News 2019


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Life Sciences - Health - 24.01.2019
Slim people have a genetic advantage when it comes to maintaining their weight
Slim people have a genetic advantage when it comes to maintaining their weight
In the largest study of its kind to date, Cambridge researchers have looked at why some people manage to stay thin while others gain weight easily. They have found that the genetic dice are loaded in favour of thin people and against those at the obese end of the spectrum. It's easy to rush to judgement and criticise people for their weight, but the science shows that things are far more complex Sadaf Farooqi More than six in ten adults in the UK are overweight, and one in four adults is obese.

Health - Pharmacology - 24.01.2019
New kidney research sheds light on harms of certain drugs
New kidney research sheds light on harms of certain drugs
Scientists have identified an enzyme that is a "master regulator" of kidney function that if excessively suppressed, can trigger renal failure. Their findings have implications for the use of existing drugs and the development of new pharmaceuticals. As reported , a global research team led by the University of Bristol studied how the activity of the enzyme GSK3 (Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3) affects the function of podocyte cells, which are crucial in enabling the kidneys to filter blood.

Health - 24.01.2019
Vegetable and fish diet linked to lower high blood pressure risk in pregnancy
A diet rich in vegetables and fish is associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure, and a related condition known as pre-eclampsia. These findings were suggested in a large study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics. The results also show that a Western diet - high in potatoes, meat, white bread and margarine - increase the odds of developing these conditions during pregnancy.

Health - Pharmacology - 24.01.2019
Needle and syringe programmes are highly cost-effective at preventing hepatitis C transmission
Needle and syringe programmes are highly cost-effective at preventing hepatitis C transmission
Providing clean injecting equipment through needle and syringe programmes is a highly cost-effective way of preventing hepatitis C (HCV) transmission among people who inject drugs and could save millions of pounds in infection treatment costs in the UK, according to research led by the University of Bristol and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Music - 23.01.2019
Famous freak wave recreated in lab mirrors Hokusai’s ’Great Wave’
A team of researchers based at the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh have recreated for the first time the famous Draupner freak wave measured in the North Sea in 1995. The Draupner wave was one of the first confirmed observations of a freak wave in the ocean; it was observed on the 1st of January 1995 in the North Sea by measurements made on the Draupner Oil Platform.

Chemistry - Physics - 23.01.2019
Fine tuning for clean energy
An international collaboration between researchers in Spain and Scotland has resulted in a new approach to improve the catalysts needed to carry out the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER). The reaction, in which water is transformed into hydrogen and oxygen, is a promising alternative to humanity's dependency on fossil fuels to satisfy energy requirements.

Health - 23.01.2019
Assessing the airborne survival of bacteria in aerosol droplets from coughs and sneezes
Assessing the airborne survival of bacteria in aerosol droplets from coughs and sneezes
The airborne transmission of diseases including the common cold, influenza and tuberculosis is something that affects everyone with an average sneeze or cough sending around 100,000 contagious germs into the air at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. New research led by scientists from the University of Bristol and published today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface , outlines a new technique that, for the first time, examines directly the environmental factors that control the transmission of disease to the level of a single aerosol particle and a single bacterium.

Health - Life Sciences - 22.01.2019
Heart disease risk begins in the womb, study in sheep suggests
Heart disease risk begins in the womb, study in sheep suggests
Offspring whose mothers had a complicated pregnancy may be at greater risk of heart disease in later life, according to a new study in sheep. The research, led by a team at the University of Cambridge, suggests that our cards may be marked even before we are born.

Health - 22.01.2019
Aspirin cuts heart attack risk but increases chance of dangerous bleeding
Regular aspirin should not be recommended for preventing heart attack and stroke in people without cardiovascular disease. The use of aspirin in patients without cardiovascular disease should not be routinely recommended Dr Sean Zheng Lead author This is the latest finding from scientists at Imperial College London, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association .

Life Sciences - 22.01.2019
Bird beaks did not adapt to food types as previously thought
Bird beaks did not adapt to food types as previously thought
A study, led by the University of Bristol, has shed some new light on how the beaks of birds have adapted over time. The observation that Galapagos finch species possessed different beak shapes to obtain different foods was central to the theory of evolution by natural selection, and it has been assumed that this form-function relationship holds true across all species of bird.

