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Teenagers shape each other’s views on how risky a situation is

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Group of teenagers

Young adolescents’ judgements on how risky a situation might be are most influenced by what other teenagers think, while most other age groups are more influenced by adults’ views, finds new UCL research.

Crossing fingers can reduce feelings of pain

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Cold stimulus on the crossed middle finger

How you feel pain is affected by where sources of pain are in relation to each other, and so crossing your fingers can change what you feel on a single finger, finds new UCL research.

Structure of genetic messenger molecules reveals key role in diseases

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Illustration of how many connections form across mRNA molecules, where colour indicates the length of each connection

Messenger RNAs (mRNA) are linear molecules that contain instructions for producing the proteins that keep living cells functioning. A new study by UCL researchers has shown how the three-dimensional structures of mRNAs determine their stability and efficiency inside cells. This new knowledge could help to explain how seemingly minor mutations that alter mRNA structure might cause things to go wrong in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Assumptions of equality lead to poorer group decisions

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European Central Bank governing council meeting

People of differing competence tend to give each other’s views equal weight, preventing them from making the best group decisions, finds new UCL-led research.

Drugs Live results: how different types of cannabis affect the brain

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Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow inhaling cannabis

New UCL-led research reveals the positive and negative effects of different types of cannabis on the human brain, in a trial broadcast on Channel 4: Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial.

Diabetes and depression predict dementia risk in people with slowing minds

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Old woman waiting at bus stop

People with mild cognitive impairment are at higher risk of developing dementia if they have diabetes or psychiatric symptoms such as depression, finds a new review led by UCL researchers.

UCL awarded £10m to develop new dementia treatments

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Examining embryos under the microscope

Alzheimer’s Research UK today announced a £30m Drug Discovery Alliance, launching three flagship Drug Discovery Institutes at UCL, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The Drug Discovery Institutes will see 90 new research scientists employed in state-of-the-art facilities to fast-track the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Having a romantic partner present can make pain feel worse

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Image of a similar experiment where the hand was stimulated by 'pinprick' laser pain pulses

The support of a romantic partner is often advised for painful medical procedures, but new research from UCL, King’s College London and the University of Hertfordshire finds that this can actually make the pain feel worse.

Major cause of blindness linked to calcium deposits in the eye

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Thousands of hydroxyapatite spheres (magenta), each just a few microns across, are found in large drusen deposits within the eye

Microscopic spheres of calcium phosphate have been linked to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness, by UCL-led research.

Tooth loss linked to slowing mind and body

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Older person

The memory and walking speeds of adults who have lost all of their teeth decline more rapidly than in those who still have some of their own teeth, finds new UCL research.

Scientists locate ‘homing signal’ in the brain, explaining why some people are better navigators

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Homing signal in the brain

The part of the brain that tells us the direction to travel when we navigate has been identified by UCL scientists, and the strength of its signal predicts how well people can navigate.

Family history screening misses people at high risk of cancer

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Eve Appeal

UCL research into the BRCA gene mutation in the Jewish population show that only assessing family history misses half of the people with the mutation.

Secret of tetanus toxicity offers new way to treat motor neuron disease

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Image showing how tetanus neurotoxin (red) binds to areas rich in nidogen-2 (green)

The way that tetanus neurotoxin enters nerve cells has been discovered by UCL scientists, who showed that this process can be blocked, offering a potential therapeutic intervention for tetanus. This newly-discovered pathway could be exploited to deliver therapies to the nervous system, opening up a whole new way to treat neurological disorders such as motor neuron disease and peripheral neuropathies.

Improving the lives of dementia carers

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Dementia patient

A psychological intervention that provides stress relief and emotional support for people caring for relatives with dementia can reduce depression and anxiety and improve wellbeing at no extra cost to standard care, finds new UCL research published in Lancet Psychiatry.

One in ten British men say they have paid for sex

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Red light district

11% of men in Britain report ever paying for sex and 3.6% report paying for sex in the past five years, finds a UCL-led study funded by the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council.

Most people would rather harm themselves than others for profit

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Example choice presented to participants

A UCL-led experiment on 80 pairs of adults 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.

Virtual reality helps people to comfort and accept themselves

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Virtual_reality

Self-compassion can be learned using avatars in an immersive virtual reality, finds new research led by UCL. This innovative approach reduced self-criticism and increased self-compassion and feelings of contentment in naturally self-critical individuals. The scientists behind the MRC-funded study say it could be applied to treat a range of clinical conditions including depression.

UCL awarded £13.5 million to advance medical research facilities

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UCL Quad

As part of the Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative, UCL has been awarded £13.5 million for a number of projects to help advance clinical research.

Simplifying TB treatments to improve patients’ lives

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Ways to simplify treatments for tuberculosis (TB) to reduce drug resistance and make it easier for patients to complete their course of treatment have been trialled by two international groups involving UCL scientists.

People with diabetes are less able to regulate the body’s responses to stress

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Stress

People with type 2 diabetes are physically less able to recover from stress, finds a study by scientists at UCL and the University of Zurich, funded by the British Heart Foundation.

UCL research helps paralysed man to recover function

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Professor Geoff Raisman

A man who was paralysed from the chest down following a knife attack can now walk using a frame, following a pioneering cell transplantation treatment developed by scientists at UCL and applied by surgeons at Wroclaw University Hospital, Poland.

Myelin vital for learning new practical skills

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Mouse brain

New evidence of myelin’s essential role in learning and retaining new practical skills, such as playing a musical instrument, has been uncovered by UCL research. Myelin is a fatty substance that insulates the brain's wiring and is a major constituent of ‘white matter’. It is produced by the brain and spinal cord into early adulthood as it is needed for many developmental processes, and although earlier studies of human white matter hinted at its involvement in skill learning, this is the first time it has been confirmed experimentally.

UCL Workshop with Neuroscience Center Zürich (ZNZ)

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UCL-Zürich Collaboration

On 22-23 September 2014, the second joint workshop ZNZ/UCL Neuroscience took place in Zurich. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the progress made in various collaborative projects  set up last year and identify future avenues for further collaboration.

UCL gets £15M to train the next generation of bioscientists

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UCL Life Sciences

Thirty PhD studentships will be available annually for the next five years in the areas of agriculture and food security, industrial biotechnology and bioenergy, health and other frontier biosciences following a £15M grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Experts gather at UCL Nervous System Tumour Research Workshop

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UCL Nervous System Tumour Research Workshop Brochure

Earlier this month Professor Paolo Salomoni (Samantha Dickson Brain Cancer Unit, UCL Cancer Institute) and Dr Darren Hargrave (GOSH) held a workshop funded by CRUK and the BRC Neuroscience Programme, which played host to some of the foremost experts on Nervous System Tumour Research from UCL/UCLH/NHNN, the Francis Crick Institute, GOSH, QMUL/BCI, ICR/Marsden and the University of Glasgow.

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