SMC Science Deadline: Queenstown science, Startup Nation and big big sisters

By Sciencemediacentre.co.nz received 3 years ago

Categories: Science
Age: 19 until 30 year 31 until 64 years 65 and older
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Issue 342,  28 Aug 2015

In this issue:

Q-Town Science
Sartup Nation
Big sisters Policy updates
New from the SMC

Quick Links

SMC Alerts
Media Registration
About us
Contact the SMC

New from the SMC

Expert Reaction: Marine Protected Area definition too loose   In the News: Firstborn females more likely to be overweight, obese   Expert Reaction: MetService considered for BBC weather   In the News: Depression affects many New Zealand mums-to-be
  The SMC network
Briefing: Teenage goths, self-harm and depression   Expert Reaction: Antibiotics and type 2 diabetes   Expert Reaction: Editorial on counting calories vs nutritional values of food to improve heart health   Expert Reaction: Germany’s move to ban GM crops   Expert Reaction: Vitamin D deficiency and MS
Australian SMC
  Expert Reaction: NSW flooding and Jerrara Dam evacuation   Expert Reaction: Government rejects adding Meningococcal B vaccine to PBS

  Find out more about our media training for scientists:
Science Media SAVVY

Top news from scimex.org  the Science Media Centre's news sharing platform.
Newborn blood sugar linked to test scores later

Building better (virtual) buttons

Cracking the dog code

Nutrition more important for health than counting calories

Queenstown Research Week

The southern resort town will be the indisputable science capital of New Zealand next week when Queenstown Research Week kicks off.
The annual event spans several high profile conferences that draw international experts back to New Zealand year after year for scientific meetings - and the odd spot of skiing - in the heart of the South Island.

Over 1200 researchers will be attending the variety of the meetings and conferences on offer this year, including:

the Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research, the New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress, the The Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists conference, and the 25th Queenstown Molecular Biology Meetings.

This year the organisers of the Research Week have also arranged an epic series of public engagement events which will take science to the streets. There will be plenty of public talks on fascinating research topics (sex, drugs, Ebola and sugar, to name just a few), hands-on science experiments, a family show for the kids and a 'science of beer' session for the grownups.
It's going to be a busy time! Don't forget the Science Media Centre is here to help if you would like a hand navigating the events and people that will be accessible for media during the conferences.
The Science Media Centre will be at Queenstown Research Week Monday and Tuesday 31 Aug and 1 Sept offering rapid-fire, one-on-one media training sessions through its new Science Media SAVVY Express programme. Attendees will get helpful, personalised advice on explaining their work for a wider audience and walk away with a professionally-produced 90 second video about their research.
Check out the results of previous Science Media SAVVY Express sessions on Youtube.
If you are involved in organising a New Zealand research conference and want to find out more about Science Media SAVVY Express, get in touch.

Policy news & developments

Drugs policy: The 2015-2020 National Drug Policy - launched this week - lays out the Government's approach to minimising harm from alcohol and other drugs for the next five years.
Chemical reassessment: THe EPA is seeking submissions on its reassessment of some organophosphates and carbamates used in some veterinary medicines and insecticides.
War on weeds: Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has launched the new 'War on Weeds' campaign focusing efforts on 12 weeds which are causing particular problems in different parts of the country.
Flu vaccine extended: The Ministry of Health has extended its free vaccine programme until Friday 11 September.

Israel: innovation central

The small nation is seeing a focus on fostering innovation pay off with a thriving hi-tech sector and startup scene.

The 5,000 active tech startups based in Israel, the most per capita in the world, sees the country live up to the title Startup Nation, popularised by the 2007 book of the same name that explains the complex mix of factors that have culminated in US$15 billion worth of Israeli tech startup exits, mergers and acquisitions last year alone.
In Jerusalem last week for the World Science Conference, a gathering of 15 Nobel Laureates and 400 high school and university students from around the world, SMC Director Peter Griffin met with Startup Nation co-author Saul Singer and some of the country's leading scientists and tech entrepreneurs to see what New Zealand can learn from the success of the Israelis, who over the last three decades have diversified their economy away from selling oranges and polished diamonds to high value science and tech related industries.
Check out Griffin's posts here, which will be added to over the next couple of weeks. And listen here to his interview with Radio New Zealand on the Startup Nation.

SMC Director Peter Griffin (right) with English chemist and Nobel Laureate Harold Kroto

Quoted: RNZ Nine to Noon

"In attempts to reverse these trends and deflect concerns about the health effects of sugary drinks, the soda industry invokes elements of the tobacco industry’s classic playbook: cast doubt on the science, discredit critics, invoke nanny statism and attribute obesity to personal irresponsibility"
  Food politics professor Marion Nestle from NYU discusses how food companies are influencing public health research

Big sisters bigger - NZ research

Girls who are born the first in their family are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to their younger sisters, according to a new study from New Zealand and Swedish researchers.

The conclusions were drawn from a study of more than 13,000 pairs of adult Swedish sisters – the largest study of its kind. The findings also match up with previous studies identifying similar patterns in firstborn adult men and in children of both sexes.

“We found that firstborns were nearly 30 per cent more likely to be overweight, and 40 per cent more likely to be obese than their second-born sisters,” said senior investigator, Professor Wayne Cutfield of the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland, in a media release.
What causes the differences between firstborns and those born later remains an open question, but Professor Cutfield proposes that it is due to differences in the blood supply to the placenta.
The researches also point out that the steady reduction in family size over the last century – creating a higher proportion of first-borns – may be a contributing factor to increasing weight gain across both genders.

The study is published this week in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 
You can read more about the research on Scimex.org and a round up of national media coverage on the Science Media Centre website.

New from Sciblogs

Some of the highlights from this week's Sciblogs posts:
The complex future of ecology - How do humans choose which species to save? Lynley Hargreaves interviews Dr Daniel Stouffer about saving ecosystems from extinction.
Infrequently Asked Questions
The Social Media Challenge - Twitter or Facebook? Instagram or Pinterst? Kimberley Collins checks out new US research on the changing face of social media.
Up and Atom
Epigenetics and the holocaust - Grant Jacobs untangles some of the science behind recent sensational headlines.
Code for Life

Upcoming events

Please see the SMC Events Calendar for more events and details. Queenstown Research Week - 30 August - 3 September, Queenstown. New Zealand's premier annual biological sciences event, encompassing 3 major annual meetings plus six additional satellite meetings on a diverse range of themes.
Question It! QWR Public Events -  30 August - 3 September, Queenstown. Question It will feature a series of public events in downtown Queenstown that cover some of the most interesting and controversial science issues of our time, and its nearly all free.
Female Athlete Health Symposium - 3-5 September, Hamilton. Two-day symposium focussing on energy deficiency and related concerns of female athletes including disordered eating practices, bone health, menstrual disruption and other performance issues.
New Zealand Immunisation Conference and Workshop - 3-5 September, Hamilton. Opportunity for researchers and practitioners to learn, share and enjoy a few days of all things vaccine and immunisation related.

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