Imprisoned by Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease affects one in 500 of the general population – but it’s one in a hundred over the age of 60 and the ratio could go as high as one in twenty among those over 80. In the UK alone there are some 120,000 people with Parkinson’s Disease at any one time; in the USA there will be between 500,000 and a million sufferers. Now King’s College London has just received a $350,000 award from the Michael J Fox Foundation to look for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, using controversial gene therapy. (more on this story)
A Duty of Care
In the world of palliative care the control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount. King's College London is looking to push the boundaries yet again, with the development of a new Institute of Palliative Care that will extend the college’s commitment to both the teaching of and research into this increasingly important aspect of modern medicine. (more on this story)
Using Chinese Mint to make Anti-Cancer drugs
It’s been used as an anti-toxin in traditional Chinese medicine since the days of the Yellow Emperor in the Han dynasty, over two thousand years ago, but now Scutellaria barbata, a Chinese relative of common garden mint, is being refined into drugs that are effective against over 90% of cancerous tumours. This Chinese relative of mint offers the potential for a range of gentler, more “natural” drugs, and the prospect of less toxic cancer treatments, particularly suitable for the treatment of young children. (more on this story)
New Chemotherapy Trial Significantly Improves Survival Rates
Researchers from the University of Birmingham’s Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, designed a large clinical trial to assess whether the addition of Epirubicin had a significant impact on the recurrence of tumours as well as overall survival rates over a long period of time (4 years) Results showed that the addition of Epirubicin to chemotherapy improved rates of relapse free survival by 30% over CMF. More significantly, this improvement remained significant after 2 and 4 years of follow up. (more on this story)
Healing Power of Maggots
For a number of years now, specially-bred “sterile” maggots have been used to help wounds heal in UK hospitals. Now researchers at the University of Nottingham have been awarded UK government grants to further their research into the biological processes at work in maggots, that give rise to accelerated wound-healing. (more on this story)
Sleep and Obesity
If you don't get enough sleep, you are at risk of getting fatter! In fact, you will have doubled your risk of becoming obese! By studying current evidence in over 28,000 children and 15,000 adults, researchers at the University of Warwick have discovered that sleeping less than five hours a night is associated with almost a twofold increase in the risk of obesity! (more on this story)
Super Broccoli Stars at Chelsea
Broccoli, a member of the Brassica family, is more than just a vegetable. It is environmentally friendly, a rich source of antioxidants and can contribute to the future of our energy needs! The horticultural arm of the University of Warwick, Warwick HRI, has the largest gene bank of vegetable Brassica plants in the world and showcased a special garden at the famous Chelsea Flower Show 2006, in London. (more on this story)
Compatibility - It's all in the Genes!
Current tests for blood grouping are based on blood-group serology, a technology that has been in use since the very early days of blood transfusion nearly a hundred years ago. However serology testing only covers two blood groups. Now, new research from the University of the West of England in Bristol aims to validate and standardise molecular genotyping, which can test for nine blood groups, as a testing strategy for blood grouping, improving patient safety & blood transfusion compatibility. (more on this story)
Worm Turns Light On Fatal Fungus
Cryptococcus is a relatively common yeast-like fungus present in soil and certain trees yet some strains of it can cause a disease which is fatal to patients with weakened immune systems, in particular those with HIV or Aids, where it affects one in ten patients. Now researchers at the University of Birmingham are gleaning new insights into this deadly fungal disease by studying the life cycle of a microscopic worm known as a nematode and examining its interaction with the Cryptococcus fungus. (more on this story)
Breath of Life - A New Diagnostic Technique
A revolutionary form of breath analysis is undergoing trials in a clinical environment for the first time at Keele University's Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine. This new technique known as SIFT-MS, can detect a single molecule amid several billion molecules of air and may be used in studying the breath of patients with renal disease as well as respiratory diseases such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. (more on this story)
Scanning Brainwaves to Read the Mind
At Aston University, researchers are employing new types of brain scanning technology to rapidly advance our understanding of the human brain, with Magneto-Encephalography (MEG) and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI). Their work is proving valuable in clinical uses, in planning brain surgery and helping to understand illnesses like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. (more on this story)
Malaria, Mosquitoes and Man - Breaking a Deadly Cycle
Researchers at the Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine at Keele University, in the West Midlands region of the UK, are looking into the complex relationship between mosquitoes and malaria in order to find ways to break the transmission cycle, ultimately replacing natural populations of mosquitos with "genetically modified mosquitoe" that are incapable of carrying the malarial parasite. (more on this story)
Hemianopia: Looking into the Dark
Strokes are typically associated with limb paralysis and impaired speech but some 20% of people who suffer a stroke will end up with a visual deficit such as Hemianopia, a partial blindness caused by damage to the primary visual cortex. Now researchers at the new Wolfson Research Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Durham are studying existing therapies and looking to provide a faster and more consistently effective treatment for the condition. (more on this story)
New Sensor Provides Early Warning of Fetal Hypoxia
Researchers at the University of Warwick, in partnership with the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, have come up with with a new sensor which could dramatically improve early detection of the dangerous condition of fetal hypoxia - the lack of oxygen supply to the brain of an unborn child - enabling doctors to make prompt decisions on proceeding with caesarean sections. (more on this story)
Pioneering Heart Treatment
As the University of Birmingham's Medical School approaches its 180th anniversary, researchers in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine are working on a new way to regulate the heart’s rhythm following damage to the heart muscle – a new approach that improves the damaged heart’s own efficiency and may eventually remove the need for artificial pacemakers. (more on this story)
A Breath of Hope
Asthma is one of the most debilitating and fastest growing illnesses in the developed world. New research at King's College London may bring hope to many sufferers who are currently unable to benefit from some of the established remedies. (more on this story)
A Happy Marriage Helps Beat Flu!
