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Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid
What was new in December 2012

Week 48

Friday, 30 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Converting waste rubber into quality products
      Pioneering new research is set to upset the standard paradigm of downcycling, and as a result, high-quality new plastics from old plastics will soon be a possibility. This breakthrough is made possible thanks to a new kind of material: an environmentally friendly material mix called EPMT. Downcycling is the process of transforming waste materials â€" things we would throw away â€" into another product of lesser quality, e.g. turning a used plastic bottle into a lower grade product, or rubber residues to floor coverings or safety crash pads. This research team now hopes to upgrade this waste transformation, and has already entered talks with private enterprises to bring their innovation to commercial fruition.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Researchers advocate better access to angioplasty treatment
      New research from the United Kingdom has found that primary angioplasty does increase the survival rate of heart attack patients. The Imperial College London researchers said recent studies examining the role of specialist heart attack centres generated misleading results, because physicians tend to allocate the best care to high-risk patients. They have discovered that the lack of benefit indicated in clinical records is an outcome of the sickest patients being sent to the specialist centres, effectively skewing the data. The finding was recently presented in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

  • Horizon 2020 - video testimonials
    • Catherine Tattersall (IE): What is needed to exit the crisis and help Europe's economy to grow?
      I would think individual countries would need to start special technology centres where the people could apply...where the good research ideas could apply to set themselves up and perhaps have equipment available to them to do their research and some sort of a grant so that they can keep themselves their heads above water, so to speak. So that's something governments could look at and I don't think, in the whole nature of the economy of the country, that would cost too much. But that's where the jobs are gonna come from in the future.

  • Research Headlines
    • Nanotechnology: smiles all round
      A smile can say more than a thousand words, the saying goes. Orthodontics can help improve the appearance and position of people's teeth and jawbones, for better functioning teeth and more attractive smiles. In recent years, dental correction orthodontics have used braces made from clear plastic polymer to good effect, but now they are hoping to improve on this with help from nanotechnology. A Spanish university has patented a breakthrough new process, producing smiles all round.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

  • Horizon 2020 - video testimonials
    • Carlos Cunha (PT): How do you see research and innovation making a difference for a better future?
      The future can only be better and improved with research. Every day, every single improvement that we have in our life is the result of some kind of research and sometimes researches are where we less expect them. I always give my students the example of the research that they make at CERN that has some huge improvements on our daily life, on the medical side because some of the diagnosis instruments they have today, for cancer,are results of the CERN research and on the other hand, the Web (www) had started at CERN. So it is an example of how research can really improve our future.

  • Research Headlines
    • Promising new research in the fight against ash dieback
      Ash trees have been suffering from the Chalara fraxinea fungus (otherwise known as ash dieback) across Europe: not only in mature forest areas, but also in urban areas such as parks and gardens, as well as in nurseries. It was discovered that in February of this year, a consignment of infected trees was sent from a nursery in the Netherlands to a nursery in Buckinghamshire, England. However, a recent Swedish study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research has revealed information that is of crucial importance for horticulturalists in the United Kingdom, and in northern and central Europe, in their battles against the aggressive attacks of the fungus. The results from the study are far-reaching, encouraging governments to invest in ash breeding programmes that will all but eliminate the disease.

Monday, 26 November 2012

  • Horizon 2020 - video testimonials
    • Amit Shafran (IL): What is needed to exit the crisis and help Europe's economy to grow?
      First of all, we have, maybe a smaller, but the same crisis in Israel. I believe that the answer to it is to focus on two levels: First: bring back the technological education, because society can't only focus on hi-tech. We need low-tech. This is ..what ur society build up, this is the base. And second, the market and the jobs should be more friendly to women. When a woman has to take her kid out of the kindergarten and must leave work, you lose money, she loses money and her child and the future lose money.

  • Research Headlines
    • Increase physical activity - reduce dementia risk
      A new study reveals that older people who increase their physical activity may reduce their chances of getting dementia. The finding was published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. The article shows that older, non-disabled people who regularly engaged in physical activity were able to reduce their risk of vascular-related dementia by 40 %, and of cognitive impairment of any aetiology by 60 %. The protective effect of regular physical activity was unaffected by age, education, changes in the brain's white matter, or even previous history of stroke or diabetes, researchers said.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Week 47

