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Health - Life Sciences - 25.09.2020
Evaluation of LamPORE rapid tests for Covid-19 show high levels of diagnostic sensitivity
Scientists from the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Medicine have today published their evaluation of LamPORE , a novel diagnostic platform for detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA. It combines loop-mediated isothermal amplification with nanopore sequencing. This technology has the potential to analyse thousands of samples per day on a single instrument.

Life Sciences - Health - 24.09.2020
Parental touch reduces pain responses in babies’ brains
Being held by a parent with skin-to-skin contact reduces how strongly a newborn baby's brain responds to a painful medical jab, finds a new study led by researchers at UCL and York University, Canada. The scientists report in the European Journal of Pain that there was more activity in the brains of newborn babies in reaction to the pain when a parent was holding them through clothing, than without clothing.

Health - Life Sciences - 23.09.2020
Analysis: Coronavirus mutations - what we’ve learned so far
Dr Lucy van Dorp (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains the mutations that Covid-19 is undergoing and how we're still facing fundamentally the same virus as we were at the start of the pandemic. In early January, the first genome sequence of Sars-CoV-2 - the virus that causes Covid-19 - was released under the moniker "Wuhan-1".

Life Sciences - Health - 23.09.2020
Placenta is initiated first, as cells of a fertilised egg divide and specialise
The first stages of placental development take place days before the embryo starts to form in human pregnancies. This new finding highlights the importance of healthy placental development in pregnancy, and could lead to future improvements in fertility treatments such as IVF, and a better understanding of placental-related diseases in pregnancy.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.09.2020
Predatory bacteria escape unharmed from prey cell using unique tool - study
Predatory bacteria, capable of invading and consuming harmful bugs such as E.coli and Salmonella, use a unique tool to help them escape the cell they have invaded without harming themselves, according to a new study. Researchers at the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham have identified a particular enzyme used by the bacteria to rupture the cell wall of its prey bacteria and exit without damaging its own cell wall.

Life Sciences - 21.09.2020
Do rats like to be tickled?
Not all rats like to be tickled but by listening to their vocalisations it is possible to understand in real-time their individual emotional response, according to new research by the University of Bristol. The study, published today [21 September] in Current Biology, suggests that if this same relationship is observed for other situations, then it may be possible to use call patterns in rats to measure their emotional response and understand how best to improve their welfare.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 21.09.2020
Modelling of ancient fossil movement reveals step in the evolution of posture in dinosaur and crocodile ancestors
Modelling of ancient fossil movement reveals step in the evolution of posture in dinosaur and crocodile ancestors
Life reconstruction of Euparkeria highlighting the body parts investigated in this study. Illustration: Oliver Demuth. The oblique ankle joint did not allow Euparkeria to assume a fully upright posture as the foot also turns medially when the ankle joint is extended. An ankle joint allowing a more upright posture evolved later independent from the hip structure.

Life Sciences - History / Archeology - 16.09.2020
World's largest ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren't all Scandinavian
World’s largest ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren’t all Scandinavian
Invaders, pirates, warriors - the history books taught us that Vikings were brutal predators who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to pillage and raid their way across Europe and beyond. The results change the perception of who a Viking actually was.

Life Sciences - 16.09.2020
Slower growing chickens experience higher welfare, commercial scale study finds
Slower growing chickens experience higher welfare, commercial scale study finds
Slower growing broiler chickens are healthier and have more fun than conventional breeds of birds, new evidence from an independent commercial scale farm trial has shown. The study carried out by researchers from FAI Farms, the University of Bristol and The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, is published today [16 September], in Scientific Reports.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.09.2020
COVID-19 exposure and viral carriage in health care workers
2.4% of asymptomatic health care workers at work in Birmingham were carriers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and over a third of those individuals subsequently became unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, a new cross-sectional study by researchers at the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has found.

Environment - Life Sciences - 10.09.2020
Global wildlife populations declined by two-thirds since 1970
Global wildlife populations declined by two-thirds since 1970
Global animal populations have on average declined by two-thirds in less than half a century, according to the WWF's Living Planet Report 2020 involving UCL researchers, released today. The Living Planet Index (LPI), provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), shows that factors believed to increase the planet's vulnerability to pandemics such as COVID-19 - including land-use change and the use and trade of wildlife - were also some of the drivers behind the 68% average decline in global mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish populations between 1970 and 2016.