Researchers at the University of Birmingham's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences have completed a study into whether psychological factors have an impact on people’s immune response to the flu vaccine, which gives a strong indication of how well their immune system will protect them from ‘flu itself. The study measured the antibody response to the flu vaccine through taking blood samples from 184 people over the age of 65. (more on this story)
Drug Delivery - The Skin's the Thing!
Injections are the most common means of delivering drugs or taking samples from the body but it is invasive and painful and the majority of patients would rather avoid it. Now researchers at the University of Bath are working on a variety of means of delivering drugs through the skin without having to puncture large holes in it. And at the nearby University of Bristol, new approaches to drug delivery may aid scientists who are developing a “vaccine” to treat Type 1 Diabetes – where a non-invasive system of delivery may be the key to their success. (more on this story)
Congestion Charge Reducing Congested Chests?
Cities all around the world are watching London’s groundbreaking congestion charge experiment to see how effective it is in cutting traffic and improving London’s environment. This year, for the first time, scientists at King's College London are assessing the impact of the congestion charging scheme on both air quality and the health of the population, with funding from the Health Effects Institute in the USA. (more on this story)
Fit to Fight Depression
Depression is the fourth most important cause of disability worldwide – and is expected to become the second most important by 2020. Treating depression is also a major drain on medical resources. In the UK alone, depression costs the Health Service some £80 million a year in anti-depressant prescriptions. New studies in the southwest of England are now looking into exercise as a form of treatment and studying DNA in order to match patients to medication according to their individual genetic make-up. (more on this story)
Brain Scans Show ADHD Differences
Researchers at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry have been using Magnetic Resonance imaging or MRI scans to compare brain activity between children with ADHD and those without it, in order to identify the precise areas of the brain that are affected, so as to find ways to treat the disorder and show a specific physiological cause for the disorder. (more on this story)
The Grass is Greener for British Meat
Most of us would expect cattle & sheep raised on a diet of fresh grass to produce better quality meat in terms of taste and nutritional value but now researchers at the University of Bristol have proved this to be scientifically true. And at the neighbouring University of the West of England, researchers are using glowing bacteria to prevent contamination while meat is being stored, prior to it turning up at our dinner table. (more on this story)
Storm in a Coffee Cup
For many of us, a cup of coffee in the morning starts the day - but if you are an athlete, what effect is the caffeine having on your sporting performance? Caffeine, banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency up until January 2004, is likely to come under review later this year and a study into the positive effects of caffeine and carbohydrate intake on endurance athletes’ performances that is being undertaken at the UK’s University of Birmingham, will undoubtedly fuel the debate. (more on this story).
Re-Designing Designer Drugs to Stop Cancer
Researchers at the University of Birmingham could bring new hope to the 10,000 people in the UK alone, that are diagnosed with Lymphoma, cancer of the white blood cells, each year. They have discovered that both Prozac and MDMA, more commonly known as Ecstasy, proved effective at stopping or significantly slowing the growth of Lymphoma cancer cells in over half the samples studied. (more on this story)
Should Athletes Smile?
