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Health - Life Sciences - 27.12.2021
'Battle of the sexes' begins in womb as father and mother's genes tussle over nutrition
’Battle of the sexes’ begins in womb as father and mother’s genes tussle over nutrition
Cambridge scientists have identified a key signal that the fetus uses to control its supply of nutrients from the placenta in a tug-of-war between genes inherited from the father and from the mother. The study, carried out in mice, could help explain why some babies grow poorly in the womb. The father's gene drives the fetus's demands for larger blood vessels and more nutrients, while the mother's gene in the placenta tries to control how much nourishment she provides Miguel Constância As the fetus grows, it needs to communicate its increasing needs for food to the mother.

Materials Science - Physics - 23.12.2021
Templating approach stabilises 'ideal' material for alternative solar cells
Templating approach stabilises ’ideal’ material for alternative solar cells
Researchers have developed a method to stabilise a promising material known as perovskite for cheap solar cells, without compromising its near-perfect performance. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, used an organic molecule as a 'template' to guide perovskite films into the desired phase as they form.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 23.12.2021
Controlled burning of natural environments could help offset our carbon emissions
Planting trees and suppressing wildfires do not necessarily maximise the carbon storage of natural ecosystems. A new study has found that prescribed burning can actually lock in or increase carbon in the soils of temperate forests, savannahs and grasslands. When managed properly, fire can be good - both for maintaining biodiversity and for carbon storage Adam Pellegrini The finding points to a new method of manipulating the world's natural capacity for carbon capture and storage, which can also help to maintain natural ecosystem processes.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.12.2021
Clues to treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder found in recently evolved region of the 'dark genome'
Clues to treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder found in recently evolved region of the ’dark genome’
Scientists investigating the DNA outside our genes - the 'dark genome' - have discovered recently evolved regions that code for proteins associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This opens up huge potential for new druggable targets. It's really exciting because nobody has ever looked beyond the genes for clues to understanding and treating these conditions before.

Pharmacology - Health - 23.12.2021
Abiraterone could halve risk of prostate cancer death for some patients
Abiraterone could halve risk of prostate cancer death for some patients
Adding abiraterone to the standard treatment for locally advanced prostate cancer, where the cancer has a high chance of spreading, could halve the risk of death from the disease, according to the results of a UCL-led trial. The researchers suggest that hormone therapy using abiraterone with prednisolone, could significantly reduce prostate cancer deaths and improve outcomes for thousands of people every year.

Health - Life Sciences - 23.12.2021
Dominant Alpha variant evolved to evade our innate immune system
Dominant Alpha variant evolved to evade our innate immune system
The SARS-CoV-2 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant mutated to evade our 'innate immune system', helping establish it as the world's first 'Variant of Concern', finds a new study led by researchers at UCL and the Quantitative Biosciences Institute, University of California San Francisco. Published in  Nature , the study shows the Alpha variant, first identified in the UK, evolved to make more of its 'antagonism proteins' that nullify the body's first line of defence, known as the 'innate immune system'.

Health - Pharmacology - 22.12.2021
Booster vaccination strongly enhances COVID-19 immunity in care home residents and staff - study
Booster vaccination strongly enhances COVID-19 immunity in care home residents and staff - study
A COVID-19 booster vaccination markedly increases immune response in residents and staff within care homes, making it vital that people living and working in these settings get their third 'jab', a new study reveals. Age and frailty are already recognised as major risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes, with elderly residents of long-term care facilities suffering much higher rates of mortality during the pandemic than the general population.

Life Sciences - Health - 22.12.2021
New graphene-based neural probes improve detection of epileptic brain signals
New graphene-based neural probes improve detection of epileptic brain signals
New research published today has demonstrated that tiny graphene neural probes can be used safely to greatly improve our understanding of the causes of epilepsy. The graphene depth neural probe (gDNP) consists of a millimetre-long linear array of micro-transistors imbedded in a micrometre-thin polymeric flexible substrate.

Health - Life Sciences - 22.12.2021
New grafting technique could combat the disease threatening Cavendish bananas
New grafting technique could combat the disease threatening Cavendish bananas
Scientists have found a novel way to combine two species of grass-like plant including banana, rice and wheat, using embryonic tissue from their seeds. The technique allows beneficial characteristics, such as disease resistance or stress tolerance, to be added to the plants.

