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Latest Brain Sciences News

Secret of tetanus toxicity offers new way to treat motor neuron disease

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Image showing how tetanus neurotoxin (red) binds to areas rich in nidogen-2 (green)

The way that tetanus neurotoxin enters nerve cells has been discovered by UCL scientists, who showed that this process can be blocked, offering a potential therapeutic intervention for tetanus. This newly-discovered pathway could be exploited to deliver therapies to the nervous system, opening up a whole new way to treat neurological disorders such as motor neuron disease and peripheral neuropathies.

Improving the lives of dementia carers

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Dementia patient

A psychological intervention that provides stress relief and emotional support for people caring for relatives with dementia can reduce depression and anxiety and improve wellbeing at no extra cost to standard care, finds new UCL research published in Lancet Psychiatry.

Wellcome Trust unveils new funding framework

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Bleigiessen

The Wellcome Trust are making several changes to the schemes they offer, including a new funding mechanism for collaborative research by teams, and the introduction of seed grants to support researchers who want to develop original and innovative ideas.

One in ten British men say they have paid for sex

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Red light district

11% of men in Britain report ever paying for sex and 3.6% report paying for sex in the past five years, finds a UCL-led study funded by the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council.

Most people would rather harm themselves than others for profit

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Example choice presented to participants

A UCL-led experiment on 80 pairs of adults found that people were willing to sacrifice on average twice as much money to spare a stranger pain than to spare themselves, despite the decision being secret.

Virtual reality helps people to comfort and accept themselves

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Virtual_reality

Self-compassion can be learned using avatars in an immersive virtual reality, finds new research led by UCL. This innovative approach reduced self-criticism and increased self-compassion and feelings of contentment in naturally self-critical individuals. The scientists behind the MRC-funded study say it could be applied to treat a range of clinical conditions including depression.

SLMS Education Awards 2014/2015

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SLMS Education Awards 2014/2015

The SLMS Education Domain wish to recognise and reward those dedicated to improving the quality of education for SLMS students. We are proud to announce the SLMS Education Awards which aim to spotlight and support excellence and innovation in the delivery of education.

Publishers address concerns on ‘total cost of ownership’ of e-resources

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open access

UCL welcomes the news that two major academic publishers are tackling the issue of subscription costs and the level of article-processing charges (APCs).

UCL awarded £13.5 million to advance medical research facilities

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UCL Quad

As part of the Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative, UCL has been awarded £13.5 million for a number of projects to help advance clinical research.

Simplifying TB treatments to improve patients’ lives

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Ways to simplify treatments for tuberculosis (TB) to reduce drug resistance and make it easier for patients to complete their course of treatment have been trialled by two international groups involving UCL scientists.

People with diabetes are less able to regulate the body’s responses to stress

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Stress

People with type 2 diabetes are physically less able to recover from stress, finds a study by scientists at UCL and the University of Zurich, funded by the British Heart Foundation.

UCL research helps paralysed man to recover function

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Professor Geoff Raisman

A man who was paralysed from the chest down following a knife attack can now walk using a frame, following a pioneering cell transplantation treatment developed by scientists at UCL and applied by surgeons at Wroclaw University Hospital, Poland.

Myelin vital for learning new practical skills

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Mouse brain

New evidence of myelin’s essential role in learning and retaining new practical skills, such as playing a musical instrument, has been uncovered by UCL research. Myelin is a fatty substance that insulates the brain's wiring and is a major constituent of ‘white matter’. It is produced by the brain and spinal cord into early adulthood as it is needed for many developmental processes, and although earlier studies of human white matter hinted at its involvement in skill learning, this is the first time it has been confirmed experimentally.

Stenting safe and effective for long-term stroke prevention

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Open stent

Using stents to keep neck arteries open is just as effective as invasive neck surgery for long-term prevention of fatal and disabling strokes, reports an international trial led by UCL funded by the Medical Research Council and Stroke Association.

UCL Prize Lecture for Clinical Science now online

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Professor Tony Segal

This annual prize lecture series has been running for 18 years but within this short space of time has rapidly become the pre-eminent series on contemporary science in Europe. The whole event, which provides an opportunity to debate and celebrate important scientific advancements, has always been very stimulating and hugely enjoyable.

Nobel Prize for Professor John O’Keefe

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John O'Keefe

UCL SLMS' John O’Keefe has won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014 for discovering an ‘inner GPS’ in the brain.

Liz Sampson reflects on being awarded William Farr Medal

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I was very honoured to be nominated by the Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry for the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries’ William Farr Medal. This is awarded annually to medical practitioners who have made a significant contribution to the management of illness in elderly people. This can be in any research discipline as part of original work by those who are in mid-career. The award consists of a medal and is named after William Farr, a Fellow of the Royal Society, who stressed the importance of correct diagnosis in planning clinical treatment.

Creating brain cells from skin to study Alzheimer’s

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Dr Selina Wray with some of her stem cells

An early-career researcher at UCL has just been awarded £900,000 for a stem cell study to develop new treatments for dementia.

National Student Survey: improvement in student satisfaction

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Students at UCL

Student satisfaction at UCL has risen by 2%, according to the latest National Student Survey (NSS) results.

Equation to predict happiness

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happy kids

The happiness of over 18,000 people worldwide has been predicted by a mathematical equation developed by researchers at UCL, with results showing that moment-to-moment happiness reflects not just how well things are going, but whether things are going better than expected.

Mobile games used for psychology experiments

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Psychology_app2

Initial findings from one of the largest cognitive science experiments ever conducted have shown that mobile games can be used to reliably address psychology questions, paving the way to a better understanding of how cognitive function differs across populations.

Climate scientists need professional body, says UCL policy commission

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Time for Change Report

Climate scientists need to establish a professional body to help define their roles, values and practices to satisfy society’s needs, and to provide guidance to improve their training and development, according to a report published today by the UCL Policy Commission on the Communication of Climate Science. 

Queen’s Birthday Honours for the UCL community

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David Fish

A number of people from the UCL community have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Immune system implicated in dementia development

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Frontotemporal Dementia map

The immune system and body’s response to damaged cells play a key role in the development of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), finds new UCL-led research.

‘Map of pain’ reveals how our ability to identify the source of pain varies across the body

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Demonstration of spatial acuity test

“Where does it hurt?” is the first question asked to any person in pain.

A new UCL study defines for the first time how our ability to identify where it hurts, called “spatial acuity”, varies across the body, being most sensitive at the forehead and fingertips.

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