news 2013


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Health - 22.11.2013
Discovery of novel gene solves mystery about cause of scar formation
22 Nov 2013 A new gene that causes life-threatening scar formation (fibrosis) has been discovered, opening the way for the development of new drugs to prevent or treat this condition. The study, in a South African-British-French collaboration which led to the discovery of the little-known novel gene called FAM111B, brings hope to millions of families across the world who pass on this debilitating gene to one another.

Life Sciences - 21.11.2013
Dreading pain can be worse than pain itself
Dreading pain can be worse than pain itself
Faced with inevitable pain, most people would choose to get it out of the way as soon as possible, according to a new study. Researchers from the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) at Imperial College London and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL asked 35 volunteers to choose between electric shocks of different intensity occurring at different times.

Health - 21.11.2013
Details of how flu evolves to escape immunity
This work is a major step forward in our understanding of the evolution of flu viruses, and could possibly enable us to predict that evolution Professor Derek Smith Scientists have identified a potential way to improve future flu vaccines after discovering that seasonal flu typically escapes immunity from vaccines with as little as a single amino acid substitution.

Economics / Business - 21.11.2013
Twenty top tips for interpreting scientific claims
Aiming to improve policy-makers' understanding of the imperfect nature of science, academics from the Universities of Cambridge and Melbourne have created a list of concepts that they believe should be part of the education of civil servants, politicians, policy advisers and journalists Science is not just a body of facts - it's important to have a grasp of the process by which conclusions are drawn, and the possible pitfalls on that path Profess

Life Sciences - 21.11.2013
Company you keep shapes what you learn
Company you keep shapes what you learn
Locust research shows how the company you keep shapes what you learn A team of scientists has shown how the environment shapes learning and memory by training locusts like Pavlov's dog to associate different smells with reward or punishment. Desert locusts are notorious for their devastating swarms.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.11.2013
Research leads to greater understanding of DNA repair processes
Sussex research leads to greater understanding of DNA repair processes A five-year programme of research led by a team of scientists at the University of Sussex has resulted in significant breakthroughs in our understanding of how enzymes that make DNA help to replicate damaged genomes. In three related studies, the researchers looked at whether a particular group of enzymes that make DNA called primases, found in both lower organisms, such as bacteria, as well as in humans, play significant roles in DNA repair processes in cells.

Health - Life Sciences - 20.11.2013
Long-term unemployment may accelerate ageing in men
Long-term unemployment may accelerate ageing in men
Men who are unemployed for more than two years show signs of faster ageing in their DNA, a new study has found. Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Oulu , Finland studied DNA samples from 5,620 men and women born in Finland in 1966. They measured structures called telomeres, which lie at the ends of chromosomes and protect the genetic code from being degraded.

Health - Psychology - 20.11.2013
New partnership to focus on breakthroughs for mental health disorders
Institute of Health and Wellbeing Prof Andrew Gumley Dr Peter Uhlhaas A collaborative research network being launched today (20 November) is aiming to establish the city of Glasgow as a leading centre for research into the causes and treatment of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Life Sciences - 20.11.2013
Changing children’s understanding of the brain
The impact attending a neuroscience lecture can have on children's understanding of the brain has been analysed by researchers from the University of Bristol in a paper published this week in PLoS ONE. Professor Bruce Hood and Dr Nathalie Gjersoe of the School of Experimental Psychology analysed the impact of a science lecture based on the 2011 Royal Institution (Ri) Christmas Lectures  'Meet Your Brain' on Bristol children from low performing schools.

Life Sciences - 20.11.2013
Synaesthesia is more common in autism
People with autism are more likely to also have synaesthesia, suggests new research in the journal Molecular Autism . Genes play a substantial role in autism and scientists have begun to pinpoint some of the individual genes involved Professor Simon Fisher Synaesthesia involves people experiencing a 'mixing of the senses', for example, seeing colours when they hear sounds, or reporting that musical notes evoke different tastes.  Autism is diagnosed when a person struggles with social relationships and communication, and shows unusually narrow interests and resistance to change.

