The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent, not-for-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise.

We aim to better inform public debate on the major issues of the day by improving links between the media and the scientific community.

BRIEFING: The science behind crystal methamphetamine (ice)

Wed15Apr

BACKGROUND BRIEFING – Wednesday April 15th at 11:00 AEST onlineClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

As the Federal Government launches its task force to tackle the ‘menace’ of crystal methamphetamine, join us to hear some of Australia’s top experts on the drug discuss the science behind ice use.

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AQ Magazine: Getting science in the spotlight

Mon13Apr

The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is delighted to feature in this month’s AQ Magazine with our article “Getting science in the spotlight”. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Climate change to wake sleeping dragons (Nature*)

Wed1Apr

EMBARGO LIFTED 10:01 AEDT Wednesday 1 April 2015

Australian and UK research has indicated that increasing temperatures will result in an explosion of fire-breathing dragons around the world. The authors say that dragon numbers declined during cool periods in history, such as the so-called Little Ice Age, but are likely to make a comeback as the planet warms. Additionally, the researchers say throughout history, fire-breathing dragons have been known to favour knights as a food source. They recommend that countries, like Australia, avoid honorific titles to escape the attention of hungry dragons. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Ten years on, no-take marine reserves in the Great Barrier Reef are a success (Current Biology)*

Fri27Mar

EMBARGO LIFTED 03:00 AEDT Fri 27 Mar 2015

A decade has passed since the no-take marine reserves (NTMRs) were expanded within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and Australian researchers say it’s working. The NTMRs were expanded from around five per cent to more than one third of the park, which the authors say has certainly helped in the reef’s recovery.

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EXPERT REACTION: Soil bacteria plays a role in wine quality (mBio)*

Fri27Mar

Vineyards producing high-quality ‘classic’ wines may owe their success to the local bacteria rather than the soil’s physical characteristics, argue the authors of new US-led research. For the first time the scientists studied an entire wine grapevine’s microbiome and found that the microbes associated with the grapes, leaves and flowers were largely derived from the soil microbes found around the plant’s roots – and the same microbes were found in different vineyards in New York, California and Bordeaux. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Exercise and vitamin D doesn’t reduce number of falls in older ladies (JAMA Internal Medicine)*

Tue24Mar

EMBARGO LIFTED 02:00 AEDT Tue 24th Mar 2015

While exercise and vitamin D do not reduce how many times women aged over 70 will fall over, exercise does help to reduce the number of falls that lead to injury in women of this age, a Finnish study has found. The researchers found that the rate of injurious falls was cut by more than half among exercisers, with or without vitamin D, while vitamin D was found to maintain bone density in the neck and shinbones. However, an accompanying commentary says that even when the results from this new study are amalgamated with a large previous study, the overall conclusion is still that vitamin D remains associated with an 11 per cent decreased risk of falls.

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NEWS BRIEFING: NHMRC releases its Statement on Homeopathy

Wed11Mar

Click here to follow a recording of the entire briefingThe National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is releasing its final Statement on Homeopathy and an Information Paper.The findings are basedon a rigorous review of more than 1300 pieces of evidence, which found 225 studies which specifically examined homeopathy’s effectiveness in treating a health condition.  Given the increasing use of complementary and alternative medicines in Australia,  it is important that the NHMRC provides the Australian public with high quality, evidence-based advice so they can make informed decisions about their health care.

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EXPERT REACTION: WHO releases sugar guidelines

Thu5Mar

The World Health Organization has today released their final guidelines on sugar intake in both adults and children. The guidelines recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of sugars, excluding sugar in fruits, vegetables and milk, to less than 10% of their total energy intake. They also add a further reduction to below 5 per cent or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

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EXPERT REACTION: Gold and white (or is it blue and black?) dress conundrum 

Fri27Feb

The social media world has erupted into debate today over a visual conundrum – why is it that a dress that looks gold and white to some people looks blue and black to others? See the dress here. Below a vision scientist offers a scientific explanation. 

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EXPERT REACTION: Cyclone Lam and  Cyclone Marcia

Fri20Feb

Severe Tropical Cyclone Lam is heading towards the Northern Territory mainland, while Queensland could see its worst weather event in two years as Cyclone Marcia approaches. Below, experts comment. For the latest warning information go to www.bom.gov.au/cyclone. For more information about cyclone intensity and categories, you can visit: http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/intensity.shtml.

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