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Showing posts from March, 2012

Eating More Chocolate Makes You Skinny

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Answer this question for me - How many times a week do you consume chocolate?
Can you (a) remember how much chocolate you have eaten in the last 7 days? Was it the same amount as last week? (b) Do you know you ate 5 Mars bars, a Twix and a bar of Cadbury's while watching Titanic 3D last night, feel that might be a little excessive and lie to me?
If you are skinny would you happily say 'Oh I eat about 6 bars a week'? If you know you are not so skinny would you lie about your consumption?
What do you think other people would say in answer to this question? Would you trust their answers?
This is the exact question that was asked to participants in a study looking at the relationship of chocolate consumption and BMI. Did they take into account any of those scenarios or questions I just asked? No.

A well timed (just before Easter) news story appeared EVERYWHERE this week, claiming that
Chocolate 'may help keep people slim' (headline from the BBC). Today there are 571 …

Prove it in 30 Seconds

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Can you explain an aspect of our world in motion in 30 seconds? My friend and fellow PhDer Gina Maffey can..

If you enjoy the video, please 'like' it on youtube to help support her in the  British Science Assiciation's Prove It! competition.





It was filmed on Aberdeen beach. You can find more about Gina here and she is on twitter @ginazoo and is also part of the Au Science Magazine team :-)

This competition was set for National Science and Engineering week and is open for anyone to submit an entry!

Cosmetic Science - Looking Behind the Formulations

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Beauty is big business. You may snigger at the promises in cosmetic adverts but in reality the majority of cosmetic manufacturers take science very seriously. Procter and Gamble, the biggest consumer goods company in the world, invest $2bn yearly into research and development of consumer goods. L’OrĂ©al, the biggest cosmetics company in the world, employ over 3,000 researchers around the globe and have a grant programme specifically designed to support female scientists.

Science is at the heart of these companies, and it shows in their financial reports. They encourage and invest in scientists and research in the hope of making the next great breakthrough. The biggest areas of growth for the cosmetics industry are developing markets, male cosmetics and the ever-ageing world population. The L’Oreal annual report from 2010 estimates that the global cosmetics market is worth 144 billion Euros and of that, 32% is skincare.
If these manufacturers could crack the science and invent the eli…

The Open Access Publishing Debate at the SULSA Young Scientists Event

I was lucky enough to attend the Scottish University Life Sciences Alliance Young Scientists' Event in Edinburgh on the 19th and 20th of March.

There really were some excellent and useful talks, from presentation skills (including how to use pauses and silence correctly) to possible new therapies for inherited skin diseases.

On the second day there was a debate about open access publishing. I tweeted the debate and have collated them using storify.
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What to do after a PhD?

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Struggling to decide what to do after you finish your PhD? Try out my handy, 'nofuss-science-career-decider'.
Start the process by clicking the link and saying, 'HELLO' http://www.pandorabots.com/pandora/talk?botid=83872e8cfe34cd1d





Is LSD really the answer to Alcoholism?

Researchers from at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analysed studies (meta-analysis) that used single doses of LSD to treat alcoholics from the 1960s and 1970s.  The studies included 536 participants in total. They looked at the results of all of these studies which were all randomised controlled trials (double-blind).  They found there was a benefit of the LSD treatment at the first follow up after treatment (1-3 months) but this was not statistically significant at the 6 month follow up.

They state, that according to their meta-analysis, a single dose of LSD compares well with a daily dose of  naltrexone, acramposate, or disulfiram (which are three commonly prescribed approved medications for reducing relapse in alcohol dependence.
Not surprisingly the publication of this study was followed with a range of headlines: BBC - LSD 'helps alcoholics to give up drinking'SkyNews - LSD May Help Alcoholics Fight AddictionMSN - Acid Trip could help treat alcoholism rep…

How to get involved in public engagement / science communication if you are a PhD student / post-doc

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I see/hear get asked this question quite a lot, here are some tips and some examples of things I have been involved with 
1) Before you do anything, find out what public engagement and science communication activities are already going on at your university/place of work and in your area. There are a number of ways you can do this.
Search the Internet, find out if there are any bloggers/tweeters in your area. Find out if there are any meet ups/tweet ups scheduled (usually advertised on Facebook and Twitter) Get on google, find the bloggers, tweet them, message them, comment on blogs you find interesting. I have found that the sci blogging and Internet community are very friendly and incredibly helpful Find out who the key people are in your area (by key, I mean the ones with lots of connections and ones that organise events and know what is going on)Speak to others around the world, find out what they are up toIf you are in the UK register as a STEM ambassador and sign up to your local…