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Music - Psychology - 02.12.2022
Playing the piano boosts brain processing power and helps lift the blues - study
A randomised control trial led by Bath psychologists shows the positive effects learning to play music for just a few weeks has on cognitive abilities. A new study published by researchers at the University of Bath demonstrates the positive impact learning to play a musical instrument has on the brain's ability to process sights and sounds, and shows how it can also help to lift a blue mood.

Health - Pharmacology - 01.12.2022
'Smart contact lens' to detect eye infections
’Smart contact lens’ to detect eye infections
Using the new -smart contact lens- could prevent deaths caused by fungal eye infections in developing countries Currently, detecting which bacteria or fungus is present in an eye infection is an invasive and lengthy process - the new test would involve the patient wearing the special lens for an hour, with the results determined soon afterwards It will also cut down on the misprescribing of antibiotics, helping in the fight to reduce antibiotic resistance A pioneering -smart contact lens- to test for eye infections in a quick, non-invasive way is being developed.

Social Sciences - Health - 01.12.2022
Adolescent wellbeing improved by online contact with close friends
Frequent online communication with best friends and existing friendship groups is associated with better wellbeing in young people, new research by Cardiff University has found. Led by the Centre for the Development, Evaluation, Complexity and Implementation in Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), the study found that boys and girls communicating with 'real life' friends online had higher levels of wellbeing.

Health - Computer Science - 01.12.2022
Fitness levels can be accurately predicted using wearable devices - no exercise required
Cambridge researchers have developed a method for measuring overall fitness accurately on wearable devices - and more robustly than current consumer smartwatches and fitness monitors - without the wearer needing to exercise.

Health - Research Management - 01.12.2022
Mapping the hidden connections between diseases
Mapping the hidden connections between diseases
A new study led by UCL researchers has identified patterns in how common health conditions occur together in the same individuals, using data from four million patients in England. With advancing age, millions of people live with multiple conditions - sometimes referred to as multimorbidity - and the proportion of people affected in this way is expected to rise over the next decades.

Health - Pharmacology - 01.12.2022
Coronavirus drug target identified that could halt virus replication
Coronavirus drug target identified that could halt virus replication
Structural details of an attractive drug target in coronaviruses that could be used against SARS-CoV-2 and in future pandemics have been published by international teams co-led by UCL researchers. Two new studies published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences and eLife reveal pockets in an important piece of the virus' machinery that drugs could bind to in order to halt virus replication.

Life Sciences - Health - 01.12.2022
Early life experiences can have long-lasting impact on genes
Early life experiences can have long-lasting impact on genes
Early life experiences can impact the activity of our genes much later on and even affect longevity, finds a new study in fruit flies led by UCL researchers. In the study published in Nature Aging , the scientists report that gene expression 'memory' can persist across the lifespan, and may present a novel target for improving late-life health.

Health - Life Sciences - 01.12.2022
Anti-ageing drug rapamycin might only benefit females
Anti-ageing drug rapamycin might only benefit females
The anti-ageing drug rapamycin only prolongs the lifespan of female fruit flies, but not that of males, finds a new study co-led by UCL researchers. Working with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, the team reports in Nature Aging that in addition, rapamycin only slowed the development of age-related pathological changes in the gut in female flies.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 30.11.2022
Mysteriously bright flash is a black hole jet pointing straight toward Earth, astronomers say
Mysteriously bright flash is a black hole jet pointing straight toward Earth, astronomers say
Astronomers have determined the source of an incredibly bright X-ray, optical and radio signal appearing from halfway across the Universe. The signal, named AT 2022cmc, was discovered earlier this year by the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. Findings published today in Nature Astronomy, suggest that it is likely from a jet of matter, streaking out from a supermassive black hole at close to the speed of light.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.11.2022
Dormant microbes can ’switch on’ to cope with climate change
Dormant strains of bacteria that have previously adapted to cope with certain temperatures are switched back on during climatic change, study shows. The results, led by a team at Imperial College London and published today in eLife , have important implications for predicting the impact of global warming on ecosystems.

