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A round-up of the latest science and news from Australasia.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Lung

By Stephen Luntz

Depression and chronic lung disease are linked, according to a review of research in the area.

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Briefs

By Stephen Luntz

Blackcurrants improve alertness, chocolate makes you calm, climate change shrinks waves, and more.

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Hybrid Swarm in Global Mega-Pest

CSIRO scientists have confirmed the hybridisation of two of the world's major pest species, into a new and improved mega-pest.

One of the pests, the cotton bollworm, is widespread in Africa, Asia and Europe and causes damage to over 100 crops, including corn, cotton, tomato and soybean.

The damage and controlling the pest costs billions of dollars a year.

It is extremely mobile and has developed resistance to all pesticides used against it.

The other pest, the corn earworm, is a native of the Americas and has comparatively limited resistance and host range.

Loch Ness Waters Sampled for Monster's DNA

The story of the Loch Ness monster is one of the world’s greatest mysteries. We have waited more than a thousand years for an answer on its existence. Now, it is only months away.

A global team of scientists, led by Professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago, New Zealand, is set to investigate the murky waters of Loch Ness in June 2018.

The team will use environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling of the waters to identify tiny DNA remnants left behind by life in the loch.

Moss polysaccharide discovery likened to beta glucen

By Andrew Spence

A polysaccharide discovered in moss is showing the potential to be exploited for health, industrial and medical uses.

An international team of scientists, led by Professor Rachel Burton from the University of Adelaide in South Australia and Professor Alison Roberts, University of Rhode Island, was looking into the evolutionary history of beta glucan when they made the discovery.

Stem cells restore bones damaged by osteoporosis

A study recently published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine points the way to a new, potentially restorative treatment for age-related or type II osteoporosis. When a single dose of a certain type of stem cell, called mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), was injected into mice with the disease, long-term bone engraftment and quality bone growth resulted. As an added benefit, the cells protected existing bone from damage.