On MND Global Awareness Day, Professor Jackie de Belleroche looks at how increased awareness and collaboration, alongside advances in genetic and molecular research, offers hope for the future.
Without doubt, the last few years have seen phenomenal developments not only in research, but also in public awareness of just how devastating a condition motor neurone disease (MND) is. There is hardly anyone who has not heard of MND thanks to Professor Stephen Hawking, well-known to the public as an outstanding scientist who was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 21. The ALS “ice bucket challenge” certainly caught the imagination of the international community too, as well as raising £88m in a single month for MND research across the world (it’s important to note here that MND is usually referred to as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS] outside the UK). (more…)
Ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup kick off, Dr Peter Wright explores how the stress and excitement of watching football isn’t all fun and games for our cardiovascular health.
Since time immemorial, sport has functioned as a useful substitute for direct physical conflict between, tribes, towns and nations. This year all eyes turn towards Russia, where the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup will take place. The Russian word ‘mira’ may translate as both ‘world’ and ‘peace’, but as the pre-eminent competition of humanity’s favourite sport, ‘Чемпионат мира по футболу 2018’ is likely to be anything but relaxing for the players, officials and millions of spectators worldwide. (more…)
Dr Neil Dufton reflects on two recent public engagement events that displayed the power of signs, symbols and emojis for science communication.
Imperial Festival 2018
From 0-100 mph is the only way I can describe running my first stall at Imperial Festival and boy what a ride!
If we go back in time eight months, 7 November 2017 to be precise, I was just starting out as one of the very first participants in the Imperial Engagement Academy. The course has been an insight into a diverse array of topics from practical skills in podcasting and writing to audience demographics and project curation. For me, the central theme of the course was to highlight the potential for our research to impact on the wider the community; it is within our grasp to break down the stereotypical image of a scientist portrayed to the world and re-forge it in new and inspiring ways! (more…)
Is it time to update the Heimlich Manoeuvre? Dr Matt Pavitt recalls the experiences that led him to research this life-saving manoeuvre.
A little bit of history…
In 1974(1), Dr H Heimlich, published the results of an experimental animal study showing the effectiveness of the abdominal thrust manoeuvre to expel a foreign body from the upper airway. In a subsequent article in JAMA(2), Heimlich described his life-saving manoeuvre:
“Stand behind the victim and wrap your arms around the waist. Grasp your fist with your other hand and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim’s abdomen, slightly above the navel and below the rib cage. Press your fist into the victim’s abdomen with a quick upward thrust.” (more…)
Rebecca Blaylock is a student on the Master of Public Health programme at Imperial and here makes the case for increased access to reproductive healthcare.
Students from Imperial’s Master of Public Health programme recently organised a screening of the award-winning film “Vessel”. Vessel chronicles the story of Dr Rebecca Gomperts – a former doctor on a Greenpeace ship – who had an innovative idea to provide women with vital reproductive health services. During her time travelling the world with Greenpeace, Gomperts witnessed the unbearable suffering caused by unsafe abortions. She saw women haemorrhage to death, die from sepsis and sustain life-long disabilities, and refused to “stand there and just let that happen”. Around 25 million unsafe abortions take place every year, accounting for between 4.7 and 13.2% of global maternal deaths.
As the human T-cell leukaemia virus is discussed on the world stage, Professor Graham Taylor addresses the misconceptions surrounding HTLV-1.
Based on the number of articles published in mainstream media, and the number of interview requests I have received in the last week, it seems that everyone wants to know about HTLV-1, the human T-cell leukaemia virus, after 30 years of turning a blind eye. Why the sudden interest in a virus that few outside my field of human retrovirology have heard of? (more…)
In this guest post, Emily Ashworth shares her career path, from graduating with a nursing degree to pursuing a PhD in blast injury.
I can’t confess I always wanted to be a nurse, in fact, it was never a career path I considered. It is safe to say my progression in nursing has never been linear…
I had hit a crossroads after the first year of my biology degree and realised that instead of studying a broad subject I’d rather choose a more specific topic that suited me. I thought back to what I enjoyed when I was younger and remembered an experience at the Natural History Museum; when my parents left me for hours to wander the museum while I played with the human body exhibit, which had me captivated. (more…)
To mark the 50th anniversary of the first UK heart transplant, Professor Sian Harding looks at the future of transplantation in this post.
Fifty years ago, history was made at the National Heart Hospital in London with the first heart transplant performed in the UK. Half a century later, transplantation continues to the be the gold standard treatment for a failing heart. However, the growing number of people on the waiting list for a new heart, coupled with the risky and complex nature of the procedure is resulting in scientists exploring alternatives to transplantation. One of these alternatives is gene therapy. (more…)
For MS Awareness Week, researchers from our Division of Brain Sciences explain how their efforts in understanding the mechanism behind MS is driving the search for new drug targets.
I have always been fascinated by how the immune system protects our body by identifying attackers and fighting them off. It’s a remarkable undertaking: it must recognise and protect us from any number of harmful molecules produced by a huge array of invading organisms. Sometimes, however, this system can go wrong. For instance, in the case of multiple sclerosis (MS), the immune system erroneously attacks the myelin – a fatty covering that protects our nerves – in our own central nervous system. This produces the chronic accumulation of demyelinated MS lesions that lead to the clinical symptoms of the disease. (more…)
As the Imperial Network for Vaccine Research launches, Dr Chris Chiu tells us why he’s in pursuit of a collaborative approach for developing new vaccines.
Vaccines have been very much in the public eye for a while now, with strong feelings expressed particularly on the side of those who are suspicious of them. As health and scientific professionals, we often try to provide a carefully balanced view but, in this case, it is vitally important that we remember and highlight the massive amount of good that vaccines have done for human health. Once devastating diseases such as smallpox and polio are now gone or almost gone. Vaccines have truly been one of the great triumphs of modern medicine. (more…)