Science

Caffeine in pregnancy may lead to overweight children, study suggests 

Women who drink too much coffee in pregnancy are more likely to have overweight children, a new study has shown. Youngsters whose mothers drank the equivalent of more than three cups of coffee a day were found to be more than 1lb heavier than children of women consumed little or no caffeine by the age of eight. Researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, studied 51,000 women over a

Vigorous exercise linked to increased risk of developing motor neurone disease, study suggests 

Vigorous exercise may be linked to a heightened risk of developing motor neurone disease, a new study suggests. The disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is sometimes known as the ‘Athlete’s curse’ because it affects a disproportionate number of sports people. ALS, which impacts two in 100,000 people in Britain, is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no treatment. Last month Stephen Hawking, the

Warming climate leaves birds hatching too late for caterpillar harvest

Warmer springs are leaving birds hungry because they hatch after the caterpillar population has peaked, experts have warned. The Universities of Exeter, Edinburgh and Sheffield found that the emergence of chicks is ‘increasingly mismatched’ with their main food source of oak caterpillars which are only active for a few weeks. After that, they typically fall from the trees and pupate, transforming into moths by November. Researchers found that Great tits

Hay fever significantly boosts risk of depression and other psychiatric disease, new study finds

Suffering from hay fever or other common allergies significantly increases the risk of depression and anxiety, a major new study suggests. Analysis of nearly 200,000 people showed for the first time a link between the so-called “three A’s” – allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma and atopic dermatitis (eczema) with psychiatric disease. Previous research has hinted at various causal connections between certain allergies and specific emotional or psychological disorders, but, overall,

Rare American Bittern sparks 'mega-twitch' in Suffolk

The arrival of a rare American Bittern to Britain has sparked a ‘mega-twitch’ with thousands of birdwatchers descending on the Suffolk broads to catch a glimpse of the elusive visitor. It is the first time in eight years that the bird has been sighted in the UK, with ornithologists speculating it was blown off course on its annual migration between North America and the Gulf of Mexico. The American bittern,

Mexican Walking Fish may hold key to helping paralysed people walk again

An endangered salamander may hold the key to helping paralysed people walk again, scientists believe. The axolotl, or Mexican salamander has the astonishing ability to regenerate limbs and even spinal cord if it has been injured. But now a new study by the University of Minnesota in the US has discovered how the animals achieve the feat, and how humans may be able to replicate the same process. When an

Cyberbullying makes young people twice as likely to self harm or attempt suicide 

Cyberbullying makes young people more than twice as likely to self harm or attempt suicide, a major new study has shown. The growth of social media has left many youngsters vulnerable to online bullying, which can include sending threatening, humiliating of intimidating messages or posting hurtful comments or images. Around one third of young people claim to have been victims, but the new research suggests it can have damaging and

Exposure to sheep could trigger multiple sclerosis, study suggests  

Exposure to a toxin primarily found in sheep could be linked to the development of multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests. More than 100,000 people in Britain have been diagnosed with MS, which occurs when the immune system attacks the protective coating surrounding nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The condition leads to inflammation, pain, disability and in severe cases, early death, but experts still do not know

Communal thermometers blamed for deadly Japanese fungus outbreak in NHS hospitals

Sharing equipment in hospitals could be spreading deadly superbugs, experts have concluded, after finding most patients carrying a Japanese fungal infection had been treated with the same thermometers. Last August, Public Health England (PHE) warned that the drug-resistant fungus had spread to at least 55 hospitals across Britain, infecting more than 200 patients. At the time a lack of nursing staff was blamed for the outbreaks, with NHS trusts ordered

Why people perform better when they are being watched 

Technology may have made working from home easier than ever, but according to a new study, staff who are out of sight may not perform as well as those in the office. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, wanted to find out whether being watched while undertaking a task made a difference to its outcome. Many people believe that being under constant scrutiny damages their creativity while others