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Meghan and Harry: Duchess of Sussex expecting a baby

BBC Sussex News Feed - 1 hour 57 min ago
The Duchess of Sussex is due to give birth in the spring, Kensington Palace says.

'Shwmae' a chyfarchion eraill

BBC Wales News Feed - 2 hours 4 min ago
Sut fyddwch chi'n cyfarch yn Gymraeg ar ddiwrnod Shwmae Su'mae?
Categories: Wales

Welsh universal basic income backed by Labour leader hopeful Eluned Morgan

BBC Wales News Feed - 2 hours 11 min ago
Eluned Morgan said a pilot of the universal benefit scheme should take place in Wales
Categories: Wales

Man released over fatal Sheffield hit-and-run

A 28-year-old woman died when she was hit by a car as she was crossing St Mary's Gate in Sheffield.
Categories: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Oriel Luniau: Gwobrau BAFTA Cymru 2018

BBC Wales News Feed - 2 hours 23 min ago
Y golygfeydd ar y carped coch ar gyfer y seremoni yng Nghaerdydd
Categories: Wales

Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form

Cambridge University NewsFeed - 2 hours 32 min ago

The star is just two million years old – a ‘toddler’ in astronomical terms – and is surrounded by a huge disc of dust and ice. This disc, known as a protoplanetary disc, is where the planets, moons, asteroids and other astronomical objects in stellar systems form.

The star was already known to be remarkable because it contains the first so-called hot Jupiter - a massive planet orbiting very close to its parent star – to have been discovered around such a young star. Although hot Jupiters were the first type of exoplanet to be discovered, their existence has long puzzled astronomers because they are often thought to be too close to their parent stars to have formed in situ.

Now, a team of researchers led by the University of Cambridge have used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to search for planetary ‘siblings’ to this infant hot Jupiter. Their image revealed three distinct gaps in the disc, which, according to their theoretical modelling, were most likely caused by three additional gas giant planets also orbiting the young star. Their results are reported in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The star, CI Tau, is located about 500 light years away in a highly-productive stellar ‘nursery’ region of the galaxy. Its four planets differ greatly in their orbits: the closest (the hot Jupiter) is within the equivalent of the orbit of Mercury, while the farthest orbits at a distance more than three times greater than that of Neptune. The two outer planets are about the mass of Saturn, while the two inner planets are respectively around one and 10 times the mass of Jupiter.

The discovery raises many questions for astronomers. Around 1% of stars host hot Jupiters, but most of the known hot Jupiters are hundreds of times older than CI Tau. “It is currently impossible to say whether the extreme planetary architecture seen in CI Tau is common in hot Jupiter systems because the way that these sibling planets were detected - through their effect on the protoplanetary disc – would not work in older systems which no longer have a protoplanetary disc,” said Professor Cathie Clarke from Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, the study’s first author.

According to the researchers, it is also unclear whether the sibling planets played a role in driving the innermost planet into its ultra-close orbit, and whether this is a mechanism that works in making hot Jupiters in general. And a further mystery is how the outer two planets formed at all.

“Planet formation models tend to focus on being able to make the types of planets that have been observed already, so new discoveries don’t necessarily fit the models,” said Clarke. “Saturn mass planets are supposed to form by first accumulating a solid core and then pulling in a layer of gas on top, but these processes are supposed to be very slow at large distances from the star. Most models will struggle to make planets of this mass at this distance.”

The task ahead will be to study this puzzling system at multiple wavelengths to get more clues about the properties of the disc and its planets. In the meantime, ALMA – the first telescope with the capability of imaging planets in the making – will likely throw out further surprises in other systems, re-shaping our picture of how planetary systems form.

The research has been supported by the European Research Council.

Reference:
C.J. Clarke et al. ‘High resolution millimetre imaging of the CI Tau protoplanetary disc – a massive ensemble of protoplanets from 0.1 – 100 AU.’ The Astrophysical Journal Letters (2018). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aae36b

Researchers have identified a young star with four Jupiter and Saturn-sized planets in orbit around it, the first time that so many massive planets have been detected in such a young system. The system has also set a new record for the most extreme range of orbits yet observed: the outermost planet is more than a thousand times further from the star than the innermost one, which raises interesting questions about how such a system might have formed. 