Mechanical Engineering - Electroengineering - 20.11.2013
New modelling technique could bypass the need for engineering prototypes
A new modelling technique has been developed that could eliminate the need to build costly prototypes, which are used to test engineering structures such as aeroplanes. The study, by Dr Róbert Szalai at the University of Bristol, is published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society A .

Health - Life Sciences - 19.11.2013
Fruit bat population covering central Africa is carrier of two deadly viruses
A population of fruit bats which is found across much of continental Africa is widely infected with two deadly viruses that could spread to humans, new research reveals. This new information indicates that the unique population of freely mixing bats across the entire continent facilitates the spread of the viruses Professor James Wood The study, conducted jointly by the University of Cambridge and the Zoological Society of London's Institute of Zoology and published today , found that the "gregarious" bats span over 4,500 km of central Africa (around the distance from California to New York).

Life Sciences - Health - 19.11.2013
Neighbourhood deprivation linked to structural changes in the brain
Researchers from the University of Glasgow have published findings demonstrating a link between neighbourhood deprivation and brain structure. The tests demonstrated that the cortical morphology (thickness and surface area) of the regions of the brain responsible for controlling a range of core functions such as language and problem solving were significantly smaller in people living in the most socio-economically deprived populations.

Health - 19.11.2013
Scientists finally discover which prostate cancers are life-threatening
Scientists have discovered that the presence of a specific protein can distinguish between prostate cancers that are aggressive and need further treatment from those that may never seriously harm the patient. This extremely interesting study provides an important development for prostate cancer screening, and potentially even reveals a new target for the development of new prostate cancer drugs in the future Professor Malcolm Mason The study, published in Oncogene today (Monday), found much higher levels of the protein, NAALADL2, in prostate cancer tissue compared with healthy tissue.

Health - Life Sciences - 19.11.2013
Neanderthal viruses found in modern humans
Neanderthal viruses found in modern humans
Ancient viruses from Neanderthals have been found in modern human DNA by researchers at Oxford University and Plymouth University. The researchers compared genetic data from fossils of Neanderthals and another group of ancient human ancestors called Denisovans to data from modern-day cancer patients.

Health - Continuing Education - 19.11.2013
Testing the test - new study sheds light on medical school admissions
A clinical aptitude test originally pioneered by The University of Nottingham has been proven to be a significant predictor of performance in medical students. The UKCAT was launched in 2006 in response to a need to widen access to medical education and provide a supplementary assessment in the context of so-called A level grade inflation.

Health - Life Sciences - 18.11.2013
Neanderthal viruses found in modern humans
The researchers compared genetic data from fossils of Neanderthals and another group of ancient human ancestors called Denisovans to data from modern-day cancer patients. They found evidence of Neanderthal and Denisovan viruses in the modern human DNA, suggesting that the viruses originated in our common ancestors more than half a million years ago.

Health - 18.11.2013
Does doctor know best? A new approach to
Does doctor know best? A new approach to "evidence" based health care
Leading health care experts have today called for a fresh approach to evaluating treatment amid claims that dog walking and singing classes can lead to greater health improvements than traditional medicine for some patients. A new policy paper published by the Health Service Management Centre at the University of Birmingham and the Centre for Welfare Reform argues that the NHS has become too dominated by quantitative and medically orientated notions of what constitutes valid evidence and suggests there needs to be a shift in focus from services to outcomes.

Health - Social Sciences - 18.11.2013
EPICure@19 checks health of premature babies born 19 years ago
EPICure@19 checks health of premature babies born 19 years ago
EPICure, a series of longitudinal studies following the health of children who were born extremely prematurely, is announcing a new survey to assess the health of participants born 19 years ago. The EPICure studies are long term, population-based studies into the effect of extreme preterm birth on developmental outcomes across the lifespan and involve a national cohort of births.

Health - Life Sciences - 18.11.2013
Manipulation of protein could help stop spread of cancer cells
Understanding how and why cancer cells move away from their original location is important to find ways to stop the spread of the disease. New findings, published in the Nature journal Oncogene , reveal how a protein, called 'PRH', is normally able to prevent cells from unnecessary migration.