Why the media need to tread carefully when reporting research findings

The Australian of the Year was awarded recently to biomedical scientist and stem cell researcher, Professor Alan Mackay-Sim. To have a scientist recognised for such a prestigious award was extraordinary, especially during such a challenging time for research in Australia and globally.

But alas, there was barely time for the firework-smoke-haze to clear and Australia Day hangovers to subside before criticisms emerged and accusations were made that Professor Mackay-Sim had played no role in the scientific miracle that saw a paralysed man walk again.

While the types of cells used were similar (stem cells taken from the nose), the team responsible for the “miracle” say Mackay-Sim’s work did not inform their own. Mackay-Sim has reportedly vowed to make this clear over the course of his duties as Australian of the Year.

Is basic research front page news?    

While it’s… click here to read whole article and make comments





Has the UK reached a tipping point on assisted suicide?

Could the United Kingdom soon see its blanket ban on assisted suicide (under section 2(1) Suicide Act 1961) overturned?

Noel Conway is 67 years old. He suffers from motor neurone disease, and is estimated to have 12 months to live. Mr Conway has instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to seek judicial review against the Ministry of Justice in the High Court, arguing that assisted suicide should be legally permissible, subject to satisfying a series of strict criteria.

Mr Conway’s case is noteworthy for the vivid portrayal of the progress of his condition, and the accompanying fears of becoming ‘entombed in his own body’. The legal importance of Mr Conway’s case lies in the fact that it likely has the greatest chances of long-term success in overturning the law before the UK courts. A range of factors argue for Mr Conway’s position, and support for… click here to read whole article and make comments




 
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