news 2023


Life Sciences

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Astronomy / Space - Life Sciences - 21.12.2023
Christmas toys playing a role in scientific discovery
Toys aren't just sitting under the Christmas tree patiently waiting to be opened, they are also playing a significant role in scientific research at Cardiff University. Right across the University, the gifts old and young might receive this year are helping further our understanding of human development, democratising biomedical research, or helping shed light on some of the universe's unanswered questions.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 21.12.2023
Land-cover changes and serotonin levels: News from Imperial
Land-cover changes and serotonin levels: News from Imperial
Here's a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial. From a simulation to understand why land-cover changes have occurred, to a study that found different antidepressants all target serotonin, here is some quick-read news from across Imperial. Changing landscapes When land-cover changes happen, such as during the expansion of agriculture, there are numerous possible interacting reason for such changes, from environmental to social.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.12.2023
New protein linked to early-onset dementia identified
A first potential therapeutic target for a type of early-onset dementia has been established by a team of scientists, including UCL researchers. The new study, published in Nature , and led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, identified abnormal aggregates of a protein called TAF15 in the brains of individuals with early-onset dementia, known as frontotemporal dementia, where the cause was not previously known.

Health - Life Sciences - 20.12.2023
New study from the RVC explores malaria invasion to help develop life-saving vaccine
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2023 16:00:21 Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and University of Oxford have led an innovative project investigating the progression of malaria infection and the role of the parasite to better aid the development of an effective malaria vaccine and significantly reduce rates of deaths from the disease.

Life Sciences - Health - 18.12.2023
Unusual RNA structures could be targets for new ALS treatments
Studying strange forms of RNA associated with the formation of aggregates in the brains of ALS patients could lead to new avenues for treatments. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron disease, which causes degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. Neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS, dementia, and Alzheimer's, are the leading cause of death in the UK, and there are no known cures.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 15.12.2023
Southampton features in prime time Sir David Attenborough documentary
Southampton features in prime time Sir David Attenborough documentary
Researchers from the University of Southampton are set to appear in a new BBC Natural History programme revealing the secrets of a giant pliosaur, a ferocious predator which inhabited our seas at the same time as dinosaurs roamed the Earth about 150 million years ago. The documentary, titled 'Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster' (BBC One and iPlayer, 8pm, 1 January 2024), follows Sir David Attenborough on a journey of discovery as he explores the fascinating story of an enormous marine reptile whose skull was found buried on the Dorset coast near Kimmeridge Bay.

Health - Life Sciences - 15.12.2023
New gene therapy could significantly reduce seizures in severe childhood epilepsy
UCL researchers have developed a new gene therapy to cure a devastating form of childhood epilepsy, which a new study shows can significantly reduce seizures in mice. The study, published in Brain , sought to find an alternative to surgery for children with focal cortical dysplasia. Focal cortical dysplasia is caused by areas of the brain that have developed abnormally and is among the most common causes of drug-resistant epilepsy in children.

Health - Life Sciences - 15.12.2023
Immune cells could offer new avenues for treating respiratory diseases
Immune cells could offer new avenues for treating respiratory diseases
Healthy lung development hinges on communication between immune cells and cells that line the airways, according to new research from UCL and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, with implications for the treatment of respiratory diseases. The study, published in Science Immunology , has created a first-of-its-kind immune cell atlas of the developing lung, revealing coordination between the immune and respiratory systems much earlier in development than previously thought.

Life Sciences - Health - 14.12.2023
Researchers define new class of regulatory element in DNA
Researchers at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine's Laboratory of Gene Regulation , led by Professor Doug Higgs and Dr Mira Kassouf , have published a study in the journal Cell , in which they reveal another piece of the puzzle of how the code in our DNA is read. In this study, the authors introduce the concept of "facilitators", a newly identified type of non-coding DNA that can help to drive gene expression.

Health - Life Sciences - 14.12.2023
Pattern of alcohol intake more accurate indicator of liver disease risk than overall consumption
Those who binge drink and have a certain genetic makeup are six times more likely to develop alcohol-related cirrhosis, according to new research from UCL, the Royal Free Hospital, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. The study, published in Nature Communications , is the first to assess how an individual's pattern of drinking, their genetic profile (via a polygenic risk score) and whether or not they have type-2 diabetes affects their risk of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis (ARC).

