King’s in the news - round-up of January 2019

King’s and Guy’s, St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital’s research makes headlines around the world. From self-driving Martian robots to expert insights on the Brexit process, we’ve selected a few recent stories to share with you.


Frequent use of aspirin can lead to increased bleeding

A new study from King’s has found that taking aspirin on a regular basis to prevent heart attacks and strokes, can lead to an increased risk of almost 50% in major bleeding episodes.

Lead author, Dr Sean Zheng, Academic Clinical Fellow in Cardiology, said: ‘This study demonstrates that there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine aspirin use in the prevention of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths in people without cardiovascular disease.’

Read more


Pollution in tube stations higher than near busy roads, experts say

King’s researchers have found the concentration of pollution in tube stations is up to 30 times higher than on busy roads. A recent report found that London Underground was affected more than any other subway system due to its age and the depths of its tunnels.

Passengers are exposed to the same concentration of particle pollutants in an hour on the tube as they are during a full day above ground in ambient London air.

Read more in The Guardian


Eels in Thames 'left hyperactive due to high levels of cocaine in water'

Researchers from King’s have found that Londoners are taking so much cocaine that some of it is making its way into the Thames.

A monitoring station near the Houses of Parliament has detected cocaine in wastewater after water treatment and dilution had failed to remove it. The amounts concerned are reasonably consistent throughout the week, with surges detected after storms that overwhelm the treatment facilities.

It is feared that the high level of cocaine is hurting the river's wildlife, with separate research from the University of Naples Federico II last year showing that it makes eels hyperactive.

Read more in The Evening Standard

Big Ben
Keeping you informed on Brexit

From The Times and The Guardian to Xinhuanet and Al Jazeera, King’s experts have been prominent across the media offering their informed commentary on the (n)ever-changing Brexit situation over the last few months. Whether it’s Professor Jonathan Portes discussing the prime minister’s red lines on the single market and freedom of movement or Professor Anand Menon answering the public’s questions on the BBC’s Question Time, you can rely on our researchers and academics to bring clear thinking to complicated issues.

Read more from Jonathan Portes in New Statesman
Watch Anand Menon on Question Time

Dr Abbas with ConstanceDr Abas meets counsellor, Constance, who is helping to increase HIV treatment uptake

Preventing AIDS by lifting mood

Depression affects one in four people living with HIV. People with both depression and HIV are more likely to have a poorer quality of life and worse physical outcomes. Depression can make HIV progress faster to AIDS, decrease adherence to HIV medication, and reduce long-term survival. Treatment for depression can, therefore, be a matter of life or death for those living with HIV.

Dr Melanie Abas, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s has been awarded a grant of $3.8 mil from the US National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) as Chief Investigator for a clinical trial in Zimbabwe to try to tackle this issue. She is hoping to demonstrate how treating depression in people living with HIV can suppress of the HIV virus and improve physical health and quality of life.

Read more

Self-driving Martian robots

Researchers at King’s have helped develop new software for space-going robots. Due to the time taken for signals to travel to Mars (eight minutes each way), hand guided robots are limited to travelling only a few dozen metres a day.

The new software will enable future Mars rovers to make their own decisions about where to go and how to get there, driving up to a kilometre per day and so delivering more scientific returns per mission.



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