Latest Brain Sciences News

Research reveals how specific diet works to help epilepsy

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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.  

UCL announces the launch of gene therapy company Athena Vision

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Athena Vision logo

Athena Vision is focused on developing gene therapies for eye diseases based on research conducted at UCL.

UCL Business PLC, the wholly-owned technology transfer company of UCL, today announced the formation of Athena Vision Limited, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of gene therapies to treat a range of devastating eye diseases causing blindness.

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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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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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.

Professor John O’Keefe

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Professor John O’Keefe, inaugural Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at UCL, having launched the centre, will be stepping down from the role in September 2016 so he can once again devote his full attention to a significant program of ongoing and new scientific research. We are extremely grateful to him for having taken on the demanding role of launching the Centre and are delighted that he will continue his research within it.

Vice Provost (Health) View November 2015

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Having been Vice-Provost (Health) for three months, I should like to start by thanking my predecessor Professor Sir John Tooke: health at UCL has gone from strength to strength over the past five and a half years.

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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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.

PhotoSynthesis Competition results

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After months of waiting the results are finally in for our Photosynthesis competition 2015. The judging panel (consisting of senior academics, managers and communications staff from across the School) were extremely impressed by all the entries but the winners are:

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.

First human trial for innovative new drug in development to treat Huntington’s disease

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Gene silencing and Huntington’s disease

Patients in London are being dosed for the first time with an experimental drug for Huntington’s disease. This breakthrough could be one of the most important developments since the gene for Huntington’s disease was discovered in 1993. The trial of the revolutionary new ‘gene silencing’ treatment is being led by scientists at UCL’s Institute of Neurology.

UCL and Takeda announce a new research partnership 

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UCL and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited today announced a new research collaboration to identify and validate novel target genes for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease.

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.

London Project to Cure Blindness

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Patch graft

A pioneering trial of a new treatment derived from stem cells for people with ‘wet’ age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has commenced at Moorfields Eye Hospital following a successful operation on a patient.

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.

NFL fans and ESPN reporters overly optimistic about team prospects

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NFL fan

US fans of the National Football League (NFL) and sports reporters assigned to specific teams have unrealistic expectations about how well their team will perform, finds new research from UCL and Oxford University.

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.

UCL academics elected as British Academy Fellows

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British Academy Fellows

Four academics from UCL have been elected as Fellows of the British Academy in recognition of their outstanding research in the humanities and social sciences.

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.

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.

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