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Meaning of brain scans for ‘pain’ called into question

Patterns of brain activity thought to show pain responses have been called into question after researchers from UCL and the University of Reading saw such patterns in rare patients born without a sense of pain.

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Brain caught ‘filing’ memories during rest

Memories formed in one part of the brain are replayed and transferred to a different area of the brain during rest, according to a new UCL study in rats.

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Uncertainty can cause more stress than inevitable pain

Knowing that there is a small chance of getting a painful electric shock can lead to significantly more stress than knowing that you will definitely be shocked, finds a new UCL study funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

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New drug shows promise against muscle wasting disease

A new drug to treat the muscle wasting disease inclusion body myositis (IBM) reverses key symptoms in mice and is safe and well-tolerated in patients, finds a new study led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at UCL and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Grid cells’ role in human imagination revealed

Evidence of grid cell activity has been seen in healthy volunteers asked to imagine moving through an environment in new UCL research funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

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Following orders makes us feel less responsible for our actions

Coercive instructions make people feel less responsible for the outcomes of their actions, as opposed to merely saying that they are less responsible, researchers from UCL and the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium have found.

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Virtual reality therapy could help people with depression

An immersive virtual reality therapy could help people with depression to be less critical and more compassionate towards themselves, reducing depressive symptoms, finds a new study from UCL and ICREA-University of Barcelona.

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UCL launches free online dementia course

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.

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

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.

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GM mice reveal the secret to a painless life

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.

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New target for macular degeneration gets funding for clinical trials

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).

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Poorer dementia patients in England less likely to be prescribed drugs

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.

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Changes in humour an early sign of dementia

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.

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Being moody may help us adapt to change

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.

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Withdrawing dementia drug doubles risk of nursing home placement

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.

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