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Medical Sciences headlines

Drug removes Alzheimer’s trigger

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Professor Sir Mark Pepys (UCL Medicine) has led the development of a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease which is ready to be tested on patients after it showed promising results in mice. Read: Times (£), More: Daily Express

HIV becoming resistant to key drug, study finds

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A study led by Dr Ravi Gupta (UCL Infection & Immunity) has found that strains of HIV are becoming resistant to the antiretroviral drug, tenofovir, which is commonly used to prevent and fight the virus. Read: BBC News

NHS green light for new ovarian cancer drug

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Professor Jonathan Ledermann (UCL Cancer Institute) said: “The positive Nice guidance for olaparib represents a turning point for how women with ovarian cancer and a BRCA mutation are treated by the NHS in England”. Read: Guardian

Why Alan Rickman’s tragic death could save thousands of lives

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Professor Stephen Pereira (UCL Institute for Liver & Digestive Health) says: “We need a way of diagnosing pancreatic cancer earlier to allow more people to have surgery. We also need new treatments for those not eligible for surgery”. Read: The Sun

Clinical academics’ postdoctoral career development

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Veronica Ranieri, Dr Helen Barratt, Professor Naomi Fulop (all UCL Applied Health Research) and Professor Geraint Rees (UCL Life Sciences) say that clinical academics’ postdoctoral career development could be helped by mentoring, improving the work environment, and better access to funding. Read: BMJ

New drug to wipe out superbugs

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Dr Adam Roberts (UCL Microbial Diseases) says that he is “pleasantly surprised” by Dame Sally Davies optimistic comments on the search for new antibiotics. Read: Times (£)

Why bingeing on health foods won’t boost your immune system

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Professor Arne Akbar (UCL Infection & Immunity) explains how our immune systems get weaker as we get older. Read: Guardian

What’s really growing in that beard?

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As part of the BBC series Trust Me I’m a Doctor, Dr Adam Roberts (UCL Microbial Diseases) has analysed swabs from beards to see which microbes are present. Read: Times (£), More: BBC News, Independent, Metro, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Watch: BBC Two 'Trust Me I'm a Doctor' (from 8 mins 53 secs), Listen: BBC World Service 'World Update' , More: BBC Radio Norfolk 'Chrissie Jackson' (from 16 mins)

Dry January: how to keep going to the end

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Commenting on the health benefits of Dry January, Professor Kevin Moore (UCL Liver & Digestive Health) said: “If you took a drug that reduced blood pressure and improved cholesterol and insulin resistance it would be a blockbuster drug that would be worth billions”. Read: Times (£)

Body of songs

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Professor Hugh Montgomery (UCL Internal Medicine) discusses Body of Songs, a British science project making an album of new songs about body parts. Listen: BBC World Service ‘The Arts Hour’ (from 44 mins 19 secs)

Handedness in a portrait of Giovanni Bressini

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Professor Chris McManus (UCL Academic Centre of Medical Education) explores handedness at The Scottish National Gallery. Listen: BBC Radio Scotland ‘Brainwaves’

Why humans are so different

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Professor Hugh Montgomery (UCL Internal Medicine) explains what it is that determines which traits you get from which parent. Listen: Naked Scientists

Hi-tech hole puncher to knock out cancer cells

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Professor Mark Emberton (UCL Medical Sciences) explains the use of electroporation to treat prostate cancer. Read: Daily Mail

Can't shift that chesty cough?

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Commenting on a recent study on the rise of bronchiectasis cases in the UK, Professor Jeremy Brown (UCL Respiratory Medicine) said: “We found the disease has had a resurgence in recent years, particularly among more well-off members of society”. Read: Daily Mail

1 million people should be given weight-loss surgery

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A study by co-authored by LSHTM and Professor Rachel Batterham (UCL Metabolism & Experimental Therapeutics) suggests that offering weight-loss surgery to more than a million obese people would prevent tens of thousands of cases of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks. Read: Times (£), More: Daily Mail

U.K. research wins hollow victory

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Commenting on the government’s spending review, Dr Jenny Rohn (UCL Nephrology) says “as the dust settles, more people are thinking this is not such a good deal”. Read: Science (£)

Scientists study whether hyperthermia treatment makes chemo more effective

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A study, led by Professor John Kelly (UCL Research Department of General Surgery), looked at the effect hyperthermia had on patients with bladder cancer who failed immunotherapy treatment and found that there was a benefit in some but not all patients. Read: Wall Street Journal

NHS chiefs' U-turn over life-extending ovarian cancer drug

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Professor Jonathan Ledermann (CRUK Cancer Trials Centre at UCL) said: “While today’s decision by NICE will be welcomed by all those involved in treating and supporting women with this disease, it is disappointing that the decision has taken so long and some will still not have access”. Read: Daily Mail

Lab staple agar hit by seaweed shortage

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Dr Adam Roberts (UCL Microbial Diseases) comments on the dwindling algae harvest and the effect this has on the global supply of the lab reagent agar. Read: Nature

Woman who has never felt pain experiences it for the first time

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Using mice modified to carry a rare genetic mutation that causes painlessness, a UCL study led by Professor John Wood (UCL Division of Medicine) has uncovered a way to make low doses of opioids more effective in treating chronic pain. Read: New Scientist, More: Irish Times, Metro, Daily Mail, Times (£), Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, Washington Post, UCL News, Listen: BBC World Service 'Newsday' (from 18 mins 35 secs)

How coffee could give you mouth ulcers

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Professor Stephen Porter (UCL Eastman Dental Institute) explains how mouth ulcers can be a sign that “something in the body is not working as well as it should”. Read: Daily Mail

Beyond the rainbow

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Professor Mark Lythgoe (UCL Metabolism & Experimental Therapeutics) joins Dr Helen Czerski (UCL Mechanical Engineering) to discuss his work on biomedical imaging. Watch: BBC Four ‘Colour: The Spectrum of Science’ (from 48 mins)

What do parasitic worms and our increasing allergies have in common?

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Professor Graham Rook (UCL Infection & Immunity) looks at the way our bodies respond to parasitic worm infections and what this can tell us about our body's immune system reaction to allergens. Read: The Conversation

Experts fear iron deficiency is so common that GPs may dismiss it

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Professor Toby Richards (UCL Research Department of General Surgery) explains the health risks associated with anaemia and how women are often left 'undertreated'. Read: Daily Mail, More: Straits Times

Should you have the jab to prevent pneumonia?

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Professor Jeremy Brown (UCL Internal Medicine) says: “Pneumonia does often piggy-back cold and flu viruses, so if the cold doesn't seem to run its course in a week, keep an eye on your symptoms and speak to your GP.” Read: Daily Mail

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