More ash news from Iceland

A study from Decode Genetics in Reykjavik, published in Nature Genetics, suggests that four genes have now been identified – two linked to nicotine dependence and another two linked with nicotine metabolism. These findings, if valid, could lead to better understanding of addiction to smoking and how to treat this addiction.

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Early Relationships

Is it good for a baby to have a very young mother? And what about having a much older mother? We hear quite a lot about young girls getting pregnant, but there is also a small but increasing number of women giving birth aged 60+. For example, Rajo Devi had a baby at the age […]

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Diathesis-Stress and cancer

Diathesis-stress is an example of nature AND nurture, as it can be interpreted as a gene or genes switched on by environmental factors. Recently it’s been suggested that being lonely and stressed could affect the expression of cancer-linked genes, triggering their action. The research has been done in the USA on rats, comparing those kept […]

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Genes, free will, responsibility, murder?

If you  smash your fist into someone’s body are you being aggressive and anti-social, or are you just doing what your genes programme you to do? The idea of genes affecting behaviour isn’t new and isn’t disputed, but the use of certain genes as a mitigating factor in criminal behaviour is a contentious issue. Genes […]

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Conformity and MPs

Why did so many MPs claim expenses which, although apparently ‘within the rules’, were clearly not morally justifiable? It has been suggested that this was a conformity effect, as research has shown that bending the rules or breaking social norms increases, sometimes doubling, if people see that others are doing this. It’s a ‘me too’ […]

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