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Life Sciences headlines

Girl with rare brain disorder in pioneering UCL stem cell research

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Dr Apostolos Papandreou (UCL/MRC Lab for Molecular Cell Biology) is leading a clinical trial of a stem cell treatment for a rare disorder called beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration. Read: Evening Standard

University attacked for link to centre that hosted MMR cheat

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Professor emeritus David Colquhoun (UCL Biosciences) is quoted criticising the one institute in the UK that can issue bachelor of science degrees in homeopathy. Read: The Times (£)

Invasive species blamed as second biggest cause of extinctions

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Professor Tim Blackburn (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) is interviewed about his new study finding that the number of alien species is increasing globally and does not show any sign of saturation. Listen: BBC World Service 'Science in Action' (from 20 mins 54 secs), More: New Scientist (£), UCL News

Would you take a new £1,300 DNA test that could save your life?

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Professor emeritus Steve Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) weighs in on how much the results of a commercially-available DNA test can be trusted, and whether they're beneficial for public heath. Read: The Telegraph

5 medical marvels introduced by 3D-printing

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Professor Simon Gaisford (UCL School of Pharmacy) comments on how 3D-printing could speed up the provision of pharmaceuticals. Read: Daily Mail

I’ve got news for Mike Pence and his view on evolution

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Professor emeritus Steve Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) writes about evolution, and his new book on the subject. Read: Evening Standard

Parasitism

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Professor emeritus Steve Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) is a guest on a programme discussing the relationship between parasites and hosts. Listen: BBC Radio 4 'In Our Time'

High frequency sounds in modern life ‘may make people sick’

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Professor Jonathan Ashmore (UCL Biosciences) says that more research needs to be done before trusting a study claiming that ultrasound emissions in public places could be damaging to health. Read: The Telegraph

Only 25 Hainan gibbons remain–What next for the world’s rarest primate?

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Professor Helen Chatterjee (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) writes about the conservation challenges facing the Hainan gibbon. Read: The Conversation

Acupuncture may reduce amount of time colicky babies spend crying

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Professor emeritus David Colquhoun (UCL Biosciences) criticises the British Medical Journal for publishing a journal dedicated to research into acupuncture, which he says has never been proven to be effective. Listen: BBC Radio 4 'Today' (from 2 hrs 44 mins 58 secs), More: i News, The Sun

The human hive

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Dr Seirian Sumner (UCL Biosciences) discusses the social and breeding behaviours of eusocial insects such as bees. Listen: BBC Radio 4 'The Human Hive' (from 10 mins 20 secs)

Alien bird risk from pet trade

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Dr Ellie Dyer and Professor Tim Blackburn (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) led a project to map out where alien birds - those that have been introduced from other regions - are the most prevalent worldwide, and why. Read: BBC News, More: i News, BBC Radio 4 'You & Yours' (from 28 mins 50 secs)

What we really need to know about fake health news

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Professor emeritus David Colquhoun (UCL Biosciences) comments on how the success of modern medicine leads some people to think there must be a cure for everything. Read: Independent

Indigestion pills could triple stomach bug risk

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Dr Li Wei (UCL School of Pharmacy) led a study finding that some medications for indigestion are associated with increased risk of bacterial gastroenteritis, due to the impact on gut bacteria. Read: Daily Mail

Bat chat: machine learning algorithms provide translations for bat squeaks

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Professor Kate Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) comments on new research which marks a step towards understanding the origins of human speech, via a method which enables the understanding of the meaning of bat calls. Read: The Guardian

Why humans develop sex cells as embryos — but corals don't

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Drive to preserve mitochondrial quality might explain why organisms develop sex cells at different stages of development say Arunas Radzvilavicius, Dr Nick Lane and Professor Andrew Pomiankowski (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment and UCL CoMPLEX). Read: Nature, More: UCL News, BBC Radio 4 'BBC Inside Science' (from 10 mins)

Supershoppers do Christmas

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Dr Joanne Santini (UCL Biosciences) analyses how effective different brands of toilet cleaner are - both low-cost and more expensive. Watch: Channel 4, Supershoppers (from 17 mins, 12 secs)

The 12 key science moments of 2016

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Leading scientists pick the 12 most significant discoveries and developments of the year. Contributors include Professor Mark Miodownik (UCL Engineering), Dr Helen Czerski (UCL Engineering), Dr Vaughan Bell (UCL Psychiatry), Professor Georgina Mace (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment), Professor Sophie Scott (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) and Professor Andrea Sella (UCL Chemistry). Read: The Observer

What do scientists hope to learn from dissecting a cheetah?

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Dr Anjali Goswami (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) discusses what was learned in a cheetah dissection she undertook in a partnership between UCL’s Grant Museum of Zoology and the Royal Veterinary College. Listen: BBC Radio 5 live '5 live Science' (from 24 mins 4 secs)

Pharma giants see future of lower healthcare profits

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Professor emeritus David Taylor (UCL School of Pharmacy) comments on the benefits and economic costs of pharmaceuticals, arguing cost effectiveness analyses should take a broader view of a drug's benefits. Read: Financial Times

DNA questions

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Dr Matthew Powner (UCL Chemistry) discusses the origins of life and whether DNA could have formed on other planets, while Dr Vitor Bernardes Pinheiro (UCL Biosciences) discusses his research developing synthetic nucleic acids. Listen: BBC Radio Cambridgeshire 'Naked Scientists' (from 32 mins 15 secs & from 50 mins 52 secs)

Britain 'spends twenty times as much on junk food as on cancer drugs'

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A report led by Professor emeritus David Taylor (UCL Pharmacy) criticises the amount of NHS funding for pharmaceuticals. Read: The Telegraph, More: Daily Mail

How did life begin?

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Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) is interviewed about the origins of life on Earth. Listen: The Guardian's Science Weekly

Population of African elephants reduced 'dramatically'

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Professor Georgina Mace (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) is interviewed about declining populations of numerous animal species worldwide. Listen: BBC Radio 5 '5 live Drive' (from 2 hrs 37 mins 48 secs) 

How the First Farmers Changed History

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Dr Garrett Hellenthal (UCL Genetics Institute) comments on research he was involved in that suggests different groups of early farmers developed agriculture separately, as genetic evidence suggests they were isolated from one another for thousands of years. Read: New York Times

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