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Friday, 23 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Hope for effective new malaria treatment
      A research project carried out jointly by chemists at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom and biological scientists at the Institut Pasteur/Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France have opened the door to a promising new treatment for malaria. The researchers have successfully identified a new means to eradicate blood-borne Plasmodium parasites that cause the disease. Their research was supported in part by a European Research Council (ERC) grant.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Increase your activity for a healthier lifestyle
      People are increasingly leading a sedentary lifestyle that may lead to weight gain issues; efforts are being made across Europe to encourage people to become more active and as a result, healthier. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have taken up the challenge and have now developed an interactive learning system that aims to encourage and motivate the user to move about more â€" but in a playful way. The researchers have combined a sensor mat with an activity monitor into a system that both children and adults can use to stay fit and learn at the same time. The highlight: the system records the intensity of the physical activity and immediately displays it.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • A bacteria cocktail that kills infection
      In a recently released study, researchers have developed a cocktail of bacteria that eradicates Clostridium difficile infection. In the research study, the scientists used mice to identify a combination of six naturally occurring bacteria that eradicate a highly contagious form of C. difficile, an infectious bacterium associated with many hospital deaths. Three of the six bacteria have not been described before. This groundbreaking discovery may have significant implications for future control and treatment approaches.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Peeking into Saturn's super storm
      Astronomers have gotten a first look at the aftermath of Saturn's 'Great Springtime Storm' thanks to the heat-seeking capabilities of the international Cassini spacecraft and two ground-based telescopes. Even though the cosmic event is hidden to the naked eye, a giant oval vortex continues to exist long after the visible effects of the storm have subsided. These spectacular observations were made possible thanks to the ground-based observations made by the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, and NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Monday, 19 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Creating fish-friendly environments
      Fish such as salmon are inextricably drawn back to the place of their birth so that they too can procreate and continue the cycle. Some fish follow specific migration routes, and those that inhabit rivers and estuaries impacted by dams and power plants are at risk. Research aimed at protecting these fish is being conducted at the University of Southampton, led by Dr Paul Kemp, from the university's International Centre for Ecohydraulics Research (ICER). This European science centre is fast making a name for itself around the world as it helps engineers develop hydropower to understand fish behaviour and come up with innovative ways to keep them away from turbines and intake systems.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Week 46

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Friday, 16 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Employing virtual reality technology to revolutionise manual work
      A European-funded project promises to improve productivity and working environments across Europe, thanks to its newly developed system, which combines virtual and augmented reality technology, ergonomics and product lifecycle management. The partners of the MANUVAR project ('Manual work support throughout system lifecycle by exploiting virtual and augmented reality') developed a modular, reconfigurable system that will support manual work across a range of industries.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Study investigates conflict prevention warnings
      Professor Christoph Meyer from King's College London in the United Kingdom presented his research on the impact of warnings on policy decision-making vis-Ã -vis violent intra-national conflicts at the recent United Nations Disarmament Week, an annual observance that begins on the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Professor Meyer received a European Research Council Starting Grant worth EUR 754,000 for his research, which was presented in the journals Media, War & Conflict and International Studies Review. Professor Meyer's findings are an outcome of the FORESIGHT ('Do forecasts matter? early warnings and the prevention of armed conflicts') project.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Routine health checks not always of benefit
      General health checks are no guarantee of reducing the number of deaths from serious diseases like cancer and heart disease, according to a systematic review on the subject carried out by an international research team for The Cochrane Library. While general health checks are offered in many countries, the researchers warn against offering general health checks as part of a public health programme. Their results, recently published, are based on 14 trials involving more than 180,000 people.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Potential new treatment for Cushing's syndrome
      New treatments to combat Cushing's syndrome could be on the horizon thanks to a discovery by an international team of researchers. They successfully reprogrammed the identity of cells in the pituitary gland and identified critical mechanisms of epigenetic cell programming. The team believes that an outcome of this discovery could eventually lead to new pharmacological targets for the treatment of Cushing's syndrome. Their results have been published in the scientific journal Genes & Development.

Monday, 12 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Innovative medical textiles eliminates bacteria
      Scientists at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya • BarcelonaTech (UPC) in Spain have succeeded in eliminating infectious bacteria from medical textiles by using an enzymatic pre-treatment combined with simultaneous deposition of nanoparticles and biopolymers under ultrasonic irradiation. This was an outcome of the SONO ('A pilot line of antibacterial and antifungal medical textiles based on a sonochemical process') project, which is funded under the 'Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies' (NMP) Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to the tune of EUR 8.3 million. SONO is targeting the improvement of antimicrobial properties on medical textiles through the use of the state-of-the-art technique.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Week 45

Saturday, 10 November 2012

  • Horizon 2020 - video testimonials
    • Sara Shinton (GB): What is needed to exit the crisis and help Europe's economy to grow?
      I think the first thing to express is the deep frustration that the finance system seems to take all the resources. And actually, they are not a sector that are producing solutions anymore, just problems. So I think that the science technology community is the one that has the solutions. And also I think, the things we here now about the morals of the finance system, you don't here those things about the morals of the scientific community. So you have a community here which is full of expertise and passion, look to this community for your answers.

