Populations & Lifelong Health

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Stronger action needed to transform the UK’s energy system

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wind farm

 An ambitious policy package is essential for the UK to transform its energy system to achieve the deep reductions in carbon emissions required to avoid dangerous climate change, according to research led by UCL scientists. To meet climate targets set for 2050, policies need to ensure strong action is taken now, while preparing for fundamental changes in how energy is provided and used in the long term.

Old world monkey had tiny, complex brain

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Monkey brain

The brain of a 15 million year old monkey has been visualized for the first time by a team led by Professor Fred Spoor (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology). The 3D computer model shows that the brain is much smaller and has more folds than expected, supporting the idea that brain complexity can evolve before brain size in the primate family tree.

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.

Cancer drug makes fruit flies live longer

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fly

Adult fruit flies given a cancer drug live 12% longer than average, according to a UCL-led study researching healthy ageing. The drug targets a specific cellular process that occurs in animals, including humans, delaying the onset of age-related deaths by slowing the ageing process.

Single gene controls fish brain size and intelligence

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guppies

A single gene called Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) drives brain size and intelligence in fish according to a new study by researchers at UCL, Stockholm University and University of Helsinki.

Climate change threatens to undermine the last half century of health gains

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Climate emergency

The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last fifty years of gains in development and global health, according to a major new UCL-led Commission, published in The Lancet.

‘Core’ immune cells reduce symptoms and spread of flu

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H1N1 influenza virus particles shown in transmission electron micrograph

A four-year study of 1,414 unvaccinated people across England found that 43% of them had immune cells that protected them from symptoms of both seasonal and pandemic influenza, and reduced their chances of shedding the virus by two thirds. The work led by researchers from UCL, Oxford University and Public Health England was funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

New calculations to improve carbon dioxide monitoring from space

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CO2 Satellite

How light of different colours is absorbed by carbon dioxide (CO2) can now be accurately predicted using new calculations developed by a UCL-led team of scientists. This will help climate scientists studying Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions to better interpret data collected from satellites and ground stations measuring CO2.

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.

Sir Tim Hunt FRS and UCL

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UCL Quad

UCL can confirm that Sir Tim Hunt FRS has today resigned from his position as Honorary Professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences, following comments he made about women in science at the World Conference of Science Journalists on 9 June. 

Celebrating 100 years of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at UCL

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Flinders Petrie at UCL

On 7th June the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology celebrated one hundred years since first opening its doors at UCL. To honour this milestone year the museum will be hosting a number of special events focusing on the characters behind this world class collection.

New treatment for polycystic kidney disease

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Small vessels inside a cystic kidney with disorganised vasculature

A new technique for treating polycystic kidney disease has been identified by researchers based at the UCL Institute of Child Health. Published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the treatment, which involves targeting tiny blood and lymphatic vessels inside the kidneys, is shown to improve renal function and slow progression of disease in mice.

Starting HIV treatment early improves patient outcomes

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Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell

A major international randomised clinical trial has found that HIV-infected individuals have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if they start taking antiretroviral drugs sooner, when their CD4+ T-cell count—a key measure of immune system health—is higher, instead of waiting until the CD4+ cell count drops to lower levels.

UCL launches UK’s first fully Open Access university press

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UCL Press logo

UCL is pleased to announce the launch of UCL Press, the University’s in house publishing arm. UCL Press will be the first fully Open Access university press in the UK with all books, journals and monographs freely available online, creating a diverse and accessible global knowledge resource.

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.

Chemo before surgery benefits patients with advanced ovarian cancer

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Chemotherapy machine

Women with advanced ovarian cancer have fewer side effects and tend to have a better quality of life if given chemotherapy before surgery, according to a Cancer Research UK funded study published in The Lancet.

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.

Unique social structure of hunter-gatherers explained

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Elderly Agta couple, Philippines

Sex equality in residential decision-making explains the unique social structure of hunter-gatherers, a new UCL study reveals.

Smoking induces early signs of cancer in cheek swabs

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Ashtray

DNA damage caused by smoking can be detected in cheek swabs, finds research published today in JAMA Oncology. The study provides evidence that smoking induces a general cancer program that is also present in cancers which aren’t usually associated with it – including breast and gynaecological cancers.

New test could identify resistant tuberculosis faster in London

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) disease rates in some parts of London are as high as in Sub-Saharan Africa, and drug-resistant strains are becoming increasingly common. These require specific treatments, and if doctors know that a bug is resistant they can start therapy earlier, often leading to better outcomes.

Starved T cells allow hepatitis B to silently infect liver

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Magnified image of liver sample from Hepatitis B patient showing suppressor cells (brown) approaching T cells (red)

Hepatitis B stimulates processes that deprive the body’s immune cells of key nutrients that they need to function, finds new UCL-led research funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

LDA Design appointed to develop a master plan for new UCL East campus

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QEOP_UCL_East

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has today announced that LDA Design has been appointed to develop a master plan for a new 125,000m2 campus for UCL on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This location will allow new and exciting initiatives to be developed by UCL.

New screening technique could pick up twice as many ovarian cancer cases

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Ovarian cancer under the microscope

A new screening method can detect twice as many women with ovarian cancer as conventional strategies, according to the latest results from the largest trial of its kind led by UCL.

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