Science Museum News posts – 2013

  • There is a possible link between production of Arc protein and autism
  • Dementia affects 44 million people worldwide. By 2050 it could be 135 million
  • Researchers hope bacteria discovery may help improve digestive health treatments
  • Critics don’t like it that companies can censor what we see

Raiders of the lost Arc
10th June 2013

1381495084773951Do you remember how to tie your shoelaces? The names of your friends? Your first kiss? Californian neuroscientists have found that a specific protein called Arc seems to help form your long-term memories. You can thank it every time you remember something from your childhood.

But what if you don’t have much of this Arc protein? Well it looks like people who lack it have memory problems, such as Alzheimer’s. Researchers hope that studying Arc will lead to treatments for neurological diseases. Let’s never forget their hard work!

Image: Flickr/Austin Kleon


Dementia epidemic by 2050?
5th December 2013


I’m not afraid of death, but the thought of mental deterioration with old-age ‘dementia’ terrifies me.

The G8 Dementia Summit met recently and heard that the number of people suffering from the disease may triple by 2050. Ironically this is because of improvements in the field of medicine. The longer people live, the more likely they are to suffer from some form of dementia.

Experts think now is the time to act to prevent a global epidemic. I hope they can find the funds in time.

Image: Flickr/ell brown


Bacterial food critics
11th December 2013

1386846219949755‘Bacteria’ just make me think of diseases, but many actually keep us nice and healthy. Microbiologists in Colorado recently found that your diet affects the quantity and kind of bacteria swimming round your guts. What surprised them was how quickly this can change.

Two groups of people, one fed on animal-based food, the other on plant-based food, had their poo analysed (well someone had to do it!). Researchers saw populations of bacteria change in just a few days, depending on what food people ate.

Image: Flickr/NIAD


Web filters filter helpful content
18th December 2013

1387456500253625I think the internet has amazing potential for good, but sadly there is a lot of porn that no parents want their kids to access. Filters to protect children from offensive web content are nothing new. But recent pressure from the government has led major internet companies to block content a bit too heavily.

Websites offering sexual health advice for teenagers or support groups for victims of abuse are finding themselves needlessly blocked. I personally think that responsible parenting is the best filter out there.

Image: Flickr/Guerretto


These stories and more were originally published on the Science Museum website and interactive news gallery ‘Antenna‘.

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