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.

Infographic: Syphilis at record breaking levels in Australia

Wed17Sep
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EMBARGO LIFTED 01.00 AEST Thursday 18 September, 2014

The latest stats from UNSW’s Kirby Institute paint a disturbing picture of Australia’s sexual health. You can listen again to the briefing on the stats here. Levels of syphilis – the bacterial STI that can cause severe deformities if left untreated – are the highest they’ve ever been in the country. To illustrate the rise of the disease, we’ve created an infographic in conjunction with the Kirby Institute. The infographic can be used to view the syphilis stats state-by-state, nationally and split by age and gender. The infographic was produced with a grant from the Myer Foundation. read more

NEWS BRIEFING: Latest stats from UNSW’s Kirby Institute – syphilis hits all-time high, gonorrhoea climbing and hep C deaths double in a decade

Mon15Sep
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EMBARGO LIFTED 01:00 AEST Thursday 18 September, 2014 

NEWS BRIEFING – Mon September 15 at 11:00 AEST

The latest stats from the UNSW Kirby Institute’s annual surveillance report paint a disturbing picture of Australia’s sexual health. A number of nasty STIs continue to increase – syphilis is at the highest level ever recorded in the country, and increases in rates of gonorrhoea are also continuing. But there are glimmers of light among the bad news – chlamydia rates have declined for the first time in recent history, although it remains the most common STI, and cases of genital warts among women have dropped dramatically thanks to the HPV jab. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Solar flares to light up the sky this weekend

Fri12Sep
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This weekend will see potentially the best Northern and Southern light show of the year as two enormous eruptions from the Sun hit the Earth on Friday and Saturday night. Below, an expert gives his view. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Suspected Ebola case in Australia

Thu11Sep
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A 25 year old Australian man, who has recently returned from a visit to the Ebola-affected Congo, has been admitted to a Gold Coast hospital after experiencing Ebola-like symptoms. It has not yet been established whether the man actually has the deadly virus.

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EXPERT REACTION: Sleeping pills increase Alzheimer’s risk (The BMJ*)

Tue9Sep
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EMBARGO LIFTED 08:30 AEST Wednesday 10 September, 2014

Taking benzodiazepines – widely prescribed drugs to treat anxiety and insomnia – is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, particularly for long-term users, say French and Canadian researchers.

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NEWS BRIEFING: Toking their lives away – teen cannabis use (The Lancet Psychiatry*)

Mon8Sep
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EMBARGO LIFTED at 9:01 am AEST Wednesday 10 September, 2014

NEWS BRIEFING – Tue 9 Sep 2014 at 11:00 am AEST Online

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia, with around 4 per cent of 14-19 year old Australian youths using the drug weekly. So, what are the effects of adolescent cannabis use? Our panellists will discuss their new research findings that link cannabis-use in teens with a range of problems in young adult life, including mental health problems, increased substance use and reduced educational attainment. The panel will also discuss policy and other implications of the findings.

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EXPERT REACTION: Higgs Boson may destroy the universe says Stephen Hawking

Mon8Sep
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Theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, in the preface to his new book, Starmus, has asserted that the ‘God’ particle, correctly known as the Higgs Boson, may cause the end of the universe.

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EXPERT REACTION: Federal Court of Australia rules breast cancer genes can be patented

Fri5Sep
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The full bench of the Federal Court of Australia has this morning ruled that private companies do have the right to control human genes. The court upheld a decision from February last year that ruled patents on breast cancer genes were valid because the method of isolating the gene created something new and could therefore be patented.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Experimental drug for Ebola (Nature*)

Fri29Aug
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EMBARGO LIFTED at 03.00 AEST Saturday 30 August, 2014

International scientists have successfully treated the Ebola virus in monkeys. Administration of a drug called ZMapp resulted in recovery in 100 per cent of the 18 rhesus macaques treated, even when initiated up to five days after infection.  read more