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Research headlines

Lessons on censorship from Syria’s internet filter machines

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Dr Emiliano De Cristofaro (UCL Computer Science) explains how the leak of 600GB of logs from hardware appliances used to filter internet traffic in and out of Syria offered a unique opportunity to examine the workings of a real-world internet censorship apparatus. Read: The Conversation

Landing on a comet

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Professor Andrew Coates (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory) who developed one of the instruments on the Rosetta Orbiter says that all the data has been retrieved from its lander Philae and explains what will happen next now Philae has lost power on a comet. Listen: Naked Scientists

New hope for extremely premature babies?

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In a patient-led piece, Professor Neil Marlow (UCL Women's Health) talks about EPICure, a series of studies of survival and later health among babies and young people who were born at extremely low gestations. Watch: Channel 4 News

Poor people 'have fewer teeth' than rich, study suggests

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A study involving Dr Georgios Tsakos & Professor Richard Watt (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) found that the poorest people in society have eight fewer teeth than the richest by the time they reach their 70s. Read: BBC News, More: Mirror, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Shropshire Star, Northern Echo, Yorkshire Post

The science of altruism

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A study led by Dr Molly Crockett (UCL Institute of Neurology) found that people were willing to sacrifice on average twice as much money to spare a stranger pain than to spare themselves, despite the decision being secret. Watch: BBC Newsnight (from 28mins), Read: Times (£), Science, San Francisco Chronicle, UCL News

Obese are in denial about weight

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A study co-authored by Professor Jane Wardle (UCL Health Behaviour Centre) has found that only about a tenth of clinically obese people in Britain actually accept that they have a serious weight problem. Read: Guardian, More: Times (£), UCL News

Virtual inner child can cure chronic self-criticism

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A study by Dr Caroline Falconer, Professor Chris Brewin (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) and Professor Mel Slater (UCL Computer Science) has found that listening to the soothing words of your own virtual reality “avatar” promotes mental wellbeing. Read: Times (£), More: Huffington Post, IndependentDaily Mail, Times of IndiaUCL News

Four British languages in danger of becoming extinct

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Chris Moseley (UCL SSEES) has compiled an at-risk list of languages based on data from the Unesco Languages in Danger project, including four British languages. Read: Independent

London's second languages mapped by tube stop

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Oliver O'Brien (UCL Geography) has mapped the most common second languages by tube stop. Read: Guardian, More: Telegraph

Is alcohol during pregnancy harmful?

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A study led by Professor Yvonne Kelly (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) found that the children of heavy drinkers were more likely to be hyperactive and have behavioural and emotional problems, but the babies who were born to light drinkers suffered no ill-effects. Read: Guardian

Pensioners with sense of purpose live two years longer than cynics

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A study led by Professor Andrew Steptoe (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) has found that pensioners who live with a sense of purpose and well-being are 30 per cent less likely to die within eight and a half years than those more cynical. Read: Telegraph, More: Daily Express, Times (£), BBC News, Sky News, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Huffington Post, Dundee Courier

Short men more likely to die from dementia

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A paper co-authored by Dr David Batty (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) has found that short men are more likely to die from dementia than taller men. Read: Telegraph, More: Daily Express, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Herald Scotland, Sydney Morning Herald

Why are recessions so depressing?

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Research by Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (UCL Political Science) has found that recessions often have a negative psychological impact and that happiness is around six times more sensitive to economic growth when that “growth” is negative. Read: Financial Times

Teenagers' heavy cannabis use 'impairs intelligence'

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Research led by Claire Mokrysz (UCL Psychology and Language Sciences) has found that teenagers who are regular cannabis users by the age of 15 risk "impairing" their educational ability but occasional use does not seem linked to reduced achievement. Read: BBC News, More: Telegraph, Independent, Daily Mail, Bloomberg

Tiny tubes in your neck that could cut the risk of a stroke

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Using stents to keep neck arteries open is just as effective as invasive neck surgery for long-term prevention of fatal and disabling strokes, reports an international trial led Professor Martin Brown (UCL Brain Repair & Rehabilitation). Read: Daily Mail, More: UCL News

UCL research helps paralysed man to recover function

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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

Is sending shoppers ads by Bluetooth just a bit creepy?

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Dr Charlene Jennett (UCL Interaction Centre) and Professor Angela Sasse (UCL Computer Science) examine how beacon technology in retail and marketing may be received by the public. Read: The Conversation

Myelin helps you learn new skills

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A study led by Professor William Richardson (UCL Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research) has discovered new evidence of myelin’s essential role in learning and retaining new practical skills, such as playing a musical instrument. Read: Daily Mail, More: UCL News

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)

NHS to offer tablet which can reduce HIV risk by 90%

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Dr Sheena McCormack (UCL MRC Clinical Trials Unit) is leading a study into the use of Truvada, a daily tablet that offers up to a 90 per cent reduction in the risk of contracting HIV. Read: Independent, More: Times (£), Daily Mail

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

Exercising can ward off depression

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Research led by Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira and Professor Chris Power (both UCL Institute of Child Health) has found that being physically active three times a week reduces the odds of being depressed by approximately 16%. Read: Daily Mail, Times (£), Scotsman, UCL News, Listen: BBC Radio Scotland 'John Beattie' (from 45 mins 50 secs)

The new school rules

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A study co-led by Professor Stephen Machin (UCL Economics) has identified “beneficial effects” in schools becoming academies and he says an “unprecedented change in England’s schools” is currently under way. Read: The Economist

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