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Health - Pharmacology - 17.11.2020
Rapid point-of-care testing during and after COVID-19 - how widely should it be used?
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the point-of-care testing industry was investing millions of pounds to develop rapid tests to tell us the cause of respiratory infections. The pandemic has accelerated this process. In an editorial published in the British Journal of General Practice today [17 November], researchers from the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care ask if we know enough about these tests to merit their widespread use in primary care.

Materials Science - Environment - 17.11.2020
New green materials could power smart devices using ambient light
Researchers have developed environmentally friendly materials that could harvest enough energy from indoor light to power wireless smart devices. We are increasingly using more smart devices like smartphones, smart speakers, and wearable health and wellness sensors in our homes, offices, and public buildings.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.11.2020
Hole-punching bacteria could be engineered to attack pathogens
A team led by researchers at UCL and Imperial College London have discovered how to engineer bacteria that normally attack human cells so that they kill other pathogens instead. Many pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria use specific proteins to punch holes in the cell membranes of their hosts, killing them.

Life Sciences - Health - 17.11.2020
New study could help to better predict which individuals are more susceptible to cancer-causing agents in the environment
New insights into the mechanisms behind how cancer-causing agents in the environment activate genetic recombination in DNA could help to explain some of the effects of exposure as well as predicting which individuals may be more susceptible to developing the disease, a new UK study has suggested. Everyone is exposed to low levels of carcinogens (substances or radiation that promote the formation of cancer) in the environment.

Health - Pharmacology - 17.11.2020
The Zayed Centre for Research celebrates first anniversary
With a vision to develop new treatments and cures for seriously ill children, the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children, is celebrating its first year of work and achievements. Run jointly by UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) the purpose-built Zayed Centre for Research (ZCR) brings together pioneering research and clinical care under one roof - a world first for paediatric medicine.

Health - Social Sciences - 16.11.2020
Dieting and weight worries on rise in teens
Significantly higher numbers of Generation Z boys and girls in the UK are dieting to lose weight, and are likely to overestimate their own weight, finds a new UCL-led study. The research, published in JAMA Pediatrics , found that girls who are trying to lose weight are also more likely to experience depressive symptoms than in previous years.

Health - Pharmacology - 16.11.2020
UofG researchers report how novel diabetes drugs work to improve the prognosis for patients with heart failure
Scientists at the University of Glasgow have furthered the understanding of how novel diabetes drugs can improve prognosis for patients with heart failure. The results of the SUGAR-DM-HF trial - published in Circulation and presented to the American Heart Association - showed that the drug empagliflozin, originally a treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes, was able to significantly reduce the size of abnormally large hearts, which helps explain how they reduce the risk of hospitalisation and cardiovascular death in patients with heart failure.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 13.11.2020
Cysteine synthesis was a key step in the origin of life
In an important step during the early evolution of life on Earth, the formation of the amino acid cysteine delivered vital catalysts, which enabled the earliest protein molecules to form in water, according to a new study by UCL researchers. All proteins are built from the same 20 amino acids. One of these, cysteine, was assumed not to have been present at the origin of life.

Life Sciences - 13.11.2020
Learning something new in lockdown? New research shows what could be happening in the brain
A study by scientists at the University of Sussex is challenging the common understanding of how mammalian brains work. The research, published in Current Biology, suggests that neurons in the sensory cortex don't just detect sensory information, but could actually decipher meaning and regulate bodily responses too.

Psychology - Life Sciences - 13.11.2020
The future’s uncertain - but noradrenaline can help us adapt
A brain chemical called noradrenaline is responsible for our responses to uncertain situations - helping us to learn quickly and adapt our behaviour, a new study has found. We found that a brain chemical called noradrenaline plays a role in our inability to predict the future when the state of the world is volatile.

