Archive by date | March 2014

New cholesterol drugs make strides in clinical trials

The excitement around PCSK9 – a promising new protein target for cholesterol-lowering therapies – appears to be justified. This week, at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting in Washington DC, several pharmaceutical companies presented data from advanced clinical trials showing that monoclonal antibodies that target and degrade PCSK9 are effective at treating patients with high cholesterol, especially when combined with statins such as Lipitor.  Read more

UN climate change report marks risks of a warm future

From shrinking glaciers to sea water becoming more acidic, climate change has already a notable imprint on Earth’s natural systems, according to a United Nations climate-science report released today. Projected 21st century warming poses risks – severe if the rise in atmospheric concentration of heat-trapping gases continues unabated – to future food security, human well-being and wealth, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Read more

WHO doubles estimates of air pollution’s health toll

The World Health Organization has singled out air pollution as the number one environmental health risk in the world. In 2012, more than 7 million people worldwide died as result of exposure to either indoor or outdoor air pollution — one of every eight deaths — the Geneva-based organization warns in a report released today.  Read more

WMO: “No standstill in global warming”

The past year was the six-warmest year on record since temperature records began in 1850. Global average surface temperature in 2013 was 14.5 °C – 0.50 °C above the 1961–1990 average and 0.03 °C above the 2001–2010 average – the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports in its latest statement of the status of the global climate, released today.  Read more

UK budget sees boosts for data science, graphene and cell therapy

British scientists already know that their public funding for the next two years is frozen at £4.6 billion annually (as it has been since 2010, which, for the nation’s seven research-grants agencies has meant a 10% cut in real terms over the past three years), so they did not expect anything transformative from today’s budget.  Read more

Ancient hominin Little Foot older than thought

Little Foot, the world’s most complete hominin fossil, dates back much further than the widely thought 2.2 million years, and should help scientists narrow down the identity of the first human ancestor, according to new research published today in the Journal of Human Evolution*. The findings were announced at simultaneous press conferences in Paris and Johannesburg.  Read more