Displaying items by tag: research

Thursday, 11 November 2021 21:48

Covid gene doubling death risk

British scientists have identified a gene that doubles the risk of dying from Covid-19, opening up possibilities for targeted medicine and providing new insights into why some people are more susceptible to the disease than others. Researchers at Oxford University found that 60% of people with South Asian ancestry carry the high-risk gene. The discovery partly explains the high number of deaths seen in some British communities, and the effect of Covid in the Indian subcontinent. The scientists found that the increased risk is not because of a difference in genetic coding of the proteins, but because of differences in the DNA that makes a kind of ‘switch’ to turn a gene on. That genetic signal is likely to affect cells in the lung. The study shows that the way in which the lung responds to the infection is critical. This is important because most treatments have focused on changing the way in which the immune system reacts to the virus.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 30 September 2021 22:58

Move to online worship a loss, not a gain

A ‘deep-seated dissatisfaction’ with online worship has been identified by year-long research by two universities. They state, by almost every measurement, the experience of pandemic online rituals are perceived as less meaningful, less communal, less spiritual, less effective, and so on.’ The report concludes, ‘Our research revealed both considerable innovation in, and deep-seated dissatisfaction with, digital worship during the pandemic. There have been positive developments and adaptations which will strengthen religious life in the long term, but for most people the move to online ritual has been a loss, not gain.’ It notes, however, that there is an appetite for religion online for those seeking out new communities, experiences, and modes of worship’. Also an online survey of 604 religious leaders and congregation members notes that human connection is more important to congregants than technical quality; worshippers preferred interactive Zoomover streaming video. Online-offline hybrid seems likely to be the way forward.’

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 04 March 2021 20:59

Hope in the Bible

A recent survey shows that during the pandemic Christians are reading the Bible more; it is having a positive impact on their mental health, wellbeing and hope in the future. Many also found it helped with loneliness, and amazingly 97% of respondents found that it had completely or partly met their reasons for engaging with the Bible. The answers to the multiple open-ended questions in this survey provided a plethora of rich data. Since the pandemic started, 35% had seen their engagement with the Bible increase while only 5% had seen it decline. This was also reflected in the length of time spent with the Bible, which had increased for 27%. Interestingly 54% of those who were engaging more said they were also discussing it more with others.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 03 December 2020 20:02

India: fighting malaria

India has made ’impressive gains’ in its fight against malaria. The number of cases and deaths caused by the mosquito-borne disease has seen a marked drop, according to the WHO. From nearly 20 million cases in 2000, there were just 5.6 million in 2019. In the past two years India has reduced cases by 18% and deaths by 20%. Malaria is now limited to some hilly parts of India, with most of the districts able to reduce it to almost nil. While nearly a billion Indians live in malaria-endemic areas, 80% of cases are reported by just 20% of the population living in the forest-fringe, tribal, and foothills hard-to-reach areas of the country. The people in these places have low awareness of disease prevention and access to health care. India’s prime minister has pledged to eradicate malaria by 2030.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 14 February 2020 10:17

Global 5G revolution

5G is widespread in China and being tested in America and Europe. Potentially, it will unleash a tidal wave of smart devices. Doctors will carry out surgery remotely, taking advantage of 5G’s speed to control precision robots. Designers and lawyers will work remotely through shared virtual realities. Scientific experiments will be carried out over long distances, allowing scientists across nations to take part in common research projects. 5G will transform ‘smart cities’, with sensors for gathering, analysing and processing data on public transport and energy consumption. They will improve waste collection, detecting whether bins are full and telling bin-men where those full bins are. 5G will keep traffic flowing by working traffic lights based on traffic volume. Self-driving cars will communicate instantly and avoid crashes. Rural areas will benefit from autonomous drones hovering over plants and spraying sticky ones with pesticides when needed. The most surprising innovations are those that still live in our imaginations.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 06 February 2020 22:48

Media, faith, and belonging

A recent report has looked at different aspects of belief and belonging in London. It finds that inaccurate, sensationalised and simplistic coverage by the media reinforces negative stereotypes of religious groups, increasing the potential for suspicion, fear and communal violence. The report recommends that journalists and editors improve their religious literacy and engagement with local faith groups to understand how religion works in practice. It calls on newsrooms to provide better access to religious and ethnic minority journalists, and more spaces for local faith and belief groups to represent themselves. It also urges organisations to train more local faith/belief groups, and individuals to share their own stories. Government regulators need to improve directives and enforcement for media companies who regularly print false stories. Pray for those in the media to work with integrity and grace, and for God to use them to celebrate His Church.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 06 April 2018 11:16

Japan: massive catch of minke whales

Three Japanese whaling ships returned to their home port in Shimonoseki on 30 March with 333 minke whales killed in Antarctica. They attracted international protests and condemnation. Supposedly, these sea mammals were harpooned ‘for scientific purposes’. The International Court of Justice ordered a suspension of Japan's ‘scientific whaling’ in 2014, which led the country to cut its whaling programme. Minke whales are categorised as great whales, and commercial hunting of great whales was banned in 1986. Japan wants whaling to be permitted once more, and its steadfast participation in whale hunts continues to provoke protests worldwide. In its defence, Tokyo points out that the International Whaling Commission allows whales to be killed for ‘research’ purposes.

Published in Worldwide