GET INSPIRED

&

GROW YOUR KNOWLEDGE

THROUGH READING THE LATEST RESEARCH FINDINGS 

We update these pages regularly to provide you with the latest research updates conducted by credible institutions and sources. You can find the categorised groups at the bottom of the page. Sign up for our free membership and follow us on our social meida to get monthly updates on the latest findings! 

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'Scientists identify the cause of Alzheimer’s progression in the brain'

University of Cambridge- Meisl et al., 2021

DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abh1448

29 October 2021 (Article)

First time using the human data instead of animal models, researchers discovered that in Alzheimer’s disease, aggregates that cause brain cells to shrink and die already exist in multiple regions of the brain at the early stage. This is opposite to the previous thinking that they form at one single region and start spreading at the later stage. Therefore, it was concluded that constraining the "replication" of aggregates instead of their "propagation" is more effective to slow down the progression of the disease. 

Enjoying Lunch

'Eating disorders are just as likely to start in adulthood as childhood, report finds'

KCL- Davies et al., 2021

29 October 2021 (Article)

This report analysed two large sample data from the UK Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI UK) and Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) studies, 9000 participants in total. The current report found that over half of the people with life-time eating disorders first experience low weight or binge eating in adulthood and 39 percent experience their first symptom related to bulimia after the age of 18.

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'Brain monitoring suggests common link between electrical tremors and mental health disorders'

KCL- Gráinne McLoughlin et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.08.020

28 October 2021 (Article)

The researchers recently reviewed EEG studies that measured brief electrical tremors — the naturally occurring electrical vibrations in the brain, known as ‘theta activity’. Results revealed that the theta activity in the brains of people with conditions like anxiety, OCD, and ADHD when performing mistakes or experiencing challenging situations is different from that of those without disorders. This indicates in the behavioural level that anxious individuals may react slower to alter their cognitive behaviour when new information occurs, which may be a result of the long-term imbalanced theta activity in their brain that make them overly focused to react immediately to environmental stimuli.

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'New research casts doubt on claims that people have ‘rose-tinted glasses’'

University of Bath- Burton et al., 2021

DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104939

28 October 2021 (Article)

A new study examining the previous literature has detected some potential flaws in the methodology that provides evidence for the general 'optimistic bias' about the future, which was widely claimed to account for financial crises, people’s failure to look after their health, or inaction over climate change. The original paradigm, known as ‘the update method’, is typically done with emotion-arousing events and asks participants to estimate the chance of experience each of the life events and re-estimate it after seeing actual statistics. In the current study, researchers found that 'optimistic bias' was still present when using neutral events such as the chance that 'the next passing car is black', which raise doubts for the validity of this paradigm.

Quarantine

'Lockdown wellbeing: children who spent more time in nature fared best'

University of Cambridge- Friedman et al., 2021

DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10270

13 October 2021 (Article)

An increased connection with nature was found to be effective in buffering against the negative effects on children's behaviours and emotions as a result of Covid-19 lockdown, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. However, compared to more affluent families, children from disadvantaged family backgrounds are less likely to spend time in nature. Highlighting the significance of the connection with nature on children's mental health. The finding could be important in redesigning the lockdown rules. 

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'Potential cognitive benefits of major Alzheimer’s risk gene'

UCL- Lu et al., 2021

DOI: 10.1038/s43587-021-00117-4

07 October 2021 (Article)

The research discovered that APOE4, the gene that is associated with heightened risk of Alzheimer’s disease, is also found to be linked with some cognitive benefits such as better visual working memory. In the study where 398 participants were asked to recall the identities and locations of given objects, APOE4 carriers demonstrated better recalling ability. This research provides insights into the role of genes in the development of the Alzheimer’s and a better understanding of these risk genes. 

Transgenic Animals

'Brain circuits that inhibit fear instinct identified'

UCL- Fratzl et al., 2021

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.09.003

05 October 2021 (Article)

Scientists have identified a new inhibitory structure in the brain, namely the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus (vLGN). In an experiment where mice escaped in response to a predator-shaped shadow, it was indicated that when mice felt unthreatened, the activity of inhibitory neurons in the vLGN was high, which consequently contained their threat reactions. It was therefore concluded that vLGN could regulate animals' sensitivity to the perceived danger depending on their knowledge constructed on the previous experience. 

Siblings

'Sibling brain structure differences make some more susceptible to severe antisocial behaviour'

University of Bath- Fairchild et al., 2021

DOI: 10.1017/S0033291721003202

05 October 2021 (Article)

Researchers have long been interested in the question on why siblings sharing highly similar upbringing and genetic makeup might differ so significantly in terms of their behaviour: how do some people with a family history of conduct disorder (repetitive patterns of aggressive and antisocial behaviour) successfully abstain from it, not as their affected sibling? The current research surprisingly found through fMRI image comparison structural changes that are group-specific. That is, the structural changes in brain areas  responsible for empathy and cognitive control/ inhibiting behaviour are specific to the conduct disorder group while the non-affected siblings group were found with group-specific changes in brain regions involved in planning and decision making, providing a plausible explanation to the puzzle.

