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 on HIV diagnoses each year in Australia – by state

Wed16Jul
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Embargo lifted at 1am AEST on Thursday 17 July 2014

The following infographic provides a state-by-state breakdown of new HIV diagnoses using data provided by the UNSW’s Kirby Institute.

Media outlets are welcome to use this infographic as part of any coverage of this issue as long as you abide by the Creative Commons license and credit the AusSMC.  read more

NEWS BRIEFING: Is any lead too much lead? Release of the NHMRC draft review on lead exposure

Wed16Jul
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EMBARGO LIFTED 12:00 noon AEST Wednesday 16 July, 2014

Health authorities around the world are concerned by the potential effects of low lead exposure. While most Australians currently have lower lead exposure compared with previous generations thanks to public health initiatives that removed lead from household paints and petrol, there has been ongoing international debate as to whether there is a “safe” level of lead exposure. read more

NEWS BRIEFING: HIV Update – the latest Australian stats from UNSW’s Kirby Institute + HIV in indigenous communities

Mon14Jul
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Embargo lifted at 01.00 AEST Thursday July 17  2014 

NEWS BRIEFING – Tuesday July 15 at 10:00 AEST ONLINE

The University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute is releasing the latest surveillance report on HIV in Australia to coincide with its Annual Symposium on Global Challenges in Infectious disease, an official affiliated event of The 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Organic food higher in antioxidants and lower in toxic metals (British Journal of Nutrition*)

Mon14Jul
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

A UK meta-analysis of 343 studies has found organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 60 per cent higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown crops. The study also shows significantly lower levels of toxic heavy metals in organic crops including cadmium, which was found to be almost 50 per cent lower in organic crops than conventionally-grown ones. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Southern Australian drying likely our fault (Nature Geosciences*)

Fri11Jul
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EMBARGO LIFTED 03:00 AEST MONDAY 14th JULY, 2014

US scientists devised a new and improved computer model of the climate and say it confirms that southern Australia is drying out because we’ve changed the concentrations of greenhouse gases and ozone in the atmosphere. The model predicts that we could lose 40 per cent of our rainfall by the end of the twenty-first century. In an accompanying News and Views article, an Australian researcher says the new model adds to existing evidence suggesting future reductions in winter rainfall across southern Australia.

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EXPERT REACTION: Fireball over Australia as piece of Russian rocket re-enters atmosphere

Fri11Jul
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Last night parts of Eastern Australia witnessed a fireball shooting through the sky. Reports indicate it was a piece of a Russian Soyuz rocket stage that launched a satellite earlier in the week. read more

EXPERT REACTION: No blood clot risk with HPV vaccine (JAMA*)

Tue8Jul
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EMBARGO LIFTED 06:00 AEST Wednesday 9th July, 2014

A study of over half a million Danish women has found there is no increased risk of blood clots after completing a course of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, contradicting previous theories.

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EXPERT REACTION: Nature retracts papers claiming to make stem cells with acid

Thu3Jul
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You may remember back in January that Nature published a paper by Japanese and US scientists claiming that exposing ordinary body cells from mice to acidic conditions was enough to return them to the state from which they can go on to become any type of cell. A second paper claimed that stem cells created in this way could go on to become healthy, functioning organs in mice. It all sounded a bit too good to be true, and it turns out it was. After months of flaws in the papers becoming more and more apparent, the journal has retracted both of them. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Potential breast cancer blood test (Genome Medicine*)

Fri27Jun
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EMBARGO LIFTED 10:00 AEST Friday 27th JUNE 2014

A simple blood test could potentially be developed that could help predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer, even in the absence of a high-risk BRCA1 gene mutation. The researchers in this study identified specific signatures in the blood cells of women predisposed to breast cancer, owing to a BRCA1 mutation, and discovered the same signature in the blood of women without a BRCA1 mutation but who went on to develop breast cancer – making it a potential early marker of women’s cancer in the general population.

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