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Life Sciences headlines

How a baby’s brain prepares for the outside world

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Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi (UCL Biosciences) has co-led a study into the source of spontaneous, high-amplitude bursts of activity in preterm baby brains, vital for healthy development. Read: The Conversation, More: UCL News, Yahoo News, Independent

Bats 'tricked' into flying into buildings

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Professor Kate Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) highlights the importance of considering impact on wildlife populations when designing cities. Read: BBC News

The Big Wasp Survey

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Dr Seirian Sumner (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) calls for public help to survey UK social wasps to collect important data about their abundance and diversity. Listen: BBC Radio Scotland 'The Kaye Adams Show' (from 2 hours 54 mins), More: BBC NewsUCL News

Oysters thrive with traditional fishing

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PhD student Stephen Long (UCL Geography) is lead author of a new study which finds that the “inherent inefficiency” of methods used to harvest oysters is the crucial feature in preventing overfishing. Read: The Times (£)

Alesi the possible ancestor of apes and humans

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A fossil skull found in Kenya shows what the common ancestor of apes and humans may have looked like, according to a study involving Professor Fred Spoor (UCL Biosciences). Listen: BBC World Service 'Newsday', More: Washington Post, UCL News, Telegraph (£), Mail Online, Yahoo News, ReutersInternational Business Times

See inside the 580-million-year-old creature no one understands

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Dr Alana Sharp (UCL Biosciences) speaks about CT scans produced by a team she led, providing the first look inside an organism that existed before true animals. Read: New Scientist

Low iron levels may increase risk of heart disease

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Professor Surjit Kaila Srai (UCL Biosciences) and colleagues have found that having low iron levels can increase the risk of heart disease. Read: Express, More: UCL News

Learning from Life and Death

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Professor Mark Thomas (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) joins a discussion exploring how and why individuals and organisations learn from their mistakes or fail to do so. Listen: BBC Radio 4 ‘Learning from Life and Death’ (from 9 mins 59 secs)

Sex differences important for medical research

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Professor Judith Mank (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains that genetic variations may lead to medicines behaving differently in men and women. Listen: BBC Radio 4 'Inside Science' from the startRead: Daily Mail, More: UCL News

How to eavesdrop on urban bats with smart sensors

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UCL scientists led by Professor Kate Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) and Dr Gabriel Brostow (UCL Computer Science) are studying the urban life of bats in unprecedented detail using sensors installed in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Read: BBC News, More: BBC Radio 4 'Today', BBC Breakfast News (from 2 hours 21 mins), BBC Radio 4 'Inside Science' from (14 mins)BBC World Service ‘Weekend’ (from 19 mins 42 secs), BBC World Service 'Newshour' (from 14 mins 28 secs), UCL News

We're all related to royalty (if you go back far enough)

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Dr Adam Rutherford (a UCL honorary research fellow) and a UCL team say that most Europeans have a direct lineage to a monarch who ruled between years 768 and 814. Read: Daily Mail, More: Metro

The brain in love

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Professor Semir Zeki (UCL Biosciences) explains the way the brain behaves when we are in love, in an article about training the brain to overcome compulsive behaviours associated with heartbreak. Read: Mail Online, More: New Zealand Herald

'Raw food' diet could be deadly

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Speaking at the Hay Festival, Professor Steve Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) said that humans have lost the ability to digest raw food unaided. Read: Telegraph, More: Mail Online, Daily Express

Human tests suggest young blood cuts cancer and Alzheimer’s risk

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Professor Arne Akbar (UCL Division of Infection & Immunity) and Professor David Gems (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) comment on results from a study by a company called Ambrosia, highlighting the need for further investigations into the placebo effect and more tests over time. Read: New Scientist (£)

How did life begin?

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Dr Dominic Papineau (UCL Earth Sciences & the London Centre for Nanotechnology) discusses his discovery of the oldest fossil evidence of life on Earth and Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) talks about evidence for life first beginning in active hydrothermal vents. Listen: BBC Radio 5 Live 'Science' (from the start)

Ancestry.com denies exploiting users' DNA

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Honorary researcher, Debbie Kennett (UCL Life Sciences), welcomes the building of a large, global DNA database for genealogy purposes as a DNA test on its own doesn't tell you anything at all. Read: BBC News, Listen: BBC Radio 4 'You and Yours' (from 18 mins, 10 secs)

Origins of the human spine revealed

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A study co-authored by Professor Fred Spoor (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) has discovered that the world's oldest known child who lived 3.3 million years ago had a human-like spine, showing it evolved much earlier than previously believed. Read: Mail Online, More: Mirror

How to stop period pain

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Dr Brian King (UCL Biosciences) comments on how hot water bottles can relieve pain. Read: Huffington Post

Key to infertility in older women is revealed

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Researchers from UCL Life Sciences found that insufficient levels of the protein securin may help explain why older women have higher incidences of miscarriage and other complications. Read: Mail Online

Ancient-genome study finds Bronze Age ‘Beaker culture’ invaded Britain

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Dr Marc Vander Linden (UCL Archaeology) and Dr Garrett Hellenthal (UCL Genetics Institute) comment on findings from a large genetic study suggesting Britain's Neolithic farmers were displaced by individuals connected to Beaker pots. Read: Nature, More: The Guardian

Invasive 'alien' species represent a massive threat to our animals and plants

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Professor Tim Blackburn (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains that denialism in science is not new, but its growth in the context of invasive species is especially worrying for people trying to conserve unique native biodiversity. Read: The Independent

Can knowing your genetic make-up lead to a healthier life?

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Dr Jess Buxton (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains why the amount of useful information that personalised health tests can offer is currently very limited. Read: BBC News

Small-brained early human lived more recently than expected

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Professor Fred Spoor (Cell & Developmental Biology) explains that although H. naledi’s morphology looks old, the context in which the fossils were found and the extent of their fossilisation shows that they are relatively young. Read: Nature, More: New Scientist

Why do we have males and females?

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Professor Steve Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains why male and female organisms exist and why they have sex. Listen: BBC World Service CrowdScience (from 4 mins 30 secs)

The energy generators inside our cells reach a sizzling 50°C

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Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) says the discovery that the insides of our cells can reach a scorching 50°C makes sense when you consider mitochondria are the main sources of heat, and they have to be hotter than the rest of the body. Read: New Scientist

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