Life Sciences

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Life Sciences - Environment - 27.03.2020
Scientists document seasonal migrations of fish across the deep-sea floor for the first time
Scientists have, for the first time, documented seasonal migrations of fish across the seafloor in deep-sea fish, revealing an important insight that will further scientific understanding of the nature of our planet. The study - published today in the Journal of Animal Ecology and led by the University of Glasgow and Nova Southeastern University in Florida - analysed over seven years of deep-sea photographic data from West Africa, linking seasonal patterns in surface-ocean productivity with observed behavioural patterns of fishes at 1500 metres.

Life Sciences - Environment - 27.03.2020
Scientists predict the size of plastics animals can eat
A team of scientists at Cardiff University has, for the first time, developed a way of predicting the size of plastics different animals are likely to ingest. The researchers, from the University's Water Research Institute, looked at the gut contents of more than 2,000 animals to create a simple equation to predict the size of a plastic item an animal can eat, based on the length of its body.

Environment - Life Sciences - 26.03.2020
Marine species respond as oceans warm
A global analysis of over 300 marine species spanning more than 100 years, shows that mammals, plankton, fish, plants and seabirds have been changing in abundance as our climate warms. At the cool edge of species ranges marine life is doing well as warming opens up habitat that was previously inaccessible, while at the warmer edge species are declining as conditions become too warm to tolerate.

Environment - Life Sciences - 25.03.2020
Pablo Escobar's hippos might have helped to restore local ecological diversity
Pablo Escobar’s hippos might have helped to restore local ecological diversity
Hippos imported into Colombia by drug lord Pablo Escobar could have helped to restore ecological diversity in the surrounding area, according to a new study. An international group of researchers, including Dr Chris Sandom and Owen Middleton at the University of Sussex, conducted a worldwide analysis comparing the ecological traits of introduced herbivores, like Escobar's hippos, to those of the past.

Life Sciences - Environment - 25.03.2020
Urban birds need to be smart or fast-breeding
Urban birds need to be smart or fast-breeding
To thrive in urban environments, birds need to either have large brains, or breed many times over their life, according to a new study involving UCL. The study, published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution , suggests that birds have two alternative strategies for coping with the difficulties of humanity's increasingly chaotic cities.

Life Sciences - Environment - 24.03.2020
Bristol develops photosynthetic proteins for more sustainable solar-powered devices
Bristol develops photosynthetic proteins for more sustainable solar-powered devices
The initiative is part of a broader effort in the field of synthetic biology to use proteins in place of man-made materials which are often scarce, expensive and can be harmful to the environment when the device becomes obsolete. The aim of the study, published today , was the development of “chimera” photosynthetic complexes that display poly-chromatic solar energy harvesting.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.03.2020
Brain reading technology could help development of brainwave-controlled devices
A new method to accurately record brain activity at scale has been developed by researchers at UCL, the Crick, and Stanford University. The technique could lead to new medical devices to help amputees, people with paralysis or people with neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease.

Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 20.03.2020
In pictures: the Imperial lab developing a COVID-19 vaccine
In pictures: the Imperial lab developing a COVID-19 vaccine
Scores of researchers are racing to create a virus to combat the coronavirus COVID-19. Professor Robin Shattock and his team in Imperial College London's Department of Infectious Disease developed a candidate vaccine within 14 days of getting the sequence from China. They have been testing the vaccine on animals since 10 February and plan to move to clinical trials in the summer.

Life Sciences - 19.03.2020
Our complex evolutionary history
Our complex evolutionary history
A new study has provided the most comprehensive analysis of human genetic diversity to date, clarifying the genetic relationships between human populations around the world. It is remarkable that patterns of Neanderthal ancestry are so similar in populations around the world today, and may have derived from a single Neanderthal population.

Life Sciences - Physics - 18.03.2020
Researchers develop new theory to explain random movement of particles in fluids
Researchers develop new theory to explain random movement of particles in fluids
Mathematicians have developed a new theory to explain the strange, loopy motions seen in 'passive' particles immersed in 'active' fluids. The theory could help researchers understand how microorganisms forage for nutrients, and how randomness arises in real-life, out-of-equilibrium systems like financial markets.

