Latest Brain Sciences News

Our brain’s response to others' good news depends on empathy

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MRI brain scan

The way our brain responds to others’ good fortune is linked to how empathetic people report themselves to be, according to new UCL-led research.

UCL and UK supermarkets unite to beat dementia with carrier bag funds

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Iceland, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose logos

UK supermarkets Iceland, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose have today pledged funds from the new levy on single-use carrier bags to support the construction of a new world class dementia research centre at UCL.

UCL professor wins Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize 2015

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Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) has today been announced as the recipient of the 2015 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize for her research on understanding emotional and social brain development during adolescence. The award will be presented on 4 December 2015, at an award ceremony at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

London Project to Cure Blindness

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Patch graft

A pioneering trial of a new treatment derived from stem cells for people with ‘wet’ age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has commenced at Moorfields Eye Hospital following a successful operation on a patient.

Why other people's skin always feels softer

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Holding hands

Have you ever touched someone else and wondered why his or her skin felt so incredibly soft? Well, now researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 10 present evidence that this experience may often be an illusion.

NFL fans and ESPN reporters overly optimistic about team prospects

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NFL fan

US fans of the National Football League (NFL) and sports reporters assigned to specific teams have unrealistic expectations about how well their team will perform, finds new research from UCL and Oxford University.

Possible evidence for human transmission of Alzheimer’s pathology

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Nature logo

Amyloid beta pathology in the grey matter and blood vessel walls characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the related cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is observed in the brains of deceased patients who acquired Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) following treatment with prion-contaminated human growth hormone.

Antipsychotics inappropriately prescribed to people with intellectual disabilities

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Antipsychotic medication

Large numbers of people with intellectual disabilities are being inappropriately prescribed antipsychotic drugs, finds a new UCL study.

UCL academics elected as British Academy Fellows

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British Academy Fellows

Four academics from UCL have been elected as Fellows of the British Academy in recognition of their outstanding research in the humanities and social sciences.

Large trial will assess effectiveness of teaching mindfulness in UK schools

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Paula Kearney, UCL Academy teacher, talking to pupils (from left to right) Patricia Markauskaite, Enaya Ali and Haroon Hussein (credit: Wellcome Trust)

A major study to assess whether mindfulness training for teenagers can improve their mental health launches today, involving researchers from UCL alongside staff and students at the UCL Academy.

Landmark 69-year study to provide window into dementia

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Professor Nick Fox and Dr Jonathan Schott

A landmark study that has been following a group of people since their birth in the same week in March 1946 is now turning its focus to the risk factors and early signs of dementia.

Major new research study on the impact of system-wide reorganisation of cancer services

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A research team led by Professor Naomi Fulop (UCL Department of Applied Health Research) has been awarded £1.2 million over three and a half years by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme to study the centralisation of specialist cancer surgical services.

Commonly prescribed drugs affect decisions to harm oneself and others

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Healthy people given the serotonin-enhancing antidepressant citalopram were willing to pay almost twice as much to prevent harm to themselves or others than those given placebo drugs in a moral decision-making experiment at UCL.

Research reveals how the human brain might reconstruct past events

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Hippocampus activity seen when forming event memories

When remembering something from our past, we often vividly re-experience the whole episode in which it occurred. New UCL research funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust has now revealed how this might happen in the brain.

Rats 'dream' paths to a brighter future

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Illustration of sleeping rat

When rats rest, their brains simulate journeys to a desired future such as a tasty treat, finds new UCL research funded by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society.

Natural genetic variation gives complete resistance in prion diseases

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Prion protein expressed in E. coli

Researchers at the Medical Research Council’s Prion Unit at UCL have identified a naturally occurring variant of the human prion protein that produces resistance to prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The findings, published in Nature, could give important insight into other human brain diseases that lead to dementia.

Working with Saracens to monitor concussion in rugby

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Saracens players wear patches in games and training

A team of UCL researchers have joined the ongoing Saracens study for the 2015/16 season, which combines impact sensors with blood samples to determine the effects of concussion on rugby players.

Missing molecule prevents puberty

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Hormones that trigger puberty in the mouse brain

A molecule important in blood vessel formation and brain wiring is also essential for the onset of puberty, finds new research led by UCL and the University of Milan.

SLMS Education Domain announces the winners of the first SLMS Education Awards

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education awards

We are proud to announce the winners of the first SLMS Education Awards to reward those dedicated to improving the quality of education for SLMS students and to spotlight and support excellence and innovation in the delivery of education.

Academy of Medical Sciences Fellows 2015

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Academy of Medical Sciences

Five researchers from across UCL SLMS have been recognised for their contribution to the advancement of medical science by election to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Professors Peter Brocklehurst, Frances Brodsky, Diana Kuh, Catherine Law and Alan Thompson joined the existing Fellows of the Academy to bring the total membership to 1134.

Royal Society Fellows 2015

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Royal Society

Professor Annette Dolphin (Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, Division of Biosciences) and Professor Michael Häusser (Professor of Neuroscience, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research) have been elected to the Fellowship and Foreign Membership of the Royal Society.

Emotional problems in schoolgirls rose dramatically over past 5 years

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Young student takes exam

Emotional problems in girls aged 11-13 in England increased by 55% between 2009 and 2014, finds new research from UCL and the Anna Freud Centre. On average, this means that a mixed classroom of 30 children today is likely to contain one more girl with emotional difficulties than a comparable class 5 years ago.

Teenagers shape each other’s views on how risky a situation is

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Group of teenagers

Young adolescents’ judgements on how risky a situation might be are most influenced by what other teenagers think, while most other age groups are more influenced by adults’ views, finds new UCL research.

Crossing fingers can reduce feelings of pain

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Cold stimulus on the crossed middle finger

How you feel pain is affected by where sources of pain are in relation to each other, and so crossing your fingers can change what you feel on a single finger, finds new UCL research.

Structure of genetic messenger molecules reveals key role in diseases

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Illustration of how many connections form across mRNA molecules, where colour indicates the length of each connection

Messenger RNAs (mRNA) are linear molecules that contain instructions for producing the proteins that keep living cells functioning. A new study by UCL researchers has shown how the three-dimensional structures of mRNAs determine their stability and efficiency inside cells. This new knowledge could help to explain how seemingly minor mutations that alter mRNA structure might cause things to go wrong in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

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