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Weekly roundup 21/04/2017

PET scans of a healthy brain and one suffering from Alzherimer's.

21 Apr 2017

In the news recently:

A team of scientists who previously identified a major pathway that leads to brain cell death in mice have now repurposed two drugs to block the pathway and prevent neurodegeneration. The drugs caused minimal side effects in mice and one is already licensed for use in humans, so is ready for clinical trials. The trial has been well-received by experts, with both the Alzheimer's Society and Parkinson’s UK expressing their excitement at the possibilities. The team wants to start clinical trials on dementia patients soon and hope to know whether the drugs are clinically effective within two to three years. You can read the study in the journal Brain.

The underwater discovery by British scientists of a rare minerals ‘treasure trove’ in the Atlantic Ocean has reignited the debate about where vital resources should come from. Many of the minerals found in the mountain, known as Tropic Seamount, are needed to support renewable technologies, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and electronics. Dr Murton, team leader, says he is not advocating deep-sea mining, which is highly controversial. However, he told the BBC, ‘If we need green energy supplies, then we need the raw materials to make the devices that produce the energy so, yes, the raw materials have to come from somewhere.’ You can read more about the expedition here.

On Wednesday, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee met with government ministers to discuss the UK’s energy and climate change negotiation priorities to take forward to talks with the European Union. A major concern that was raised surrounded the Clean Growth Plan, a government strategy that was due to be unveiled in June relating to climate change policies to help the UK reduce carbon emissions. With the announcement of the snap general election, the release of this document has been cast into doubt, adding to increasing concerns from lobbyists that a Conservative government would loosen carbon emission restrictions in favour of industry.
Iain Wright, chair of the BEIS committee, said that, ‘failure to publish the Growth Plan before the general election will send a clear message of the priorities of the government’.

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