Planet formation models tend to focus on being able to make the types of planets that have been observed already, so new discoveries don’t necessarily fit the models.Cathie ClarkeAmanda Smith, Institute of AstronomyArtist's impression of CI Tau


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First Minister 'optimistic' for new rail franchise despite tough start

BBC Wales News Feed - 2 hours 39 min ago
New £5bn Wales rail franchise starts with cancellations and delays caused by Storm Callum.
Categories: Wales

Police officer denies making sexual remarks to complainant

Coventry and Warwickshire - 2 hours 41 min ago
The West Midlands force constable is accused of using "highly sexualised language".
Categories: Coventry, Warwickshire

Killer flu

BBC Wales News Feed - 2 hours 57 min ago
We ask the experts if another killer flu pandemic is around the corner.
Categories: Wales

Harry Arter: Roy Keane apology 'wasn't needed' after Republic row

BBC Wales News Feed - 3 hours 12 min ago
Republic of Ireland midfielder Harry Arter says he never needed assistant manager Roy Keane to say sorry for their row before returning to the squad.
Categories: Wales

Rail line repaired after floods leave 6ft hole under track

Devon BBC News Feed - 3 hours 15 min ago
Network Rail confirms that trains are running again, "although at reduced speeds".
Categories: Devon

Graham Carey: Plymouth Argyle forward apologises for team after Oxford defeat

Devon BBC News Feed - 3 hours 28 min ago
Plymouth Argyle top-scorer Graham Carey says sorry to the fans on behalf of the team after their loss at Oxford United.
Categories: Devon

Galw am adolygu rheolau hela wedi marwolaeth Ffrainc

BBC Wales News Feed - 3 hours 31 min ago
Galw am adolygu cyfreithiau hela Ffrainc yn dilyn marwolaeth Cymro ym mynyddoedd yr Alpau ddydd Sadwrn.
Categories: Wales

Ashley Beck: Wales and Worcester centre breaks leg

BBC Wales News Feed - 3 hours 42 min ago
Worcester confirm Wales international Ashley Beck broke his leg during their Challenge Cup win at Stade Francais.
Categories: Wales

Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru: 'Angen amddiffynfeydd newydd'

BBC Wales News Feed - 3 hours 55 min ago
Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru a'r Prif Weinidog yn dweud y bydd adolygiad o amddiffynfeydd llifogydd wedi tywydd garw'r penwythnos.
Categories: Wales

MPs examine implications for Scottish exports after Brexit

Parliament News - 4 hours 4 min ago
Scottish Affairs Committee hears from higher education, digital, financial and legal sectors
Categories: Parliament News

Evidence session: National Security and Investment

Parliament News - 4 hours 4 min ago
Joint Committee on National Security Strategy hears from industry, experts and Government officials
Categories: Parliament News

