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Briefings Archive

news from the British Pharmacological Society Winter Conference

Scientists briefing journalists in advance of the British Pharmacological Society Winter meeting discussed gender differences in cardiovascular disease (with specific reference to the role of HRT in protecting against CVD in post-menopausal women) and also the development of bacterial resistance to drugs and novel approaches to tackle this problem. read more

Weatherall Report launch

The Weatherall Report examines the scientific basis for recent, current and future use of non-human primates in biological and medical research. Sir David Weatherall FRS, chair of the working group, came to the Science Media Centre to present the recommendations and outlined the key issues highlighted in the report. read more

asthma and allergy research

Leading experts from the MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma to brief journalists on their latest research and questions on increasing asthma occurence and the most promising treatments in development. read more

launch of Duff report

The Northwick Park clinical trials tragedy was probably one of the biggest science stories of 2006 with many questions raised about what went wrong and how such an incident could be prevented in future. The Science Media Centre invited Professor Gordon Duff, Chair of the Expert Scientific Group, to brief journalists about their recommendations. read more

behaviour and health – what makes a difference?

The Science Media Centre invited key speakers from the United Kingdom Society of Behavioural Medicine 2nd Scientific Meeting to brief the press on their findings on how behaviour can affect obesity, fitness and activity levels. read more

using gene therapy to treat cystic fibrosis

In the week that Gordon Brown’s son was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, the Science Media Centre brought together leading experts to talk to the media about using Gene Therapy to treat this common genetically inherited disease. Topics included how it works, what progress has been made so far and when would this treatment be available. read more

a morning with James Lovelock: global heating

The SMC invited leading environmentalist, Professor James Lovelock, brief journalists ahead of him delivering 5th John Collier Lecture for the Institution of Chemical Engineers. Lovelock, who is well-known for his ‘Gaia Theory’ addressed the consequences of climate change and argued that the widely used expression ‘global warming’ fails to convey the scale of the potential tragedy facing humankind. read more

psychosis and ethnicity – New research from the AESOP study

Scientists from the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, briefed the media on new research coming out of their longitudinal ‘AESOP’ study. They discussed new observations about the link between psychosis and ethnicity and explained that there is good evidence that long term separation from one or both parents is one of many contributing factors. read more

location technology: saviour or stalker

Scientists from both sides of the Atlantic with expertise in computer and information technology came together to discuss the pros and cons of location technology in front of journalists from the Sunday papers. Unfortunately the report on surveillance and privacy from the Information Commissioner’s office gesumpt this briefing. We lifted the embargo to allow for coverage by BBC Online and BBC World Service. And fortunately The Observer was still able to run the article. read more

Nuffield Council on Bioethics: Forensic use of DNA

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics briefed the media on the launch of a working group which will examine the ethics around the forensic use of DNA. This includes the National DNA database, which has been a topic of controversy in the media in recent times. read more

arctic climate change: what’s to gain?

During the IMarEST ‘Arctic Workshop’ scientists took time out to brief journalists on the possible consequences of climate change for the artic region – the negative ecological consequences but also some economic advantages. Some strong positive outcomes for the fishing and sea transport industries as well as for oil and gas exploration arose from the discussion, all of which add further controversy to the issue of climate change. read more

HFEA independent experts report on IVF and multiple births

The Science Media Centre ran the press launch for the report of the independent Expert Group on Multiple Births after IVF. This group was set up to report back to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority on recommendations to reduce the number of multiple births after IVF treatment. read more

the science of abortion time limits

The Science Media Centre brought together three leading scientists in the field to brief journalists on the current state of science on foetal viability and to answer questions about the science surrounding time limits on abortion. read more

Met Office winter forecast

Met Office experts came to the Science Media Centre to offer their weather forecast for winter 2006/7. They discussed the possibilities for the coming months and the likelihood of a warmer/colder than average or wetter/drier than average winter. The odds were pretty even for all outcomes this year so as tradition has it, anything could happen with regard to the British weather! The forecasters also discussed the imminent consequences of Hurricane Gordon. read more

new research on acne drug and depression

A researcher from Bath University, Dr Sarah Bailey, gave a short media briefing where talked journalists through the findings of her research into the link between a commonly used acne drug and depression. To date, the only evidence for a link has come from individual patients and is mostly anecdotal. Dr Bailey’s work with mice in a laboratory provides the first scientific evidence and provides a useful model for future research. read more

commencement of the Human Tissue Act on 1 September 2006

In a briefing hosted by the Science Media Centre, members of the Human Tissue Authority briefed the media on changes heralded by the Human Tissue Act which was about to come into action. This generated a tremendous volume of coverage, particularly of the story stating that the wishes of the deceased will take priority with regard to organ donation. read more

could a Hurricane Katrina style flood happen in the UK?

Climate change, flooding, flood risk and flood defense experts came together at the Science Media Centre to outline the future risks to UK populations of flooding. They described how the coincidence of several weather and tidal phenomena could put certain parts of the UK at extreme risk of severe floods. read more

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