Journalists

Journalists

Covering current events in science, the environment, technology and health requires a context and reliable sources that respond quickly.

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When science hits the headlines, we publish reactions, explanations, and in-depth analysis from reliable sources, capturing both the evidence and the debates. Our library of science journalism resources and the briefings may be of use to you. Consult our directory of research centres.

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We are on the lookout for any controversial information about science (embargoed or not), in order to react with the agility the media needs. Sign up to receive our embargoed contents, all under the Creative Commons licence. Find out more about how we work here.

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Harms associated with medical treatments and procedures have increased over the past 30 years

The number of patients who suffered harm associated with medical procedures, treatments and contact with healthcare systems increased by 59% worldwide between 1990 and 2019, according to a study published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety. This is higher than the population growth of 45 % over the same time period. Older people suffer the most adverse effects, with the main increase occurring in those aged 65-69 years.  

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Nitrous oxide emissions increased by 40 % in 2020 compared to 1980, largely due to agricultural practices

Nitrous oxide is considered one of the three most important greenhouse gases, behind carbon dioxide and methane. According to a report by the Global Carbon Project, emissions of this gas from human activities continue to grow, with a 40% increase over the last four decades - from 2020 to 1980. The research, led by Boston College and published in the journal Earth System Science Data, reveals that in the last decade, agricultural production through the use of nitrogen fertilizers and animal manure contributed 74% of total anthropogenic emissions of this gas.

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Ice detected for the first time near Mars' equator, an area where it was thought to be impossible to exist

ESA's ExoMars and Mars Express missions have for the first time detected ice near the equator of Mars, specifically in the Tharsis volcanoes, an area of the planet where it was thought impossible to exist. According to the researchers, who publish the results in the journal Nature Geoscience, such findings are important for habitability and future human exploration. 

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African elephants address each other with name-like calls, study finds African elephants address each other with name-like calls, study finds

Some animal species, such as parrots or dolphins, appear to address each other by imitating sounds from the receiver. However, animals addressing each other by individual names has only been observed in humans. Now, an international team of researchers says that African elephants can communicate through name-like calls and do not appear to rely on imitation to do so. According to the authors, who publish their results in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, the finding would imply that they have some degree of symbolic thinking. 

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A basic income for the entire population could double global GDP and cut carbon emissions, says study

In an analysis published in Cell Reports Sustainability, an international team of researchers proposes a regular cash payment for the entire world population, which could increase global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 130 %. According to the authors, this basic income could be paid for, in part, by a tax on carbon emitters, which would also help to reduce environmental degradation.  

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Man infected with H5N2 avian influenza virus dies in Mexico

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that a 59-year-old man infected with the H5N2 avian influenza virus died in Mexico on 24 April. This is the first confirmed human infection with the virus. The patient had multiple underlying medical conditions and had been bedridden for three weeks for other reasons before showing symptoms. The source of infection is unknown. The WHO assesses the risk to the general population as low. 


 

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One in six people who stop taking antidepressants experience symptoms after stopping them

The Lancet Psychiatry publishes the first meta-analysis of the incidence of antidepressant treatment discontinuation symptoms that includes data from more than 20,000 patients collected from 79 randomised controlled trials and observational studies. The study sought to distinguish between symptoms directly caused by medication discontinuation and other ‘non-specific’ symptoms that may be associated with patient or professional expectations (the nocebo effect). The study concludes that one in six to seven patients will experience one or more symptoms directly caused by stopping medication, and one in 35 are likely to experience severe symptoms.  

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Study finds correlation between high salt intake and atopic dermatitis

A higher intake of salt - as measured by the concentration of sodium in urine - is associated with an increased likelihood of atopic dermatitis, says a study published in JAMA Dermatology. The researchers used data on the amount of sodium in urine samples from more than 215,000 people in the UK, collected in a previous study. The authors suggest that restricting salt intake "may be a cost-effective and low-risk intervention" for this skin disease. 

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Changes observed in brain images of adolescents with internet 'addiction'

Internet 'addiction' in adolescents is associated with changes in neural networks in their brains, a review of studies has found. The analysis published in PLoS Mental Health brings together the results of 12 previous functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, conducted in young people aged 10-19 in Asian countries (Korea, China and Indonesia).

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Study warns of cardiovascular risks of drinking alcohol and sleeping in conditions comparable to airplane flight

Drinking alcohol and sleeping in hypobaric conditions - such as those of an aircraft cabin - could be a risk to cardiovascular health, a study warns. Researchers compared a group of 23 people sleeping in a laboratory with another group of 17 people sleeping in a high-altitude chamber, replicating conditions at about 2,400 metres above sea level. The combination of alcohol consumption and hypobaric hypoxia during the simulation "reduced sleep quality, challenged the cardiovascular system and led to extended duration of hypoxaemia," the authors state in the journal Thorax.

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