news 2014


Life Sciences

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Life Sciences - 24.12.2014
Ants show left bias when exploring new spaces
24 December 2014 Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don't have any difficulty turning left. New research from the University of Bristol, published today in Biology Letters, has found that the majority of rock ants instinctively go left when entering unknown spaces. PhD student Edmund Hunt and colleagues studied how Temnothorax albipennis ants explore nest cavities and negotiate through branching mazes.

Life Sciences - 23.12.2014
Cholesterol in food causes inflammation in gut lining
Cholesterol in food causes inflammation in gut lining
Scientists have discovered a possible way in which high fat diets might lead to inflammation in the gut. Working with mice and zebrafish, researchers at Imperial College London discovered that cholesterol, a component of fatty foods, triggers an inflammatory response in the cells lining the gut and impairs the movement of food through the gut.

Health - Life Sciences - 23.12.2014
First results from Ebola vaccine trial show acceptable safety profile
o GSK/NIH Ebola vaccine is 'well tolerated' and generates an immune response o Larger trials in West Africa are needed to tell whether immune responses are large enough to protect against Ebola infection and disease o Results from Oxford University and other safety trials will inform plans for larger trials The first results from a trial of a candidate Ebola vaccine at Oxford University suggest the vaccine has an acceptable safety profile at the doses tested, and is able to generate an immune response.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.12.2014
Using light to understand the brain
Using light to understand the brain
UCL researchers have developed an innovative way to understand how the brain works by using flashes of light, allowing them to both 'read' and 'write' brain signals. The new technique, described , combines two cutting-edge technologies for reading and writing electrical activity in the brain. First, genetically encoded activity sensors enable neuroscientists to engineer nerve cells to visibly light up when they are active.

Health - Life Sciences - 23.12.2014
Armed virus shows promise as treatment for pancreatic cancer
A new combination of two different approaches - virotherapy and immunotherapy - is showing "great promise" as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, according to new research from QMUL. The study, funded by the UK charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, investigated whether the effectiveness of the Vaccinia oncolytic virus - a virus modified to selectively infect and kill cancer cells - as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, would be improved by arming it with a gene which modulates the body's immune system.

Health - Life Sciences - 22.12.2014
Researchers sweep cells apart for use in medical research
Scientists have developed a new method to separate cells, which could lead to more efficient medical research. In a new paper published in the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal Lab on A Chip, University of Glasgow researchers outline how they have used moving acoustic waves to very gently separate clinically useful cells from cellular debris.

Life Sciences - Health - 19.12.2014
Some E. coli bacteria hijack key proteins to survive longer
Some E. coli bacteria hijack key proteins to survive longer
A new study shows how two strains of the intestinal bug E. coli manage to hijack host proteins used to control the body's immune system. The research shows how E. coli bacteria can block key human enzymes, in a way that has not previously been shown in any other biological context. The enzymes, known as kinases, are molecular switches that control processes such as immune responses to infection and cancers in humans.

Health - Life Sciences - 19.12.2014
Peanut component linked to cancer spread
Cancer patients are advised to avoid regular consumption of peanuts Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that a component of peanuts could encourage the spread and survival of cancer cells in the body. In the first study of its kind, scientists showed that a protein in peanuts, called peanut agglutinin (PNA), binds to a special sugar chain, which occurs mainly on pre-cancerous and cancer cells, and interacts with a larger protein expressed on the surface of tumour cells in the bloodstream.

Life Sciences - Health - 18.12.2014
’Hairclip’ protein mechanism explained
New study describes a fundamental mechanism regulating a protein's shape and function, with potential applications in biotechnology and drug development. The power of such multi-disciplinary studies is that we can begin to answer questions that neither of us could do alone Jane Clarke New research has identified a fundamental mechanism for controlling protein function.

Life Sciences - 16.12.2014
Do you speak cow? Researchers listen in on conversations between calves and their mothers
Researchers have been eavesdropping on 'conversations' between calves and their mothers — measuring the process of how cows communicate using detailed acoustic analysis for the first time. The team from The University of Nottingham and Queen Mary University of London, spent ten months studying to the ways cows communicate with their young, carefully examining acoustic indicators of identity and age.

