Scientists find first genetic marker for a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder

Scientists have found a gene that, when mutated, is linked to a hereditary neurological  disorder that causes mental dysfunction, immobility, seizure and a life expectancy of ten years. This discovery lays the foundation for the first genetic screening option for this form of neurodegenerative disease.

Neurodegenerative disease is the umbrella term for a group of incurable and debilitating conditions, including Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases, which lead to a progressive decline in the nervous system.

Steroids may help reduce deaths from all types of tuberculosis

The routine use of steroids to treat tuberculosis may help reduce deaths from all types of the disease, according to a new review of existing research.

Each year there are 8.7million cases of TB worldwide, and it causes 1.4million deaths. The most common form of the disease (pulmonary TB) affects the lungs, but there are many other forms and it can affect almost all the body’s organs.

Early evidence shows ‘good’ cholesterol could combat abdominal aortic aneurysm

New research provides early evidence that ‘good’ cholesterol may possess anti-aneurysm forming properties. In laboratory-based investigations, scientists found that increased levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the so-called good cholesterol, blocked the development of aneurysms – dangerous ‘ballooning’ in the wall of a blood vessel – in the body’s largest artery, the aorta. The researchers say their findings – which are published in the American Heart Association scientific journal Atherosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology – lay the foundations for further investigations into ways of raising HDL cholesterol as a possible therapeutic intervention for the condition.


Annual UK drug deaths fall seven per cent, with heroin-related deaths continuing to decline

Annual deaths related to heroin and morphine are continuing to drop significantly, falling from 41 per cent of total drug-related deaths in the UK in 2010 to 32 per cent in 2011. Meanwhile, deaths from ‘legal highs’ – some of which have now been banned – remained steady following a large increase in the previous year.

In total, UK drug-related deaths fell by seven per cent from 1,883 in 2010 to 1,757 in 2011, as revealed today (28 February) in the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD) 2012 report. This continues a two-year downward trend that saw deaths fall by 14 per cent from 2009 to 2010.

St George’s wins first quarter-final round of University Challenge

The St George’s, University of London University Challenge team has won the first of its quarter-final matches. It needs to win two quarter-final matches to secure a place in the semi finals.The team was victorious over Pembroke College, Cambridge with a convincing 195-105 win in the latest battle of the country’s brightest university brains, which was aired Monday 18 February 2013, BBC2.