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.

BRIEFING: Get in quick: clinical trial supports early HIV treatment


EMBARGO LIFTED 05.00 AEST Thursday 28 May 2015Click here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

NEWS BRIEFING – Tuesday 26 May at 12:00 noon AEST Online

An international HIV treatment trial has been terminated after interim results provided conclusive evidence that immediate treatment of HIV is superior to the current practice of deferring treatment among people with HIV infection. These findings have global implications for the treatment of people living with HIV, as we now know that treatment at all stages of disease extends survival and prevents serious disease complications. Together with data from previous studies showing reduced risk of HIV transmission among people on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), our speaker will discuss how the clinical trial findings are critical in supporting treatment for victims of HIV at any stage infection, and accordingly, will influence treatment regimens for the HIV virus worldwide.

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BRIEFING: Going off grid – is Tesla’s Powerwall revolutionary, or just hype?


BACKGROUND BRIEFING – Thursday May 21 at 09:30 AEST onlineClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

Electric car company Tesla recently launched a battery to power homes, Powerwall, and the firm has made some bold claims about its potential. The battery, says Tesla, would allow solar panel-equipped homes to go ‘off grid’, enable zero emission power generation and bring power to areas of the world that lack traditional electricity infrastructure. But do these claims stand up? Join us for this online briefing, when leading Australian experts will assess Tesla’s claim that its batteries will revolutionise the way we use electricity. read more

BRIEFING: NHMRC releases lead report


EMBARGO LIFTED 14.00 AEST Tuesday 19 May 2015Click here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

NEWS BRIEFING – Tuesday 19 May at 13:00 AEST Online

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will tomorrow release a Statement and Information Paper summarising the evidence on the effects of lead on human health. The review found no noticeable health effects in blood lead levels less than 10 micrograms per decilitre, but the NHMRC recommends anyone with a blood lead level greater than 5 micrograms per decilitre investigate the source of exposure. This review was overseen by NHMRC’s Lead Working Committee which comprised experts in public and environmental health, toxicology, paediatrics and consumer issues. The statement updates previous work released for public consultation last year and replaces a 2009 information paper. Join us in this online briefing where experts discuss the latest findings. read more

BACKGROUND BRIEFING: Zap my brain: electro-discovery, electro-treatment and electro-doping


BACKGROUND BRIEFING – Wednesday 13 May at 10:30 AEST ONLINEClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

Have you ever wanted to give your brain a boost? A new wave of research is looking into how brain stimulation technologies can help to treat, enhance, or understand our brains. While some of these non-invasive brain stimulation therapies have already been proven to work in treating conditions like depression, the evidence of their ability to cognitively enhance is still shaky.

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EXPERT REACTION: Federal Budget 2015


Treasury Joe Hockey and the Federal Government have this evening delivered the latest federal budget. Below experts comment on how the budget will impact research, health and science. read more

NEWS BRIEFING: Bureau makes the call on El Niño


EMBARGO LIFTED 15:00 AEST Tuesday 12 MayClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

Join us for this online briefing when climate scientists from the Bureau of Meteorology will confirm whether today marks the start of El Niño, for the first time since March 2010. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Aussie scientists find genetic changes associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (Immunology and Immunogenetics Insights)*


Griffith University researchers say they’ve found genetic changes associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME). The results could help settle a long-standing debate about whether the condition, which was initially dismissively referred to as ‘yuppie flu’, is purely psychological or whether it has a biological cause in the body. The scientists identified genetic changes in receptors associated with immunological and cellular function, which they say disrupt signalling mechanisms involving the detection and response to threats. read more

BRIEFING: Ice blocked – responding to Antarctica’s changing sea ice


NEWS BRIEFING – Monday 11 May 2015 at 10:00 AEST OnlineClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

It’s the ongoing paradox; as the world continues to warm, the sea ice extent around Antarctica is gradually increasing. With the annual expansion of Antarctic sea ice now underway, and set to peak in late September, satellite observations show that a new recorded daily maximum has been set every day for the past fortnight.  And for the past three years in a row, the peak extent of sea ice has set an all-time recorded maximum. These increases also mask much larger regional changes in sea ice distribution, as well as changes in the physical properties of the ice itself. Scientists today have a firm understanding of the key forces driving this trend. The challenge for those who operate in the Antarctic is how to respond. In parts of Antarctica, changes in sea ice are distribution are impacting the delivery of scientists, support personnel and supplies to national research facilities. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Maurice Newman’s climate change claims


For immediate release

An article in The Australian this morning, written by Tony Abbott’s chief business adviser Maurice Newman, says that climate change is being used as a tool by the United Nations to impose a form a global governance. The article calls into question the data produced to support climate change models and UN spending on climate change policies.

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EXPERT REACTION: Tiny bat-like dinosaur discovered (Nature)*


EMBARGO LIFTED 03:00 AEST Thur 30 Apr 2015

A small dinosaur with bat-like wings has been discovered in Jurassic rocks in China. They say the specimen has a peculiar wrist structure that is dissimilar to other dinosaurs, but is commonly seen in winged animals like bats and flying squirrels. The researchers believe the discovery raises questions about the origins of flight.

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