Computer Science - 13.11.2020
Computer vision app allows easier monitoring of diabetes
A computer vision technology developed by University of Cambridge engineers has now been developed into a free mobile phone app for regular monitoring of glucose levels in people with diabetes. As someone with diabetes, this app makes the whole process easier. I've now forgotten what it was like to enter the values manually, but I do know I wouldn't want to go back to it James Charles The app uses computer vision techniques to read and record the glucose levels, time and date displayed on a typical glucose test via the camera on a mobile phone.

Pharmacology - Health - 13.11.2020
Analysis: Believing in conspiracies goes hand in hand with vaccine hesitancy
Dr Gul Deniz Salali, Lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology and Medicine at UCL, discusses new research which confirms findings from before the pandemic that vaccine hesitancy often coincides with broader anti-scientific thinking. While developing an effective vaccine  probably won't  bring an immediate end to the pandemic, it's clear that things can't begin to return to normal without one.

Health - Computer Science - 13.11.2020
Multiple simulations best for Covid-19 predictions
Computer modelling used to forecast Covid-19 mortality contains significant uncertainty in its predictions, according to a new study led by researchers at UCL and the CWI institute in the Netherlands. The authors of the study, performed for the Royal Society's RAMP initiative for Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic, highlighted that however well constructed such models are, they are only ever as robust as the "input" parameters - which include highly uncertain factors relating to how the disease is spread.

Environment - Veterinary - 13.11.2020
Widespread contamination of English rivers with pesticides commonly used as flea treatments
New research reveals widespread contamination of English rivers with pesticides commonly used as flea treatments Researchers at the University of Sussex have found widespread contamination of English rivers with two neurotoxic pesticides commonly used in veterinary flea products: fipronil and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid.

Pharmacology - 12.11.2020
Interview: Developing a new immunotherapy to gain control of cancer
Scientists at UCL Cancer Institute have developed an experimental immunotherapy drug, which harnesses the immune system in a new way to kill cancer cells. Here lead researcher, Professor Sergio Quezada, discusses the groundbreaking discovery and its potential. "This is not the cure to cancer. I think that's very important to clarify.

Health - 12.11.2020
Accuracy of rapid covid test may be lower than previously suggested
The accuracy of a rapid finger-prick antibody test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19 infection, may be considerably lower than previously suggested, finds a study led by scientists from Public Health England and the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Warwick and published in The BMJ.

Chemistry - Pharmacology - 12.11.2020
Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19
Bristol scientists have demonstrated a new virtual reality [VR] technique which should help in developing drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus - and enable researchers to share models and collaborate in new ways. The innovative tool, created by University of Bristol researchers, and published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, will help scientists around the world identify anti-viral drug leads more rapidly.

Health - 12.11.2020
Routine testing for COVID-19 can make surgery safer - study
Routine testing patients for COVID-19 before major surgery could reduce the risk of respiratory complications and save lives, a new study reveals. Researchers working together around the world found that using a nasal swab test to confirm that asymptomatic patient were not infected with SARS-CoV-2 was associated with a lower rate of post-operative complications.

Health - Psychology - 11.11.2020
New survey reveals toll of COVID-19 on mental health in Wales
Wales faces a "wave? of mental health problems in the wake of COVID-19, with younger adults, women and people from deprived areas suffering the most, new research has suggested. That is the warning in a study, led by Cardiff University's Professor Robert Snowden and Swansea University's Professor Nicola Gray, which has examined the pandemic's impact on the mental wellbeing of the Welsh population.

Health - Pharmacology - 11.11.2020
Insights into ’significant’ avoidable harm in primary care
A national study in England has revealed the extent of incidents of significant avoidable harm in primary care. Thirteen GPs reviewed case notes of more than 90,000 patients in three regions across England over a 12-month period as part of the study. They found the main causes of avoidable harm were diagnostic error (more than 60%), medication incidents (more than 25%) and delayed referrals (nearly 11%), and that 80% of incidents could have been identified sooner or prevented if action had been taken.
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