New Scientist Magazine Press Release - Issue 28/1/06

Article ID: 517510

Released: 25-Jan-2006 9:00 AM EST

Source Newsroom: New Scientist

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Newswise — NEWS THIS WEEK:

MISSING A FEW CELLS? PRINT NEW ONESA modified ink-jet printer has been developed that for the first time can jet out droplets of living cells a few micrometres in diameter. The British inventors, who have used the device to print human T-cells and mouse brain cells without causing any harm, say their technique could be used to graft replacement tissue cell by cell. Page 26

HOW TO SPOT STATES MAKING PLUTONIUM ON THE QUIETThe number of nuclear reactors around the world is set to rise as nations look for ways to cut greenhouse gases. But all reactors are capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons on the sly. Now, researchers are building devices they claim can detect whether a facility is producing weapons-grade plutonium. The work is preliminary, and won't solve the political crisis in Iran, but may prove invaluable to police future plants. Pages 24-25

TO STAY CALM, ENGAGE FULLYGot a stressful presentation or speech to make? According to a British psychologist, if you have sex beforehand, you are more likely to be less stressed and your blood pressure is more likely to return to normal. But make sure it's penetrative sex " the magic vanishes if you pursue other forms of sexual gratification. (Short story) Page 17

INSIGHT: BIRD FLUAre migrating wild birds to blame for H5N1's march into Europe? Government and UN agencies say yes, backed by genetic studies which suggest infected wild birds are carrying the virus to new areas. However, many bird conservationists, who fear an unjustified mass slaughter of wild birds, want more proof that it's migrant birds and not commercial transportation of poultry causing the spread. Page 9

ROBOT SET LOOSE TO FILM YOUR INSIDESA camera-carrying robot that can rove around inside the stomach or abdomen can help give surgeons a better view on the area being operated on. The robot is only 15 millimetres in diameter, allowing it to be inserted through the small incisions used for keyhole surgery. The camera is separated by two rotating cylinders which allow the robot to move around. Page 26

NEW SUPREME COURT WILL TOUCH US ALLThis week the US debates the nomination of Samuel Alito - with a conservative track record - to the US supreme court. New Scientist takes a look at the wide-reaching implications on the US society and beyond if, as expected, Alito is appointed. The new court could have an impact on decisions made in issues such as genetic screening and the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools. Pages 14-15

DARK ENERGY ENIGMA JUST WON'T GO AWAYEight years after astronomers discovered the existence of dark matter " the force that dominates the universe " we still know very little about it. And the mystery deepened further at a conference this month after claims from a US scientist that dark energy appears to be changing " and rapidly. Page 7

REPRIEVE FOR 'RISKY' PARKINSON'S DRUGA new technique could allow controlled delivery of a Parkinson's drug that was controversially withdrawn in 2004 because of safety fears. Rheogene, a US biotech firm, has developed a "safety switch" that allows the drug, called glial-derived neurotrophic factor, to be delivered to the brain by gene therapy without unwanted side-effects. Page 13

UK SIGNS DEATH WARRANT FOR ASCENSION ISLANDThe UK government's change of heart to refuse the people of Ascension Island a permanent home there, could spell disaster for the islands rich biodiversity. Conservationists fear that if islanders leave, work to protect native seabirds and turtles will cease. The islanders believe the UK's decision results from security fears. Page 9

SPECIAL REPORT: BEYOND BELIEFWhether you're religious or not, the study of belief has become a very hot topic. In a 12-page report New Scientist examines some of the emerging ideas.

WE BELIEVEIn the beginning religion didn't exist. Evolutionary biologists Robin Dunbar asks two crucial questions: What evolutionary advantages did humankind gain from turning to religion? And at what stage did our ancestors start believing in gods? Pages 30-33 PARTICLES OF FAITHWhat are the biological underpinnings of belief? Whether we're talking about God or medicine, belief does have a measurable physical effect on the brain. To try to understand why people believe in God's power to heal, Alison Motluk takes a look at the powerful force of the placebo effect in medical treatment. Pages 34-36

GLAD TO BE GULLIBLEUntil recently studies suggested that those who believed in the paranormal were just bad at judging probabilities and randomness. But newer research suggests that those who believe in life's little coincidences are better than non-believers at recognising faces or camouflaged predators. What's more, believers in the paranormal tend to be more imaginative and creative.Pages 37-39

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New Scientist is the world's leading science and technology news weekly, boasting a circulation of 165,000. For breaking news stories everyday visit our online news service: http://www.newscientist.com


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