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.

EXPERT REACTION: Regular drinking may damage sperm (BMJ Open*)

Thu2Oct
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EMBARGO LIFTED 08:30 AEST Friday O3 Oct, 2014

A Danish study of 1,221 healthy young men found a link between regular alcohol consumption, even at moderate levels (five units per week), and reduced sperm-quality. They also found a link between alcohol consumption and hormonal abnormalities. However, being abstinent was also linked to sperm problems. The study is observational, so cannot prove definitively that the observed sperm problems were caused by alcohol. The authors recommend that young men avoid regular alcohol consumption.

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EXPERT REACTION: First imported case of Ebola in the US

Wed1Oct
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The first imported case of Ebola in the US has been confirmed today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health authorities are now tracking down people who have had contact with the patient, who arrived in Texas 10 days ago after visiting Liberia and was admitted to a Dallas hospital 4 days later. Click here for a fact sheet on Ebola prepared by the World Health Organisation. read more

NEWS BRIEFING: Carbon still climbing – release of the Global Carbon Budget for 2014 (Earth Systems Science Data Discussions*)

Fri19Sep
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EMBARGO LIFTED 03.00 AEST Monday 22 September 2014

NEWS BRIEFING – Friday September 19 at 11:00 AEST Online

Despite growing efforts to mitigate climate change, global emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels are set to reach 40 billion tonnes in 2014 – a level unprecedented in human history. The Global Carbon Budget, to be released on Monday, shows in the last ten years emissions have increased by 2.5 per cent with China, USA, India and the European Union the largest emitters. The budget, an annual report of carbon dioxide emissions, incorporates data from multiple research institutes from around the world, starting from 1959. Join us for this online briefing as two Australian members of the Global Carbon Project, authors of the Budget, discuss the latest findings. read more

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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