Mathematics - Life Sciences - 16.12.2014
Researchers develop more reliable method for working with mathematical models
Researchers develop more reliable method for working with mathematical models
Scientists from Imperial College London have developed a way to make the conclusions drawn from mathematical models more reliable. The work has implications for fields as diverse as medical research and ecology. Models are, by necessity, gross simplifications and, as such, there is always the risk that the model - and so the conclusions we draw - are wrong Most scientists choose to work with one mathematical model and change the input parameters to see what different outcomes result.

Health - Life Sciences - 15.12.2014
Scientists to identify which genes could trigger glaucoma
Using the latest microarray technologies, scientists will assess over 2000 microRNAs to understand the links to glaucoma Researchers at the University of Liverpool are using the latest technologies to identify the genes reponsible for glaucoma. The research, co-funded by Fight for Sight and The International Glaucoma Association, aims to uncover what role microRNAs play in regulating the eye's drainage system.

Health - Life Sciences - 12.12.2014
New project receives funding to study asthma responses in zebrafish
New project receives funding to study asthma responses in zebrafish
Imperial research investigating the effect of cigarette smoke on zebrafish is one of four pioneering projects that will study asthma in non-mammals Almost £400,000 has been awarded across four research projects working to better understand the basic biology of human asthma - without the use of traditional mammalian models.

Agronomy / Food Science - Life Sciences - 11.12.2014
New insights into the origins of agriculture could help shape the future of food
Home > News > News releases > New insights into the origins of agriculture could help shape the future of food Expanding population is putting increasing demands on food production Study could lead to new crops becoming our staple foods in the future Agricultural decisions made by our ancestors more than 10,000 years ago could hold the key to food security in the future, according to new research by the University of Sheffield.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.12.2014
Study sheds new light on relationship between personality and health
Researchers have found new evidence that explains how some aspects of our personality may affect our health and wellbeing, supporting long-observed associations between aspects of human character, physical health and longevity. A team of health psychologists at The University of Nottingham and the University of California in Los Angeles ( UCLA ) carried out a study to examine the relationship between certain personality traits and the expression of genes that can affect our health by controlling the activity of our immune systems.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.12.2014
Syphilis sailed the ocean blue: why a bent femur won’t overturn Columbus theory
Following recent dispute over its origins in Europe, Dr Rob Knell from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences explains why he is yet to be convinced by any alternative to the theory that Columbus brought syphilis across the Atlantic. In 1495 a horrific new disease appeared in Europe. Acquired by sexual contact and initially spread through Europe by mercenary soldiers from the army of King Charles VIII of France returning from a successful invasion of Italy, this new disease was extraordinarily unpleasant.

Life Sciences - Health - 10.12.2014
Clues to dementia and Parkinson
Press release issued: 10 December 2014 Researchers based in Bristol and London have uncovered a link between Lewy body diseases like Parkinson's and the brain changes associated with Alzheimer's. The findings could help to explain the close relationship between Parkinson's, more commonly known for causing movement difficulties, and dementia.

Life Sciences - 10.12.2014
Fathering offspring is more than just a race to the egg
o Longer sperm are better at fertilising eggs, study reveals o But females also influence a male's fertilising success o Research may produce clues to understanding human fertility The chance of a male fathering offspring may not be a simple race to the egg, but is influenced by the length of the male's sperm, say scientists from the University of Sheffield.

Veterinary - Life Sciences - 09.12.2014
New research could help the welfare of working animals
Press release issued: 9 December 2014 With over 42 million horses and 95 per cent of the world's donkeys found in developing countries, new research could change the health and welfare of millions of working animals in some of the poorest parts of the world. The three research studies led by Dr Becky Whay , Reader in Animal Welfare and Behaviour in the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol, aim to build greater understanding and encourage collaboration in addressing the welfare problems of the world's working equids.

Life Sciences - 09.12.2014
Metal test could help diagnose breast cancer early
New Caledonian crows, well known for wielding tools such as sticks, prefer to hold a tool on the left or the right sides of their beaks, in much the same way that people are leftor right-handed. Now researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology suggest that those bill preferences enable each bird to keep the tip of its tool in view of the eye on the opposite side of its head.
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