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Life Sciences - Health - 05.11.2020
Technique to regenerate the optic nerve offers hope for future glaucoma treatment
Scientists have used gene therapy to regenerate damaged nerve fibres in the eye, in a discovery that could aid the development of new treatments for glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. It's possible our treatment could be further developed as a way of protecting retinal neurons from death, as well as stimulating their axons to regrow Veselina Petrova Axons - nerve fibres - in the adult central nervous system (CNS) do not normally regenerate after injury and disease, meaning that damage is often irreversible.

Health - Life Sciences - 04.11.2020
To target a ’shape-shifting’ protein in Alzheimer’s disease
A new study suggests that it is possible to design drugs that can target a type of shape-shifting protein involved in Alzheimer's disease, which was previously thought to be undruggable. We hope that we can extend this understanding to also target disordered proteins involved in other diseases Gabriella Heller A team of researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, have identified a new mechanism of targeting amyloid-beta, a protein fragment that clumps together and kills healthy brain cells in people with Alzheimer's disease.

Health - Life Sciences - 04.11.2020
Why it takes guts to protect the brain against infection
The brain is uniquely protected against invading bacteria and viruses, but its defence mechanism has long remained a mystery. Now, a study in mice, confirmed in human samples, has shown that the brain has a surprising ally in its protection: the gut.

Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 04.11.2020
Scientists uncover new layer of complexity in how our bodies respond to drug treatments
Scientists from the University of Glasgow have played an important role in understanding why some patients respond better to drug treatments than others. The study - and involving the University of Glasgow and a number of international partners - uncovers a new layer of complexity in how the body responds to medical treatments by using the power of data analysis on GPCRs.

Health - Life Sciences - 04.11.2020
New study could help scientists more effectively utilise T-Cell technologies to better understand immune responses
T cells form a crucial part of the immune system and work by detecting fragments of viruses, bacteria and cancer cells using their T cell receptors (TCRs). A comparison of two key research tools used by immunologists to study different types of T-cell receptor signals has identified important features of existing technologies that could allow scientists to better understand immune responses, in a new study led by scientists at the University of Birmingham.

Life Sciences - Health - 03.11.2020
Cells transform themselves in male worms to improve mating
A cell in worms that transforms itself into a completely different type of cell when males mature, to play a key role in mating behaviour, has been recently discovered by a team led by UCL researchers. The researchers say their findings, published in eLife , may lead to new clinical applications if scientists can reproduce the mechanism to reprogram cells to adopt new functions.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 02.11.2020
Fossil poop shows fishy lunches from 200 million years ago
A new study of coprolites, fossil poop, shows the detail of food webs in the ancient shallow seas around Bristol in south-west England. One hungry fish ate part of the head of another fish before snipping off the tail of a passing reptile. Marie Cueille, a visiting student at the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences , was working on a collection of hundreds of fish poops from the Rhaetian bone bed near Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire, dated at 205 million years ago.

Health - Life Sciences - 30.10.2020
Scientists pinpoint possible reasons for successful cross-species viral spread
Infectious disease emergence is often the result of a pathogen entering a new host species, as highlighted by COVID-19. However, most cross-species transmissions fail to establish in the newlyinfected species. In a new study - led by a team of researchers at the University of Glasgow and published today in PNAS - scientists found disease progression was accelerated, which reduced the chances of onwards transmission, when the original host and the new host were physiologically or genetically more dissimilar.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 28.10.2020
Giant lizards learnt to fly over millions of years
Pterodactyls and related winged reptiles that lived alongside the dinosaurs steadily improved their ability to fly, becoming the deadly masters of the sky, over the course of millions of years. A new study, '150 million years of sustained increase in pterosaur flight efficiency' , published in the journal Nature has shown that pterosaurs - a group of creatures that became Earth's first flying vertebrates - evolved to improve their flight performance over their 150 million-year existence, before going extinct at the same time as dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 28.10.2020
Pterosaurs undergo dental examination to reveal clues about diets and lifestyles
Microscopic analysis of the teeth of pterosaurs has revealed new insights into the diets and behaviours of Earth's earliest flying reptiles. Researchers at the University of Leicester's Centre for Palaeobiology Research and the University of Birmingham used dental microwear analysis to look at the wear patterns still visible on the teeth of 17 different species of pterosaur.

