Latest Brain Sciences News

School affects girls’ chances of being diagnosed with an eating disorder

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The school a girl attends can affect her chance of being diagnosed with an eating disorder, finds a new study co-authored by UCL researchers. The results are published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Nick Lesica has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship

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Nick Lesica

Congratulations to Dr Nick Lesica from UCL Ear Institute who has been awarded a Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science by the Wellcome Trust which will last for five years.

Rescuing human light-sensors in childhood blindness

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Graphical abstract

Scientists at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have identified the mechanism behind a common inherited cause of severe sight loss in young children. The results also point to a potential new treatment that may be possible to deliver by simple injection to the eye.

Uncertainty can cause more stress than inevitable pain

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Task structure and stress measures

Knowing that there is a small chance of getting a painful electric shock can lead to significantly more stress than knowing that you will definitely be shocked, finds a new UCL study funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

New Drug Shows Promise in Fighting Muscle Wasting Disease

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Cross-section of muscle from a patient with inclusion body myositis (courtesy of Marinos C. Dalakas MD via Neurology)

A new drug to treat the muscle wasting disease inclusion body myositis (IBM) reverses key symptoms in mice and is safe and well-tolerated in patients, finds a new study led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Wellcome Hub Project

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Exploration of dementia announced as second project of The Hub at Wellcome Collection

A group exploring dementia and the arts led by Seb Crutch have been invited to take up the 2016-2018 residency in The Hub at Wellcome Collection, a flagship space and resource for interdisciplinary projects exploring health and wellbeing. Bringing together a rich network including scientists, artists, clinicians, public health experts and broadcasters, the group will examine and challenge perceptions of dementia through scientific and creative experimentation. They have been awarded £1 million to develop the project over two years. Full details can be found on the Wellcome Trust website

New drug shows promise against muscle wasting disease

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Cross-section of muscle from a patient with inclusion body myositis

A new drug to treat the muscle wasting disease inclusion body myositis (IBM) reverses key symptoms in mice and is safe and well-tolerated in patients, finds a new study led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at UCL and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Risk of schizophrenia and other psychoses three times higher in refugees

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Refugees on the Macedonian border

A study of 1.3 million people in Sweden found that the risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia or other psychoses was three times higher in refugees than in the Swedish-born population.

PG Symposium

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On 8 March we held our annual postgraduate research symposium, giving our PGR students a chance to showcase their work, catch up with their peers from around the faculty and be in with a chance of winning some money!

Grid cells’ role in human imagination revealed

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Entorhinal cortex

Evidence of grid cell activity has been seen in healthy volunteers asked to imagine moving through an environment in new UCL research funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

Remembering George Martin (3 January 1926 – 8 March 2016)

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George Martin 2006

George Martin KBE CBE, who has just died at the age of 90, was a prominent supporter of work in hearing research who often gave his time to help promote its importance.

Nitrous oxide could disrupt formation of traumatic memories

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Laughing gas has been used as an anaesthetic since the 1840s. This image shows canisters from 1915-1940.

Nitrous oxide administered after a traumatic event may help to prevent distressing memories from ‘sticking’ in the brain, suggests new UCL research.

Virtual reality study examines GP response when patients demand antibiotics

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VR GP antibiotic scenario

Both trainee and senior GPs prescribed antibiotics without clinical need when faced with a virtual reality (VR) scenario where patients angrily demanded them, finds new UCL research.

Following orders makes us feel less responsible for our actions

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Experimental set-up in the coercive condition

Coercive instructions make people feel less responsible for the outcomes of their actions, as opposed to merely saying that they are less responsible, researchers from UCL and the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium have found.

Major Wellcome Trust award to UCL boosts Huntington’s disease research

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A team of researchers from UCL and the University of Cambridge led by Professor Sarah Tabrizi, Director of the Huntington’s Disease Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology, have been granted a prestigious Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award in one of the largest investments in Huntington’s Disease (HD) ever given by a public funding body in the UK. 

Virtual reality therapy could help people with depression

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Participant playing the role of an adult comforting a crying child

An immersive virtual reality therapy could help people with depression to be less critical and more compassionate towards themselves, reducing depressive symptoms, finds a new study from UCL and ICREA-University of Barcelona.

Understanding the physics of pancakes to save sight

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Understanding the textures and patterns of pancakes is helping UCL scientists improve surgical methods for treating glaucoma.

Do our students benefit from our excellent performance in the recent RAND analysis?

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Who better to learn from than the most influential researchers in England?

The recent RAND bibliometric analysis, which looked at how often articles were cited by other researchers, puts UCL at the top of all English institutions in terms of having the largest number of highly cited publications.

1 in 10 suicide attempt risk among friends and relatives of people who die by suicide

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Help is at Hand

People bereaved by the sudden death of a friend or family member are 65% more likely to attempt suicide if the deceased died by suicide than if they died by natural causes. This brings the absolute risk up to 1 in 10, reveals new UCL research funded by the Medical Research Council.

Epilepsy drug could protect nerves from damage in MS

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Optical neuritis

An epilepsy drug could lead to a new treatment that protects nerve damage in MS patients, according to research published in the Lancet Neurology.

UCL launches free online dementia course

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Brain scan

UCL has today announced a free four-week online course “The Many Faces of Dementia” aiming to provide valuable insights into dementia through the stories, symptoms and science behind four less common diagnoses. The interactive MOOC (massive open online course) features interviews with world-leading experts, people with dementia and their families as well as articles and discussion.

UCL researchers are the most highly cited in England for Biomedical and Health Research

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Highly Cited Publications

Bibliometric analysis commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and carried out by RAND shows that UCL is producing the largest number of highly cited publications of any organisation in England.

New trait explains why some people are more easily distracted than others

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People vary according to different personality traits, such as extraversion or conscientiousness, and new UCL research suggests that they also vary according to a particular cognitive trait: distractibility. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Research Images as Art/Art images as Research: 2015/16 winners announced

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Red poppies in the mouse brain

A diverse and fascinating series of images were unveiled as the winners of the Research Images as Art / Art Images as Research competition for 2015/16, run by the UCL Doctoral School.

Why focusing on a visual task will make us deaf to our surroundings

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Concentrating attention on a visual task can render you momentarily ‘deaf’ to sounds at normal levels, reports a new UCL study funded by the Wellcome Trust.

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