Friday, 09 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Study spotlights a mother's soothing touch
      Mothers who stroke their newborn infants in the first few weeks of their life could change the effects that stress during gestation has on early-life development, new research from the United Kingdom shows. Increasing maternal depression has been linked with decreasing physiological adaptability and with increasing negative emotionality when mothers do not stroke their babies enough. The study, recently presented in the journal PLOS ONE, could help increase our understanding of this issue and in turn provide better information services for pregnant women and their partners.

Thursday, 08 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • New cosmic ray discovered
      European astronomers have discovered a new source of cosmic rays emanating from the vicinity of the Arches cluster, near the centre of the Milky Way. According to the researchers, these particles are accelerated in the shock wave generated by tens of thousands of young stars moving at a speed of around 700 000 km/h. What makes this discovery stand out is that their origin differs from that of the cosmic rays discovered exactly 100 years ago by Victor Hess, which originate in the explosions of supernovae. The findings were published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Wednesday, 07 November 2012

  • Horizon 2020 - video testimonials
    • Martin Buchacek (CZ): What is needed to exit the crisis and help Europe's economy to grow?
      The problem is that surely nobody knows what is the right way to escape the crisis. But according to me, just stimulate the economy make sure that the economic growth is continuing and maybe do some monetary reform, reform Euro, the system of the common currency, think about some other ways to establish the European economy and it's important to think, these days, what we want the EU to be: if we want just a big federal state, or if we want seperate economies which are just collaborating together.

  • Research Headlines
    • Change the channel with a wave of your hand
      A team of inventors from across Europe have done away with traditional remotes and have developed a sensor about the size of a wrist watch which is able to track the 3D movement of the hand and allows the user to remotely control any device. The researchers believe that their device could replace your television remote and games controller, and could even control your mobile phone – with just a wave of the hand. Their controller, 'Digits', was presented at the 25th Association for Computing Machinery Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (ACM UIST).

Tuesday, 06 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Aspirin use may decrease type of ovarian cancer
      A new study conducted by European researchers in Denmark suggests that regular use of pain relief medications such as aspirin, can lead to a decreased risk of serous ovarian cancer in women. This is important news because despite significant progress in the field of gynaecological cancer treatment during recent decades, the prognosis has remained poor, and many have stressed that preventive strategies are urgently needed.

Monday, 05 November 2012

  • Research Headlines
    • Scientists tackle Huntington's disease by targeting mutant gene
      Huntington's disease is an inherited, neurodegenerative disorder that usually appears in mid-adult life and leads to uncoordinated body movements and cognitive decline. The disease is due to multiple repetitions of a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence (i.e. the nucleotides CAG) in the gene encoding the 'Huntingtin' protein. This sequence is present more than 35 times in patients suffering from this disease, while it is repeated 10 to 29 times in healthy patients. In a recent study, published in the journal PNAS, researchers in Spain succeeded in reducing the chromosomal expression of the mutant gene, which could potentially hinder disease development. The study was supported by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant to Dr. Mark Isalan from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Spain, worth more than EUR 1.32 million under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Sunday, 04 November 2012

  • Horizon 2020 - video testimonials
    • Natalie Brennan (IE): What are your main concerns for the future?
      I suppose my main concern for the future of science is that information is relayed to the general public. I feel that there is a lot of information coming from research, from innovative ideas, and those kinds of things. But I do feel that it is important that the general public gets involved in some ways or that the information is relayed to the general public. Certainly, there are people out there who feel that science isn't accessible to them. It is something that, you know, scientists learn and it is kept within those realms. And then, there are ordinary people within the general public who have very good ideas as to where science should be going or, you know, that Eureka moment, as to asking the questions that maybe will lead research where it needs to be that other people have overlooked. Maybe getting back to the very basic things.

Week 44

Saturday, 03 November 2012

Friday, 02 November 2012

  • Press Centre
    • €1.8 million EU-South Africa research cooperation project launched
      A new €1.8 million science cooperation project between Europe and South Africa was officially launched today at the start of an official visit to Cape Town by European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. The three-year European-South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme (ESASTAP Plus) project aims to enhance cooperation through the participation of South African researchers in EU-funded projects and reciprocal arrangements for European scientists. It will also seek to develop new joint science and technology initiatives.

Thursday, 01 November 2012

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