THE BEST KEEP IT CLEVER RESEARCH STORIES OF 2018 

20 December 2018


Every year there are countless research breakthroughs, discoveries and advances by Australian universities.

Here we recap some of the stories that Universities Australia brought to the Australian public as part of its Keep It Clever campaign.

These were the most-shared research stories that caught your eye in 2018.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE HELPS DETECT AND TREAT SERIOUS ILLNESS

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What if a computer could tell you how long you have to live? Researchers at The University of Adelaide have developed artificial intelligence that can predict someone’s lifespan by looking at images of their organs. The incredible breakthrough offers new hope detecting and treating serious illness. 

Click here to read the full article.
 

DOUBLING YOUR PROTEIN WHILE EXERCISING BUILDS STRONGER MUSCLES

ACU KIC18 small.jpg In a world first, researchers from Australian Catholic University have found eating twice the recommended daily intake of protein builds stronger muscles when combined with exercise.
The discovery could improve the way we treat elderly people suffering from muscle loss and related diseases like diabetes and obesity. 

Click here to read the full article.

INVENTION MAY HELP PROTECT ASTRONAUTS FROM RADIATION

ANU KIC18 small Imagine a reflective material so thin that hundreds of layers could fit on the tip of a needle. Now imagine it applied to the surface of a space suit. It’s not science fiction; it’s the high-tech development by scientists from The Australian National University that has applications both in space and on Earth.

Click here to read the full article.

THERE’S GUT-HEALTH GAINS WHEN YOU EAT GRAINS

Bond KIC18 small There’s a lot to gain from the humble grain when it comes to tummy health and chronic disease. That’s the tasty discovery from researchers at Bond University.

Click here to read the full article.

SHINING NEW LIGHT ON OLD FOSSILS

UC KIC18 small What do you get when you cross 150-million-year old fossilised fish and fluorescence? More discoveries about our ancient planet, thanks to clever work from University of Canberra researchers.

Click here to read the full article.

WHEN AUSSIE TEENS THINK OF SPORT, GAMBLING IS NOT FAR BEHIND

CQUni KIC18 small Much like being exposed to tobacco and alcohol advertising, gambling ads can lead to addiction. And now, Aussie teens automatically associate sports with gambling. Worrying findings from CQUniversity Australia researchers.  

Click here to read the full article.

SMART PHONE APP HELPS BEAT KILLER HEART SICKNESS

CDU KIC18 small Rheumatic heart disease is 100% preventable but causes the death of many young Indigenous people, including toddlers. Researchers from Charles Darwin University have created a smartphone app so sufferers can track a treat the illness. 

Click here to read the full article.

NEW APP HELPS GRAPES ON THE VINE BECOME BETTER WINE

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Here’s something to raise a glass to! A new smartphone app developed by Charles Sturt University will lead to better quality grape harvests and wine. 

Click here to read the full article.

EXERCISE BEFORE LUNG CANCER SURGERY IMPROVES RECOVERY

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Lung cancer surgery is serious. But what people do before their operation can dramatically improve recovery. Curtin University researchers have found that a four-week exercise program can make a big difference.

Click here to read the full article.

HIV DISCOVERY GIVES HOPE FOR BETTER TREATMENT

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Globally, more than 36 million people have HIV. But there’s new hope in the fight against this devastating virus. A breakthrough from Deakin University showing how the virus forms may lead to better treatment.

Click here to read the full article.

WALK DOWN STAIRS TO PREVENT DIABETES

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You’d think walking up stairs would do more for your health and fitness than walking down stairs, wouldn’t you? But you’d be wrong.
Edith Cowan University scientists found the opposite was true and it could make a difference in the fight against diabetes.

Click here to read the full article.

A BREED APART: DNA DISCOVERY COULD BOOST KOALA SURVIVAL CHANCES

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They’re cute but also cutting it fine. Across Australia, koala populations have declined. But an incredible genetic discovery by researchers from Federation University Australia could help boost the survival chances of Victoria’s koala populations.

Click here to read the full article.

