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Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 12.10.2020
New Device for Detecting Traumatic Brain Injury ’On the Spot’
A method for detecting traumatic brain injury at the point of care has been developed by scientists at the University of Birmingham. Using chemical biomarkers released by the brain immediately after a head injury occurs, researchers are able to pinpoint when patients need urgent medical attention. This saves time in delivering vital treatment and avoids patients undergoing unnecessary tests where no injury has occurred.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 12.10.2020
Ancient tiny teeth reveal first mammals lived more like reptiles
Ancient tiny teeth reveal first mammals lived more like reptiles
Reconstruction of Morganucodon (left) and Kuehneotherium (right) hunting in Early Jurassic Wales 200 million years ago. Original painting by John Sibbick, 2013. Copyright: Pam Gill Synchrotron micro-CT scan of a fossil Morganucodon tooth root from 200 million years ago. Elis Newham Scientists count fossilised growth rings in teeth like tree rings to find out how long the earliest mammals lived.

Life Sciences - Politics - 06.10.2020
Battling with neighbours could make animals smarter
Battling with neighbours could make animals smarter
Fighting in baboons can be fierce David Clode Like Napoleon Bonaparte, chimpanzees are masters of intergroup conflict Franceso Ungaro [chimpanzee photograph] Vigilance is key in a world of rival outsiders Andy Radford [meerkat photograph]; Michalis Mantelos [red-ruffed lemur photograph] 6 October 2020 From ants to primates, 'Napoleonic' intelligence has evolved to help animals contend with the myriad cognitive challenges arising from interactions with rival outsiders, suggest researchers at the University of Bristol in a paper published today [Tuesday 6 October].

Life Sciences - Health - 05.10.2020
Dozens of mammals could be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2
Numerous animals may be vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, according to a large study modelling how the virus might infect different animals' cells, led by UCL researchers. The study, published in  Scientific Reports , reports evidence that 26 animals regularly in contact with people may be susceptible to infection.

Life Sciences - Social Sciences - 05.10.2020
How the brain helps us navigate social differences
How the brain helps us navigate social differences
Our brain responds differently if we talk to a person of a different socioeconomic background from our own compared to when we speak to someone whose background is similar, according to a new imaging study by UCL and Yale researchers. In the study, published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience , 39 pairs of participants had a conversation with each other while wearing headsets that tracked brain activity.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.10.2020
Mud-slurping chinless ancestors had all the moves
Mud-slurping chinless ancestors had all the moves
Life restoration of Cephalaspis, a typical osteostracan, swimming over the substrate. Hugo Salais (Metazoa Studio) A team of researchers, led by the University of Bristol, has revealed our most ancient ancestors were ecologically diverse, despite lacking jaws and paired fins. Long before they evolved out of the water, our ancient ancestors were simple fish-like creatures, but without fins or chins, who survived by filtering nutrients from the sediment.

Health - Life Sciences - 01.10.2020
Tiny brain
Tiny brain "tweezers" could hold the key to treating Parkinson’s Disease
A collaborative study led by the Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre's Dr Nora Bengoa-Vergniory has shown that compounds known as molecular tweezers could become a promising disease modifying therapy for Parkinson's. A team of researchers has shown that tiny compounds known as molecular "tweezers" could become a promising therapy to slow Parkinson's.

Life Sciences - Environment - 01.10.2020
Alien species to increase by 36% worldwide by 2050
Alien species to increase by 36% worldwide by 2050
The number of alien (non-native) species, particularly insects, arthropods and birds, is expected to increase globally by 36% by the middle of this century, compared to 2005, finds new research by an international team involving UCL. Published in Global Change Biology, the study also predicts the arrival of around 2,500 new alien species in Europe, which translates to an increase of 64% for the continent over the 45-year period.

Life Sciences - 01.10.2020
Doll play activates brain regions associated with empathy and social skills - new study
A team of researchers from Cardiff University has used neuroscience for the first time to explore the impact doll play has on children. In an 18-month study, the team monitored the brain activity of 33 children, aged between four and eight, as they played with dolls. They found that doll play activated parts of the brain that allow children to develop empathy and social information processing skills, even when they were playing alone.

