Latest Brain Sciences News

Satnavs 'switch off' parts of the brain

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Space syntax map of London showing degree centrality

Using a satnav to get to your destination 'switches off' parts of the brain that would otherwise be used to simulate different routes, reveals new UCL research.

UCL Beacon Bursary for public engagement awarded to Dr Briony Hudson

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Dr Briony Hudson

Congratulations to Dr Briony Hudson, Division of Psychiatry, who has been awarded a Beacon Bursary to create a short film in conjunction with hostel staff and homeless people to be used in training for health care professionals.

Winners announced for £2m programme to commercialise life sciences discoveries

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A cure for pancreatic cancer, virtual reality rehabilitation, data-driven robotic surgery, and futuristic wound-healing technology are just four of the 16 projects selected for MedCity’s ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ programme.

Clean sweep of green ratings for MSc Speech and Language Sciences

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MSc Speech and Language Therapy

We are delighted to let you know that the MSc Speech and Language Sciences course has achieved Green RAG ratings in all 22 of the contract performance indicators in the Health Education England Quality Contract Performance Monitoring (QCPM) process (for the academic year 2015-16).  

The MSc Speech and Language Sciences, based in Chandler House, is a two year full-time intensive programme that provides professional pre-registration training in speech and language therapy and has achieved an overall green rating in this process for the sixth year running. Graduates from this MSc are in high demand from local employers, with 100% gaining places for further study or securing graduate level work within 6 months of graduating; 88% as speech and language therapists (according to the latest Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education data).

The QCPM process monitors the quality of non-medical education and training programmes commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) in London and the South East. It groups performance into four categories awarding a green rating where there are no areas of concern.

Achieving green in 100% of both qualitative (relating to course content and the student experience) and quantitative ratings (relating to student progression) is excellent news, and reflects the outstanding contribution and commitment of our academic and teaching fellow staff. It provides strong evidence for the high quality of the programme.

Thanks go to Carol Sacchett, Director of Studies in Speech and Language Therapy and Kea Young, Executive Officer, and to all who contributed to the QCPM submission.

Most effective vocabulary learning technique revealed

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Memprize logo

UCL and language learning app Memrise have announced the winner of the first 'Memprize', a competition to find the world’s most efficient and effective vocabulary learning technique.

Faculty professors win major Wellcome awards

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Wellcome logo

Congratulations to Professors Christiana Ruhrberg (Institute of Ophthalmology) Mike Cheetham (IoO), Matteo Carandini (IoO), Kenneth Harris (Institute of Neurology) and John O'Keefe (IoN), who have recently been awarded significant grants from Wellcome for their research. These grants represent in particular, both individually and together, a monumental achievement for the Institute of Ophthalmology; each research project undertaken has the potential to greatly impact and transform the field of brain sciences and beyond.

The UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre opens

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Prof Arthur and Amanda Staveley open new HD centre

The new UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre at UCL Institute of Neurology was officially opened on Wednesday 1st March 2017, by UCL President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur and Huntington’s Disease family member Amanda Staveley.

UCL professors win The Brain Prize for 2017

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Brain Prize logo

The Brain Prize for 2017, worth €1m, has been awarded to Professor Peter Dayan (UCL Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit), Professor Ray Dolan (UCL Max Planck Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research) and Professor Wolfram Schultz (University of Cambridge) for their analysis of how the brain recognises and processes reward. The capacity to link reward to events and actions is the foundation of human and animal survival, and problems with processing rewards can lead to neurological and psychiatric disorders.

UCL DRI Hub Bid Team wins Professional Services Award

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Dementia Research Hub Team

Congratulations to the UCL Dementia Research Institute Hub Bid Team, who won the Best Collaborative Project Award at the UCL Professional Services Awards 2017.

Cat ownership not linked to mental health problems

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New UCL research has found no link between cat ownership and psychotic symptoms, casting doubt on previous suggestions that people who grew up with cats are at higher risk of mental illness.

Humans are hard-wired to follow the path of least resistance

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Lazy seals

The amount of effort required to do something influences what we think we see, finds a new UCL study suggesting we’re biased towards perceiving anything challenging to be less appealing.

Evidence of brain damage found in former footballers

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Evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a potential cause of dementia caused by repeated blows to the head, has been found in the brains of former association football (soccer) players examined at the UCL Queen Square Brain Bank.

Professor Geoffrey Raisman

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Professor Geoffrey Raisman

It is with deepest regret and sympathy that we announce the death of Professor Geoffrey Raisman. A pioneer in his field, Professor Raisman joined the Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation at the Institute of Neurology (IoN) in 2005, where he established a dedicated Spinal Repair Unit.

Iceland delivers on £10m pledge to UCL Dementia Research

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Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has made an initial donation of £3 million to support the development of the hub of the UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL, the go-ahead for which was announced in December. 

Delirium could accelerate dementia-related mental decline

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The Neuronal Forest

When hospitalised, people can become acutely confused and disorientated. This condition, known as delirium, affects a quarter of older patients and new research by UCL and University of Cambridge shows it may have long-lasting consequences, including accelerating the dementia process.

Supporting actors take lead role as our brains age

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Ageing brains

The main changes in our brains as we get older are in the brain cells with a supporting role, called glial cells, British scientists have found.

Launch of the PHAGO project to explore a new approach for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease

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On 1st November 2016 the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) together with an association of industrial partners came together to support PHAGO, an innovative research project devoted to the development of immunomodulatory therapies for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). 

New model predicts when people are willing to try new things

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Supermarket shelves

A new model to predict when people are most likely to try different products has been developed by scientists at UCL and dunnhumby, a customer science company.

UCL staff recognised in New Year Honours 2017

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UCL Wilkins Portico statue

Congratulations to the members of the UCL community who have been recognised in the 2017 New Year Honours list.

Professor Miranda Wolpert honoured with MBE for services to child and adolescent mental healthcare

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Professor Miranda Wolpert

Many congratulations to Professor Miranda Wolpert, who has been honoured with a Member of British Empire (MBE) for services to child and adolescent mental healthcare.

Gene discovery helps children with movement disorder walk again

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UCL researchers have discovered a new genetic cause for dystonia, a movement disorder, enabling treatment with Deep Brain Stimulation which has been so successful that children have been able to walk again.

Naaheed Mukadam wins Lancet Wakley essay prize

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Picture of two tree faces: Lightspring/Shutterstock.com

Many congratulations to the Division of Psychiatry's Naaheed Mukadam, who has won the Lancet Wakley essay prize for her story entitled "Stay with Me". 

Risk avoidance in older adults is related to brain anatomy, not age

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rPPC grey matter volume accounts for risk tolerance after controlling for age.

An international study co-authored by an Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience researcher has found that risk avoidance in older adults may be linked to changes in brain anatomy, rather than to age.

New £250m UK Dementia Research Institute to be led from UCL

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MRI scan showing brain changes in dementia

UCL has been selected as the 'hub' of the new £250m UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), to be led by Professor Bart De Strooper, current leader of the Laboratory for the Research of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Leuven and scientific director at VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie) in Belgium.

Glaucoma drug may have potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease

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test tubes

A drug which is used to treat the common eye disease glaucoma may have potential as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, according to scientists at UCL.

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