Published Friday, June 5, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0495
A quarter of adults in the UK are clinically obese and therefore at an increased risk of developing chronic diseases. NHS advice is to eat fewer calories and take more exercise to lose weight. Increasingly, drug treatments and surgery are being considered as a means to lose weight for extremely obese people who have had difficulty in adhering to lifestyle changes. This briefing discusses the current methods used to manage and treat obesity.
UK Broadband Infrastructure
Published Friday, May 29, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0494
The growing use of smart phones and data intensive services (such as video streaming), has increased demand for both fixed and mobile internet. This POSTnote looks at patterns in broadband access and use, and the technical and policy challenges of enhancing UK broadband infrastructure to meet future needs.
Sugar and Health
Published Thursday, May 28, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0493
Sugars can be added to food and drinks or occur naturally in fruit, vegetables and milk. A high sugar diet increases the risk of tooth decay and weight gain, and high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with type 2 diabetes. This paper describes trends in sugar consumption in the UK, the public health implications and outlines policy options.
Published Tuesday, April 14, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-492
The Government lists energy storage as one of eight great technologies in which the UK can become a global leader. This briefing outlines the roles of energy storage in the electricity, heat and transport sectors and describes the technologies used from the household level up. It also discusses current barriers and policies for energy storage and potential future uptake.
Measuring Living Standards
Published Monday, March 30, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-491
This POSTnote outlines different approaches to setting and measuring thresholds and their strengths and limitations. It also summarises research on recent trends in living standards and the key factors that influence them.
Topics: Benefits policy, Child care, Children and families, Economic policy, Economic situation, Employment, Equality, Family benefits, Fuel poverty, Housing supply, Incomes and poverty, Pay, Pensions, Private rented housing, Social rented housing, Statistics policy, Unemployment, Working age benefits
Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-490
Biodiversity supports the ecosystem services humans rely on for well-being and economic resources. Areas that have had an audit can make more effective use of ecological data to meet planning and conservation objectives for biodiversity. This POSTnote summarises the data sources used and the advantages of the audit approach for addressing biodiversity loss.
Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States
Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-489
A POSTnote discussing the medical, legal and ethical challenges associated with the care of patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states.
The darknet and online anonymity
Published Monday, March 9, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-488
A very small proportion of websites use sophisticated anonymity systems, which allow their operators to conceal their identity if they wish to. This part of the web is commonly referred to as the darknet. The darknet helps citizens to protect their security and privacy and to circumvent censorship. It also facilitate organised crime, such as the billion dollar drug market known as Silk Road. This POSTnote discusses the challenge of preventing such crimes without compromising the other uses of anonymity technologies.
Emissions from Crops
Published Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-486
Agriculture contributes 9% of the UK’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions burden and 10-12% globally. Although there is a long-term declining trend from UK agriculture, the sector may account for a larger share of overall emissions in the future as other sectors reduce emissions. This POSTnote focuses on reducing GHG emissions from growing and storing arable and horticultural crops.
Value Based Assessment of Drugs
Published Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-487
This briefing outlines recent proposals to change the current UK drug assessment methods.
Parity of Esteem for Mental Health
Published Wednesday, January 7, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-485
This note looks at the history of and recent developments in efforts to achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health in care standards .
Catchment-Wide Flood Management
Published Thursday, December 11, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-484
Changing weather patterns have made structural defences less effective at managing flooding. An approach that employs a range of natural flood management measures across a river catchment is likely to reduce the probability of flooding and pressure on structural defences. This POSTnote describes the measures and the challenges of implementing them over large catchments.
GM Insects and Disease Control
Published Tuesday, November 4, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-483
Insects play a critical role in ecosystems, but can also cause economic and social harm by transmitting diseases to humans and livestock, and damaging crops. Genetically modified (GM) insects could be used alongside other approaches to mitigate harms. This POSTnote summarises possible benefits, risks and uncertainties associated with their deployment.
GM Crops and Regulation
Published Thursday, October 30, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-482
This note summarises the evidence on environmental and health impacts of GM crops, describes recent technological developments and examines their likely consequences for proposed reforms of GM regulation
Diffuse Pollution of Water by Agriculture
Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-478
Water pollution regulation is devolved in the UK. Surface, coastal and ground waters in England suffer from significant pollution problems: 78% of surface and groundwater bodies fail to meet the ‘good’ ecological status prescribed by the EU Water Frameworks Directive. Pollution increases water treatment costs and adversely affects wildlife. Compared to treatment, preventing water pollution at source can have a cost-benefit ratio as high as 1:65. This POSTnote describes the contribution of agriculture to water pollution, and measures that can be taken to reduce it.
Preventing Mitochondrial Disease
Published Tuesday, October 14, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-431
This note describes new treatments designed to prevent mothers with mitochondrial disease passing their condition on to their children and looks at the issues raised by their potential use in IVF.
Palliative and End of Life Care
Published Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-481
This POSTnote provides an overview of palliative care and its key components, approaches to managing and standardising care and key challenges to providing high quality care.
Short Lived Climate Pollutants
Published Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-480
Short lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) include black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and ground level ozone. Although they have a shorter residence time in the atmosphere than CO2, from a few days to a few decades, they contribute to near term climate change. This POSTnote summarises options for mitigating SLCP concentrations and the benefits and challenges of doing so.
Published Thursday, October 2, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-479
This briefing provides an overview of current and future applications of unmanned aircraft, and opportunities and barriers for civilian use
Published Friday, August 22, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-477
World food security is dependent on phosphate fertilisers manufactured from finite deposits of phosphate ore. The majority of remaining reserves are restricted to a limited number of countries raising geopolitical risks. This POSTnote describes the uses of phosphate and summarises ways in which dependence on mineral reserves could be reduced.