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Latest Human Wellbeing News

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.

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.

Higher risk of death for patients admitted to NHS hospitals at the weekend

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Patients admitted to hospital at the weekend are more likely to be sicker and have a higher risk of death, compared with those admitted during the week, finds an analysis published in The BMJ this week.

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.

Improving treatment for systemic amyloidosis

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Whole body anterior amyloid scans of a patient with systemic amyloidosis, showing abundant amyloid in the liver before treatment and the almost complete absence of amyloid after a single dose of the new anti-SAP antibody.

A potential new approach to treat systemic amyloidosis, invented at UCL and being developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), marks the start of a successful and innovative academic-industry collaboration.

UCL to coordinate £16m project to crack difficult disease areas

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Scientist examines samples under a microscope

UCL has successfully coordinated a £16 million bid to work with the Medical Research Council (MRC), GSK and four other universities to improve scientists’ understanding of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases that present a serious burden to patients.

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.

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.

Missing people project wins ESRC impact award

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The Geographies of Missing People, a research project co-designed by the Acting Head of UCL Public Policy, Dr Olivia Stevenson, has won the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Society.

‘Core’ immune cells reduce symptoms and spread of flu

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H1N1 influenza virus particles shown in transmission electron micrograph

A four-year study of 1,414 unvaccinated people across England found that 43% of them had immune cells that protected them from symptoms of both seasonal and pandemic influenza, and reduced their chances of shedding the virus by two thirds. The work led by researchers from UCL, Oxford University and Public Health England was funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

New treatment for polycystic kidney disease

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Small vessels inside a cystic kidney with disorganised vasculature

A new technique for treating polycystic kidney disease has been identified by researchers based at the UCL Institute of Child Health. Published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the treatment, which involves targeting tiny blood and lymphatic vessels inside the kidneys, is shown to improve renal function and slow progression of disease in mice.

Starting HIV treatment early improves patient outcomes

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Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell

A major international randomised clinical trial has found that HIV-infected individuals have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if they start taking antiretroviral drugs sooner, when their CD4+ T-cell count—a key measure of immune system health—is higher, instead of waiting until the CD4+ cell count drops to lower levels.

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.

Chemo before surgery benefits patients with advanced ovarian cancer

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Chemotherapy machine

Women with advanced ovarian cancer have fewer side effects and tend to have a better quality of life if given chemotherapy before surgery, according to a Cancer Research UK funded study published in The Lancet.

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.

Smoking induces early signs of cancer in cheek swabs

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DNA damage caused by smoking can be detected in cheek swabs, finds research published today in JAMA Oncology. The study provides evidence that smoking induces a general cancer program that is also present in cancers which aren’t usually associated with it – including breast and gynaecological cancers.

New test could identify resistant tuberculosis faster in London

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) disease rates in some parts of London are as high as in Sub-Saharan Africa, and drug-resistant strains are becoming increasingly common. These require specific treatments, and if doctors know that a bug is resistant they can start therapy earlier, often leading to better outcomes.

Starved T cells allow hepatitis B to silently infect liver

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Magnified image of liver sample from Hepatitis B patient showing suppressor cells (brown) approaching T cells (red)

Hepatitis B stimulates processes that deprive the body’s immune cells of key nutrients that they need to function, finds new UCL-led research funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

New screening technique could pick up twice as many ovarian cancer cases

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Ovarian cancer under the microscope

A new screening method can detect twice as many women with ovarian cancer as conventional strategies, according to the latest results from the largest trial of its kind led by UCL.

Mummified bodies from 18th century Europe found to have multiple tuberculosis infections

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Bodies found in a 200 year-old Hungarian crypt have revealed the secrets of how tuberculosis (TB) took hold in 18th century Europe, according to a research team involving UCL scientists.

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.

Human immune system can control re-awakened HIV, suggesting ‘kick and kill’ cure is possible

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Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell

The human immune system can handle large bursts of HIV activity and so it should be possible to cure HIV with a ‘kick and kill’ strategy, finds new research led by UCL, University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Oxford and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Body’s defences hijacked to make cancers more aggressive

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Lung cancer cells

UCL scientists have discovered that a vital self-destruct switch in cells is hijacked - making some pancreatic and non small cell lung cancers more aggressive, according to research published in Cancer Cell.

HIV spreads like internet malware and should be treated earlier

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HIV-1 infected T cell (purple) interacting with an uninfected target T cell (brown) during cell-to-cell spread at the virological synapse

A new model for HIV progression finds that it spreads in a similar way to some computer worms and predicts that early treatment is key to staving off AIDS.

New role uncovered for ‘oldest’ tumour suppressor gene

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Professor Sibylle Mittnacht interviewed by Clare Hastings at The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Scientists have revealed a brand new function for one of the first cancer genes ever discovered – the retinoblastoma gene – in a finding that could open up exciting new approaches to treatment.

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