Science & Society

Independent research, involving over 3 million Italians, conducted by Henley Management College and the University of Milan has concluded that the prescription costs for men over the age of 65 is significantly higher than it is for women.

The primary objective of this study was to make the first step in the modelling of pharmaceutical demand in Italy to improve the governance of prescribing funds.

The research found that the mean annual prescription cost per individual was similar for males (196.13 euro) and females (195.12euro). However after 65 years of age, the mean prescribing costs for males were significantly higher than females. On average, costs for a 75-year-old man would be 12 times the costs for a 25-34 year-old subject if male, 8 times if female.

Should a ban on smoking exempt people who do it for 'cultural' reasons? What if the science regarding the detrimental effects of certain types of smoking is inconclusive?

This is an issue lawmakers in the UK will have to struggle with as advocates try to get hookah smoking exempted from England’s smoking ban.

A hookah is a glass waterpipe. It has primarily been used in Arabic communities for smoking herbal fruits after meals, but it has become popular among young people for smoking tobacco, massel (aromatic tobacco), cannabis and the cheaper bango, write Dr Rashid Gatrad and colleagues.

Andrew Gelman astutely noted that the three researchers (Michel Cabanac, Anthony Sclafani, and Israel Ramirez) whose work I used the most to come up with the Shangri-La Diet were not at Harvard or Yale or Rockefeller University. Isn’t that where breakthrough research is supposed to come from? This wasn’t the only way that development of the Shangri-La Diet was not quite “right”:

1. The research of Cabanac et al. got little recognition. The set point idea arose in the 1950s, or even earlier. In the 1970s, Cabanac saw very clearly that your set point depends on what you eat. With Rabe, he did an excellent experiment supporting this view. Not one weight-control researcher took note. No other lab built on this work.

You buy more salad dressing from Paul Newman under his own label than you would if he were in commercials for someone else, research says.

Endorsements by the rich and famous have long been a staple of the advertising industry. They can give otherwise mundane products, like razors or carpet cleaners, new cachet. Market research has shown repeatedly that celebrities can "instantly" add personality and appeal to even unknown products and make or break recognized brands.

Basque biotechnology company Progenika Biopharma have presented a device, known as BLOODchip, which greatly eliminates the risk of adverse reactions due to incompatibility in blood groups between donor and receptor in blood transfusions.

With the aim of guaranteeing safety during blood transfusions, Progenika has developed and validated 1,000 clinical samples in cooperation with the principal European blood banks. The validation of these samples was 99.8%, considerably higher than that produced using the current serology technique, which produces an error of 3%.

According to a pilot study, pomegranate juice was found to have beneficial effects on erectile dysfunction (ED), a disorder that affects 1 in 10 men worldwide and 10 to 30 million men in the United States alone.

ED can be caused by several factors, including arterial plaque, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, nerve damage, endocrine imbalance or depression. Ultimately, ED is a condition that affects the blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation.

The randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot study examined the efficacy of pomegranate juice versus placebo in improving erections in 61 male subjects.

On school days, teen boys who play video games appear to spend less time reading and teen girls who play video games appear to spend less time doing homework than those who do not play video games, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Overall, video game players did not spend less time than non-video game players interacting with parents and friends.

“The rapid growth of video game popularity has generated concern among practitioners, parents, scholars and politicians,” according to background information in the article.

Evidence gathered from time-lapse recordings of the formation of early embryos (blastocysts) in the laboratory has revealed why embryos created via IVF and undergoing extended culture are more likely to develop into twins than those created via natural conception.

The core of the gaming industry has always been young men with plenty of free time but increasingly investors and developers are trying to attract the casual gamers, including women, who have less time and infrequent contiguous blocks but are still interesting in being part of the gaming experience.

This new genre is called ‘casual games’ and is attracting players from all around the world. "These new games are quick to learn and the focus is on fun rather than on making the games difficult or time consuming", explains lecturer Jesper Juul, who has through his research placed a focus on computer game design at the IT University of Copenhagen.

The future of biolectronics - being able to diagnose diseases, detect poisons and monitor health instantly - may still seem far away, but it may be closer than you think.

Researchers understand what biochemical reactors they need to monitor and they know which microelectronics they would need to use. They have just been unable to combine them because measuring the ions in receptors within cell membranes destroyed the cells being measured.

A team at the Max Planck Institute say they have solved the problem and describe the coupling of a receptor to a silicon chip by means of a cell–transistor interface. True bioelectronics at its most basic level.