gloves or picking up a paint brush can still go a long way to help look after your heart health, as exercise can have a big impact on how well your heart ages.
“This research highlights the positive impact changing your exercise habits can have on the future of your heart health – and that it’s never too late to re-energize your life.
“However it’s important not to wait until you retire to get off the couch, as being active for life is a great way to keep your heart healthy.”
Tuatara, a reptile living in New Zealand, has a unique way of chewing its food, say scientists who have studied its jaws in detail.
This beak-headed reptile uses a “steak-knife sawing motion” as it chews.
This could help explain how the species has continued to adapt to a changing world – and changes in available prey – over more than 200 million years.
A computer model of the tuatara, recreating its jaws as it munched on prey, has revealed that it chews like no other land animal.
This seems to allow it to “slice up” food that is too big for its mouth.
Tuatara, a reptile living in New Zealand, has a unique way of chewing its food, say scientists who have studied its jaws in detail
In their paper in the journal The Anatomical Record, the researchers describe how the teeth of the tuatara’s lower jaw close between two upper rows of teeth “before sliding forward to slice food apart like a draw-cut saw”.
Lead researcher Marc Jones from University College London said this was very unlike any living lizard or snake, which used “more of a simple opening and closing” motion.
The UK-based researchers were able to observe and film chewing tuataras at Chester Zoo.
Dr. Marc Jones and his colleagues from the universities of Hull and York then used this footage to accurately digitise and simulate the creature’s characteristic chomp.
He said that the “slicing jaws” of the tuatara allowed it to eat a wide range of prey including beetles, spiders, crickets and small lizards.
But he added that this study helped to explain some rather gruesome discoveries in the reptile’s habitat.
“People have described finding seabirds with their heads sawn off,” said Dr. Marc Jones.
“Tuatara will tend to go for hatchlings if they can, but as far as I can make out [they] do sometimes take small adults.
“[We think] they change their diet seasonally – eating lots more seabirds during the summer.”
Although the tuatara looks very much like a lizard, it actually belongs to a group of animals commonly known as beak heads, or Rhynchocephalia in the formal terminology.
The reptile, found wild only in New Zealand, is the last surviving species of its group. Its relatives died out more than 200 million years ago.
At that time, the creatures were spread throughout the globe; scientists have found some the fossilised remains of the tuatara’s extinct relatives in the UK.
It is not entirely clear how and why the rest of these ancient reptiles became extinct, but the tuatara’s ability to saw up its food could be a secret to its continued survival.
The brain’ skills can start to decline as early as 45, much earlier than previously thought, suggests a study published in the British Medical Journal.
A major study shows the brain’s capacity for memory, reasoning and comprehension starts waning in middle age rather than in the 60s.
Researchers say the finding is important because younger people should be encouraged to boost their brain power with healthier living, while some may benefit from medicines to stave off further decline.
Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and University College London in the UK studied more than 7,000 people over a 10-year period.
The study participants were civil servants aged between 45 and 70 working in London when cognitive testing began in 1997 to 1999.
Cognitive function was measured three times over 10 years to assess memory, vocabulary, hearing and visual comprehension skills.
Tasks included recalling in writing as many words beginning with the letter S as possible and as many animal names as could be thought of.
All cognitive scores, except vocabulary, declined among all age groups during the study, and there was evidence of faster decline among older people.
The brain' skills can start to decline as early as 45, much earlier than previously thought, suggests a study published in the British Medical Journal
The study found that, in men group, there was a 3.6% drop in reasoning after 10 years among those who were aged 45 to 49 at the start of the study and 9.6% among those aged 65 to 70. In women group, the decline was 3.6% and 7.4% in the same age groups.
Dr. Archana Singh-Manoux, who led the study, said there had been debate over when mental skills started failing, with some researchers concluding there was little evidence of problems before 60.
But this was disproved by the study findings, she added.
Dr. Archana Singh-Manoux said: “Cognitive decline is already evident in middle age, between 45-49 years.
“The results for all tests, except vocabulary, showed significant declines in all age categories in both men and women.”
The study says diseases such as dementia are believed to take at least 20 to 30 years to develop but promoting healthy lifestyles and good heart health could help.
“There is emerging consensus that ‘what is good for our hearts is also good for our heads, making aggressive control of behavioural and cardiovascular risk factors as early as possible key targets for clinical practice and public health” it said.
Medicines and other medical interventions are more likely to work at an earlier age, so could be used in people whose cognitive decline is faster than the average, it said.
Previous research suggests around half of people with diagnosed mild cognitive impairment (MCI) develop Alzheimer’s.
In cases of MCI, a person has cognitive or memory problems which are more marked than typical age-related memory loss, but not yet as severe as those found in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Anne Corbett, research manager of the Alzheimer’s Society in UK, said: “This large, important study adds vital information to the debate over when cognitive decline begins.
“However, the study does not tell us whether any of these people went on to develop dementia, nor how feasible it would be for GPs to detect these early changes.
“More research is now needed to help us fully understand how measurable changes in the brain can help us improve diagnosis of dementia.
“An early diagnosis is essential as it can provide access to support and potential treatments which can vastly improve people’s quality of life.”
Vitabiotics Pregnacare-Conception, a 60 cents multi-vitamin pill could more than double a woman’s chance of having a baby, according to a study carried out at University College London.
The study found that 60% of those taking the supplements while undergoing IVF became pregnant compared to just a quarter who did not take them.
Researchers say the pills contain nutrients that may boost fertility such as vitamins A, C and E, zinc and selenium, that are often absent from our diets.
The study involved 56 women aged 18 to 40, who had all tried unsuccessfully to fall pregnant using IVF for at least a year.
Half of the women were given a multi-nutrient pill to take every day and the other half given folic acid pills to take daily.
The micronutrient pill also contained folic acid which prevents birth defects and has also been shown to help boost fertility.
Vitabiotics Pregnacare-Conception, a 60 cents multi-vitamin pill could more than double a woman’s chance of having a baby, according to a study carried out at University College London
Researchers found that 60% of women taking the multi-nutrients fell pregnant, and did not miscarry in the first three months when it is most common.
This compared to 25% of women in the group taking folic acid who were still pregnant after three months.
The University College London study published in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine also found that women taking the micronutrients needed far fewer attempts to become pregnant.
Of those who fell pregnant, 75% conceived in the first course of IVF.
By comparison just 18% of those on folic acid who became pregnant did so after the first IVF course.
The particular pill, Vitabiotics Pregnacare-Conception, contains folic acid, vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, selenium and some antioxidants.
Vitabiotics Pregnacare-Conception costs just over $15 over the counter for a month’s supply.
Lead researcher Dr. Rina Agrawal said: “The implications of this study are far reaching as they suggest that prenatal micronutrient supplementation in women undergoing ovulation induction improve pregnancy rates.
“There is a large body of evidence establishing the relationship between placental development, foetal growth, pregnancy outcomes and adequate nutrition, particularly vitamin intake.”
But other scientists pointed out that the study was very small so the results should not be taken too seriously.
Dr. Allan Pacey who specializes in fertility at the University of Sheffield said: “The influence of nutrition on our fertility is of general interest to the public and professionals, but there are relatively few studies which have examined this systematically and few which have shown direct benefits of taking supplements to enhance things.
“Therefore, on the face of it, this study is interesting but we should acknowledge that this is a relatively small number of patients and the study would need to be repeated in a larger trial before we could be certain of the results.”
A woman’s fertility is known to be affected by a number of factors including her age, weight, alcohol consumption, whether she smokes.
High levels of stress and even drinking too much coffee have also been shown to reduce the chances of falling pregnant.
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