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Life Sciences headlines

Prescription statistics

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Professor David Colquhoun (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology) comments on the latest statistics for prescription use from the Health Survey for England. Listen: BBC Radio 5 live ‘Sunday Breakfast’ (from 2 hours 33 mins)

Fake Britain: herbal slimming pills

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Professor Simon Gibbons (UCL School of Pharmacy) analyses fake ‘herbal’ slimming pills bought online for the banned substance sibutramine. Watch: BBC One ‘Fake Britain’ (from 38 mins 48 secs)

Premenstrual Syndrome is like drug withdrawal

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Research co-led by Dr Jonathan Fry (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology) and Bristol University has found that a small monthly dose of Prozac could cure PMS for four fifths of women. Read: Telegraph

Text messaging service 'helps people take their pills'

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Professor David Taylor (UCL Pharmacy) says text messaging could be coupled with each relevant prescription and prevent several thousand heart attacks and strokes in the UK annually. Read: BBC News

Most people ignore signs of cancer

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A study led by Dr Katriina Whitaker (UCL Health Behaviour Research Centre) has found that people are putting their lives at risk by dismissing the warning signs of cancer. Read: Guardian, More: Times (£), Daily Mail, Independent

£125 genetic test kit backed by Google arrives in Britain – with a health warning

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Commenting on a new Google-backed genetic test, Professor Mark Thomas (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) says that: “For better or worse, direct-to-the-consumer genetic testing companies are here to stay”. Read: Daily Mail, More: Independent, Listen: BBC World Service 'Newshour' (from 46 mins 57 secs), Watch: BBC 2 'Newsnight' (from 24 mins)

DNA Confirms: Here Lieth Richard III, Under Yon Parking Lot

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A statistical analysis led by Professor Mark Thomas and Professor David Balding (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) has combined several different lines of evidence to confirm that ‘Skeleton 1’, discovered in a car park in Leicester, is that of Richard III. Read: National Geographic, More: UCL News

Risk from extreme weather set to rise

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A Royal Society report headed by Professor Georgina Mace (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) has found that the risk to the elderly from heatwaves could increase tenfold in Britain this century because of climate change and an ageing population. Read: BBC News, More: Times

Internet usage boosts health of the elderly

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A study led by Lindsay Kobayashi (UCL Epidemiology & Health) has found that older people who use the internet regularly are healthier because they are better informed about medical issues. Read: Daily Mail, More: Daily Express

Scientists develop thought-controlled gene switch

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Professor Geraint Rees (UCL Life Sciences) comments on a study that reports genes can be switched on using the power of thought. Read: BBC News

Hay Levels: bite-sized answers to the big questions

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A new series of free five minute mini-lectures aimed at A-level students, titled the Hay Levels, have been launched online as a spin off from the Hay Festival and includes a talk by Professor Steve Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment). Read: Telegraph

Bats sabotage rivals' senses with sound in food race

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Professor Kate Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) comments on a study which has found a species of bat that can interfere with the sound signals of competitors to "steal" their food, saying: "Technology is opening up our understanding of these deeply cryptic creatures". Read: BBC News

Gum disease threat ‘inflated to sell mouthwash’

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Dr Paul Batchelor (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) says that gum disease is a normal part of ageing and its threat has been exaggerated to sell mouthwash and expensive treatments. Read: Times (£), More: Daily Mail

Saatchi Bill

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Professor David Colquhoun (UCL Biosciences) explains why he feels the Medical Innovation Bill, also known as the Saatchi Bill, won’t benefit patients. Listen: BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ (from 2 hours 51 mins)

Manipulating metabolism

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Dr Nazif Alic (UCL Biosciences) examines if tweaking some of the genes involved in metabolic signalling could help to prolong healthy lifespan and if it could help us live forever. Listen: Naked Scientists

Killer in the brain could help treat Parkinson's

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A team led by Dr Soledad Galli (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) has found that the death of synapses in mice may be due to malfunctioning proteins called Wnt proteins, a discovery which could lead to new treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Read: New Scientist

New viruses 'killing amphibians' in Spain

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Research led by Dr Stephen Price (UCL Genetics Institute) has found a number of closely related viruses causing severe disease and mass deaths in many amphibian species in northern Spain. Read: BBC News, More: Independent, New Scientist, UCL News, Listen: Naked Scientists, More: BBC Radio 2 'Chris Evans Breakfast Show' (from 2 hours 32 mins), BBC Radio Newcastle 'Breakfast' (from 2 hours 3 mins), BBC Radio Devon 'Breakfast' (from 1 hour 35 mins)

Curing cancer

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Documentary following four UCLH patients as they take part in advanced cancer treatment trials - from the labs of the UCL Cancer Institute to the wards of UCLH. Watch: Channel 4, Read: UCL News

Social prescribing

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Dr Helen Chatterjee (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains what ‘social prescribing’ is and why it is being recommended by doctors. Watch: BBC 1 South ‘Inside Out’ (from 24 mins 47m secs)

Whose conservation?

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Professor Georgina Mace (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains that because conservation biology is a mission-driven discipline, it is therefore subject to both drift and the periodic adoption of fads and fashions. Read: Science (£)

Keep UK borders open to future Nobel laureates

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Professor John O’Keefe (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) describes Britain’s visa system as a significant obstacle to Britain recruiting the best scientists from abroad. Read: BBC News, More: Financial Times, Independent, Yorkshire Post, Express & Star, Belfast Telegraph, Shropshire Star, Dundee Courier, New York Times, Listen: BBC Radio 4 'Today' (from 2 hours 7 mins)

Nobel Prize for the brain's GPS discovery

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Professor John O'Keefe (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) has been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain - an ‘inner GPS’ - that enables us to orient ourselves. Read: BBC News, Telegraph, Independent, Daily Mail, Times (£), Guardian, ITV News, Financial Times, The Economist, THE, New Scientist, The Conversation, The Week, Scotsman, Nature, Science, Huffington Post, TIME, Forbes, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, National Post, The Australian, Times of India, UCL News. More: Comprehensive list of coverage

BBSRC unveils £125 million for doctoral training

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UCL will receive part of a £125 million grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to fund doctoral training partnerships in the biosciences. Read: THE, More: Yahoo News, UCL News

Collaborative research gets a health check

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Professor Buzz Baum (UCL/MRC Lab for Molecular Cell Biology) explains why the current system for recognising individuals' efforts and achievements in science is often not fair to people working in teams. Read: Lancet

Newcastle boy who can go stiff when scared starts school

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Professor Robert Harvey (UCL Pharmacology) says the number of people affected by Hyperekplexia is unknown and some cases can be misdiagnosed as epilepsy. Read: BBC News

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