KANGAROO-SIZED FLYING TURKEY ONCE ROAMED AUSTRALIA

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What! A flying turkey the size of a kangaroo! Sounds made up but in fact, they are just one of many big birds that once roamed Australia. Palaeontologists from Flinders University say that there could be many other extinct species awaiting discovery.

Click here to read the full article.

RESISTANCE EXERCISE FIGHTS INFECTION AND INJURY

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What if your doctor prescribed a 'dose' of bench presses instead of antibiotics to beat infection or heal an injury? It's the workout that just could work, according to Griffith University scientists examining the potential of 'exercise immunology'.

Click here to read the full article.

DEADLY LOVE SONG COULD BE THE ANSWER TO OUR CANE TOAD WOES

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Cane toads were introduced to control pests in the Queensland cane fields, but now they’re a plague themselves. Now the tide could be turned thanks to a new toad tune developed by researchers at
James Cook University.

Click here to read the full article.

ANOTHER HUMAN SPECIES INTERACTED WITH US

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We know our species, Homo sapiens, interbred with the Neanderthals way back in the past. But now scientists have discovered another ancient species that may have contributed to our DNA. A La Trobe University professor and fellow researchers say Homo naledi is a new part of the human story.

Click here to read the full article.

“SUPERLASERS” MAY NO LONGER BE SCI-FI THANKS TO DIAMONDS’ SHIN

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Super lasers are the stuff of science fiction, right? Not any more, thanks to researchers at Macquarie University. They’ve used diamond crystals to focus multiple beams into one powerful pulse that can be used on drones, missiles or pesky space junk.

Click here to read the full article.

13-BILLION-YEAR-OLD GALAXY A GLIMPSE INTO THE UNIVERSE’S ANCIENT PAST

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Imagine seeing more than 13 billion years back in time! Scientists from The University of Melbourne and international colleagues have. And along the way they discovered a galaxy from the earliest days of the universe.

Click here to read the full article.

BREAKTHROUGH OFFERS NEW HOPE IN BATTLE AGAINST DEADLY HEP C

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Hepatitis C affects about two per cent of the world's population, with sometimes lethal consequences. But a Monash University team could have the virus on the run. They’ve discovered how it reproduces in the body – and a way to block the process.

Click here to read the full article.

AUSTRALIAN DRUG HELPS US DUCHENNE SUFFERERS

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Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a fatal condition that typically puts kids in wheelchair by the time they’re 12. But a new drug developed at Murdoch University can keep them on their feet much longer. It’s been approved for use in the USA, with impressive results.

Click here to read the full article.

WHY RED WINE CAN TRIGGER MIGRAINES

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Red wine, cheese, and chocolate may be a tasty treat, but they can also trigger painful migraines that can last up to 72 hours. New evidence from The University of New England suggests it’s because these foods increase insulin resistance. The discovery could lead to better treatment.

Click here to read the full article.

SOFTENING TISSUE AROUND TUMOURS COULD BEAT PANCREATIC CANCER

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Only seven per cent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive five years or more. But now a team from UNSW, Sydney have developed a potential treatment based on a readily-available drug which slows the cancer’s spread.

Click here to read the full article.

MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH IMPACT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LASTS A LIFETIME

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Women who suffer domestic violence can feel the mental health and physical effects for a lifetime. That’s the shocking finding by researchers from The University of Newcastle who tracked more than 16,000 women over 16 years.

Click here to read the full article.

NO THOUGHT FOR FOOD: KIDS CONFUSED ABOUT HEALTHY EATING

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No thought for food. Research from The University of Notre Dame Australia shows Aussie teens are confused about healthy eating habits.

Click here to read the full article.

PARENTS CAN HELP SOOTHE BURNS TREATMENT STRESS

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For children, being treated for burns can be stressful and cause anxiety. But playful distraction from their parents can help kids deal with the distress, researchers from The University of Queensland have found.

Click here to read the full article.

NATIVE AUSTRALIAN PLANT CAN KILL ZIKA VIRUS

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What if one of the world's most puzzling disease, the Zika virus, could be cured with an extract from a common Australian plant? The early results from Queensland University of Technology (Indigenous Medicines Group) are very promising.

