Psychosomatic Illness – Is it all in your head?

Imagine, upon waking one morning, you find yourself blind. Without vision. Deprived of the one sense you’ve learned to rely on the most. You stir, disorientated, straining to see through the darkness. For a moment you believe it to be midnight, but the darkness is impenetrable and even the streetlamps from beyond the window fail to emit their usual glow.… Read the rest

Life in the Ocean Depths

In 1977, an expedition set out to the Galápagos Rift to study hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. They expected the equivalent of an underwater desert, as no sunlight reaches the seafloor at these depths. Instead, they found a thriving biological ecosystem, filled with organisms never seen before.… Read the rest

Can machine learning end the war on antibiotic resistance?

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic it’s easy to lose sight of other recent breakthroughs in medical research. One such development looks set to change the face of antibiotics – even the wider drug discovery process. Earlier this year, researchers at Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology (MIT) used machine learning to discover a novel antibiotic which is effective against even the most resistant strains of bacteria (1).Read the rest

Ending the trauma that lasts for generations

Life can be very challenging and unpredictable, yet we live through it despite the problems.  It is inevitable that we will not always be happy as we wish to be. There will be times we encounter issues, and times we enjoy our lives.… Read the rest

The “Connecticut Vampire”: Using genetics to identify the dead

In 1990, local children in Griswold, Connecticut, USA, accidentally uncovered the bones of a peculiar set of graves dating back to the 19th century. Amongst these remains, one skeleton – that bore the marker “JB55” – stood out. The skeleton was arranged in a skull and crossbones formation which signified that whoever had buried the deceased believed them to be a vampire.Read the rest

What does the recent blood test mean for CFS patients?

Chances are that you’ve heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). But for a long while it wasn’t seen as a condition in its own right. It is a debilitating disorder characterised by excessive tiredness and pain, with diagnosis based only on symptoms.… Read the rest

Is anorexia caused by nature or nurture?

Between 0.1% to 0.2% of the UK population has been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, a mental disorder which often results in patients being severely underweight. That means up to 5 people in every 1,000 people in the UK are victims of anorexia.… Read the rest

Reasons to write

Once upon a time, writing was reserved for certain professions, such as lawyers and clerics. I often start anything I write with ‘Once upon a time’, fully intending to delete it eventually. This may seem odd, as research in science is all about looking forward, exploring what we don’t yet fully understand, but research often has both a history and a direction;  it can be helpful to appreciate how our understanding has evolved over time.… Read the rest

Yoga for Mental Health- a Neuroscience Perspective

Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

The ancient practice of yoga has expanded to all corners of today’s world. Recently it has gained popularity in the West, with the number of Americans practising yoga rising by 50%, from 22 to 35 million adults, between 2012 to 2017.Read the rest

Keep Calm and Carry On

Imagine you’ve just walked into a room to find a hungry looking lion, or a big snake, or perhaps a desk with your most dreaded exam paper. Despite being very different scenarios, the effect will be broadly similar. Emotionally, you will experience varying degrees of fear (from anxiety to panic), and a heightened sense of alertness (hypervigilance).… Read the rest