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'Genetic risks for depression differ between East Asian and European groups'

UCL & KCL- Olga Giannakopoulou et al.

DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.2099

30 September 2021 (Article)

A large-scale Genome-Wide Association Study with 190 thousand participants (1.5w depressive individuals and 17.8w controls) suggested that some genetic variants may have differentiated impact on European and East Asian individuals. For example, higher body mass index predicts lower risk of depression for East Asians, contrary to its positive association with European people. This study has extended the picture of genetic research from white people to other populations, but results should be treated with caution due to the limited number of sample.

 Kids with  Masks

'Rate of mental disorders among children remained stable in 2021 after previous rise'

University of Cambridge- Tamsin Ford

30 September 2021 (Article)

The survey suggested that the proportion of young people who got potential mental disorders remained stable from 2020 to 2021, but showed an increase from 10% to 17%( 17-19 years old) , and 12% to 17% (6-16 years old). 39% children aged from six to 16 years experienced worse mental states between 2017 to 2021, while 22% experienced an improvement. For young people aged from 17 to 23, 53% have deteriorated and 15% experienced an improvement since 2017. 

Social Distancing

'Psychological factors impact adherence and violation of pandemic restrictions'

UCL- Alex Lloyd et al.

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-98772-5

28 September 2021 (Article)

The current study on 442 participants has revealed that low level of personal adherence to latest covid-19 guidelines could be attributed to the preference towards immediate rewards, which may lead to an overlook of the long-term benefits of obeying social distancing, the end of this pandemic. The results has addressed the impact of personal cognitive characteristics on individual behavioural decisions.

Vaccinating

'Willingness of Children and Adolescents to have COVID-19 Vaccination'

University of Oxford- Mina Fazel et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101144

27 September 2021 (Article)

The survey revealed that young people who are less willing to receive Covid-19 vaccination usually come from the most disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and have less belongingness to the school community. The results highlight the importance of providing caregivers with accurate information and helping them to address their worries and fear for the vaccination. 

Family Dispute

'Child abuse and neglect linked to early death in adulthood'

UCL & University of Cambridge- Nina T. Rogers

DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050914

23 September 2021 (Article)

The study examined the association between child maltreatment and mortality in adulthood. Results suggested that adults who experienced sexual and physical abuse by the age of 16 would be exposed to higher risks of premature mortality. Similarly, disadvantaged social status at birth leads to risks 1.4 times higher than those in the other socioeconomic groups.  

Learning is Fun

'National primary school tests have little effect on children’s happiness and wellbeing'

UCL- John Jerrim

DOI: 10.1080/0969594X.2021.1929829

23 September 2021 (Article)

The research revealed that the National Curriculum Key Stage 2 tests, which are used to assess primary students' English and Mathematics ability, have little effect on students' wellbeing and happiness levels.  According to the study, there is no significant difference between the mental status levels of those who took and who did not the tests; while among those who did sit the tests, no noticeable changes in their feelings were found afterwards. The results serve as a counter to the narrative about how children's mental wellbeing and development is negatively influenced by the tests they take. 

3D Balls in Pride Colors

'Autistic individuals are more likely to be LGBTQ+'

University of Cambridge- Elizabeth Weir, Carrie Allison & Simon Baron-Cohen

DOI: 10.1002/aur.2604

20 September 2021 (Article)

This research aimed to compare the differences on sexual health, orientation, and activity of autistic adolescents and adults between autistic and non-autistic individuals. The results were that autistic people generally are less likely to be heterosexual compared to the normal populations. More specifically, sex differences were also detected within people with autism, where autistic males tend to be bisexual while autistic females are more likely to be homosexual.

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'Improved Risk Estimation of Bipolar Spectrum Disorders in Adolescent Offspring of Bipolar Parents'

University of Oxford- Charles D. G. Keown-Stoneman et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101083

2 September 2021 (Article)

The study focused on the risk factor of family history on predicting the likelihood of getting bipolar disorders, which has been proven to be of high heredity. Data was collected from real-world clinical practice in Canadian and Swiss population. It provides evidence that the current risk estimation method of bipolar spectrum disorder has a 70% accuracy.

Family at Home

'A parent’s genes can influence a child’s educational success, inherited or not'

UCL- Biyao Wang et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.07.010

20 August 2021 (Article)

While each parents only pass on half of their genes to their child, researchers have revealed an indirect impact of the unpassed genes on the educational outcomes of the child (i.e., genetic nurture). Furthermore, the findings have suggested equal importance among the parents in the forming of learning environment for their child.

