Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Browse

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

Early Autism Diagnosis Offers Hope

By Australasian Science Magazine

A new study has concluded that it is possible to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) much earlier than normally occurs. Early intervention can significantly change the outcomes for children who are diagnosed at a younger age.

A new study has concluded that it is possible to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) much earlier than normally occurs. Early intervention can significantly change the outcomes for children who are diagnosed at a younger age.

Koala Virus Gives Researchers a Live Look at the Evolution of Junk DNA in Humans

An international team of researchers believes that a virus infecting koalas could demonstrate how viruses have altered the DNA of humans and other species throughout history.

“Retroviruses insert their genome into their host’s chromosome, from where they make more copies of themselves,” explained Prof Paul Young of The University of Queensland. “Some can also infect what are known as germline cells, which alters the host genetic code and that of all their descendants.”

Crowdsourced Algorithms Predict Epileptic Seizures

Crowdsourcing of more than 10,000 algorithms worldwide has enabled Melbourne researchers to predict clinically relevant epileptic seizures in a wider range of patients than previously possible.

Reflux and heartburn treatments depress body iron levels

New research has found an association between some popular heartburn treatments and iron deficiency.

Heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux, which is caused by hydrochloric acid rising into the throat. This condition affects more than two million Australians and is often treated with medications that suppress acid secretion.

Epilepsy Cure from a Tarantula

A key ingredient in tarantula venom has been identified as a potential treatment for a devastating form of genetic epilepsy.

Dravet syndrome affects young children before their first birthday. Children live with a range of very serious symptoms, including delayed mental and behavioural development, and daily seizures. The disease can result in early death.

Nanoparticles Light Up Deep-Tissue Cancers

Researchers have engineered nanoparticles that light up to reveal disease biomarkers found in deep tissue. The technology opens up a new avenue in minimally invasive disease diagnosis.

Genetic Bottlenecks as Gloomy Octopus Drifts South

A species of octopus previously confined to eastern Australian waters is extending its range south, riding a new wave of warm water as ocean currents change. In a study published in Scientific Reports (https://goo.gl/tLH5Hk), researchers have examined the genetic processes associated with the gloomy octopus’ range shift.

Stellar Triplet Weakens Rival Relativity Theories

Astronomers observing the complicated orbital dance of three compact stars have concluded that Einstein’s theory of general relativity still can’t be proven wrong.

A dog's colour could impact longevity, increase health problems

New research led by the University of Sydney has revealed the life expectancy of chocolate Labradors is significantly lower than their black and yellow counterparts.

The study of more than 33,000 United Kingdom-based Labrador retrievers of all colours shows chocolate Labradors also have a higher incidence of ear infections and skin disease. Its findings were published in the open access journal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology today.

Asteroid Strikes Created Earth’s Oldest Surviving Rocks

Research led by Curtin University researchers has concluded that the Earth’s oldest-known evolved rocks formed four billion years ago when asteroids slammed into the Earth’s crust, causing it to melt.

The research, published in Nature Geoscience (https://goo.gl/X5X7iN), found that the Earth’s oldest granitic rocks, which form part of the Acasta Gneiss Complex in north-west Canada, have compositions that are distinct from those typical of Earth’s ancient continental crust. These differences suggest that they formed through a different process.