Cambridge Festival of Ideas launches today

Cambridge University NewsFeed - 4 hours 20 min ago
The Cambridge Festival of Ideas begins today with a host of free events and debates on everything from the future of capitalism to the high point of the Hollywood musical.   The Festival runs from 15th to 28th October and is packed with over 200 debates, talks, exhibitions, film screenings and performances at venues around Cambridge.   Speakers include Baroness Valerie Amos, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Professor David Runciman, best-selling author Tara Westover, film director Tim Slade, author James Bloodworth, psychologist Terri Apter, Professor David Reynolds, economist Victoria Bateman and postcolonial literature expert Priyamvada Gopal.   Top picks for the first week of the Festival include:   Rethinking religious fundamentalism - Professor Kim Knott, Lancaster University, Ed Kessler MBE, Woolf Institute, Cambridge, and Tobias Müller, Woolf Institute and POLIS, University of Cambridge, discuss why fundamentalist beliefs and practices are so attractive to some, how fundamentalism relates to mainstream interpretations of the same religion and how we should distinguish between fundamentalism, extremism, radicalism and orthodoxy. 15th October   Dance in hospital will present the findings from the UK's first in-patient dance programme. Researchers, dancers and nurses will be on hand to discuss the Cambridge University Hospitals programme which has run since 2016. It offers seven sessions each week on six different wards: elderly care, diabetes and endocrinology, neuro-rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation and renal. Bedside sessions can also be offered to patients who are unable to attend the group sessions for clinical reasons. Each session lasts up to one hour and is entirely shaped around and in response to the patients who attend. 15th October   In this year’s Hermann Bondi Lecture, The future of capitalism: facing the new anxieties, Sir Paul Collier will outline how rigorous social science can both explain and address new anxieties raised by the economic divergences - spatial, educational and international - that have arisen since the 1980s. Drawing on his new book, published in October, he will suggest how capitalism can be saved from itself and how we can free ourselves from the baggage of the 20th century. 17th October.   In The destruction of memory film maker Tim Slade will discuss his award-winning film on the cultural destruction wrought by wars around the world, from Syria to Iraq, why culture has become an increasing target of combattants and why this matters. 16th October   Tim Slade says: "Destroying cultural artefacts  erases history and the record of human achievement, it disorientates the people who draw meaning from the artefact, and as noted above it attacks the identity of the group of people for whom the artefact is a record of presence in the past, present and future. I think what is crucial is that all of us recognise that we can have a voice if we feel governments and international organisations aren’t doing enough to protect cultural heritage. We can act as individuals or in small groups to lobby, to write letters, to contribute to groups working in the area. Individuals and small groups can be more agile in responding to the issue than governments and courts can be."    In The high point of the Hollywood musical historian and screenwriter Colin Shindler explores the highs and lows of the Hollywood Musical in a lavishly illustrated lecture in glorious Metrocolor. 20th October   Regulation, inspection and extreme risk: the history behind the Grenfell Tower tragedy will discuss the historical precursors to the Grenfell tragedy. In Victorian Britain a number of disasters similar to the Grenfell Tower fire struck in various sectors of industry and society as the rapidly changing and largely unregulated profit-oriented economy threw up all manner of hazards. This event examines how statutory regulatory bodies were set up to counter these dangers, how they evolved into today’s publicly funded inspectorates and how cost-cutting has affected their ability to function. 17th October.   Synaesthesia and art: dance of light is a two-part lecture about the neuroscience of synaesthesia - the phenomenon that describes linkages in the brain, which give rise to multi-sensory experiences such as seeing sounds as shapes. It is followed by an illustrated talk by the artist Rhea Quien who will talk about her experiences of synaesthesia and its consequences in her creativity: stillness and movement – emptiness and form. 16th October   The mystery of mythical seizures reflects on mystical experiences during epileptic seizures and what they can teach us about empathy, personal reflection and how different traditions of faith or non-faith can intersect in big questions about the nature of personal experience. It includes experts on the psychology of religion and people who have had mystical seizures. 18th October   An end to inequality? - Professor Nava Ashraf will talk about recent research in economics questioning the assumption that human beings are primarily self-interested, and will discuss what many religious and philosophical thinkers have understood about human nature, drawing on Bahai perspectives on economics. 19th October   What have the angels ever done for us? Angels are a nearly ubiquitous aspect of many world religions. They continue to be widely represented in popular literature, theatre, cinema, radio, television and music. Yet many doubt the intelligibility of the angels, although they are among the most exciting and least known topics in theology. This discussion panel will address who and what angels represent in religion and culture and whether they exist. 19th October   Many of the Festival's events take place in the first weekend which is full of lively discussion on topical and historical issues and experimental performances, including:   In Black power, in Britain and on film historian Robin Bunce chairs a discussion of film makers and screenwriters who are bringing the hidden history of the Black Power Movement to the screen. Speakers include writer and producer Misan Sagay, screen writer and script editor Anna Ssemuyaba, director and producer Cathy Hassan, Helen Bart, legal producer of Stephen: the murder that changed a nation and Farrukh Dhondy, leading member of the British Black Panthers, author, screenwriter and producer for Channel 4. 20th October.   In Trade wars: deal or no deal an expert panel will discuss what the likely impact of trade wars is and how the tension between protectionism and free trade has played out in history. With historian Dr Marc-William Palen, Dr Meredith Crowley, trade consultant Dr Minako Morita-Jaeger and international law expert Dr Lorand Bartels. 20th October.    The future of work is a discussion of leading thinkers who will address whether the future of work is be one in which jobs become ever more precarious and robots take over or whether we can regulate to make the gig economy and artificial intelligence work in our favour. With James Bloodworth, sociologist Dr Alex Wood, robotics expert Dr Hatice Gunes and HR specialist Laetitia Vitaud. 20th October   Ensembles and embryos will explore the extraordinary parallels between making music and making an embryo in an interactive performance, featuring live music and stories of the beginning of life. 20th October   The Festival sponsors and partners are St John’s College, Anglia Ruskin University, RAND Europe, University of Cambridge Museums and Botanic Garden, Cambridge Junction and Cambridge University Press. The Festival media partners are BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and Cambridge Independent.