Man Vaping

'Surge in smoking among young adults during lockdown'

UCL- Sarah E. Jackson et al.

DOI: 10.1111/add.15656

25 August 2021 (Article)

The study revealed an increase in young adults developing the habit of smoking, especially among female and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Such a phenomenon could be attributed to the misbelief that smoking relieves stress during a stressful period like the first lockdown. This urges for more campaigns and prevention services to be implemented.

Morning Meditation

'Mindfulness may improve cognition in older adults'

UCL- Tim Whitfield

DOI: 10.1007/s11065-021-09519-y

20 August 2021 (Article)

A meta-analysis was conducted on the previous research about the effects of mindfulness (e.g. sitting meditation) on individual's cognition, suggesting a small but significant benefit to the working memory among older adults over 60. Nevertheless, further research is needed to rule out confounds such as expectation of treatment benefits or social interactions.

Art on Sidewalk

'How the arts can improve mental health, especially during the pandemic'

UCL- Daisy Fancourt & Jill Sonke

DOI: 10.1037/t80120-000

07 August 2021 (Article)

This longitudinal study conducted since March 2020 have suggested a heightened rate of depression and anxiety especially among young adults who are from the BAME community or low income background. Alongside a greater yearning for cultural venues, the findings have suggested better mental health and life satisfaction among those who have engaged in daily artistic activities for 30 minutes or more.

Classroom

'Heads reveal how ‘overwhelming’ Government guidance held schools back as COVID hit'

Univeristy of Cambridge- Peter Fotheringham et al.

DOI: 10.1002/berj.3760

05 August 2021 (Article)

Researchers from UCL and the University of Cambridge have collected data from school headteachers and executive heads using questionnaires and interviews, revealing a massive outcry towards the ever-changing Covid policies. Such a pressure have casted concerns on the closures of schools similar to previous pandemics.

Youth Counseling

'Impact of COVID-19 Partial School Closures and Mental Health'

University of Oxford- Karen L. Mansfield et al.

DOI: 10.1002/jcv2.12021

03 August 2021 (Article)

The study examined the mental wellbeing among secondary school pupils, revealing a greater chance for students with on-site school provision experiencing depression and anxiety during the first national lockdown compared to those who have received remote provision. In specific, female who faced food shortage or accessed mental health support were at greatest risk.

Image by Annie Spratt

'Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Eating Disorders'

University of Oxford- Maxime Taquet et al.

DOI:10.1192/bjp.2021.105

03 August 2021 (Article)

Comparing the rates of eating disorder before and during the pandemic, the study have suggested a heightened percentage of population in the USA suffering from anorexia nervosa, along with a greater chance of suicidal thoughts or attempts. Such a pattern is expected to be similar in the UK.

Image by Jonathan Chng

'The mental health impacts of being an Olympian'

University of Oxford- David M. Lyreskog

29 July 2021 (Article)

While sports are often framed as a great way to regulate mental health, statistics have suggested otherwise for elite athletes. During the 2021 Olympics, 45% athletes in elite sports teams have experienced depression and anxiety, not to mention the 14% rate for eating disorders in adolescent elite sports. Such a pattern is observed because professional athletes hold a more performance-based, risk-inducing motivation as they engage in trainings and competitions.

Nutritional Cooking

'New dietary treatment for epilepsy well tolerated and reduced seizures'

UCL- Schoeler, Natasha E. et al.

DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcab160

23 July 2021 (Article)

Researchers have designed a diet with high-fat, low-carbohydrate and sufficient protein consumption for both children and adults suffering from epilepsy. By gradual trialing, they have recorded significant effect in reducing seizures and supressed side effects. While the researchers attributed the effectiveness of such a diet to its resemblance to fasting, others have suggested the effect of high-fat consumption.

Rugby Game

'Professional rugby may be associated with changes in brain structure'

UCL- Zimmerman, Karl A. et al.

DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcab133

22 July 2021 (Article)

Comparing the white matter volumes between rugby players, athletes in non-collision sports and non-athletes, researchers have revealed an abnormal white matter distribution among the rugby players, despite finding no significant difference between their memory test performance. Nevertheless, such a result casts concern about the long-term health effects of rugby.

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'Helping People with Psychosis Feel Less Distressed May Help Reduce the Risk of Self-harm'

The University of Oxford- Angharad N.de Cates et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2021.06.021

19 July 2021 (Article)

A recent research suggested that lessened presecutory symptoms (e.g., persecutory ideas, auditory hallucinations) may help reduce self-harm and suicide attempts of individuals with psychosis. Cross-sectionally, auditory hallucinations and suicidal phenomena were moderated by suicidal ideation.