Physics - 22.01.2019
3D printing and metals science combine for stronger, crystal-inspired materials
Imperial materials scientists have created new artificial materials which combine our knowledge of metals with 3D printing. The findings could speed up the use of 3D printed materials in everything from construction and vehicles to medical devices. 3D printing is often used to produce engineering components.

Environment - 21.01.2019
Warning for world’s groundwater reserves
Future generations could be faced with an environmental ‘time bomb' if climate change is to have a significant effect on the world's essential groundwater reserves. This is according to a researcher from Cardiff University and a team of international collaborators who have for the first time provided a global insight in to what will happen should our groundwater systems start to see changes in their replenishment.

Agronomy / Food Science - 21.01.2019
Teens keep active despite asthma or eczema
A fresh look by the University of Bristol at how teenagers are affected by their asthma, eczema or obesity has some reassuring findings published in BMJ Open today (Monday 21 January). Researchers supported by the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre found that both girls and boys at the ages of 12, 14 and 16 did not experience different levels of active or sedentary time if they had asthma or eczema compared to their peers.

Life Sciences - 21.01.2019
Brain training app improves users' concentration
Brain training app improves users’ concentration
A new 'brain training' game designed by researchers at the University of Cambridge improves users' concentration, according to new research published today. The scientists behind the venture say this could provide a welcome antidote to the daily distractions that we face in a busy world. A team from the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge has developed and tested 'Decoder', a new game that is aimed at helping users improve their attention and concentration.

Astronomy / Space Science - 21.01.2019
Mystery orbits in outermost reaches of solar system not caused by 'Planet Nine', say researchers
Mystery orbits in outermost reaches of solar system not caused by ’Planet Nine’, say researchers
The strange orbits of some objects in the farthest reaches of our solar system, hypothesised by some astronomers to be shaped by an unknown ninth planet, can instead be explained by the combined gravitational force of small objects orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune, say researchers.

Health - 18.01.2019
To investigate a common Caesarean birth complication
Obstetricians, midwives and women who've had babies by Caesarean section are taking part in a new study to find out which technique is best used by the surgeon if the baby's head is found to be stuck in the pelvis at the time of Caesarean delivery. Around 15% of babies are delivered by emergency C-section in the UK and the problem of ‘impacted fetal head' occurs in about 1.5% of these operations - that's around 1,500 babies who have to be manoeuvred very carefully to release their head from the pelvis.

Chemistry - Physics - 18.01.2019
Bringing electricity and chemistry together with a £1.6M project
Bringing electricity and chemistry together with a £1.6M project
Dr Clotilde Cucinotta is trying to solve the combined electrical and chemical problem, paving the way for next-generation energy sources. Dr Cucinotta joined Imperial this year, bringing an EPSRC grant of more than £1.6 million and a wide range of experience. We talked to her about her research, her journey so far, and why the Molecular Sciences Research Hub - the new home for Chemistry at Imperial's White City campus - is the best place to carry out her plans.

Health - 17.01.2019
One quarter of prisoners have suffered traumatic brain injury
A quarter of all Scottish prisoners have been hospitalised with a traumatic brain injury at some point in their lives, according to new research. ‌ The study, led by the University of Glasgow in collaboration with the Scottish Prison Service and published today in PLOS ONE, also estimates that 10% of prisoners have suffered a severe head injury in their lives, or multiple head injuries that are likely to lead to a persistent disability.

Health - Pharmacology - 17.01.2019
Finds elevated levels of stress hormone linked to housing type and tenure
A new study examining UK housing data and health outcomes has indicated a link between people living in the private rental sector having higher levels of a stress hormone. The findings, led by researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Essex, are published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Materials Science - Innovation / Technology - 17.01.2019
Smart fabrics made possible by new metal deposition technique
Smart fabrics made possible by new metal deposition technique
Researchers have devised a way to deposit metals onto fabrics and used it to insert sensors and batteries into these materials. A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Imperial College London led by Dr Firat Güder from the Department of Bioengineering have developed an innovative technique to print metals such as silver, gold and platinum onto natural fabrics.