The Cambridge Festival of Ideas begins today with over 200 talks, discussions, exhibitions and performances taking place over the next two weeks.


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Many cases of dementia may arise from non-inherited DNA ‘spelling mistakes’

Cambridge University NewsFeed - 4 hours 33 min ago

The findings suggest that for many people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, the roots of their condition will trace back to their time as an embryo developing in the womb.

In common neurodegenerative diseases, toxic proteins build up in the brain, destroying brain cells and damaging brain regions, leading to symptoms including personality changes, memory loss and loss of control. Only around one in twenty patients has a family history, where genetic variants inherited from one or both parents contributes to disease risk. The cause of the majority of cases – which are thought to affect as many as one in ten people in the developed world – has remained a mystery.

A team of researchers led by Professor Patrick Chinnery from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Mitochondrial Biology Unit and the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge hypothesised that clusters of brain cells containing spontaneous genetic errors could lead to the production of misfolded proteins with the potential to spread throughout the brain, eventually leading to neurodegenerative disease.

“As the global population ages, we’re seeing increasing numbers of people affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s, yet we still don’t understand enough about the majority of these cases,” says Professor Chinnery. “Why do some people get these diseases while others don’t? We know genetics plays a part, but why do people with no family history develop the disease?”

To test their hypothesis, the researchers examined 173 tissue samples from the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource, part of the MRC’s UK Brain Banks Network. The samples came from 54 individual brains: 14 healthy individuals, 20 patients with Alzheimer’s and 20 patients with Lewy body dementia, a common type of dementia estimated to affect more than 100,000 people in the UK.

The team used a new technique that allowed them to sequence 102 genes in the brain cells over 5,000 times. These included genes known to cause or predispose to common neurodegenerative diseases. They found ‘somatic mutations’ (spontaneous, rather than inherited, errors in DNA) in 27 out of the 54 brains, including both healthy and diseased brains.

Together, these findings suggest that the mutations would have arisen during the developmental phase – when the brain is still growing and changing – and the embryo is growing in the womb.

Combining their results with mathematical modelling, their findings suggest that ‘islands’ of brain cells containing these potentially important mutations are likely to be common in the general population.

“These spelling errors arise in our DNA as cells divide, and could explain why so many people develop diseases such as dementia when the individual has no family history,” says Professor Chinnery. “These mutations likely form when our brain develops before birth – in other words, they are sat there waiting to cause problems when we are older.”

“Our discovery may also explain why no two cases of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s are the same. Errors in the DNA in different patterns of brain cells may manifest as subtly different symptoms.”

Professor Chinnery says that further research is needed to confirm whether the mutations are more common in patients with dementia. While it is too early to say whether this research will aid diagnosis or treatment this endorses the approach of pharmaceutical companies who are trying to develop new treatments for rare genetic forms of neurodegenerative diseases.

“The question is: how relevant are these treatments going to be for the ‘common-or-garden’ variety without a family history? Our data suggests the same genetic mechanisms could be responsible in non-inherited forms of these diseases, so these patients may benefit from the treatments being developed for the rare genetic forms.”

The research was funded by Wellcome, the Evelyn Trust, Medical Research Council, and the National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.

Reference
Keogh, MJ, Wei, W et al. High prevalence of focal and multi-focal somatic genetic variants in the human brain. Nature Comms; 15 Oct 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06331-w

Only a small proportion of cases of dementia are thought to be inherited – the cause of the vast majority is unknown. Now, in a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, a team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Cambridge believe they may have found an explanation: spontaneous errors in our DNA that arise as cells divide and replicate.

Why do some people get these diseases while others don’t? We know genetics plays a part, but why do people with no family history develop the disease?Patrick ChinneryRawpixel on Unsplash


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