Girl Swinging

'Living near woodlands is good for children and young people’s mental health'

UCL- Mikaël J. A. Maes

DOI: 10.1038/s41893-021-00751-1

19 July 2021 (Article)

In a study led by UCL and Imperial College London scientists, children and young people’s proximity to woodlands was found associated with better cognitive development and a lower risk of emotional and behavioural problems in the upcoming two years.

Cleaning Materials

'Being clean and hygienic need not impair childhood immunity'

UCL- Rook Graham AW & Sally F. Bloomfield

DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2021.05.008

5 July 2021 (Article)

While some have argued the importance of exposing children to particular microorganisms for better immunity, researchers have debunked such a myth by showing a lower rate of developing allergies among individuals living in a cleaner environment, not to mention the enhancements brought by vaccines.

Street Teens

'Depressive Symptoms and Risky Behaviours Among Adolescents in Low-and Middle-Income Countries'

The University of Oxford- Julia Ruiz Pozuelo et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2021.05.005

1 July 2021 (Article)

A new meta-analysis suggests that depressive symptoms of adolescents in low- or middle-income countries may be able to predict the likelihood of engagement in risky behaviours, such as unprotected sex and substance abuse. Unfortunately, these combinations may increase the risk of further psychological and physical health problems that may impose greater life burden.

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'Autistic individuals may be more likely to use recreational drugs to self-medicate their mental health'

The University of Cambridge- Weir, E, Allison, C, & Baron-Cohen, S

DOI:10.1016/S2215-0366(21)00160-7

1 July 2021 (Article)

A mixed-method research carried out by Autism Research Centre in Cambridge has compared the substance use of autistic and non-autistic adults. Quantitative results revealed that autistic individuals are less likely to  use substance, e.g. smoking, binge drinking, drug intake. Whereas, what qualitative data tell us is a less hopeful future, i.e., the tendency of autistic adults to use recreational drugs for self-medication of autistic symptoms is almost nine times higher than normally-developing peers. This could suggest the lack of high-quality healthcare of current healthcare systems to provide adequate support for such clinical or sub-clinical populations.

boy staring into space

'Exploring the role of museums in tackling climate change'

UCL- Rodney Harrison, Colin Sterling, Henry McGhie

Unpublished

30 June 2021 (Article)

An exhibition curated by a UCL expert, with a theme of how museum and gallery may help encourage pro-environmental behaviour, has opened in Glasgow recently. It has addressed the value of participatory arts, humanities and social science-based research in developing creative solutions to the climate crisis.

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'Yellow emojis not neutral symbols of identity'

The University of Edinburgh - Alexander Robertson, Walid Magdy, Sharon Goldwater

DOI: 10.1145/ nnnnnnn.nnnnnnn

30 June 2021 (Article)

Building on previous research about expressing ethnic identities, researchers have revealed individuals' perceptions of the yellow skin-toned emojis are influenced by their own ethnicity. The finding signals further considerations for sociolinguistics and communications.

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'Abnormalities in how the brain reorganises prior experiences identified in schizophrenia'

UCL - Matthew M.Nour et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.06.012

30 June 2021 (Article)

A recent MEG study discovered that the impoverished expression of neural activity in the memory consolidation process might directly be linked to the behavioural deficit in an inference-making task of schizophrenia patients in the post-rest period of the experiment. This finding was found to solve a lot of mysteries about schizophrenia and might contribute to earlier detection of the disorder.

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'Opinion: understanding what feeling ‘empty’ means is important for improving our mental health'

UCL - Shona Joyce Herron, Fabio Sani 

30 June 2021 (Article)

A four-year qualitative study has collected the experience of the emptiness of 400 people, which shed light on this widespread feeling perceived by not only clinical populations (usually those with borderline personality disorder) but also many people with or without mental health problems. This research allows the proposal of the first definition of the feeling of emptiness. One typical description was 'A bottomless jug'.

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'Physically punishing children is not effective and increases behavioural problems'

UCL - Anja Heilmann et al.

DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00582-1

29 June 2021 (Article)

This twenty-year study has found no positive impact of corporal punishment on children. Rather, the more force imposed onto the kid, the more behavioural and social difficulties were found. Also, these children often experience more severe violence. This study calls for immediate legislation to make home a safe environment for children to grow.

Analyzing Scans

'Opinion: Covid linked to loss of brain tissue, but correlation doesn’t prove causation'

UCL - Francois Balloux

DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.11.21258690

23 June 2021 (Article)

Reviewing the literature on the consequences of Covid, Professor Francois Balloux suggests that the virus does not only inflict damage to the respiratory system but the brain, as neuroimaging studies reveal a significant correlation between brain region sizes and physiological symptoms of patients. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to confirm such results as the statistical significance of the results are mostly marginal.

