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…)
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…)
With London’s biggest running event of the year upon us, sport-expert Tim Grove gives a low down on the benefits of running for a healthy heart.
Is physical activity good for us?
London Marathon – the biggest sporting spectacle of the year – is fast approaching. This Sunday will see over 40,000 runners take part in the gruelling 26.2-mile course starting at Blackheath and finishing in front of Buckingham Palace. The event is highly televised with elite runners, celebrities, politicians and fundraisers all taking part together. The London Marathon has gained popularity since its inception in 1981 and has raised over £450 million for charity, making it the world’s largest annual fundraising event. With its high media profile, the London Marathon certainly sparks the enthusiasm of the general public with many taking to streets in the bid to train for next year’s event or for shorter distance races. (more…)
Science is leaving the labs of Imperial and heading to the pubs and bars of London for Pint of Science 2018! In this post, Dr Kirk Taylor rounds up on the highlights.
It’s that time of year when scientists dust off their lab coats and head to the bar. Pint of Science Festival returns for its sixth year with three fun-filled and informative nights in May. The Imperial team have put together 21 events with more than 40 speakers over three nights. Ever wondered where we fit in the universe? Questioned how your mind works? How is technology evolving to cope with the challenges of the future? Maybe, you want to hear about pioneering research in the battle against heart and lung disease? Then Pint of Science is for you! Even better, there are prizes to be won! (more…)
Ann Morgan, a PhD student at the National Heart and Lung Institute, gives us her thoughts on why smoking isn’t the only culprit behind the rise in COPD.
The traditional view of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is that it is a self-inflicted disease caused by smoking. However, it is increasingly likely that this description is something of an oversimplification. While still very much associated with smoking, clinicians and researchers alike are getting to grips with the reality that COPD is a more complex and heterogeneous disease than previously thought. We are also becoming more aware of the fact that it is a disease which rarely occurs in isolation. The vast majority of people who present with COPD have at least one other co-existing disease or condition, and around 50% have four or more accompanying chronic diseases or ‘comorbidities’. (more…)
This International Women’s Day, Dr Mike Cox On is launching SheNote Speaker to help address the gender imbalance in science.
Dr Elisabeth Bik is a microbiome researcher and science editor who runs Microbiome Digest, a blog that’s updated daily and highlights microbiome literature worth reading. In 2016 she asked scientists in the field to nominate their favourite women microbiome researchers in order to improve the visibility of women in the field. This developed to become an actively updated database of experts that’s easily searchable by research interest in microbiome science – Women In Microbiome Research. Dr Bik explains the motivation for establishing the list clearly on her site, but one of the major driving forces was the lack of women as keynote speakers, panel members or chairs at conferences. (more…)
For Rare Disease Day, Professors Uta Griesenbach and Eric Alton tell us why rare diseases are the hidden priority of scientific research.
A rare disease, also known as an orphan disease, affects by definition less than five in 10,000 (or 0.05%) of the general population.
Hence the question arises: why a disease as rare as 0.05% of the population presents a good investment of research funding? We think the answer is simple and importantly the math adds up. Here are some facts, based on raredisease.org.uk:(more…)
Over the past decade, several institutions in Egypt have been making huge scientific progress that is steadily reaching worldwide recognition. It is under these circumstances that I have been fortunate to join the Magdi Yacoub Foundation (MYF), which is recognised as one of Egypt’s most prominent charity organisations. The Aswan Heart Centre – located along the banks of the Nile in Aswan – is an integral part of MYF, offering state-of-the-art medical services for the underprivileged. It focuses on expanding the research on heart disease across the Middle East and beyond to contribute to the world’s scientific knowledge.
With the rise of precision medicine, an approach that uses clinical, molecular, cellular and genetic information to offer effective personalised treatment to patients, Imperial’s Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub emphasised the need to investigate the genetic architecture of the Egyptian population. Understanding the genetics of the disease in the local population will allow for a more accurate diagnosis, a better understanding of the disease mechanism and could potentially facilitate the development of better treatment.
The focus of my PhD project is to identify the genetic determinants of cardiomyopathy – a term which encompasses different heart diseases that often progress to heart failure. Ultimately, I will try to correlate this genetic information with the clinical phenotype of these patients. This project is a collaboration with Imperial College London under joint supervision by Dr Yasmine Aguib and Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub from MYF-Egypt and Dr Paul Barton and Dr James Ware from Imperial. (more…)