This Way Up for 3 September 2016

Urban farming using food waste, Apple's tax avoidance scheme and what it could mean for the local tech sector, the working farm at an Auckland school, and the latest science news.

Science: Alzheimer’s breakthrough

Amyloid Beta

Amyloid Beta Photo: JUAN GAERTNER SCIENCE PHOTO LIBR JGT Science Photo Library

A new drug that seems to stop the progress of Alzheimer's Disease has been tested on patients in America.

Up to one third of us face the prospect of developing Alzheimer's Disease, a progressive brain disorder that affects our mental faculties, with memory loss often an early symptom.

The condition is caused by a build up in the brain of a toxic protein called beta amyloid. Scientists believe that it's the build up of this material that kills off nerve cells, leading to progressive mental deterioration. At present there are only a few therapies available and these all target the symptoms of Alzheimer's, rather than the underlying disease.

Now, writing in the journal Nature, scientist Jeff Sevigny of Biogen says an antibody called aducanumab has been  discovered that can clear beta amyloid out of the brain and stop the progress of the disease. In tests on a group of 165 patients in the US, those who received the antibody injections had significant reductions in beta amyloid levels in their brains a year later. Furthermore, symptoms seemed to advance more slowly in those on higher doses of the antibody.

If further trials are successful, then aducanumab will become the first Alzheimer's treatment that can slow and stop the spread of the disease.

Tech: Apple’s tax avoidance

Apple Tax

Apple Tax Photo: Josh Edelson / AFP

Peter Griffin has news of Apple's multi billion dollar bill for its tax avoidance scheme in Ireland, and what it could mean for New Zealand's tech sector. And how GST is about to bite on imported digital goods.

Auckland school farm

A farm's been running at Mount Albert Grammar School in Auckland since 1932, and today teaches 160 students a year all about farming and horticulture. We visit the school farm and meet Larney Palmer, the farm manager. Also Head of Agricultural Science Kerryann Daffin, and students Stephen Fountain, Ella Campin and Emily Cavell.

Kai Cycle

Kai Cycle is a project that's putting the cycling back into food recyling. Collecting organic waste is nothing new; there are schemes throughout the country and the council do it in Christchurch and there's currently a trial underway in Auckland.  What's different about Kai Cycle is that it doesn't just collect the green waste, it uses it to make compost to power an urban farm that turns out tasty and nutritious food too. And the collection work all gets done on bicycles!