Climate Change talks in Qatar

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Over 17 000 delegates are expected to fly into Doha, Qatar, for talks on climate change over the next two weeks. Some commentators are confident that the talks could make real progress towards cuts in carbon emissions. Others are sceptical. We can’t help cringeing at the irony of all those air miles, the factt hat […]

Meningitis B vaccine

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  The Bexsero or 4CMenB vaccine, which protects against group B meningococcus, has recently been granted a licence for the immunisation of children older than two months. Meningitis is characterised by the inflammation of the meninges (the protective linings of the brain and spinal cord). Infection by a variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and […]

Telomere length and risk of dying

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  Telomeres – protective regions on the ends of chromosomes preventing the DNA from being eaten away– may be linked to risk of dying, according to a new study. Telomeres are regions of nucleotide sequences that repeat at each end of chromosomes. They prevent the chromosomes from deteriorating or fusing with another chromosome. They shorten […]

Update on Ash dieback disease

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It has been confirmed by the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson that the disease will not be able to be eradicated from the countryside. Efforts are now being focused on slowing the spread of the disease and encouraging resistance to it. Mature trees – which are important for wildlife – are being left whilst younger diseased […]

Ash dieback disease

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Out of 92% of the sites surveyed in England and all of Wales the presence of ‘Ash dieback disease’, caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus, has been reported at 115 sites, and seven sites in Scotland. It is characterised by loss of leaves and crown dieback, possibly leading to tree death. Trees in forests, urban […]

Origins of Hurricane Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy – also known as ‘Frankenstorm’ – started in the Caribbean Sea on the 19th of October 2012 and was deemed to only have a 20% chance of developing into a superstorm by the U.S National Hurricane Centre. Climatic conditions, however, were to pull winds in this area into a counter clockwise rotation, and […]