Click here to read the full article.

BUSHFIRE READY, THANKS TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

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A new planning tool developed by RMIT University is helping emergency services understand how to evacuate people when faced with devastating bushfires like Black Saturday. It’s work that could save lives.

Click here to read the full article.

RESEARCHERS DEVELOP APP THAT OFFERS PERSONALISED REHAB FOR STROKE PATIENTS

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A world-first app developed by a University of South Australia researcher & international partners is putting tailored treatments for stroke patients into the hands of therapists.

Click here to read the full article.

RESEARCHERS DISCOVER SEA URCHIN’S TERRIFYING SELF-DEFENCE STRATEGY

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It’s like something out of a horror movie… just on a really small scale. This species of sea urchins fires off a barrage of miniature, venomous ‘jaws’ whenever they are under attack. That’s the strange and slightly scary discovery of researchers at Southern Cross University.

Click here to read the full article.

REMARKABLE PLANET DISCOVERY BY USQ STUDENT

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Luke Skywalker lived on a planet circling twin suns. Now fact seems to be echoing science fiction – a University of Southern Queensland - Australia student has found such a planet, orbiting what’s known as a binary star. There’s no sign of Jedi knights, but the tilted orbit of the planet has scientists intrigued.

Click here to read the full article.

HOW TO BUILD AN ELITE FOOTBALL TEAM

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Talk, not tackles could be a better measure of a football team, according to a new study by University of the Sunshine Coast.

Click here to read the full article.

VOICES IN SCHIZOPHRENIA A NORMAL LINGUISTIC EXPERIENCE

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The voices heard by people with schizophrenia may simply be thoughts perceived as sound. That’s according to amazing revelations from a new Swinburne University of Technology study.

Click here to read the full article.

PUPPY KILLING DISEASE RAMPANT IN AUSTRALIA

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Puppy owners are being urged to vaccinate their dogs, with researchers from The University of Sydney discovering a highly contagious and deadly disease is more prevalent than once thought.

Click here to read the full article.

NEARLY 38 MILLION BITS OF PLASTIC FOUND ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST REMOTE ISLANDS

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It's 5,000 kilometres from just about anywhere. But remote Henderson Island has more than 38 million bits of plastic on its shores. That's the shocking discovery made by University of Tasmania researchers.

Click here to read the full article.

BITTER TASTE RECEPTORS HOLD KEY TO TREATING ASTHMA

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What if the secret to better asthma treatment was in your mouth? Bitter taste receptors could be the key, say researchers from the
University of Technology, Sydney.

Click here to read the full article.

NEW INSOLES REDUCE TRIPS AND FALLS IN ELDERLY AND COULD SAVE LIVES

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Each year, worldwide, one in three elderly people have a fall. Often, they never recover full mobility and many tragically, die. But what if there were special insoles that anyone could buy that could prevent life-threatening falls? Thanks to a researcher from Victoria University, they’ll soon be available.

Click here to read the full article.

NEW POTENTIAL FOR PILOTLESS AERIAL VEHICLES

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Shark spotting and monitoring crops just got a lot easier. A new pilotless aerial vehicle can fly for six hours – that's nearly five times longer than your average drone and more affordable than other costly options. The best part? It was invented by a young law student from
The University of Western Australia who was just 19 years old.

Click here to read the full article.

EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR REDUCING PERIOD PAIN

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Period pain is no joke. The vast majority of women suffer from it at some stage of their lives. But relief IS possible. New research from
Western Sydney University helps shed light on what works best.

Click here to read the full article.

NON-STICK COATING THWARTS MOULD AND BACTERIA

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A non-stick coating for your boat? It’s not as silly as it sounds. Algae that clings to a boat can slow it down and increase fuel consumption, so if you could stop it from attaching it would make a huge difference. Now scientists from University of Wollongong, Australia have an answer – a non-stick coating that stops the nasties from getting a grip.

Click here to read the full article.