Health - 22.12.2021
Rapid immune response in children protects them from Covid-19
Rapid immune response in children protects them from Covid-19
Fundamental differences in the immune response of adults and children can help to explain why children are much less likely to become seriously ill from SARS-CoV-2, finds a new study by researchers at UCL and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. The study is the most comprehensive single-cell study to compare SARS-CoV-2 infection in adults and children across multiple organs.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 22.12.2021
Safer carbon capture and storage
Safer carbon capture and storage
Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have increased significantly over the last 50 years, resulting in higher global temperatures and abrupt changes to Earth's climate. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the new technologies that scientists hope will play an important role in tackling the climate crisis.

Health - Career - 22.12.2021
Biology unlikely to drive ethnic differences in Covid-19 risk for healthcare workers
Biology unlikely to drive ethnic differences in Covid-19 risk for healthcare workers
The differences in Covid-19 infection risk between ethnic minority healthcare workers and their white colleagues is likely due to home and work factors rather than biology, finds the largest and most detailed study on the subject, co-led by researchers at UCL. Previous research has shown that healthcare workers from ethnic minority groups are at a disproportionately higher risk of contracting Covid-19 than their white colleagues.

Health - Pharmacology - 22.12.2021
2021’s news highlights from the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
Whether it's the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic or our world-leading science, our stories have been top news across the country and the world. Here's some of the most popular and interesting news releases from the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health in 2021.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 22.12.2021
2021's news highlights from the Faculty of Science and Engineering
2021’s news highlights from the Faculty of Science and Engineering
Our world-leading science and engineering at The University of Manchester has been the cause of some exciting stories this year. Whether it's space, materials, or the climate, our stories have been top news across the country and the world. Here's some of the most popular and interesting news releases from the Faculty of Science and Engineering in 2021.

Health - Pharmacology - 22.12.2021
Booster jabs strongly enhance Covid-19 immunity in care home residents and staff
Booster jabs strongly enhance Covid-19 immunity in care home residents and staff
A Covid-19 booster vaccination markedly increases immune response in residents and staff within care homes, according to a new preprint study co-led by UCL researchers, making it vital that people living and working in these settings get their third jab. Age and frailty are already recognised as major risk factors for severe Covid-19 outcomes, with elderly residents of long-term care facilities suffering much higher rates of mortality during the pandemic than the general population.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 22.12.2021
Modern mammals originated after dinosaur extinction, confirms new study
Modern mammals originated after dinosaur extinction, confirms new study
The most detailed timeline of mammal evolution to date has been set out in a new study co-led by UCL researchers. The Nature paper describes a new and fast computational approach to obtain precisely dated evolutionary trees, known as 'timetrees'. The authors used the novel method to analyse a mammal genomic dataset and answer a long-standing question around whether modern placental mammal groups originated before or after the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) mass extinction, which wiped out over 70% of all species, including all dinosaurs.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 21.12.2021
Exquisitely preserved embryo found inside fossilised dinosaur egg
Exquisitely preserved embryo found inside fossilised dinosaur egg
A 72- to 66-million-year-old embryo found inside a fossilised dinosaur egg sheds new light on the link between the behaviour of modern birds and dinosaurs, according to a new study. The embryo, dubbed 'Baby Yingliang', was discovered in the Late Cretaceous rocks of Ganzhou, southern China and belongs to a toothless theropod dinosaur, or oviraptorosaur.

Health - Pharmacology - 21.12.2021
China-wide study will boost understanding of fatal surgical complication
China-wide study will boost understanding of fatal surgical complication
Older patients in hospitals across China took part in a major multi-centre open-label randomised clinical trial that showed there was no difference in post-operative delirium in older people with a hip fracture, if they had a general anaesthesia, or a regional anaesthesia. Post-operative delirium is a common, serious, neurological, complication where people have a sudden change in their brain functions after an operation.

Pharmacology - 21.12.2021
Four in ten consultations at GP clinics were with frequent attenders
A relatively small number of patients are accounting for a large proportion of GP workload, including face-to-face consultations, according to a UK study by University of Manchester experts. The study of over 160 million consultation events from 12.3 million patients, in 845 general practices between 2000 and 2019 showed four out of ten of the workload at GP clinics were with frequent attenders.

Health - 21.12.2021
Over half of people with multiple long-term conditions experience chronic pain
Over half of people with multiple long-term conditions experience chronic pain
People with multimorbidity - two or more long-term health conditions - showed a greater association with chronic pain, according to a new study. The new research - from the University of Glasgow and published in the Journal of Multimorbidity and Comorbidity - represents the first study of the prevalence of chronic pain in people with a broad range of long-term conditions and different levels of multimorbidity.
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