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.

UK EXPERT REACTION: Australian study in rapid versus gradual weight loss (Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology*)

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EMBARGO LIFTED 10:00 AEDT Thursday 16 October 2014

A new study by Melbourne-based experts has found contrary to current dietary recommendations, slow and steady weight loss does not reduce the amount or rate of weight regain compared with losing weight quickly. Below UK experts respond. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Have we overestimated the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere? (PNAS*)

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According to US scientists, current computer models may be overestimating projected levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and may need to be corrected to accurately predict the ramifications of climate change. Current models don’t account for the slow diffusion of atmospheric CO2 inside plant leaves and underestimate the contribution of increasing CO2 to plant growth, the authors say.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Lego ends partnership with Shell

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For immediate release

After pressure from the environmental group Greenpeace, the Danish toy-brick maker Lego has decided to end its co-branding relationship with the global oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell. 

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EXPERT REACTION: Bisphenol-A and children’s lung function (Jama Pediatrics*)

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EMBARGO LIFTED 07:00 AEDT Tuesday 7 October, 2014

A US and Canadian study has reported that a higher level of maternal BPA exposure is associated with increased likelihood of respiratory disorders in children.

These expert comments were collected by the UK SMC.

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EXPERT REACTION: ‘Milan’ baby ‘cleared’ of HIV relapses (The Lancet*)

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EMBARGO LIFTED 09:01 AEST Friday 3 October, 2014

Italian doctors say they’ve detected the HIV virus in a five-year-old child who was thought to have been cleared of the HIV virus after receiving antiretroviral drugs very shortly after being born. The child was virus-free until age three but, in a case that mirrors that of the earlier ‘Mississippi’ baby, it has now returned.

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

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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

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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*)

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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

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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