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UCL launches free online dementia course

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Brain scan

UCL has today announced a free four-week online course “The Many Faces of Dementia” aiming to provide valuable insights into dementia through the stories, symptoms and science behind four less common diagnoses. The interactive MOOC (massive open online course) features interviews with world-leading experts, people with dementia and their families as well as articles and discussion.

New trait explains why some people are more easily distracted than others

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Smartphones

People vary according to different personality traits, such as extraversion or conscientiousness, and new UCL research suggests that they also vary according to a particular cognitive trait: distractibility. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Why focusing on a visual task will make us deaf to our surroundings

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Smartphones

Concentrating attention on a visual task can render you momentarily ‘deaf’ to sounds at normal levels, reports a new UCL study funded by the Wellcome Trust.

GM mice reveal the secret to a painless life

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Mouse in UCL research facility

People born with a rare genetic mutation are unable to feel pain, but previous attempts to recreate this effect with drugs have had surprisingly little success. Using mice modified to carry the same mutation, UCL researchers funded by the MRC and Wellcome Trust have now discovered the recipe for painlessness.

Research reveals how specific diet works to help epilepsy

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Coconut

Researchers have found out how a specific diet works to help treat patients with uncontrolled epilepsy.

A team from UCL and Royal Holloway University of London revealed in preliminary tests how decanoic acid, a fatty acid found in foods assigned to ketogenic diets, acts to block seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.  

New target for macular degeneration gets funding for clinical trials

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Professors John Greenwood and Stephen Moss

The Medical Research Council is to fund researchers at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital to conduct clinical trials into the use of a humanised monoclonal antibody to treat patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Poorer dementia patients in England less likely to be prescribed drugs

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Hands

Dementia patients from more affluent areas in England are 27% more likely to be prescribed anti-dementia drugs than patients from poorer areas, finds a new UCL study of 77,045 dementia patients across the UK. This inequality was not seen in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

Changes in humour an early sign of dementia

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Laughing

Researchers at UCL have revealed that a change in sense of humour could be an early sign of dementia. The findings could help improve dementia diagnosis, by highlighting changes not commonly thought to be linked to the condition.

UCL professor is first UK winner of $3m Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

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Professor John Hardy

Professor John Hardy (UCL Institute of Neurology) was last night awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his pioneering research into the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Being moody may help us adapt to change

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Stress ball

It’s long been known that mood biases our judgments and perceptions, but this effect has usually been regarded as irrational or disadvantageous. A new theory published by UCL scientists in Trends in Cognitive Sciences argues that mood draws on experiences and can, in fact, help us quickly adapt to changes in our environment.

Withdrawing dementia drug doubles risk of nursing home placement

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Pills

Withdrawing a commonly-prescribed Alzheimer’s disease drug from people in the advanced stages of the disease doubles their risk of being placed in a nursing home within a year, according to UCL research published today in The Lancet Neurology.

Images of pleasure and winning have unique distracting power

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Happy smile

Images related to pleasure or winning attract attention from demanding tasks, while equally intense but negative images and those associated with losing can be fully ignored, finds a new UCL study.

Our brain’s response to others' good news depends on empathy

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MRI brain scan

The way our brain responds to others’ good fortune is linked to how empathetic people report themselves to be, according to new UCL-led research.

UCL and UK supermarkets unite to beat dementia with carrier bag funds

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Iceland, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose logos

UK supermarkets Iceland, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose have today pledged funds from the new levy on single-use carrier bags to support the construction of a new world class dementia research centre at UCL.

UCL professor wins Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize 2015

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Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) has today been announced as the recipient of the 2015 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize for her research on understanding emotional and social brain development during adolescence. The award will be presented on 4 December 2015, at an award ceremony at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

Why other people's skin always feels softer

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Holding hands

Have you ever touched someone else and wondered why his or her skin felt so incredibly soft? Well, now researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 10 present evidence that this experience may often be an illusion.

Possible evidence for human transmission of Alzheimer’s pathology

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Nature logo

Amyloid beta pathology in the grey matter and blood vessel walls characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the related cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is observed in the brains of deceased patients who acquired Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) following treatment with prion-contaminated human growth hormone.

Antipsychotics inappropriately prescribed to people with intellectual disabilities

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Antipsychotic medication

Large numbers of people with intellectual disabilities are being inappropriately prescribed antipsychotic drugs, finds a new UCL study.

Large trial will assess effectiveness of teaching mindfulness in UK schools

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Paula Kearney, UCL Academy teacher, talking to pupils (from left to right) Patricia Markauskaite, Enaya Ali and Haroon Hussein (credit: Wellcome Trust)

A major study to assess whether mindfulness training for teenagers can improve their mental health launches today, involving researchers from UCL alongside staff and students at the UCL Academy.

Commonly prescribed drugs affect decisions to harm oneself and others

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Pills

Healthy people given the serotonin-enhancing antidepressant citalopram were willing to pay almost twice as much to prevent harm to themselves or others than those given placebo drugs in a moral decision-making experiment at UCL.

Research reveals how the human brain might reconstruct past events

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Hippocampus activity seen when forming event memories

When remembering something from our past, we often vividly re-experience the whole episode in which it occurred. New UCL research funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust has now revealed how this might happen in the brain.

Rats 'dream' paths to a brighter future

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Illustration of sleeping rat

When rats rest, their brains simulate journeys to a desired future such as a tasty treat, finds new UCL research funded by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society.

Natural genetic variation gives complete resistance in prion diseases

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Prion protein expressed in E. coli

Researchers at the Medical Research Council’s Prion Unit at UCL have identified a naturally occurring variant of the human prion protein that produces resistance to prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The findings, published in Nature, could give important insight into other human brain diseases that lead to dementia.

Working with Saracens to monitor concussion in rugby

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Saracens players wear patches in games and training

A team of UCL researchers have joined the ongoing Saracens study for the 2015/16 season, which combines impact sensors with blood samples to determine the effects of concussion on rugby players.

Missing molecule prevents puberty

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Hormones that trigger puberty in the mouse brain

A molecule important in blood vessel formation and brain wiring is also essential for the onset of puberty, finds new research led by UCL and the University of Milan.

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