Tag Archives: ucl

Detecting and identifying explosives with single test

A new test for detecting multiple explosives simultaneously has been developed by UCL scientists. The proof-of-concept sensor is designed to quickly identify and quantify five commonly used explosives in solution to help track toxic contamination in waste water and improve the safety of public spaces. (more…)

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‘Core’ immune cells reduce symptoms and spread of flu

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. (more…)

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Having a romantic partner present can make pain feel worse

The support of a romantic partner is often advised for painful medical procedures, but new research from UCL, King’s College London and the University of Hertfordshire finds that this can actually make the pain feel worse. (more…)

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Main characters more likely to die in kids’ cartoons than in films for adults

Principal cartoon characters are more than twice as likely to be killed off as their counterparts in films for adults released in the same year, reveals research from the University of Ottawa and UCL, published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

The findings prompt the authors to describe children’s cartoons as “rife with death and destruction,” with content akin to the “rampant horrors” of popular films for adults given restrictive age ratings. (more…)

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Drug tests on mothers’ hair links recreational drug use to birth defects

Drug tests on 517 mothers in English inner city hospitals found that nearly 15% had taken recreational drugs during pregnancy and that mothers of babies with birth defects of the brain were significantly more likely to have taken drugs than mothers with normal babies. The study found no significant links between recreational drug use and any other type of birth defect.

The study was led by a team of UCL researchers co-ordinating data collection from hospitals across London, Bristol and Birmingham and the results are published in the journal PLOS ONE. The study included 213 women whose baby had a type of birth defect with potential links to recreational drug use, 143 women whose baby had a birth defect with no previously reported links to drug use and 161 women whose baby was normally formed. (more…)

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The bit of your brain that signals how bad things could be

An evolutionarily ancient and tiny part of the brain tracks expectations about nasty events, finds new UCL research funded by the Medical Research Council.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates for the first time that the human habenula, half the size of a pea, tracks predictions about negative events, like painful electric shocks, suggesting a role in learning from bad experiences. (more…)

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Hunt for extraterrestrial life gets massive methane boost

A powerful new model to detect life on planets outside of our solar system, more accurately than ever before, has been developed by UCL researchers.

The new model focuses on methane, the simplest organic molecule, widely acknowledged to be a sign of potential life. 

Researchers from UCL and the University of New South Wales have developed a new spectrum for ‘hot’ methane which can be used to detect the molecule at temperatures above that of Earth, up to 1,500K/1220°C – something which was not possible before. (more…)

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