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Latest Brain Sciences News

Commonly prescribed drugs affect decisions to harm oneself and others

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Pills

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.

Assumptions of equality lead to poorer group decisions

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European Central Bank governing council meeting

People of differing competence tend to give each other’s views equal weight, preventing them from making the best group decisions, finds new UCL-led research.

Drugs Live results: how different types of cannabis affect the brain

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Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow inhaling cannabis

New UCL-led research reveals the positive and negative effects of different types of cannabis on the human brain, in a trial broadcast on Channel 4: Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial.

Diabetes and depression predict dementia risk in people with slowing minds

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Old woman waiting at bus stop

People with mild cognitive impairment are at higher risk of developing dementia if they have diabetes or psychiatric symptoms such as depression, finds a new review led by UCL researchers.

UCL awarded £10m to develop new dementia treatments

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Examining embryos under the microscope

Alzheimer’s Research UK today announced a £30m Drug Discovery Alliance, launching three flagship Drug Discovery Institutes at UCL, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The Drug Discovery Institutes will see 90 new research scientists employed in state-of-the-art facilities to fast-track the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

UCL and QMUL agree to establish a new institute to tackle cardiovascular disease

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Cardiovascular

UCL and Queen Mary University of London have agreed to establish a joint  Cardiovascular Institute to rise to the global challenge of cardiovascular disease.

Having a romantic partner present can make pain feel worse

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Image of a similar experiment where the hand was stimulated by 'pinprick' laser pain pulses

The support of a romantic partner is often advised for painful medical procedures, but new research from UCL, King’s College London and the University of Hertfordshire finds that this can actually make the pain feel worse.

Major cause of blindness linked to calcium deposits in the eye

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Thousands of hydroxyapatite spheres (magenta), each just a few microns across, are found in large drusen deposits within the eye

Microscopic spheres of calcium phosphate have been linked to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness, by UCL-led research.

Tooth loss linked to slowing mind and body

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Older person

The memory and walking speeds of adults who have lost all of their teeth decline more rapidly than in those who still have some of their own teeth, finds new UCL research.

Scientists locate ‘homing signal’ in the brain, explaining why some people are better navigators

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Homing signal in the brain

The part of the brain that tells us the direction to travel when we navigate has been identified by UCL scientists, and the strength of its signal predicts how well people can navigate.

REF2014: UCL strength in biomedicine reflected in largest share of 4* research

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medical-grouping

UCL has achieved the greatest amount of 4* (world leading) research in Panel A, covering medicine and biological sciences, much of which is conducted in collaboration with our partner hospitals.

UCL rated top UK university by research strength in the REF2014

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UCL number 1 REF

UCL is the top-rated university in the UK for research strength in the new Research Excellence Framework 2014 published today, by a measure of average research score multiplied by staff numbers submitted. 

Family history screening misses people at high risk of cancer

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Eve Appeal

UCL research into the BRCA gene mutation in the Jewish population show that only assessing family history misses half of the people with the mutation.

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