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'Teenagers at greatest risk of self-harming could be identified almost a decade earlier'

Univeristy of Cambridge - Stepheni Uh et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2021.03.010

15 June 2021 (Article)

Analyzing the data with artificial intelligence, researchers have identified two sets of characteristics predictive of self-harm among youngsters: the first group is characterized by low-esteem and depression symptoms with a higher likelihood of bully and bad relationships with family. The second group tend to have problems with socializing with peers and exhibit a greater tendency of impulsivity. These characteristics could be manifested a decade before self-harming.  

Running with Music

'Running to music helps combat mental fatigue'

The University of Edinburgh - Nicholas Lam, Harry Middleton, Shaun Phillips

DOI: 10.14198/jhse.2022.174.16

23 June 2021 (Article)

The study found that self-selected motivational music enables mentally fatigued runners to perform as well as non-mentally fatigued ones, having greater running capacity than those who were mentally fatigued but exercised without music. 

Judge Gavel

'People more afraid of catching COVID-19 are more judgemental, study finds'

Univeristy of Cambridge - Robert K. Henderson, Simone Schnall

DOI: 10.1177/14747049211021524

9 June 2021 (Article)

Researchers studied participants' judgement on scenarios of moral transgressions and found individuals who are more worried about being infected tend to overgeneralize their concerns over moral perceptions of social situations, despite being unrelated to the pandemic.

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'High caffeine consumption may be linked to increased glaucoma risk'

UCL - Jihye Kim et al.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2020.12.009

8 June 2021 (Article)

The study analyzed the caffeine intake and DNA samples of 120,000 adults aged 39 to 73. The results suggested that high caffeine intake is associated with greater chance of glaucoma (i.e., excess pressure within the eyeball), as measured in IOP.

Math Exercises

'Lack of maths education negatively affects adolescent brain and cognitive development'

University of Oxford - George Zacharopolous, Roi Cohen Kadosh, Francesco Sella 

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2013155118

7 June 2021 (Article)

Researchers studying the effects of stopping Maths education have revealed a significant drop in chemicals essential for cognitive functions including problem solving and memory. Besides cognitive functioning, a significant gap in maths attainment is found between those who continued maths education and those who do not after 19 months. 

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'Neurological symptoms like fatigue common in mild Covid'

UCL - Jonathan P. Rogers et al.

DOI: 10.1136/jnnp-2021-326405

4 June 2021 (Article)

Researchers have conducted a systematical review on 215 papers about the physical and psychological symptoms exerpienced by Covid patients. The results suggested that those experiencing mild Covid may suffer from neurological symptoms such as fatigue, loss of small and taste. Such may be moderated by psychological factors such as stress and anxiety.

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'Extra classroom time may do little to help pupils recover lost learning after COVID-19'

Univeristy of Cambridge - Vaughan Connolly

DOI: 10.14324/LRE.19.1.17

28 May 2021 (Article)

Measuring the GCSE scores among year 11 students in 2800 schools in England, the findings suggest that increasing classroom time for an hour could only produce moderate improvement. Rather, the researchers suggest a more targeted teaching method to account for the students' learning needs, which were aggravated by Covid.

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'New insight into protein production in brain could help tackle dementia'

Univeristy of Cambridge - Fotini Vasilopoulos, Michelle R. Ellefson

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0250984

20 May 2021 (Article)

Researchers have found that physical activity has a positive knock-on effect for academic performance. Furthermore, the results suggested the disadvantaged children often lack the chance to participate in sports, calling schools to pay more attention to enable students for physical activities rather than increasing classroom time in post-Covid period.

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'New insight into protein production in brain could help tackle dementia'

UCL - Roberto Simone et al.

DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03556-6

19 May 2021 (Article)

Researchers, for the first time, found the a layer of genetic material associated with the control of tau production, which is a critical protein in the development of degenerative disorders, such as  the Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

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'Childhood abdominal pain may be linked to disordered eating in teenagers'

University of Oxford - Kate Stein et al.

DOI: 10.1002/eat.23513

13 May 2021 (Article)

A correlational study carried out on "Children of the 90s’ population cohort of 14,000 children in the UK" discovered the association that recurrent abdominal pain in childhood, the most common gastro-intestinal complaint of childhood, may potentially leads to the occurence of eating disorders and weight control problems in teenagers.

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'New mothers twice as likely to have post-natal depression in lockdown'

UCL - Sarah Myers, Emily H. Emmott

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648002

11 May 2021 (Article)

A recent study found the portion of mothers who give birth to babies during the Covid-19 first lockdown in London (47.5%) suffered from post-natal depression were twice of that before pandemic (23%). Those with more than one child were hardest hit.

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'Vulnerable older people more likely to experience depression and anxiety during pandemic'

UCL - Giorgio Di Gessa, Debora Price

DOI: 10.1136/jech-2021-216405

5 May 2021 (Article)

Older people classified as clinically vulnerable were found to be more likely to experience deterioration in health and social well-being during the pandemic.