Health - Life Sciences - 28.10.2020
Age and pre-existing conditions increase risk of stroke among COVID-19 patients
Fourteen out of every 1,000 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital experience a stroke, a rate that is even higher in older patients and those with severe infection and pre-existing vascular conditions, according to a report published this week. Even though the incidence of stroke among COVID-19 patients is relatively low, the scale of the pandemic means that many thousands of people could potentially be affected worldwide Hugh Markus COVID-19 has become a global pandemic, affecting millions of people worldwide.

Health - Life Sciences - 27.10.2020
3D-printed neck collar shortlisted for Design of the Year
A UCL clinical researcher who developed an innovative 3D printed neck collar, helping transform the lives of people with serious neurological disorders, has been shortlisted for the prestigious 'Beazley Designs of the Year 2020'. Dr Luke Hale (UCL Surgery and Interventional Science) is the lead designer behind an innovative workflow process, which combines 3D scanning, procedural design and 3D printing to create personalised support braces.

Life Sciences - Psychology - 26.10.2020
Single brain region linking depression and anxiety, heart disease, and people’s sensitivity to treatment
Over-activity in a single brain region called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) underlies several key symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, but an antidepressant only successfully treats some of the symptoms. We found that over-activity in sgACC promotes the body's 'fight-or-flight' rather than 'rest-and-digest' response, by activating the cardiovascular system and elevating threat responses.

Life Sciences - Environment - 23.10.2020
Large tides may have been a key factor in the evolution of bony fish and tetrapods
Pioneering research, published iná Proceedings of the Royal Society A , into ancient tides during the Late Silurian - Devonian periods (420 million years ago - 380 million years ago), suggests that large tides may have been a key environmental factor in the evolution of bony fish and early tetrapods, the first vertebrate land-dwellers.

Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 22.10.2020
Oxford COVID-19 vaccine follows its programmed genetic instructions, independent analysis finds
The AstraZeneca Oxford COVID-19 vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and also known as AZD1222) now undergoing Phase III clinical trials, has already undergone rigorous testing to ensure the highest standards of quality and safety. Now a team at Bristol University has used recently developed techniques to further validate that the vaccine accurately follows the genetic instructions programmed into it by the Oxford team.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.10.2020
Neuropilin-1 drives SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, finds breakthrough study
Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is a host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The image shows human cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 and expressing viral proteins (shown in green). Removal of NRP1 from cells or treating cells with a drug or an antibody targeting NRP1 reduces SARS-CoV-2 infection University of Bristol 20 October 2020 In a major breakthrough an international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has potentially identified what makes SARS-CoV-2 highly infectious and able to spread rapidly in human cells.

Life Sciences - 20.10.2020
’Junk’ DNA could be rewiring our brains
A new study by neuroscientists at the University of Oxford shows that mobile genetic elements that were active in the genomes of our ancestors could be closely linked to important functions in our brain and might help diversify our behaviour, cognition and emotions. The human genome contains the instructions to build and maintain all cells in our body.

Life Sciences - 19.10.2020
’Happy ending effect’ can bias future decisions, say scientists
Study reveals brain mechanisms underlying irrational decision-making "If we can't control our in-built attraction to happy endings, then we can't trust our choices to serve our best interests." Martin Vestergaard Humans are hard-wired to prefer experiences that end well, and the influence of previous experience declines the longer ago it happened.

Computer Science - Life Sciences - 13.10.2020
Cameras that can learn
SCAMP-5d vision system The University of Manchester, 2020 SCAMP-5d's hardware architecture.

Environment - Life Sciences - 13.10.2020
Crayfish ’trapping’ fails to control invasive species
Despite being championed by a host of celebrity chefs, crayfish 'trapping' is not helping to control invasive American signal crayfish, according to new research by UCL and King's College London. There have been grave concerns within the science community and amongst conservationists that American signal crayfish are wiping out other species of crayfish across Europe - including Britain's only native crayfish, the endangered white-clawed crayfish.