Fat measure BMI underestimates body fat in UK South Asian children

South Asian children living in the UK have higher average levels of body fat than white European and black African Caribbean children in the UK. The findings show that body mass index (BMI), the most widely used tool to measure body composition, underestimated their body fat, and add to doubts about its use as a measure.

These findings have been made by researchers at St George’s, University of London, and published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers say they could aid the development of strategies to combat rising obesity and diabetes levels in the UK South Asian population.

New guide for predicting cancer patient survival time

Scientists have created a new way of predicting how long terminally ill cancer patients have to live, and the guide could be used with mobile phone technology.

The new computer model guide – a project led by St George's, University of London – uses factors such as blood tests, white cell blood count, pulse rate and patient symptoms to estimate how long a patient has left. The researchers believe it can predict survival at least as well as a doctor.

Mobile phones could be the key to better STI diagnosis

Mobile phones could revolutionise the diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by using new technology to give instant results and recommend treatment options. A new £5.7 million project being led by St George’s, University of London is developing self-test devices that can plug directly into mobile phones and computers, immediately identifying infections.

The Medical Research Council – and the UK Clinical Research Collaboration – has given a £4 million grant to a consortium of academic and industrial researchers to improve sexual health through the use of new technology. The consortium, which includes St George’s,University College London, Brunel University, Warwick University, Queen Mary, University of London, the Health Protection Agency, and industrial partners, made up the remaining £1.7 million. The project – called eSTI² (electronic self-testing instruments for STIs) – is being led by Dr Tariq Sadiq, senior lecturer and consultant physician in sexual health and HIV at St George’s, University of London, who said: “By making diagnosis easier to access in the community, with immediate results, we aim to reduce infection rates and improve sexual health.”

Scientists in London are investigating a possible link between women's menstrual periods and ovarian cancer.

Often called: “The silent killer,” the disease has few symptoms in the early stages, meaning that many cases are diagnosed when the cancer is too advanced to be cured. Worldwide, an estimated 125,000 women die of ovarian cancer each year but its causes are still unknown.

A current theory suggests that the constant injury and repair caused by ovulation may play an important role in causing cancer of the ovaries.  During ovulation an egg is released from the ovary, which involves a 'wound' in the layer of tissue overlying the egg.  It is thought that in some women this repeated injury and healing eventually causes the cells in the tissue which lines the ovarian surface to change and become cancerous. 

Director of The Wellcome Trust to deliver SGUL public lecture - John Snow: molecular genetics and the epidemiology of infectious diseases

Director of The Wellcome Trust, Sir Mark Walport, will deliver this year’s Jenner Lecture entitled John Snow: molecular genetics and the epidemiology of infectious diseases. He is one of five eminent scientists who will be discussing their specialist subjects at the 2010 Jenner Event, which takes place on 4 November 2010.

The Symposium will be marked by four lectures delivered by Dr Blaise Corthesy, head of research at the University of Lausanne, and infection and immunity scientists at St George’s, University of London, Dr Rachel Allen and Professors George Griffin and Tom Harrison.