Drug improves symptoms of autism by targeting brain’s chemical messengers

27 January 2020

Bumetanide – a prescription drug for oedema (the build-up of fluid in the body) – improves some of the symptoms in young children with autism spectrum disorders and has no significant side effects, confirms a new study from researchers in China and the UK. Published today in Translational Psychiatry, the study demonstrates for the first time that the drug improves the symptoms by decreasing the ratio of the GABA to glutamate in the brain. GABA and glutamate are both neurotransmitters – chemical messengers that help nerve cells in the brain communicate.

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Women in STEM: Professor Laura Itzhaki

23 January 2020

Professor Laura Itzhaki is a group leader in the Department of Pharmacology and a Fellow of Newnham College. Here, she tells us about forming her own spin-out company, pitching to investors and her research on the 'workhorses' of the cell.?

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Vomiting bumblebees show that sweeter is not necessarily better

22 January 2020

Animal pollinators support the production of three-quarters of the world’s food crops, and many flowers produce nectar to reward the pollinators. A new study using bumblebees has found that the sweetest nectar is not necessarily the best: too much sugar slows down the bees. The results will inform breeding efforts to make crops more attractive to pollinators, boosting yields to feed our growing global population.

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Magnetised molecules used to monitor breast cancer

22 January 2020

A new type of scan that involves magnetising molecules allows doctors to see in real-time which regions of a breast tumour are active, according to research at the University of Cambridge and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Shallow river bed in Buderim Forest Park, Queensland, Australia. Credit: Laura Bentley

Local water availability is permanently reduced after planting forests

20 January 2020

River flow is reduced in areas where forests have been planted and does not recover over time, a new study has shown.?Rivers in some regions can completely disappear within a decade. This highlights the need to consider the impact on regional water availability, as well as the wider climate benefit, of tree-planting plans.

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