Latest Brain Sciences News

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.

Inattentional Deafness: Why children who ignore their parents while playing video games have an excuse!

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A recent article written by PhD student Katharine Molloy, and her supervisors Maria Chait (Ear Institute) and Prof Nilli Lavie (ICN) explains why you may feel ignored when your loved one is focused on their smart phones or video games.

Study highlights burden of eating disorders in South London

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A new study from UCL and King’s College London has revealed that 7.5 per cent of adults in a South London sample could be diagnosed as having an eating disorder.

Research reveals how specific diet works to help epilepsy

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Researchers have found out how a specific diet works to help treat patients with uncontrolled epilepsy.

A team from UCL and Royal Holloway University of London revealed in preliminary tests how decanoic acid, a fatty acid found in foods assigned to ketogenic diets, acts to block seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.  

UCL announces the launch of gene therapy company Athena Vision

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Athena Vision logo

Athena Vision is focused on developing gene therapies for eye diseases based on research conducted at UCL.

UCL Business PLC, the wholly-owned technology transfer company of UCL, today announced the formation of Athena Vision Limited, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of gene therapies to treat a range of devastating eye diseases causing blindness.

New target for macular degeneration gets funding for clinical trials

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Professors John Greenwood and Stephen Moss

The Medical Research Council is to fund researchers at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital to conduct clinical trials into the use of a humanised monoclonal antibody to treat patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Poorer dementia patients in England less likely to be prescribed drugs

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Dementia patients from more affluent areas in England are 27% more likely to be prescribed anti-dementia drugs than patients from poorer areas, finds a new UCL study of 77,045 dementia patients across the UK. This inequality was not seen in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

Changes in humour an early sign of dementia

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Researchers at UCL have revealed that a change in sense of humour could be an early sign of dementia. The findings could help improve dementia diagnosis, by highlighting changes not commonly thought to be linked to the condition.

UCL professor is first UK winner of $3m Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

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Professor John Hardy

Professor John Hardy (UCL Institute of Neurology) was last night awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his pioneering research into the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Professor John O’Keefe

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Professor John O’Keefe, inaugural Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at UCL, having launched the centre, will be stepping down from the role in September 2016 so he can once again devote his full attention to a significant program of ongoing and new scientific research. We are extremely grateful to him for having taken on the demanding role of launching the Centre and are delighted that he will continue his research within it.

Vice Provost (Health) View November 2015

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Having been Vice-Provost (Health) for three months, I should like to start by thanking my predecessor Professor Sir John Tooke: health at UCL has gone from strength to strength over the past five and a half years.

Being moody may help us adapt to change

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Stress ball

It’s long been known that mood biases our judgments and perceptions, but this effect has usually been regarded as irrational or disadvantageous. A new theory published by UCL scientists in Trends in Cognitive Sciences argues that mood draws on experiences and can, in fact, help us quickly adapt to changes in our environment.

Withdrawing dementia drug doubles risk of nursing home placement

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Withdrawing a commonly-prescribed Alzheimer’s disease drug from people in the advanced stages of the disease doubles their risk of being placed in a nursing home within a year, according to UCL research published today in The Lancet Neurology.

PhotoSynthesis Competition results

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After months of waiting the results are finally in for our Photosynthesis competition 2015. The judging panel (consisting of senior academics, managers and communications staff from across the School) were extremely impressed by all the entries but the winners are:

Images of pleasure and winning have unique distracting power

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Happy smile

Images related to pleasure or winning attract attention from demanding tasks, while equally intense but negative images and those associated with losing can be fully ignored, finds a new UCL study.

First human trial for innovative new drug in development to treat Huntington’s disease

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Gene silencing and Huntington’s disease

Patients in London are being dosed for the first time with an experimental drug for Huntington’s disease. This breakthrough could be one of the most important developments since the gene for Huntington’s disease was discovered in 1993. The trial of the revolutionary new ‘gene silencing’ treatment is being led by scientists at UCL’s Institute of Neurology.

UCL and Takeda announce a new research partnership 

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UCL and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited today announced a new research collaboration to identify and validate novel target genes for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease.

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