King’s in the news - round-up of November 2018

King’s and Guy’s, St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital’s research makes headlines around the world. From the #MeToo movement’s arrival in India to how video games are effecting our eyesight, we’ve selected a few recent stories to share with you.

Children's eyesight

Could playing video games be making children short-sighted?

Scientists from King’s have found that time spent playing computer games and being born in the summer are both linked to an increased risk of developing short or near sightedness (myopia) in childhood.

The team studied 1,991 twins all born between 1994 and 1996 in the UK. Opticians provided records to show whether the participants were myopic or not and researchers analysed behavioural, demographic and educational factors between the ages of two and sixteen.

The factors found to be most strongly associated with the development of myopia were maternal educational attainment, hours spent playing computer games and being born during the summer.

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#MeToo has arrived in India

Ayonna Datta, Reader in Urban Futures at King’s, Nabeela Ahmed, Postdoctoral Research Associate at King’s, and Rakhi Tripathi, Associate Professor in Information Technology at FORE School of Management, report on the growing #MeToo movement in India.

From the major cities to small towns, the #MeToo movement is on the rise in India. But in a country where only 26 per cent of the population has access to the internet could the right to technology be key in the fight against gender injustice? King’s researchers believe that developing cheaper technologies and expanding their independent use amongst poorer women will enable them to speak out about abuse and form effective support network communities. They see the right to technology as a key means of fighting gender injustice, in all its forms, in the 21st century.

Read more in The Conversation


Professor Anne Marie Rafferty

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty elected president of Royal College of Nursing

Congratulations to our very own Anne Marie Rafferty, Professor of Nursing Policy, who has been elected as President of the Royal College of Nursing. Professor Rafferty has been a leading figure in the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care at King’s since 2004, where she served as Dean, before becoming Professor of Nursing Policy in 2011.

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Nation states map

The returning strength of the nation state

King’s experts John Bew, Professor in History and Foreign Policy, and Harsh V Pant, Professor of International Relations, have both been discussing the role of the nation state this month.

The United Kingdom […] is stuck in old and increasingly redundant modes of thinking about the world – torn between a brash, overconfident and underdeveloped idea of itself as a sovereign nation reborn, and a cosmopolitan lament about the passing of a liberal international order in which the boundaries between states were supposed to melt away and nationalism was to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Read more from John Bew in The New Statesman

We live in strange times. While discussions about ‘global disorder’ mostly pertain to U.S. President Donald Trump’s penchant for challenging the established liberal order and institutional frameworks, there is another side to this as well, reflected in the way authoritarian states are now more empowered than ever to challenge norms that the world was taking for granted until recently.

Read more from Harsh V Pant in The Hindu


MDMA effect on the brain

MDMA makes people cooperative, but not gullible

New research from King’s College London has found that MDMA, the main ingredient in ecstasy, causes people to cooperate better - but only with trustworthy people.

Twenty healthy adult men were either given a typical recreational dose of MDMA or a placebo pill and completed several tasks while in an MRI scanner, including the Prisoner’s Dilemma. In the Prisoner’s Dilemma players choose to either compete or cooperate with another player. Both players get points if they cooperate, but if one player chooses to compete they receive all the points while the other player gets nothing. The researchers found participants under the influence of MDMA became more cooperative, but only when interacting with trustworthy players, and were more willing to rebuild relationships after a breach in trust.

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