Inpatient Drug Abuse Treatment

'Substance use and depression more closely linked for generation Z teens'

UCL - Suzanne H. Gage, Praveetha Patalay

DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.03.002

23 April 2021 (Article)

Compared to the millennails (born in 1991-92) in Bristol area, the susbtance abuse behaviour of generation Z adolecents (2000-02) is more stronger associated with depression.

DNA Strand

'Researchers call for greater awareness of unintended consequences of CRISPR gene editing'

Univeristy of Cambridge - Gregorio Alanis-Lobato et al.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2004832117

12 April 2021 (Article)

The researchers have revealed a lack in power of the conventional method in checking genetic mutations for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, which is a common research tool for editing sections of DNA in calls. While most of the CRISPR-Cas9-induced mutations were limited, around 16% of the samples contained large unintended mutations which may lead to severe consequences such as cancer. This calls for a more sensitive and accurate genome editing and monitoring for genetic studies on embryos. 

Math Exercises

'Poor children are being ‘failed by the system’ on road to higher education in lower-income countries'

Univeristy of Cambridge - Sonia Ilie, Pauline Rose, Anna Vignoles

DOI: 10.1002/berj.3723

7 April 2021 (Article)

This research examined the wealth status and education attainment among 3500 teenagers in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. The results suggested the wealthiest students were 30% more likely to enter tertiary education compared to the poorest ones. Such a pattern was not a product of difference in ability but socio-economic status, given that the disparity was manifested to a larger extent as children of the same potential progress to higher educational levels. Therefore, interventions targeting wealth gap should be implemented at an early age to tackle such disparity.

Friends Drinking Beer

'Heavier social media use linked to more frequent drinking in young people'

UCL - Yvonne Kelly, Linda Ng Fat.

21 April 2021 (Article)

The study examined the relationship between the frequency of social media usage (during weekdays) and alcohol intake among youngsters of age 10 to 19. The results suggested a higher likelihood for 10  to 15 years old to start drinking, which is illegal, as they used social media more regularly. A similar pattern is observed as teenagers aged 16 to 19 with more frequent social media usage having more serious binge drinking habit. Although the study did not include recent popular social media such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, the findings have suggested that social media indirectly influenced drinking patters potentially via negative online experience and advertisement.

Sheet Music

'Making music tunes up wellbeing during lockdown'

Univeristy of Edinburgh - Raymond MacDonald et al.
DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.623640

25 February 2021 (Article)

Researchers at Edinburgh College of Art examined the experiences of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, a diverse group of players. The Orchestra began improvisation sessions as a way of staying connected during lockdown. Musicians from other parts of the world were also invited to the Zoom sessions. The research found these sessions enhanced mood, lowered levels of loneliness and promoted a feeling of community during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Autism Therapy

'Autism rates have increased and show differences in ethnic minorities and links to social disadvantage'

Univeristy of Cambridge - Carrie Allison et al. 
DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.0054

29 March 2021 (Article)

Black and Chinese pupils were 26% and 38% more likely to be autistic respectively and autistic children were much more likely to face significant social disadvantage. This study highlights the need for more attention to the unrecognised and differing needs of autistic children from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds.

Beauty in Pigmentation

'High levels of racism could be fuelling poor health among minority groups'

University College London - Ruth A Hackett et al. 
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-09792-1.

09 March 2021 (Article)

According to a study carried out by the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), one in five individuals from an ethnic minority group were found to have experienced racial discrimination, which may be associated with higher likelihood to develop poorer mental and physical health after this experience.

Image by Adam Nieścioruk

'Improving the lives of patients with schizophrenia by managing anticholinergic burden'

University of Toronto - Waqas Ullah Khan et al.
DOI: 10.1093/schbul/sbaa093

23 March 2021 (Article)

Drugs administered to treat schizophrenia is found to have side-effects on the memory and cognitive abilities of patients aged 55 or above. This may rather harm the livelihood of the patients. Therefore, doctors should manage the dosage of the medication wisely and maybe apply cognitive trainings to reduce the side-effects of the drugs.

Image by CDC

'Can viruses hijack their hosts' circadian rhythms?'

University of Oxford - Xiaodong Zhuang et al.

DOI:10.1038/s41467-021-21821-0

26 March 2021 (Article)

The "circadian clock" regulates bodily processes (via hormone secretion) in a 24-hour cycle. Researchers have found a close relationship between the oxygen sensing system used by this "clock" and the viral replication pathways for Hepatitis B virus (HBV). This raises concerns on the effect of the "circadian clock" on the infection of other viruses.

Baby with Stethoscope

'Opinion: Pandemic babies - how Covid-19 has affected child development'

UCL - Sunil Bhopal, Pasco Fearon

11 March 2021 (Article) 

Receiving adequate social interaction and proper parenting is a massive challenge for babies born after lockdown in March 2020. Given the first few years of development is vital to one's personal growth, more longitudinal researches are needed to observe the long-term effects of the pandemic on one's development.