Life Sciences - Health - 14.12.2023
Calls to assess neurological symptoms of rare genetic disorder
Neurological signs and symptoms of the different subgroups of a rare condition, called xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), have been systematically characterised for the first time by researchers at UCL and the UK National Xeroderma Pigmentosum Service. XP is a group of rare genetic disorders, affecting around 120 people in the UK, in which patients are not able to repair the damage in their DNA caused by ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

Life Sciences - Health - 08.12.2023
Ancient DNA reveals how a chicken virus evolved to become more deadly
An international team of scientists led by geneticists and disease biologists from the University of Oxford and LMU Munich have used ancient DNA to trace the evolution of Marek's Disease Virus (MDV). This global pathogen causes fatal infections in unvaccinated chickens and costs the poultry industry over $1 billion per year.

Life Sciences - Innovation - 07.12.2023
Q&A: Reducing the use of animal tissues for testing the safety of cosmetics
Q&A: Reducing the use of animal tissues for testing the safety of cosmetics
Imperial College London researchers speak to us about their work exploring animal-free methods for the future of testing cosmetics safety. Testing cosmetics on live animals was outlawed by the EU in 2013, but animal tissues continue to be used to test for dermal absorption, a measure of how much a chemical permeates the skin to reach the bloodstream.

Health - Life Sciences - 05.12.2023
Blood test to identify individuals at risk of developing Parkinson's disease
Blood test to identify individuals at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease
Researchers develop a blood test to identify individuals at risk of developing Parkinson's disease Research carried out at Oxford'sá Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences áhas led to the development of a new blood-based test to identify the pathology that triggers Parkinson's disease before the main symptoms occur.

Health - Life Sciences - 05.12.2023
Fatty foods can impair the body’s response to everyday stress - study
Eating fatty foods during stressful periods can impair the body's 'recovery' from the effects of stress, new research suggests. Different findings from a study, published recently in Frontiers in Nutrition and Nutrients , have shown that consuming foods high in fat before a mentally stressful episode can reduce brain oxygenation and cause poorer vascular function in adults.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 04.12.2023
Brains of newborns aren’t underdeveloped compared to other primates
Contrary to current understanding, the brains of human newborns aren't significantly less developed compared to other primate species, but appear so because so much brain development happens after birth, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

Life Sciences - Environment - 01.12.2023
Uncovering the genetic history of British otters
Uncovering the genetic history of British otters
New genetic research has revealed how British otters were able to recover from species loss in the 1950s with the help of their counterparts from Asia. Using genome sequencing data, a team from Cardiff University's Otter Project showed that much of the genetic diversity of British otters was lost when chemical pollution led to severe population declines in the 1950-1970s.

Life Sciences - Pedagogy - 30.11.2023
Why reading nursery rhymes and singing to babies may help them to learn language
Why reading nursery rhymes and singing to babies may help them to learn language
Researchers find that babies don't begin to process phonetic information reliably until seven months old which they say is too late to form the foundation of language. We believe that speech rhythm information is the hidden glue underpinning the development of a well-functioning language system. Professor Usha Goswami Parents should speak to their babies using sing-song speech, like nursery rhymes, as soon as possible, say researchers.

Health - Life Sciences - 30.11.2023
Brain waves usually found in sleep can protect against epileptic activity
Slow waves that usually only occur in the brain during sleep are also present during wakefulness in people with epilepsy and may protect against increased brain excitability associated with the condition, finds a new study led by researchers at UCL.

Environment - Life Sciences - 30.11.2023
Toxic banned chemicals exceed safe thresholds in UK orcas
Levels of banned chemicals in UK-stranded orcas are 30 times over the toxic threshold, uncovers new research. Levels of banned chemicals in UK-stranded orcas are 30 times over the toxic threshold, uncovers new research. The finding is just one alarming discovery from the investigation into the scale at which chemical pollution threatens the future of marine mammals.
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