Health - Life Sciences - 10.09.2020
Previously unknown 'genetic vulnerability' in breast cancer cells target of research
Previously unknown ’genetic vulnerability’ in breast cancer cells target of research
The study, published in the scientific journal  Nature , has uncovered a genetic vulnerability present in nearly 10% percent of all breast cancers tumours, and found a way to target this vulnerability and selectively kill cancer cells. Each year, over five thousand newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in the UK alone will carry this particular genetic fault, a proportion roughly double that driven by hereditary mutations such as those in the well-known BRCA genes.

Life Sciences - 10.09.2020
Binge-drinkers' brains have to work harder to feel empathy for others
Binge-drinkers’ brains have to work harder to feel empathy for others
People who binge-drink show more extensive dysfunction across their brains than previously realised, a new study from the University of Sussex has shown. The research shows that binge-drinkers' brains have to put more effort into trying to feel empathy for other people in pain. The paper “Differential brain responses for perception of pain during empathic response in binge drinkers compared to non-binge drinkers? is published in the October 2020 edition of the Neuroimage: Clinical journal.

Health - Life Sciences - 07.09.2020
New model predicts oesophageal cancer eight years early for half of all patients
New model predicts oesophageal cancer eight years early for half of all patients
DNA from tissue biopsies taken from patients with Barrett's oesophagus - a risk factor for oesophageal cancer - could show which patients are most likely to develop the disease eight years before diagnosis, suggests a study led by researchers at the University of Cambridge and EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).

Life Sciences - Health - 07.09.2020
Research unravels what makes memories so detailed and enduring
Research unravels what makes memories so detailed and enduring
In years to come, personal memories of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be etched in our minds with precision and clarity, distinct from other memories of 2020. The process which makes this possible has eluded scientists for many decades, but research led by the University of Bristol has made a breakthrough in understanding how memories can be so distinct and long-lasting without getting muddled up.

Life Sciences - Health - 07.09.2020
Raised blood pressure and diabetes alter brain structure to slow thinking speed and memory
In a new study, neuroscientists at Oxford University have found that raised blood pressure and diabetes in mid-life alter brain structure to slow thinking speed and memory. Looking at results from 22,000 volunteers in the UK Biobank who underwent brain scanning, the scientists found that raised blood pressure and diabetes significantly impaired the brain's cognitive functions, specifically the performance of thinking speed and short-term memory.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 04.09.2020
Genetic links to drug and alcohol use among young people
Young people who are genetically predisposed to risk-taking, low extraversion and schizophrenia are more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, or other illicit drugs, according to a new UCL-led study. The researchers say that the findings, published in Addiction Biology , are in line with the notion that people who are more vulnerable to psychopathology or certain personality traits are more inclined to try several types of drugs or use them to 'self-medicate'.

Life Sciences - 03.09.2020
Contribute to apple database and identify what type of tree is growing in your garden
Scientists from the University of Bristol are asking people in the local area who have -unknown- varieties of apple trees in their garden, allotment or neighbourhood to collect a few leaves and send them in to them. It's all part of ongoing research carried out by Professor Keith Edwards and his team from the University's School of Biological Sciences which has developed a genotyping system - similar to human DNA fingerprinting - which can rapidly and easily identify apple varieties.

Life Sciences - 03.09.2020
True size of prehistoric mega-shark finally revealed
True size of prehistoric mega-shark finally revealed
To date only the length of the legendary giant shark Megalodon had been estimated but now, a new study led by the University of Bristol and Swansea University has revealed the size of the rest of its body, including fins that are as large as an adult human. There is a grim fascination in determining the size of the largest sharks, but this can be difficult for fossil forms where teeth are often all that remain.

Environment - Life Sciences - 28.08.2020
Understanding past warming can limit climate change effects
Understanding past warming can limit climate change effects
Evidence from Earth's past warming events should be built into forecasts showing how today's climate change could affect different species and ecosystems. Durham's bioscientists were part of an international team of researchers that identified and examined past increases in temperature similar to those anticipated in the coming decades.
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