Genetic cause discovered for rare disorder of motor neurones

Scientists have identified an underlying genetic cause for a rare disorder of motor neurones, and believe this may help find causes of other related diseases.

Disorders of motor neurones are a group of progressive neuromuscular disorders that damage the nervous system, causing muscle weakness and wasting. These diseases affect many thousands of people in the UK. A number are inherited but the causes of the majority remain unknown, and there are no cures.

Starting salaries for St George’s graduates named third best in the UK

Independent consumer watchdog Which? has named St George’s as the third best university in the UK for graduate starting salaries.

Universities were ranked by the average annual salary of graduates six months after completing their course, based on information submitted by universities and colleges to the government between 2005/6-2009/10. St George’s, University of London graduates earned an average salary of £27,015.

New funding to tackle poultry viruses

A team of researchers have received over £6.2million to develop rapid responses to emerging poultry viruses. The funding boost will also help to establish the next generation of poultry virologists, to work in a scientific area where the UK has traditionally been strong.
The ‘Developing Rapid Responses to Emerging Virus Infections of Poultry’ project will enable the recognition of emerging viruses before widespread infections occur, prepare for the possibility of new subtypes of avian influenza, and help the process of developing better vaccines for poultry and humans.


New methods to unveil the truth about the madness of King George

Investigations into the nature of King George III’s illness will reopen this year. Neuroscientists will pore over thousands of 18th century letters to and from the monarch, well known for his bizarre behaviour and wild outbursts, searching for clues to his mental state.

The question of whether King George III, who reigned in Britain between 1760 and 1820, was mad or misunderstood has been mused about since his outbursts were first documented in the late 18th century. In King George’s time, his ravings were treated as insanity; to control his outbursts the King was bound in a straitjacket and chained to a chair. Conclusions from more recent reappraisals of the historical evidence have included the inherited metabolic disorder porphyria and the psychiatric condition mania.


Annual deaths from solvent abuse in the UK rise from 38 to 46

Deaths from solvent abuse rose to 46 in 2009 from 38 in 2008, according to a new report on the latest UK figures released today (Friday 16 November).

The report outlines deaths from volatile substances – solvent-based products such as gas fuels, aerosols, glues, and anaesthetic agents – that occurred in 2009.

St George’s student makes the cut in national surgical skills competition

A St George’s, University of London medical student will represent London in the UK-wide Student Surgical Skills Competition, after winning the London regional heat.

Fifth-year student Ismail Vokshi has made it through to the final of the competition, run each year by the The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd).

World’s largest respiratory genetics study launches on World COPD Day

Researchers funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) are to conduct the largest ever study of the genetics relating to lung disease. The main aims are to discover what determines an individual’s lung health and why smoking harms the lungs of some people more than others.

The scientists, from the University of Nottingham, the University of Leicester, and St George’s, University of London, hope to find out why some people are genetically more prone to suffer from lung disease, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD includes conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is the sixth most common cause of death in the UK (around 30,000 deaths per year). It affects approximately 900,000 people in the UK and costs the NHS £500m every year.

Students inspire London’s youngsters to have x-ray career vision on World Radiography Day

A group of trainee radiographers from Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, took to the road to spread the word about the profession and inspire the capital’s youngsters to consider it as a career option.

The students spoke to young people at further education colleges across London about their training to mark World Radiography Day on Thursday 8 November. They were also hard at work raising money for a local cancer charity after rustling up a range of treats for a cake stall at Kingston University.

Experts welcome Willis Commission's support for nurse education

The report by the Willis Commission on Nursing Education has reinforced the crucial role universities play in training the healthcare workforce, according to a leading academic. Professor Fiona Ross, dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, run jointly by Kingston University and St George's, University of London, said she welcomed the support Lord Willis had given universities and the important role degrees played in preparing nurses to provide high-quality care.

The findings, released this week, come after Lord Willis of Knaresborough, former Liberal Democrat member of Parliament for Harrogate, was asked by the Royal College of Nursing to come up with a set of recommendations on the future of nursing education. He looked at what was needed to create a workforce of competent, compassionate nurses fit to deliver future health and social care services.

Annual UK drug deaths fall by 14 per cent, while deaths related to outlawed 'legal highs' increase

Deaths related to a group of now-banned ‘legal highs’ rose sharply from five in 2009 to 43 in 2010, reveals a report on the latest UK drug death figures released today (7 November 2012). While deaths involving methcathinones – which were outlawed in 2010 and include mephedrone – rose, those involving heroin fell significantly. And a decrease in cocaine-related deaths observed over several years continued.

Overall, drug-related deaths in the UK fell by almost 14 per cent from 2,182 in 2009 to 1,883 in 2010, reveals today’s National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD) 2011 report. This compares to a rise of 12 per cent in the year before.