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Research headlines

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

Sexual equality in medical research long overdue

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A new study by Professor Judith Mank (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) suggests biomedical studies may be short-changing women by ignoring differences between male and female animals in experiments. Read: Daily Mail, More: UCL News

The scientist who helped create a new prostate cancer scan (that's now saved his life, too)

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Professor David Hawkes (UCL Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering) discusses the technology - Smart Target - he developed to improve prostate cancer screening and how he benefited from using it. Read: Daily Mail

Magnetic implants used to treat ‘dancing eyes’

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Dr Quentin Parashkev (UCL Institute of Neurology), Professor Quentin Pankhurst (UCL Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering) and colleagues successfully used magnets implanted behind a person’s eyes to treat nystagmus, a condition characterised by involuntary eye movements. Read: BBC News, Listen: BBC World Service 'Newshour' (from 14 mins 6 secs)More: Evening Standard, The Times (£)

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots

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Professor Julienne Stroeve (UCL Earth Sciences) discusses the dramatic changes happening in the Arctic, highlighting that 2017 is already setting records in terms of low levels of ice cover. Read: Guardian

Genetic variants linked to obesity could protect against Parkinson’s

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A new study published by UCL researchers finds that genetic variants linked to higher body mass index (BMI) are associated with lower risk of Parkinson's disease. Read: Mail Online

Research examines fake news, hate speech and 4chan

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Dr Gianluca Stringhini (UCL Computer Science) discusses the results of two new papers exploring how hate speech and fake news are spread around the internet. Read: Sky News

Drug that boosts confidence in your own actions may help OCD

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A new study led by Dr Tobias Hauser (UCL Institute of Neurology) found that a common anti-anxiety drug could improve insight into one’s own performance, known as metacognition. Read: New Scientist

Parents create moral panic over social media

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Dr Sandra Leaton Gray (UCL Institute of Education) talks about her new book, Invisibly Blighted: The digital erosion of childhood, which suggests parents create a moral panic over social media. Listen: BBC World Service (from 9 mins 16 secs)More: The Times, The Guardian

Children with bedroom TVs at significantly higher risk of being overweight

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A study co-authored by Dr Anja Heilmann (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health) found that there is a clear link between having a TV in the bedroom as a young child and being overweight a few years later. Read: BBC News, Listen: BBC Radio 5 Live (from 1 hour 4 mins), More: The Guardian, The Times (£), The Telegraph (£), The Sun, Evening Standard, Mail Online, BBC World Service (from 50 mins 30 secs)UCL News

Higher tuition fee debt 'deters poorer students'

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A study co-authored by Professor Claire Callender (UCL Institute of Education) found that students from poorer backgrounds are deterred from applying to university due to fear of student loan debt. Read: BBC News, Times Higher Education (£)More: UCL News

Adding tobacco to cannabis will not make you more stoned

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A study led by Chandni Hindocha and Professor Val Curran (UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit) found that adding tobacco to a cannabis joint doesn’t improve the experience of being stoned, but it does reduce the memory impairment inherent to cannabis use. Read: Daily Mail, More: Metro, UCL News

Britain debates nationalising its rail system

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Dr Nicole Badstuber (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) says Britain is in a situation where private companies profit without providing a truly free marketplace. Read: The Atlantic CityLab

UK surveillance law raises concerns security researchers could be 'deputised' by the state

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Dr Steven Murdoch (UCL Computer Science) comments on the UK's controversial surveillance laws that create a potential means for the UK government to press-gang "any" UK computer expert into working with GCHQ. Read: The Register

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 (£)

NASA to announce its first mission to fly directly into the Sun’s atmosphere

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Professor Lucie Green (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory) discusses NASA's Solar Probe Plus and ESA's Solar Orbiter missions to 'sniff and taste' the environment around the Sun. Listen: BBC Radio 4 'Today' (from 1 hour 45 mins), More: BBC World Service 'World Update'

What happens in the minutes and hours after a major terror attack?

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Professor David Alexander (UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction) says that things change fairly dramatically within a matter of seconds following an attack and he explains the response processes. Read: Vice

Pathway to extremism: what neo-Nazis and jihadis have in common

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Dr Paul Gill (UCL Security & Crime Science) explains that his studies on jihadis, rightwingers and school shooters found very little difference in terms of pathways and it is almost impossible to create a typical terrorist profile. Read: The Guardian

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)

Why does salt taste salty?

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Professor Andrea Sella (UCL Chemistry) explains why salt tastes salty based on how different sized charged ions in a salt compound interact with our tongues. Listen: BBC World Service 'CrowdScience' (from 2 mins)

Risk of psychotic disorders up to five times greater for people from ethnic minorities

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People from ethnic minorities have up to a five times greater risk of psychotic disorders than the white British population, according to a UCL study led by Dr James Kirkbride (UCL Brain Sciences). Read: The Guardian

Tories accused of 'sleight of hand' on manifesto grammar schools data

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Professor Alice Sullivan (UCL Institute of Education) challenges the Conservative party's statement that selective schools have proportionately more pupils from "ordinary working class families" than non-selective schools as families in the bottom third for income have been excluded from the calculation. Read: BBC News

Why it’s awesome to be awkward

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Professor Uta Frith (UCL Brain Sciences) led a study that found that awkward people are more likely than non-awkward people to process information in a detail-oriented way, giving them a deep, nuanced perspective about things that no one else takes the time to notice. Read: The Guardian

Teamwork can bring out blaggers and bad decisions

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When trying to make a decision with another person, people tend to match their confidence levels, which can backfire if one person has more expertise than the other, finds a study led by Dr Dan Bang (UCL Wellcome Centre for Neuroimaging) and Dr Bahador Bahrami (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience). Read: iNews, More: Daily MailUCL News

A major study about the state of masculinity just launched

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Dr John Barry (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences) is leading a study of values and well-being among British men. Read: The Telegraph

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