Top athletes may consume up to 10 litres a day of re-hydrating sports drinks – but new research shows that this may be having a disastrous effect on their teeth! Scientists at the University of Birmingham have been conducting extensive research into sports drinks and have discovered that they have as much as 30 times the erosive potential of ordinary water. (more on this story)
A Curry Against Cancer?
Galangal, a common ingredient in Thai cooking, has been found to have anti-cancer properties say researchers at King's College London. (more on this story)
Cyborgs and Stem Cells
Two exciting new developments from the South West of England could make a major difference to the lives of many sight-impaired people around the world. (more on this story)
Not Exactly Brain Surgery
Scientists at the University of Nottingham have developed a virtual reality simulator that will allow surgeons to practice the most delicate life-saving operations without ever physically touching a patient. (more on this story)
Older and Wiser? - Tackling Problems of the Ageing Brain
The numbers of people suffering from stroke and dementia will continue to rise as populations age but at present our ability to repair a damaged brain is limited. Now a new centre at King's College London brings leading clinical researchers and basic scientists under one roof, with the aim of developing treatments for age-related diseases. (more on this story)
Magnetic Milestones in Children's Brain Tumour Treatment
Children's brain tumours are the subject of pioneering new diagnosis and treatment from research scientists and clinicians at the UK's University of Birmingham. The new Henry Wellcome Building for Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy is home to the UK's first 900 MHz Magnetic Spectrometer – one of only seven in the world, it will be a major resource for European researchers into the root causes of cancer and other diseases. (more on this story).
Fear of a Fat Future
Obesity is now a global epidemic, affecting more people worldwide than malnutrition – and researchers at the University of Exeter in the South West of England believe that it's an epidemic caused by inactivity. (more on this story)
Researchers Tackle "Travel Tummy"
Holidaymakers may be comforted to know that traveller's diarrhoea could be a thing of the past. Scientists at the UK's University of Birmingham's Medical School are set to sequence the DNA of the bacteria, identifying the causes of the illness and pointing the way to better cures. (more on this story)
Midwives Breakthrough in Maternity Care
During childbirth up to 35 per cent of women may experience tears to their perineum, the skin between the vagina and rectum. Such damage can have long term consequences for women's health unless properly assessed and treated. Now a researcher from the UK's University of Birmingham has co-developed a device to significantly improve the maternity aftercare of many new mothers - an invention that could also help lead the way in forensic investigations (more on this story).
King's College London Tests Olympians
The Drug Control Centre at King's College London is the only International Olympic Committee (IOC) accredited laboratory in the UK to analyse urine samples from sports competitors, and will be undertaking the pre-games drug testing for the 2004 Olympic Games to be held in Athens (more on this story).
Double Action Vaccine - A New Weapon in the Fight Against Cancer
Research staff at the University of Nottingham are currently working on the creation of a new way to tackle cancer. They're developing a double-action vaccine, designed to attack both the tumour cells and the blood vessels feeding the tumour. If the hard work of Nottingham's Research team pays off there'll be a new "magic bullet" in the battle against cancer. (more on this story).
Could the Antarctic Cod Aid Cardiac Research?
Researchers from the University of Birmingham and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are investigating the behaviour and physiology of a fish known as the Rock or Antarctic Cod which could provide clues to major medical advances. (more on this story)
Archbishop Tutu Opens New Infection and Immunity Labs
Just as newspaper headlines announce a 20% increase in UK HIV infections, a new facility in the battle against infectious disease is being opened at King's College London's Guy's Campus, which will provide cutting edge new laboratories for one of the UK's leading centres researching infectious diseases, such as HIV and Aids, throughout the world. (more on this story)
Battling the Super Bug
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as the MRSA Superbug, is on the increase and is now at an all time high in our hospitals. Scientists at the University of Warwick in the UK are looking at new ways to combat the super bug. (more on this story).
Job Satisfaction Depends on Happiness
Can money buy happiness? Research by economists at the University of Warwick into the interplay of money and happiness, shows that while money matters, 'Rank', your position in the pay hierarchy, is more significant when it comes to happiness at work (more on this story)
From DNA Structure to Stem Cells - 50 years of Controversial Research
The most important photo ever taken, the X-ray diffraction photograph which led to the discovery of the structure of DNA, came about through a series of lucky coincidences at King's College, London. (more on this story)
Cardiff University - Still Fighting the Cold War
The UK is losing between 20 and 25 million work (and school) days each year to one of nature's own biological weapons - the Common Cold! The densely populated cities of our modern world provide ideal breeding grounds for Common Cold viruses - and ideal conditions in which they can spread. (more on this story)