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12 research stories in 2016 you might have missed – University of Reading

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12 research stories in 2016 you might have missed

Release Date 19 December 2016

Arctic ice

After 90 years of excellence in teaching and research, we’re still working on ground breaking academia which changes the world. Here are 12 pieces of research you might have missed:

January - Air pollution is playing a bigger role in changing global rainfall than previously thought

The man-made impact on the ozone has been well documented, with recent work showing a warming effect about 20% of that due to carbon dioxide. In this new work, detailed calculations indicate the global rainfall changes due to ozone over the past century could be more than half those due to changes in carbon dioxide.

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February - University of Reading academic helps change the law on murder

Reading Law lecturer, Dr Beatrice Krebs played a significant role in the reversal of 30 years of case law by the Supreme Court and the Privy Council, which effectively abolished the doctrine of 'joint enterprise' in murder cases.

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March – Archaeologists uncover finest Stone Age arrowhead in Britain

Archaeologists at the University of Reading have pieced together a Neolithic flint arrowhead for the first time in 4,500 years - revealing the finest Stone Age arrowhead ever found in Britain. The team took half a decade to realise their discovery, as the two parts of the arrowhead were unearthed during two digs, five years apart, at Marden Henge in Wiltshire. The moment the two pieces were brought back together, at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, was captured on film just released by the University of Reading.

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April – Meaning of brain scans for ‘pain’ called into question

Patterns of brain activity thought to show pain responses have been called into question after researchers from the University of Reading saw such patterns in rare patients born without a sense of pain. 

To test whether this pattern actually represents the sense of pain, researchers from Reading and UCL used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity in two rare individuals born without the ability to feel pain and four age-matched healthy volunteers.

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May - Helping wildlife among key motivations for citizen scientists

A study of volunteer scientists revealed that ‘helping wildlife in general' and ‘contributing to scientific knowledge' were primary motivations for the hundreds of thousands of people who give up their time to gather environmental records.

Interviews with ‘citizen scientists’ found that they were motivated by advancing science and improving policy and management, but also held altruistic motivations around education, engagement and generating impact for their participants' lives.

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June – Glastonbury myth meets reality in new digital reconstruction

A series of digital reconstructions has revealed for the first time how the Anglo-Saxon church on the site of Glastonbury Abbey would have looked in the eighth century. The reconstructions are based on the archaeological evidence studied by a team led by award-winning University of Reading archaeologist Professor Roberta Gilchrist.

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July – Historical records miss a fifth of global warming

A new study finds that almost one-fifth of the global warming that has occurred in the past 150 years has been missed by historical records due to quirks in how global temperatures were recorded. The study, led by NASA and involving researchers from the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology, explains why projections of future climate based solely on historical records estimate lower rates of warming than predictions from climate models.

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AugustLab on a Stick brings miniaturised clinical testing for fast detection of antibiotic resistance

Patients waiting for lab results could benefit from new miniaturised technology being developed at the University of Reading. The technology can be used for a variety of tests ranging from overnight detection of anti-microbial resistance to blood tests that can rapidly diagnose a heart attack.

The idea behind Lab on a stick is to combine the simplicity of a dipstick with the benefits of the latest miniaturised testing technology known as ‘microfluidics’ using tiny test tubes about the size of a human hair, that make lab analysis portable and up to 12 times quicker than current microbiological tests.

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September - GPs feel ill-equipped to support childhood mental health concerns

GPs have identified the key barriers they face in caring for children and young people in a new study carried out by the University of Reading.

In the first study of its kind, academics reviewed the lack of training and awareness that primary care ‘gatekeepers’ such as doctors and paediatricians have themselves identified in diagnosing and treating mental health problems.

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October - Protein supplement may cut risk of heart disease and stroke

People could reduce their risk factors of heart disease and stroke by drinking protein supplements normally favoured by bodybuilders, scientists at the University of Reading have found.

By drinking a whey protein supplement derived from milk, study participants with mild hypertension had an estimated 8% reduction in risk of heart disease and stroke, the study found. Those taking the supplement had lower blood pressure and cholesterol and healthier blood vessels.

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November – Why a satellite image could change the way we build cities

A series of incredible image of Earth taken from space marks the start of new analysis that could change the way cities are built. The European Space Agency (ESA) has at last started revealing infrared images captured by its Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite, after a nine-month wait for the equipment to cool to the required operating temperature of -200 degrees Celcius. The data will allow scientists to identify areas of heat on land and oceans to learn more about how expanding cities create ‘urban heat islands' and how areas can recover from fires.

The images were made possible thanks to intricate infrared camera filters manufactured at the University of Reading, which were assembled within the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) instrument on board the satellite when it was launched in February.

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December – New research on teenage depression treatment shows one size doesn’t fit all

Broadening the choice of treatments for depression offered by mental health trusts could result in huge long-term benefits, according to The Charlie Waller Institute following the largest ever study of teenagers with the condition.

The research shows that more than two-thirds of adolescents with depression could benefit if GPs were able to efficiently offer three different treatment choices - two of which are not currently offered on the NHS.

Read the full story here:

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