Science

Only 100 nuclear bombs needed to cause catastrophe around the world

Nations with huge nuclear arsenals are wasting their money because just 100 missiles would be enough to destabilise the globe and kill their own citizens, scientists have said. Britain currently possesses approximately 215 warheads of around 15,000 worldwide, the vast majority of which are American or Russian. But researchers have determined that no nation could fire more than 100 without causing a chain of events so catastrophic the impacts are

Traces of drugs taken by foreign tourists found in York rivers

Traces of drugs thought to have been taken by American and Chinese tourists are among nearly 30 found in river water in York, according to a new study. Scientists have said they believe the levels of pharmaceuticals found in the Rivers Ouse and Foss are higher than in other parts of the world. The York University team stressed that although the levels were extremely low – drinking two litres of

Play Mozart to keep babies happy in the womb, say doctors

Playing Mozart to unborn babies is most likely to keep them happy in the womb, but Adele and the Bee Gees should be avoided, according to a new study. Research by fertility doctors has found that, overall, foetuses prefer classical music to contemporary songs. Bach’s sonata for flute as well as Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from the ninth sympathy were also found to elicit happy contented responses. However, Someone Like

Having tonsils out 'triples' risk of asthma, according to major study

Having tonsils removed more than triples the risk of developing asthma in later life, a new study suggests. The first long-term investigation into consequences of the common childhood procedure also found increased risk of influenza, pneumonia as well as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. As many as one in five people who underwent a tonsillectomy went on to suffer from serious diseases they would otherwise not have developed, the study showed.

Personalised medicine 'transforms' survival chances in incurable cancer

Treating “incurable” cancer by targeting genes rather than where it is located in the body can “transform” survival chances and give years of extra life, a major new study has found. The first long-term analysis of patients with difficult-to-treat tumours who underwent gene testing has shown the personalised technique boosted chances of surviving 10 years by a factor of six compared to standard practice. Oncology experts last night called for

High Court backs NHS decision to stop funding homeopathy

A decision to stop NHS funding for homeopathy has been upheld by a High Court judge. The British Homeopathic Association (BHA) brought a legal challenge against NHS England’s decision, made in November last year, to stop paying the  £92,000 annual cost of homeopathic remedies. But, following a four-day hearing in London in May, Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed the BHA’s case in a ruling on Tuesday. Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, welcomed

GPs handing out too many antibiotics harms cancer survival chances

GPs overprescribing antibiotics is significantly damaging the survival chances of cancer patients, leading oncologists have warned. A major new NHS study has found that sufferers undergoing the latest cancer treatments survived for only half as long if they were also taking the common infection-fighting drugs. Family doctors have been warned to “think really carefully”, before prescribing antibiotics after the analysis of more than 300 patients at the Christie Hospital in Manchester concluded the drugs

'Holy grail' blood test could detect cancer long before tumours develop  

A new blood test able to detect 10 types of cancer years before a person falls ill could become available on the NHS within five years, scientists say. The breakthrough is being hailed as a major step towards the “holy grail” of curing cancer after trials on 1,400 patients found the simple procedure worked with up to 90 per cent accuracy. Experts said the findings could pave the way for

'Surprising' methane dunes found on Pluto

Pluto is covered with surprising dunes made of methane ice, which have formed relatively recently despite the frigid dwarf planet’s very thin atmosphere, international researchers said Thursday. Pluto’s atmosphere has a surface pressure 100,000 times lower than Earth’s, which researchers suspected might be too little to allow tiny grains of solid methane to mobilize and become airborne. Yet mild winds blowing across Pluto’s surface at speeds of some 19-25 miles (30-40 kilometers)

Night sky: June 2018 – summer solstice, and how to see noctilucent clouds

The Sun reaches its most northerly position in the sky at 11:07 BST on 21 June, marking a point in time known as the June solstice. The UK’s period of night is shortest at this time. The elliptical nature of Earth’s orbit causes a variation in our distance from the Sun over the course of a year. Our last closest approach, or perihelion, occurred on 3 January when, centre-to-centre the