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Research headlines

Mood-enhancing drugs could also provide relief for chronic pain

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A study led by Dr Maria Maiarù and Dr Sandrine Géranton (both UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) has found that class of drugs being studied to treat certain mood disorders may also be able to relieve chronic pain by acting on a gene involved in regulating the body’s reaction to stress. Read: Forbes, More: UCL News

Record-breaking superfast broadband is 50,000 times faster than current speeds

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A new record for the fastest ever data rate for digital information has been set by UCL researchers in the Optical Networks Group (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering). Read: Daily Mail, More: Telegraph, Daily Express, Sydney Morning Herald, UCL News

Researchers asked to decide: ‘Are speed cameras cash cows?’

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Researchers from UCL are examining Safer Roads Humber, which operates cameras in East Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire following concerns that the sites were “primarily for cash generation”. Read: Yorkshire Post

Drink-drive limit facing first cut in a generation

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Research by Professor Richard Allsop (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) has estimated that 25 lives could have been saved across Britain last year if England and Wales had the same drink-driving limit as Scotland. Read: Times (£)

How good are you at concentrating?

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Research by Professor Nilli Lavie (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) found that people who are easily distracted by a cartoon character in a visual search task showed a higher level of symptoms associated with ADHD. Read: Guardian, More: Metro, The Sun, Telegraph, UCL News

Helmets could increase brain injuries in sport

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Players from the Saracens rugby club are currently taking part in a research project led by Professor Huw Morris (UCL Clinical Neuroscience) to look for biomarkers that indicate a risk of long-term brain damage. Read: Telegraph, More: Daily Mail

How to make the perfect pancake

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A study by Professor Ian Eames (UCL Mechanical Engineering), Dr Yann Bouremel and Professor Sir Peng Khaw (both UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) has looked at how the textures and patterns of pancakes can help improve surgical methods for treating glaucoma. Read: Daily Mail, More: Daily Express, UCL News

Stonehenge burials show 'surprising degree' of gender equality

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Bone analysis by research student Christie Willis (UCL Archaeology) has found a high degree of gender equality in Stonehenge burials. Read: BBC News, More: Daily Mail, Times (£), Listen: BBC Wiltshire ‘Ben Prater’ (from 52 mins 29 secs)

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

Linking bowel cancer screening tests to GPs 'could save 2,000 lives every year'

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A study led by Professor Rosalind Raine (UCL Applied Health Research) has found that almost 40,000 extra people would undergo bowel cancer screening every year if their GP explicitly endorsed it. Read: Mirror

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

Cheap epilepsy drug could prevent nerve damage in Multiple Sclerosis

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Research led by Dr Raj Kapoor (UCL Institute of Neurology) has found that the epilepsy drug, phenytoin, which is already prescribed on the NHS could prevent nerve damage in people with Multiple Sclerosis. Read: Telegraph

UK universities ‘should provide targeted support for refugee students’

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A new paper by Dr Georgina Brewis (UCL Institute of Education) suggests that universities could play a pivotal role in tackling the Syrian refugee crisis and that a sector-wide approach to supporting refugees would be more effective than individual schemes. Read: THE (£)

The hidden toll of being a premature baby

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Professor Neil Marlow (UCL Neonatology) is co-leading a study which follows the progress of 314 babies born in the UK at 26 weeks' gestation or less between March and December 1995. Read: Daily Mail

The future of innovation in the NHS

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Professor Andrew Dick (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) explains how his research sits within the NHS. Listen: Guardian ‘Science Weekly’ (from 18 mins 13 secs)

Ancient Britons' DNA

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Professor Mark Thomas (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) explains the context of new research which examines DNA from individuals who died in northeast England at the beginning of the first millennium of the current era. Listen: BBC Radio 4 ‘Inside Science’ (from 53 secs)

Dementia test shows five-year risk just using medical records

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Research led by Dr Kate Walters (UCL Primary Care & Population Health) has led to the development of an algorithm that can predict your risk of developing dementia by analysing information gathered during routine visits to the GPs. Read: Telegraph, More: Times (£), Daily Mail, Daily Express, Mirror, The Sun, Listen: BBC Radio 4 'Today' (from 1 hour 40 mins)

Hospital admissions and the 'weekend effect'

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Professor Nick Freemantle (UCL Primary Care & Population Health) discusses his research into mortality rates for weekend hospital admissions. Listen: BBC Radio 4 ‘Inside Health’ (from 12 mins 29 secs)

Back to the street

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Research by Professor Bill Hillier (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture) suggests that the design of housing estates can contribute to social problems. Read: Economist

Does cannabis really lower your IQ?

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In a comment piece, PhD student Claire Mokrysz (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) explains how her research has shown that differences other than cannabis use might be causing the much-discussed disparities in cognitive function. Read: Guardian

Sarcasm wasted on older people who take comments too literally

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According to research by the University of Aberdeen, UCL and the University of Geneva older adults are not as good at detecting sarcasm as younger people and it could affect their relationships with friends and family. Read: Telegraph, More: Daily Express

SEN pupils 'don't interact as much'

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A study by Rob Webster (UCL Institute of Education) has found that the amount of time pupils with special educational needs (SEN) spend with teachers has not increased as much as non-SEN pupils over the past 35 years. Read: TES (£)

Map pinpoints hotspot of bat-transmitted diseases

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A new global map compiled by scientists from UCL, led by Professor Kate Jones (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment), the Zoological Society of London and the University of Edinburgh has identified the areas that are most at risk from bat viruses ‘spilling over’ into humans. Read: Science, More: The Economist, Herald Scotland, Reuters, The Australian, The Straits Times, UCL News

Poor men die sooner 'due to low testosterone'

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A study by UCL has found that those from poorer backgrounds have significantly different hormone levels compared to richer individuals, which could explain health inequalities. Read: Daily Mail, More: Telegraph

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

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