Languages affected differently by brain disease

It is a feature of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders. Brain scans and tests showed similar levels of cognitive function in people in both language groups. But when the researchers asked participants to complete a number of linguistic tests, they picked up obvious differences between the two groups in the challenges they faced. ‘Easier to pronounce’ “We think this is specifically because the consonant clusters that are so common in English pose a challenge for a degenerating speech-planning system,” said study author Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini, professor of neurology and psychiatry. “In contrast, Italian is easier to pronounce, but has much more complex grammar, and this is how Italian speakers with [primary progressive aphasia] tend to run into trouble.” As …

Record numbers wait more than 12 hours in A&E

A&E target figures are worst since start of 2018 Is Scottish A&E outperforming England? Scottish A&E waits better than England The new statistics show 141,868 people attended Scottish A&Es in November 2018. Of them, 14.5% waited more than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged. While 987 (0.7%) waited more than 12 hours, 3,320 (2.5%) spent more than eight hours in an A&E department. The proportion of people treated within the four hour target (85.5%) has only been lower once since 2007. Image copyright Getty Images A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “Scotland’s core A&E departments continue to be the best-performing in the UK and have been for more than four and a half years despite experiencing continued high attendance …

The telescope that looks further back in time

The telescope will be fitted with a Mid Infrared Instrument (MIRI), which is one of four key detectors. Image copyright JWST Image caption Contamination control engineers inspect the Mid-Infrared Instrument in the giant clean room at NASA The telescope is perfect for studying those worlds and distant planets that orbit other suns – known as exo-planets because they exist outside our solar system. The existence of the first exo-planet was confirmed in 1995. Now we know of more than 4,000 of them. MIRI will allow astronomers to look at them in greater detail, including looking through their atmospheres for tantalising signs of extra-terrestrial life. How does it work? Like all space telescopes, the JWST starts with an advantage over its …