Health - Life Sciences - 25.09.2020
Evaluation of LamPORE rapid tests for Covid-19 show high levels of diagnostic sensitivity
Scientists from the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Medicine have today published their evaluation of LamPORE , a novel diagnostic platform for detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA. It combines loop-mediated isothermal amplification with nanopore sequencing. This technology has the potential to analyse thousands of samples per day on a single instrument.

Life Sciences - Health - 24.09.2020
Parental touch reduces pain responses in babies’ brains
Being held by a parent with skin-to-skin contact reduces how strongly a newborn baby's brain responds to a painful medical jab, finds a new study led by researchers at UCL and York University, Canada. The scientists report in the European Journal of Pain that there was more activity in the brains of newborn babies in reaction to the pain when a parent was holding them through clothing, than without clothing.

Health - Life Sciences - 23.09.2020
Analysis: Coronavirus mutations - what we’ve learned so far
Dr Lucy van Dorp (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains the mutations that Covid-19 is undergoing and how we're still facing fundamentally the same virus as we were at the start of the pandemic. In early January, the first genome sequence of Sars-CoV-2 - the virus that causes Covid-19 - was released under the moniker "Wuhan-1".

Life Sciences - Health - 23.09.2020
Placenta is initiated first, as cells of a fertilised egg divide and specialise
The first stages of placental development take place days before the embryo starts to form in human pregnancies. This new finding highlights the importance of healthy placental development in pregnancy, and could lead to future improvements in fertility treatments such as IVF, and a better understanding of placental-related diseases in pregnancy.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.09.2020
Predatory bacteria escape unharmed from prey cell using unique tool - study
Predatory bacteria, capable of invading and consuming harmful bugs such as E.coli and Salmonella, use a unique tool to help them escape the cell they have invaded without harming themselves, according to a new study. Researchers at the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham have identified a particular enzyme used by the bacteria to rupture the cell wall of its prey bacteria and exit without damaging its own cell wall.

Life Sciences - 21.09.2020
Do rats like to be tickled?
Not all rats like to be tickled but by listening to their vocalisations it is possible to understand in real-time their individual emotional response, according to new research by the University of Bristol. The study, published today [21 September] in Current Biology, suggests that if this same relationship is observed for other situations, then it may be possible to use call patterns in rats to measure their emotional response and understand how best to improve their welfare.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 21.09.2020
Modelling of ancient fossil movement reveals step in the evolution of posture in dinosaur and crocodile ancestors
Modelling of ancient fossil movement reveals step in the evolution of posture in dinosaur and crocodile ancestors
Life reconstruction of Euparkeria highlighting the body parts investigated in this study. Illustration: Oliver Demuth. The oblique ankle joint did not allow Euparkeria to assume a fully upright posture as the foot also turns medially when the ankle joint is extended. An ankle joint allowing a more upright posture evolved later independent from the hip structure.

Life Sciences - History / Archeology - 16.09.2020
World's largest ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren't all Scandinavian
World’s largest ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren’t all Scandinavian
Invaders, pirates, warriors - the history books taught us that Vikings were brutal predators who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to pillage and raid their way across Europe and beyond. The results change the perception of who a Viking actually was.

Life Sciences - 16.09.2020
Slower growing chickens experience higher welfare, commercial scale study finds
Slower growing chickens experience higher welfare, commercial scale study finds
Slower growing broiler chickens are healthier and have more fun than conventional breeds of birds, new evidence from an independent commercial scale farm trial has shown. The study carried out by researchers from FAI Farms, the University of Bristol and The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, is published today [16 September], in Scientific Reports.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.09.2020
COVID-19 exposure and viral carriage in health care workers
2.4% of asymptomatic health care workers at work in Birmingham were carriers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and over a third of those individuals subsequently became unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, a new cross-sectional study by researchers at the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has found.

Environment - Life Sciences - 10.09.2020
Global wildlife populations declined by two-thirds since 1970
Global wildlife populations declined by two-thirds since 1970
Global animal populations have on average declined by two-thirds in less than half a century, according to the WWF's Living Planet Report 2020 involving UCL researchers, released today. The Living Planet Index (LPI), provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), shows that factors believed to increase the planet's vulnerability to pandemics such as COVID-19 - including land-use change and the use and trade of wildlife - were also some of the drivers behind the 68% average decline in global mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish populations between 1970 and 2016.

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