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Life Sciences headlines

Citations? Great. But have you got the ‘t factor’?

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Professor David Colquhoun (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology) says that it was rare to see “a serious bit of basic research” mentioned on Twitter. Read: THE (£)

Rewiring neurons

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Professor Alison Lloyd (MRC/UCL Lab for Molecular Cell Biology) explains how neurons, with the help of Schwann cells, can rewire themselves into damaged tissue. Listen: BBC Radio 5 live ‘5 live Science’ (from 16 mins 13 secs)

Human arms grown in the lab within reach

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Dr Max Yun (UCL Structural & Molecular Biology) comments on recent research into “bio-limbs” and her own work on regenerative biology in salamanders. Read: Times (£)

Think carefully before returning to Stone Age diet

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A study by Professor Mark Thomas (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) argues that carbohydrate consumption, particularly in the form of starch, was critical for the accelerated expansion of the human brain over the last million years. Read: Times (£), More: New York Times, Telegraph, Listen: BBC World Service 'The Science Hour' (from 7 mins 45 secs), More: BBC Radio 4 'BBC Inside Science' (from 1 min 25 secs)

Life story

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Experiments by Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) show that the pores in the honeycomb structure of underwater towers called “white smokers” could act as primitive cells. Read: Economist

Four legs too many?

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Professor Susan Evans (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) explains what can be learnt from the discovery of Tetrapodophis, a 113 million-year-old fossil of a snake which has four legs with fingers and toes. Read: Science (£)

A fossil snake with four legs

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Professor Susan Evans (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) comments on the discovery of the first four-legged fossil snake. Read: National Geographic, More: The Times (£)

How acupuncture 'really can ease pain'

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Professor David Colquhoun (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology) says: "There have been over 3,000 trials of acupuncture, some of them very well designed. Yet still there is no agreement that it works". Read: Daily Mail

Nightshades

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Professor Michael Heinrich (UCL School of Pharmacy) explains what is meant by the doctrine of signatures. Listen: BBC Radio 4 ‘Natural Histories’ (from 13 mins 43 secs)

Herbal food supplement labels 'can be misleading'

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A team led by Professor Michael Heinrich (UCL School of Pharmacy) tested 70 herbal food supplements and found not all of them contain what they claim on the label. Read: BBC News, More: Daily Mail, Huffington Post

The plant that can kill and cure

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Mandrakes have a deadly reputation but have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Professor Michael Heinrich (UCL School of Pharmacy) explains what happens if the wrong dose is used. Read: BBC News

Why so many pills are so difficult to swallow: And why it’s safe to crush or cut up some – but not others

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Dr Simon Gaisford (UCL School of Pharmacy) comments on the difficulty of swallowing pills, and the safety issues of crushing or cutting them up. Read: Daily Mail 

Building bigger brains

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A new study co-authored by Professor Judith Mank (UCL Biosciences) has found that a single gene called Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) drives brain size and intelligence in fish. Read: Guardian, More: UCL News

Extremophiles

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Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) joins a discussion on extremophiles and explains the work of Carl Woese. Listen: BBC Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ (from 4 mins 54 secs)

What do rats dream of?

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New research by Dr Hugo Spiers (UCL Experimental Psychology), Dr Freyja Ólafsdóttir and Dr Caswell Barry (both UCL Biosciences) has found that when rats rest, their brains simulate journeys to a desired future such as a tasty treat. Read: Daily Mail, More: New Scientist, Belfast Telegraph, Discover, Metro, Huffington Post, Yahoo News, UCL News, Listen: BBC World Service 'Science in Action' (from 20 mins 4 secs)

Cancer drug lengthens fly lifespan

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Adult fruit flies given a cancer drug live 12% longer than average, according to a study led by the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing. Read: Nature, More: Daily Express, UCL News

The Life Scientific: Kate Jones

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Professor Kate Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) discusses her research on bats. Listen: BBC Radio 4 ‘The Life Scientific’

Don't like your pills? Just turn them into dinosaur sweets

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A team from UCL's School of Pharmacy have been experimenting with 3D printing to produce small numbers of specialist tablets at a fraction of the cost of a drugs company's typical mass-production run. Read: Daily Mail

What's it like for women in science?

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Female scientists from across UCL discuss their experiences in the field and why they chose science. Read: BBC News

Milk digestion's 'more recent rise'

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Computer modelling work by Professor Mark Thomas (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) has placed the genetic ability to digest lactose to the Middle Neolithic period. Read: BBC News

75-million-year-old dinosaur blood and collagen discovered in fossil fragments

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Dr Anjali Goswami (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) said that if dinosaur soft tissues were found in many more fossils, it could have a transformative effect on research. Read: Guardian

Sir Tim Hunt comments

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Professor David Colquhoun (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology) comments on remarks made by Nobel Prize winner, Sir Tim Hunt. Read: Daily Mail

Immunotherapy drugs and melanoma

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Professor David Taylor (UCL Pharmacy) explains the significance of new trial findings into the use of immunotherapy drugs to shrink melanomas. Listen: BBC London 94.9 ‘Vanessa Feltz’ (from 18 mins 27 secs), More: BBC Radio 5 live ‘5 live Daily’ (from 21 mins 35 secs)

The middle Pliocene gets crowded

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Professor Fred Spoor (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) explains why newly discovered hominin fossils suggest that species diversity may have been as high during early human evolution as in later periods. Read: Nature

MPs call for police inquiry into bogus 'cancer cures’

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Commenting on video footage obtained from the Spirit of Health Congress, Professor David Colquhoun (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology) said: “They are selling fake cures that will not only fail to cure cancer, but that will endanger the health of anyone who uses them”. Read: Telegraph

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