Mother Playing with Baby

'Video-led feedback programme reduces behaviour problems in children as young as 12 months'

University of Cambridge - Christine O’Farrelly et al.

DOI:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.6834

16 March 2021 (Article) 

Parents who received video-feedback of their interaction with their toddlers was found to effectively improve their parenting ability and lower the risk of developing challenging behaviours among toddlers aged one to two. Such an intervention seems to have massive practical implications for parenting programmes.

Friends Playing Video Games

'Boys who play video games have lower depression risk'

University College London -Kandola,A.,Owen, N., Dunstan, D. W., & Hallgren, M.

DOI:10.1017/S0033291721000258

19 February 2021 (Article)

Boys who regularly play video games at age 11 are less likely to develop depressive symptoms three years later while girls who spend more time on social media appear to develop more depressive symptoms.

Psychology Session

'Psychological ‘signature’ for the extremist mind uncovered'

University of Cambridge -Leor Zmigrod, Ian W. Eisenberg, Patrick G. Bissett, Trevor W. Robbins and Russell A. Poldrack

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0424

22 February 2021 (Article)

Cognitive dispositions—individual differences in how information is perceived and processed— sculpt individuals' ideological worldviews, e.g., conservatism and nationalism were related to greater caution in perceptual decision-making tasks and to reduced strategic information processing, while dogmatism was associated with slower evidence accumulation and impulsive tendencies.

DNA

'Video of ‘dancing DNA’ developed by researchers'

University College London -Alice Pyne, Bart Hoogenboom

DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.4455

24 February 2021 (Article) 

With stresses and strains placed on DNA, scientists are now able to observe these protein molecules in motion rather than just static photographs. The technique allowed researchers to examine every single atom in the DNA as if they are "dancing".

Eye

'Artificial ‘brain’ reveals why we can’t always believe our eyes'

University of Cambridge -Reuben Rideaux, Andrew E. Welchman

DOI: 10.1167/jov.20.11.275

25 February 2021 (Article) 

The artificial system namely the MotionNet allows the simulation of the neural network responsible for motion processing in the human brain. It does not only model visual illusions (e.g. reverse-phi motion) that are found already, but provide further insights about the underlying mechanisms.

Creative Thoughts

'Teaching pupils empathy measurably improves their creative abilities, study finds'

University of Cambridge -Helen Demetriou, Bill Nicholl 

DOI: 10.1177/1365480221989500

03 February 2021 (Article) 

The study working with two London secondary schools have revealed a significant improvement in creativity scores among pupils after applying a set of thinking tools compared to normal curriculum. This is accompanied by an increase in (cognitive) empathy and perspective-taking.

Sewing Equipments

'The Emergence of Personal Symbols through Story Cloth Process with Gifted Children'

Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek - Jelena Kovačević

DOI: 10.1080/10130950.2020.1783888

03 February 2021 (Article) 

Elementary school pupils with gifted art ability were found to have enhanced sense of companionship and wholesomeness. It was found that sewing activities influence the creation of personal symbols, which opens a window to assess children's emotions.

Molecules

'High insulin levels during childhood a risk for mental health problems later in life, study suggests'

University of Cambridge: Benjamin I. Perry, Jan Stochl, Rachel Upthegrove, Stan Zammit, Nick Wareham, Claudia Langenberg, Eleanor Winpenny, David Dunger, Peter B. Jones, Golam M. Khandaker

DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.4180

13 January 2021 (Article) 

A strong positive relationship between insulin levels from mid-childhood and risk of developing psychosis in adulthood is found. This has cast light onto the physical predictors of the onset of mental health problems. Further research is required to strengthen such link.

Smart Phone

'A new app explores the link between brain development and mental health'

UCL

Article 

17 December 2020

Hospital Staff

'New study shows mental health of ICU staff should be immediate priority' 

KCL:  Neil Greenberg, Dale Weston, Charlotte Hall, Tristan Caulfield, Victoria Williamson, Kevin Fong

DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.03.20208322

13 January 2021 (Article) 

A more severe mental health issue is found among ICU clinicians than nurses and doctors by a self-report questionnaire. This is probably due to the higher exposure to (potential) Covid patients, leading to heightened stress from the worries of catching and passing on of the disease. 

Drawing Face

'Smacking young children has long-lasting effects'

UCL Leonardo Bevilacqua, Kelly Yvonne, Anja Heilmann, Naomi Priest, Rebecca Lacey

DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104890

13 January 2021 (Article) 

Researchers studying childhood negative experience between the ages 3 to 14 have revealed long-term psychological effects on personal development. Children experiencing frequent corporal punishment tend to internalize problems, leading to greater risk of loneliness, anxiety and lack of confidence. Also, children with such experience are prompted to exihibit behavioural problems at age 14.