Life Sciences - Health - 17.03.2020
Inflammation in the brain linked to several forms of dementia
Inflammation in the brain may be more widely implicated in dementias than was previously thought, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge. The researchers say it offers hope for potential new treatments for several types of dementia. We predicted the link between inflammation in the brain and the build-up of damaging proteins, but even we were surprised by how tightly these two problems mapped on to each other Thomas Cope Inflammation is usually the body's response to injury and stress - such as the redness and swelling that accompanies an injury or infection.

Life Sciences - 16.03.2020
A more balanced protein intake can reduce age-related muscle loss
Eating more protein at breakfast or lunchtime could help older people maintain muscle mass with advancing age - but most people eat proteins fairly unevenly throughout the day, new research at the University of Birmingham has found. The body's mechanisms for producing new muscle require regular stimulation to function efficiently - this stimulation happens when we eat protein.

Health - Life Sciences - 12.03.2020
AI finds "smell" genes might have a role beyond the nose
The genes that help you smell could also be assisting the spread of colon cancer. Humans have around 400 "smell-sensing" genes which activate in a combination of ways to allow us to smell the ranges of smells that we do. However, the genes have been found to be expressed in parts of the body other than the nose, with their role previously remaining a mystery.

Life Sciences - Health - 12.03.2020
New pre-clinical link between gut microbiome and brain function
Scientists find new pre-clinical link between gut microbiome and brain function Scientists at the University of Glasgow have described new molecules which form a direct link between the gut microbiome and the brain, leading to inhibition of brain cell function in pre-clinical investigations in mice.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.03.2020
Research response in Scotland
University of Glasgow leads COVID-19 research response in Scotland The MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) is at the heart of COVID-19 research response in Scotland and the UK. Covid-19 is a new disease in humans, caused by a member of the coronavirus family of viruses. Thought to have originated in bats, it was first recorded in humans in China in late 2019, and can cause a fever, cough and breathing problems.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 11.03.2020
EPSRC New Investigator Award 2020 for research on protocellular materials
EPSRC New Investigator Award 2020 for research on protocellular materials
Dr Pierangelo Gobbo said: "Currently, the research field of bottom-up synthetic biology is trying to fill the gap between biology and chemistry to better understand how the non-living becomes alive. To do this, attempts have been made to construct what are called protocells. These are cell-like entities created from scratch using only a limited toolbox of molecules, materials, and chemical reactions.

Life Sciences - Health - 11.03.2020
Experts call for more mental health support for parents of children with genetic learning disabilities
Experts call for more mental health support for parents of children with genetic learning disabilities
Parents of children with genetic conditions that cause learning disabilities are at risk of mental health problems, suggests new research published today in the British Journal of Psychiatry . The teams behind the study have called for greater support for parents whose child receives a genetic diagnosis for their learning disability.

Health - Life Sciences - 09.03.2020
Scientists design new model to further understand causes of Alzheimer’s disease
Scientists from Cardiff University have brought together all known risk factors for Alzheimer's disease for the first time to produce a new model of the disease which it is hoped will help speed up the discovery of new treatments. The Multiplex Model is a new way of looking at Alzheimer's disease developed by Professor Julie Williams, Dr Rebecca Sims and Dr Matt Hill of the University's UK Dementia Research Institute (UKDRI) and unveiled .

Life Sciences - Psychology - 09.03.2020
Two brain systems for thinking about others’ thoughts
The brain seems to have two different systems enabling us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, which develop at different ages, finds a new study involving UCL. The two systems mature at different times such that only four-year-olds can understand what another person is thinking, and not, as some have assumed, one-year-olds, according to the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) .

Life Sciences - Health - 06.03.2020
Seismic imaging technology could deliver detailed images of the brain
Scientists at UCL and Imperial College London have developed a new computational technique that could lead to fast, finely detailed brain imaging with a compact device that uses only sound waves. The team says their proof-of-concept study, published in npj Digital Medicine , paves the way for the development of high-fidelity clinical imaging of the human brain that could be superior to existing technology.
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