Cord blood bank ‘will save lives’

Eva was saved by a donation of cord blood like that donated by baby Darcey

A scheme to store blood taken from the umbilical cords of newborns and use it to save lives has been launched.

Cord blood, like bone marrow, can help patients survive deadly diseases such as leukaemia.

For now, the Anthony Nolan Trust Cord Blood Bank can take cord blood at just one hospital, with plans for more UK collection centres.

Even so, the charity predicted the 50,000 expected donations over the next five years would prevent many deaths.

Cord blood provides a way to give a patient the ability to produce new blood cells after this has been lost through illness or aggressive treatment.

As well as patients with blood cancers, those with sickle cell disease and immune problems could benefit.

The thing about cord blood is that it’s just thrown away – but it could save someone’s life
Mark Behan
parent of cord blood patient

It contains potent “stem cells“, which, if placed back into the bone marrow, can start producing the right sort of cells.

The umbilical cord is normally thrown away after birth, so, unlike bone marrow donation, there is no discomfort or risk to the donor.

Read moreCord blood bank ‘will save lives’

Sept. 11, 1822: Church Admits It’s Not All About Us


Galileo Galilei, Italian mathematician, astronomer and physicist, was condemned for heresy by the the Roman Inquisition in 1633. He spent the last eight years of his life under house arrest.
Painting: Joseph Nicolas Robert-Fleury (1797-1890)/Bettmann Corbis

1822: The College of Cardinals finally caves in to the hard facts of science, saying that the “publication of works treating of the motion of the Earth and the stability of the sun, in accordance with the opinion of modern astronomers, is permitted.”

It represented a major shift in dogma for the Catholic Church, a concession that the Earth, in fact, might revolve around the sun. Unfortunately, it came 189 years too late to do Galileo Galilei any good.

Still, it would take another 13 years, until 1835, before Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems — the work in which he defends the heliocentric theory — would be removed from the Vatican’s list of banned books.

Read moreSept. 11, 1822: Church Admits It’s Not All About Us

Scientists launch huge particle-smasher experiment

GENEVA (Reuters) – International scientists celebrated the successful start of a huge particle-smashing machine on Wednesday which aims to simulate the conditions of the “Big Bang” that created the universe.

Experiments using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the biggest and most complex machine ever made, could revamp modern physics and unlock secrets about the universe and its origins.

The project has had to work hard to deny suggestions by some critics that the experiment could create tiny black holes of intense gravity that could suck in the whole planet.

Such fears spurred huge public interest in advanced physics ahead of the start up of the 10 billion Swiss franc ($9 billion) machine, which proceeded smoothly on Wednesday morning.

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Pigs to be bred for transplants

LORD Winston, the fertility expert and Labour peer, is to begin breeding genetically modified pigs in the hope of providing organs for transplant to humans, it was reported yesterday.

Scientists in London and California have begun experiments to find a solution to record waits for organ transplants. In Britain around 8,000 patients are on waiting lists.

“People needing a new heart or liver are waiting for someone else to die – usually a violent death in a traffic accident,” Lord Winston wrote in a Sunday newspaper.

Lord Winston, who heads the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology at London’s Hammersmith Hospital, expects the technique to provide a solution to the shortage of organs within ten years.

The scientists are introducing human genes into the animals to reduce the chances of the organs being rejected by patients’ bodies.

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Shoppers to use fingerprints or eye scans to pay for goods


Barclaycard has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in “contactless payment” technology Photo: Getty Images

The futuristic systems, like those used by Tom Cruise in the science fiction film Minority Report, are being developed by scientists for Barclaycard.

The company has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in “contactless payment” technology.

This allows customers to use everyday items they carry around with them – such as mobile phones, key fobs or even their eyes or fingerprints – to make payments.

It means shoppers will no longer have to rely on cards.

Barclaycard, which is part of Barclays, has already introduced a new-style cash machine in the United Arab Emirates enabling people to use their fingerprints to withdraw money and shoppers in the UK may soon be able to use the same technology.

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Air-purifying Church Windows Were Early Nanotechnology

ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2008) – Stained glass windows that are painted with gold purify the air when they are lit up by sunlight, a team of Queensland University of Technology experts have discovered.

Associate Professor Zhu Huai Yong, from QUT’s School of Physical and Chemical Sciences said that glaziers in medieval forges were the first nanotechnologists who produced colours with gold nanoparticles of different sizes.

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Scientists get death threats over Large Hadron Collider

Scientists working on the world’s biggest machine are being besieged by phone calls and emails from people who fear the world will end next Wednesday, when the gigantic atom smasher starts up.

The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, where particles will begin to circulate around its 17 mile circumference tunnel next week, will recreate energies not seen since the universe was very young, when particles smash together at near the speed of light.


Hadron Collider: The final pieces slot into place

Such is the angst that the American Nobel prize winning physicist Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has even had death threats, said Prof Brian Cox of Manchester University, adding: “Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a t—.”

The head of public relations, James Gillies, says he gets tearful phone calls, pleading for the £4.5 billion machine to stop.

Read moreScientists get death threats over Large Hadron Collider

Massive floating generators, or ‘eco-rigs’, to provide power and food to Japan

Battered by soaring energy costs and aghast at dwindling fish stocks, Japanese scientists think they have found the answer: filling the seas with giant “eco-rigs” as powerful as nuclear power stations.

The project, which could result in village-sized platforms peppering the Japanese coastline within a decade, reflects a growing panic in the country over how it will meet its future resource needs.

The floating eco-rig generators which measure 1.2 miles by 0.5 miles (2km by 800m) are intended to harness the energy of the Sun and wind. They are each expected to produce about 300 megawatt hours of power.

Read moreMassive floating generators, or ‘eco-rigs’, to provide power and food to Japan

Sun Makes History: First Spotless Month in a Century


The record-setting surface of the sun. A full month has gone by without a single spot (Source: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO))

Drop in solar activity has potential effect for climate on earth.

The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.

The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity – which determines the number of sunspots — is an influencing factor for climate on earth.

Read moreSun Makes History: First Spotless Month in a Century