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: Exercise and vitamin D don’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 briefingEMBARGO LIFTED 12:00 NOON AEDT Wednesday 11 March 2015

NEWS BRIEFING – Wednesday 11 March at 11:00 AEDT online

The 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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EXPERT REACTION: Tsunami advisory issued for Iwate Prefecture following 6.9 magnitude earthquake off coast of Japan

Tue17Feb

This morning a tsunami advisory was issued for Iwate Prefecture following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan. The advisory was later removed around lunchtime. The quake was measured at a depth of about 10 kilometres and struck just after 8:00am (local time). The city of Ofunato in Iwate issued an evacuation advisory to more than 1,350 households. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said there was no danger of a Pacific-wide tsunami. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Frozen berries contaminated with hepatitis A

Mon16Feb

An outbreak of hepatitis A in Victoria and New South Wales has been linked to imported frozen berries from China. Five people have become sick with the disease prompting a recall of products including Nanna’s frozen mixed berries one kilogram packs and Creative Gourmet mixed berries in 300 gram and 500 gram packets.  read more

NEWS BRIEFING: Academy throws its weight behind climate science

Fri13Feb

EMBARGO LIFTED 00.01 AEDT Mon Feb 16thClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

NEWS BRIEFING – Friday Feb 13th at 10:30 AEDT

The Australian Academy of Science’s latest update on climate science is clear – man-made climate change is real, and the consequences for Australia will be dire if no action is taken to address it.

The science of climate change: Questions and Answers provides a clear and authoritative account of the science behind global warming, and will help counter confusion and misinformation on this important scientific topic. read more

BRIEFING: Past, present and future of bushfires and disasters

Thu12Feb

BACKGROUND BRIEFING – Thursday 12 February at 11:00 AEDT OnlineClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

Bushfires are a way of life for Australians, and 2015 has been no different. Fires have raged across the country with the Sampson Flat bushfire in SA claiming 27 homes and the Northcliffe fire in WA, contained only yesterday, burning through 85,000 hectares. In a future tipped to see an increase in severe bushfires, how can we learn from this year’s events and can we improve our post-fire procedures? And should we be so focused on bushfires among natural killers, or does history reveal an even deadlier type of disaster? Join us as three researchers from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC discuss their latest research. read more

TRIBUTE to climate scientist Dr Michael Raupach

Wed11Feb

It is with great sadness that the Science Media Centre has learned of the passing of influential Australian climate scientist, Dr Michael Raupach. Dr Raupach worked for many years at the CSIRO and more recently at the ANU’s Climate Change Institute. He was best known for his work on the global carbon cycle and was well known in the international climate science community.  read more