Environment - Life Sciences - 29.11.2022
New study suggests climate change may be affecting animal body size
New study suggests climate change may be affecting animal body size
A new study finds treeshrews increase in size in warmer settings, contrary to established norms. Our study is the first to demonstrate a rule reversal over time in any species. We need to revisit some of our assumptions about size variation as our climate continues to rapidly change. Maya Juman New evidence shows that some mammals increase in size in warmer settings, upsetting established norms and suggesting that climate change may be having an unexpected impact on animal body size.

Environment - 29.11.2022
Pet ferret owners’ awareness of animal boredom can impact their pet’s welfare
New research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has revealed the extent to which pet ferret owners are aware of and understand ferret boredom. The study found that, although most owners believed their ferrets could experience boredom, owners who doubted this capability in ferrets provided a significantly less stimulating environment for their pets.

Life Sciences - Health - 29.11.2022
Ancient viruses may hold key to effective gene therapy treatments
Scientists have unlocked key insights into virus evolution, revealing new information that could help develop treatments for a wide variety of genetic diseases. The research, which was led by scientists at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) and University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, focuses on a group of small, ubiquitous viruses called 'parvoviruses' (from the Latin word "parvus" meaning 'small', 'puny' or 'unimportant').

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 28.11.2022
Non-detection of key signal allows astronomers to determine what the first galaxies were - and weren't - like
Non-detection of key signal allows astronomers to determine what the first galaxies were - and weren’t - like
Researchers have been able to make some key determinations about the first galaxies to exist, in one of the first astrophysical studies of the period in the early Universe when the first stars and galaxies formed, known as the cosmic dawn.

Life Sciences - Environment - 28.11.2022
Live fast, avoid extinction: fast-lived species more resilient to human influences
Live fast, avoid extinction: fast-lived species more resilient to human influences
Animals that live fast - that is, frequent or abundant reproduction and short lifespans - are more resilient to human-driven land use changes than those with slow life-histories, finds a new study led by UCL researchers. Across the globe, in areas that have experienced rapid expansion of cropland or bare soil, fast-lived species have increased in numbers in recent decades while slow-lived species are in decline, according to the findings published in Global Change Biology .

Environment - Life Sciences - 28.11.2022
Mussel survey reveals alarming degradation of River Thames ecosystem since the 1960s
Mussel survey reveals alarming degradation of River Thames ecosystem since the 1960s
Scientists replicated a 1964 River Thames survey and found that mussel numbers have declined by almost 95%, with one species - the depressed river mussel - completely gone. This dramatic decline in native mussel populations is very worrying, and we are not sure what's driving it David Aldridge The detailed study measured the change in size and number of all species of mussel in a stretch of the River Thames near Reading between 1964 and 2020.

Chemistry - Earth Sciences - 24.11.2022
Possible organic compounds found in Mars crater rocks
Possible organic compounds found in Mars crater rocks
Rock samples from the Jezero crater analysed by the Perseverance rover show evidence of liquid water and signatures that could be organic compounds. A study published in Science analyses multiple rocks found at the bottom of Jezero Crater on Mars, where the Perseverance rover landed in 2020, revealing significant interaction between the rocks and liquid water.

Environment - 24.11.2022
Intensive grassland management hampers the recovery of soil food webs from drought
New research led by a team of scientists from The University of Manchester has shown that intensive grassland management impairs the capacity of soils to buffer extreme droughts, which are becoming more frequent and intense. The study investigated how management of grasslands across northern England modifies the transfer of recently photosynthesised carbon by plants to roots and soil organisms and the transfer of soil nitrogen to plant and soil organisms following a severe drought.

Environment - 24.11.2022
Low-traffic neighbourhoods reduce pollution in surrounding streets
Low-traffic neighbourhoods reduce pollution in surrounding streets
Low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) reduce traffic and air pollution without displacing the problem to nearby streets, new research has shown. The study by researchers at Imperial College London looked at three LTNs in London, to identify their impact on both air pollution and traffic within the LTN zones and in the surrounding area.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 24.11.2022
Shock waves trigger black holes' powerful jets
Shock waves trigger black holes’ powerful jets
Powerful jets of material released by black holes are accelerated far into space by shock waves within the jets, an international collaboration involving UCL researchers has found. The study, published in Nature , helps to solve a decades-old mystery about how these jets are produced. The research team was able to rule out alternative causes of the jets - such as magnetic reconnection - and, out of a number of theoretical models of how the particles in the jets are accelerated, showed that just one model was correct.
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