Distance Learning

'Learning boosts happiness more than rewards do'

UCL Bastien Blain, Robb B Rutledge

DOI: 10.7554/eLife.57977

5 January 2021 (Article)

Researchers in the eLife study revealed that participants' happiness depends not on the size of the rewards (e.g. monetary incentives) but whether they were able to predict the outcomes via the learning from experiences.

On the Phone

'New app to monitor Parkinson’s progression at home'

UCL and Birkbeck, University of London,

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41531-020-00135-w

18 December 2020

Music Festival

'The Voice of God in Revelation and Illness: understanding shared processes and differences through humanities, psychiatry, and experimental neuroscience'

King’s College London

Article

18 December 2020

Children's Play Space

'Research shows a link between the home environment and children’s development of self-regulation' 

Abstract Paint

'Understanding how a key mutation influences the development of schizophrenia'

University of Toronto

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-1103-1

15 December 2020

Black Puzzle Pieces

'Breakthrough disease mechanism behind Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) uncovered'

King’s College London

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20191-3

11 December 2020

Children in Yoga Class

'Significant increase in depression seen among children during first lockdown'

University of Cambridge 

DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2020-320372

08 December 2020

Kids' Paintings

'Art images aid communication on experience of pain in medical pain consultations'

University College Lodon -Padfield, Omand

DOI: 10.25602/GOLD.atol.v10i2.1324

15 November 2019

Artistic images reflecting chronic pain experience were found to be effective in aiding the interactive understanding of pain in clinical setting. One of the example within a case study would be a tiny, tiny doll sitting on a relatively large seat in the hospital, the client asked about whether resonance was induced by the specific picture.

Sheet Music

'Body positivity in music: Can listening to a single song help you feel better about your body?'

APA & Dr. Sarah M. Coyne

https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000273

05 November 2020

Blue Eyes

'Scientists have used gene therapy to regenerate damaged nerve fibres in the eye offers hope for future glaucoma treatment'

University of Cambridge -led research

https://doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19436-y

05 November 2020

Modern Senior Woman


'Researchers show how to target a 'shape-shifting' protein in Alzheimer’s disease'

University of Cambridge -led research

https://doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abb5924

04 November 2020

Headache


'Earwax sampling could measure stress hormone'

Researchers at UCL and KCL

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e05124

3 November 2020

 Young Woman Contemplating


'Marmoset study finds single brain region linking depression and anxiety, heart disease, and people’s sensitivity to treatment'

University of Cambridge - led

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19167-0

26 October 2020

Children Playing Outdoor


'The proportion of children experiencing a probable mental disorder has increased over the past three years'

NHS Digital & University of Cambridge

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e05124

22 October 2020

Man in sweatshirt on beach


'Children and young people from low income backgrounds show elevated mental health difficulties throughout lockdown'

University of Oxford - Led Project

14 September 2020

Blood pressure reader


'Raised blood pressure and diabetes alter brain structure to slow thinking speed and memory'

Neuroscientist University of Oxford

7 September 2020

Abstract Paint

'How does art making work? Testing the hypothesized mechanisms of art making on pain experience'

University of Wisconsin USA

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2020.101200

August 2020

Happy Children


'Emotional words are easier for young children to learn'

UCL-led study ​

20 August 2020

Brain Sketch

 

'How depression impacts our brain as we age'

UCL-led research

https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2020.123

Click image to read article - UCL

15 July 2020

Teenage Boy on Mobile Phone

'The Emerging Evidence series explores the impact of coronavirus on young people’s mental health'

UCL and the Evidence Based Practice Unit

30 June 2020

Painting Wall


'Encounters with artistic imagination contribute to people’s well-being' 

Totterdell, P., & Poerio, G. - University of Essex, University of Sheffield

https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000779

22 June 2020

Art Class

 

'Art therapy can be effective in improving children's quality of life'

Zoe Moula - University of Stirling 

https://doi.org/10.1080/17454832.2020.1751219

13 May 2020

Film Slate Marker


'Viewing Joker would be associated with higher levels of prejudice toward individuals with mental illness?' 

Damian Scarf, PhD, Hannah Zimmerman, BA, Taylor Winter, MSc,et al. 

https://doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.3423

April 24 2020

Parent and Child at the Supermarket


'Responses needed for the first UK national survey supporting evidence for Attachment Interventions'

UCL and University of York

5 March 2020

Woman Holding a Mobile Phone

Do individuals who experience significant depressive symptoms interpret memes related to depression differently? 

UmairAkram, Jennifer Drabble, Glhenda Cau, Frayer Hershaw, Ashileen Rajenthran, Mollie Lowe, CarissaTrommelen & Jason G. Ellis

21 January 2020

READ BY CATEGORY

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Learn more about the latest research and findings of how children grow and how to facilitate their learning and devlopment.