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Medical Sciences headlines

You can’t catch a cold from kissing but don’t hold hands

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Professor Paul Griffiths (UCL Infection and Immunity) explains that measles is very contagious and can be caught whilst queuing for theme park rides, highlighting the importance of vaccinating children. Read: Daily Mail

New warning over booze in pregnancy

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Professor Sir Albert Aynsley-Green (UCL Institute of Child Health) says exposure to alcohol before birth is the single most important preventable cause of incurable brain damage. Read: Daily Mail

Thousands sacrifice their privacy to help DNA study

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A record 10,000 Britons have signed up to take part in the Personal Genome Project directed by Professor Stephan Beck (UCL Cancer Institute) which will analyse DNA data to help research into cancer and hereditary disorders. Read: Times (£)

To vape or not to vape? More and more just say no…

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Data from the Smoking Toolkit Study run by Professor Robert West (UCL Public Health) suggests that usage of e-cigarettes among UK smokers is levelling off. Read: Observer

Urgent call for new drugs to treat causes of Parkinson’s

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Dr Tom Foltynie (UCL Neurology) says we are in exactly the same position we were in 50 years ago when it comes to treating Parkinson’s and a new approach is desperately needed. Read: Observer

Anti-ageing chocolate which reduces wrinkles

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Dr George Grimble (UCL Liver & Digestive Health) comments on the viability of Esthechoc, a chocolate developed by researchers which claims to slow down the emergence of wrinkles. Read: Telegraph, More: Huffington Post

Sex redefined

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Professor John Achermann (UCL Institute of Child Health) says some people can't easily define themselves as male or female due to an overlap that exists between the two. Read: Nature

The hunt is on for new antibiotics – but we have to start looking outside the lab

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Dr Jennifer Rohn (UCL Clinical Physiology) looks at the search for new antibiotics, including Swab and Send, a crowdfunding project launched by Dr Adam Roberts (UCL Microbial Diseases) which aims to engage the public in finding the next new antibiotic. Read: Guardian

Brain boosting: It's not just grey matter that matters

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Professor William Richardson (UCL Medicine) explains that myelin is key to making our brains clever by speeding up our reflexes and playing a crucial role in learning, development and behaviour. Read: New Scientist (£)

Simple drug that could stop breast cancer returning

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Professor Michael Baum (UCL Research Department of General Surgery) hopes to start a clinical trial looking at the effect of anti-inflammatories before, during and immediately after surgery for breast cancer. Read: Daily Mail

Alcohol and health

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Professor Rajiv Jalan (UCL Liver & Digestive Health) comments on the findings of a UCL study into the effects of drinking alcohol on health. Listen: BBC London 94.9 ‘The Breakfast Show’ (from 2 hours 54 mins)

Alcohol has no health benefits after all

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A team of researchers at UCL, led by Craig Knott (UCL Epidemiology & Health), have concluded that alcohol has virtually no discernible health benefits and claims that a glass of wine is good for the heart have been exaggerated. Read: Times (£), More: Bloomberg, The Australian (£)

Saatchi is right to promote medical innovation but his bill is wrong way to do it

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Professor Michael Baum (UCL Research Department of General Surgery) says a commission to consider obstacles to progress would be more useful and safer for patients than the Medical Innovation Bill. Read: BMJ

Why fizzy drinks are worse than you thought

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Professor Andrew Eder (UCL Eastman Dental Institute) says that even one glass of fizzy water can cause microscopic levels of the outer tooth enamel to dissolve. Read: Daily Mail

Pregnancy and smoking

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Professor Allan Hackshaw (UCL CRUK Cancer Trials Centre) discusses the dangers of smoking during pregnancy. Listen: BBC Radio Derby ‘Dean Pepall’ (from 1 hour 43 mins)

Doctors attack quick-fix plan for more gastric bands to fight obesity

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Dr Jude Oben (UCL Liver & Digestive Health) responds to criticisms of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's proposal to offer more type-2 diabetics free gastric bands. Read: Times

Researchers read and write brain activity with light

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A team led by Dr Adam Packer (UCL Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research) has developed a new way of simultaneously recording and manipulating the activity of multiple cells in the brains of live animals using pulses of light. Read: Guardian, More: UCL News

Cell therapies

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Dr Emma Morris (UCL Infection & Immunity) has been looking at the use of genetically engineered T Cells that can specifically recognise the protein WT1 - which is overexpresssed in leukemia. Listen: BBC Radio 4 'Today' (from 2 hours 46 mins)

Mary Rose's crew was riddled with rickets

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A study led by Dr Jemma Kerns and Professor Allen Goodship (UCL Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Science) has used Raman spectroscopy to analyse the chemical composition of bones from sailors in the Mary Rose and found that rickets may have been prevalent throughout the crew. Read: Daily Mail, More: BBC News, The Economist, The News, Listen: BBC Radio Wales 'Good Morning Wales' (from 2 hours 54 mins)

Could I Get Ebola?

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Filmed at the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL, Professor Greg Towers (UCL Infection & Immunity) explains how the current Ebola virus may change and evolve the longer the outbreak continues. Watch: BBC One ‘Could I Get Ebola?’ (from 18 mins 54 secs)

Men suffering from prostate cancer saved from impotence

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Computerised ‘road-map’ technology developed at the UCL Centre for Medical Image Computing and clinically researched by Professor Mark Emberton (UCL Research Department of Urology) can help surgeons prevent impotence and incontinence in men undergoing surgery for prostate cancer. Read: Daily Mail

New test could give smokers early warning of lung cancer

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A study led by Professor Sam Janes (UCL Internal Medicine) has discovered that cells taken from the mouth and nose react differently to infrared light in people vulnerable to lung cancer, which could lead to earlier diagnosis. Read: Independent, More: Daily Mail, Mirror, Courier, Shropshire Star, Express & Star, Listen: BBC Radio 5 live 'Morning Reports' (from 4 mins 36 secs)

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

Up to 2m people could get NHS weight-loss surgery

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Dr Rachel Batterham (UCL Metabolism & Experimental Therapeutics) explains how bariatric surgery can help people control type 2 diabetes. Read: Independent

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

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