‘We still don’t know enough about the dangers of microplastics’

There is 'large uncertainty' surrounding the risk from microplastics, pieces of plastic less than 5mm wide, says Prof. Bart Koelmans.

by Jonathan O’Callaghan An estimated 5.25 trillion particles of plastic float in Earth’s oceans, threatening not only the health of marine ecosystems and animals, but that of humans in the water we drink and the food we eat. However, research into the extent of the dangers posed by microplastics is still just in its infancy. … Read more

Sponges and corals: Seafloor assessments to help protect against climate change

Little is known about deep ocean environments. But scientists focussing on the depths of the North Atlantic are now learning more about their ecosystems – including the role of vast sea sponge grounds – and how to safeguard them against the effects of climate change and industry. Deep-sea sponges – aquatic invertebrates that spend their … Read more

Democracy: ‘Inclusion is the future – not exclusion’

Prof. Merkel says that despite the challenges presented by right-wing populists, democracies in Western Europe remain deeply rooted in strong liberal civil societies. Image credit - Prof. Wolfgang Merkel/ David Ausserhofer

by Annette Ekin The rise of right-wing populism is being fuelled by polarisation in society that we must address without resorting to the claim of moral superiority, or protest voters will become the permanent supporters of these new parties, says Wolfgang Merkel, director of the Democracy and Democratisation research department at the WZB Berlin Social … Read more

DNA gives insight into prehistoric bonds between dogs and humans

Scientists believe that modern-day dogs originated from two different populations of wolves. Image credit - Pixabay

Domestic dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but the animals we now regard as man’s best friend may have originated from just two populations of wolves, research suggests. The findings, along with studies on other domesticated animals, are providing new insights into how our ancestors’ lives and movements transformed these creatures forever. The domestication … Read more

Danish dogs to receive virus-inspired cancer vaccine treatment

Researchers are testing the therapeutic vaccine on dogs with the hope that trials could progress to humans. Image Credit - Pixabay/No License

Fifteen Danish dogs with advanced cancer are to receive a new type of therapeutic vaccine which, it is hoped, will rid them of the disease and pave the way for human testing. Unlike preventative vaccines, therapeutic vaccines are not used to prevent someone from getting a disease but rather to support an immune system that … Read more

Real-time WhatsApp advice aids surgery in rural Malawi

In remote, rural corners of Malawi, hospitals are often faced with life-and-death decisions. Women in need of emergency caesarean sections, older people with hernias, and children with appendicitis need surgery. But should they be rushed to the operating theatre or transferred to specialists in city hospitals? The answer depends on the patient’s condition, the distance … Read more

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