Populations & Lifelong Health

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Switching off street lights at night does not increase car crashes and crime

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street lights

Reduced street lighting in England and Wales is not associated with road traffic collisions or crime, according to research by UCL and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Professor Chris Husbands takes up new post as Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University 

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Professor Chris Husbands

Professor Chris Husbands, Director of the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and Vice-Provost (Academic Development & London) has announced that he will be leaving UCL to take up the appointment of Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University from January 2016.

The world’s rarest skeleton stands on four legs once again

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Quagga

Using cutting-edge technology, the world’s rarest skeleton – a South African extinct zebra called a quagga – has regained its missing hind limb.

Cool summer of 2013 boosted Arctic sea ice

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Arctic ice pack

The volume of Arctic sea ice increased by a third after the summer of 2013 as the unusually cool air temperatures prevented the ice from melting, according to UCL and University of Leeds scientists. This suggests that the ice pack in the Northern hemisphere is more sensitive to changes in summer melting than it is to winter cooling, a finding which will help researchers to predict future changes in its volume.

UCL digital research facility gets go-ahead

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NASA image of UK

The Government has committed to investing £4 million in a new facility at UCL to help policymakers develop ways of evening out the UK’s regional economic divides. This figure is matched by an additional £5.6 million of institutional funding.

Dr Celia Caulcott appointed Vice-Provost (Enterprise)

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Dr Celia Caulcott appointed Vice-Provost (Enterprise)

Dr Celia Caulcott has been appointed the next Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL, with effect from 1 October 2015.

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.

Improving treatment for systemic amyloidosis

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Whole body anterior amyloid scans of a patient with systemic amyloidosis, showing abundant amyloid in the liver before treatment and the almost complete absence of amyloid after a single dose of the new anti-SAP antibody.

A potential new approach to treat systemic amyloidosis, invented at UCL and being developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), marks the start of a successful and innovative academic-industry collaboration.

UCL to coordinate £16m project to crack difficult disease areas

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Scientist examines samples under a microscope

UCL has successfully coordinated a £16 million bid to work with the Medical Research Council (MRC), GSK and four other universities to improve scientists’ understanding of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases that present a serious burden to patients.

Landmark 69-year study to provide window into dementia

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Professor Nick Fox and Dr Jonathan Schott

A landmark study that has been following a group of people since their birth in the same week in March 1946 is now turning its focus to the risk factors and early signs of dementia.

UCL Council and Sir Tim Hunt

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UCL Quad

UCL Council, the university’s governing body, has today reviewed all of the circumstances of the resignation of Sir Tim Hunt as an Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Life Sciences on 10 June. Having seen the relevant correspondence, including the exchange of emails between Sir Tim and UCL, the Council is satisfied that his resignation was accepted in good faith. Council unanimously supports the decision taken by UCL’s executive to accept the resignation.

Many overweight teenagers do not recognise they are too heavy

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Man on scales

More than a third of overweight or obese teenagers don’t see themselves as being too heavy and think their weight is about right, according to a UCL study published today in the International Journal of Obesity.

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.

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