Women with preeclampsia in first 37 weeks of pregnancy are at higher risk of heart problems in later life

Women with preeclampsia in the first 37 weeks of pregnancy are at greater risk of developing heart problems in the years after giving birth than those who develop the condition in the final weeks, according to new research.

Researchers have shown that more than half of pregnant women suffering from preeclampsia in their first 37 weeks – during preterm pregnancy – developed a heart problem called left ventricular dysfunction within two years of giving birth. The condition was asymptomatic, meaning they did not show any obvious symptoms, but the researchers were able to detect signs of the problem with a heart ultrasound scan.

Researchers uncover new clues about how cancer cells communicate and grow

Researchers have shown that the communication signals sent around the body by cancer cells, which are essential for the cancer to grow, may contain pieces of RNA – these substances, like DNA, are pieces of genetic code that can instruct cells, and ultimately the body, how to form. The same study also found early indications that these genetic instructions can be intercepted and modified by chemotherapy to help prevent cancer cells growing.

The researchers, from St George’s, University of London, believe that these findings add to the body of evidence investigating a new wave of cancer treatment that stimulates the body’s immune system to fight the disease. Most current treatment attacks the cancerous cells directly. However, the researchers emphasise that this is an early-stage study and there is much more research to be done before patients will benefit.

Scientists discover new gene that increases the risk of stroke

A genetic variant that increases the risk of a common type of stroke has been identified by scientists in a study published online in Nature Genetics today (Sunday 5 February). This is one of the few genetic variants to date to be associated with risk of stroke and the discovery opens up new possibilities for treatment.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide (more than one in 10 of all deaths, and over six million deaths annually), and also in developed countries is a major cause of chronic disability. As the world’s populations age the impact of stroke on wellbeing is likely to increase further.  

Children dropped off by car at the school gates lead less active lives overall

Children whose parents drive them to school lead less active lifestyles overall than those who walk, cycle or take public transport, according to new research. The findings showed that children who take public transport to school are as active as those who walk or cycle, even at weekends outside school commuting times.

The same research also found that South Asian children, who in previous studies have been shown to be possibly less active and to have higher fat levels than other ethnic groups, are more likely to be driven to school, despite living closer.

Joint Faculty named a preferred bidder to train nurses and physiotherapists by NHS London

The Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences has been chosen by NHS London as a preferred bidder to train adult nurses and physiotherapists. The Faculty – run jointly by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London – is one of a group of preferred bidders selected to provide education in line with new improved standards.

The announcement comes after a competitive tendering process. Bidders had to prove their ability to meet new quality measures introduced by NHS London last June to ensure high standards of training.