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

King’s and GKT research makes headlines around the world. From the medieval history of science fiction to a £1 million boost to student mental health research, we’ve selected a few recent stories to share with you.

Cannabis extract helps reset brain function in psychosis

Research from King’s College London has found that a single dose of the cannabis extract cannabidiol can help reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psychosis.

Cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis. Brain scans revealed that it might help reduce psychotic disorders by dampening down abnormal brain activity that arises in patients.

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Science fiction was around in medieval times

Dr Carl Kears, King’s College London, and Dr James Paz, University of Manchester, explore precursors to modern sci-fi in for The Conversation

Science fiction may seem resolutely modern, but the genre could actually be considered hundreds of years old. There are the alien green ‘children of Woolpit’, who appeared in 12th-century Suffolk and were reported to have spoken a language no one could understand. There’s also the story of Eilmer the 11th-century monk, who constructed a pair of wings and flew from the top of Malmesbury Abbey. And there’s the Voynich Manuscript, a 15th-century book written in an unknowable script, full of illustrations of otherworldly plants and surreal landscapes…

Read more in The Conversation

Woman and Child IS

Foreign students are an unalloyed benefit for the UK

Dr Jonathan Portes, Political Economy, writes on the benefits foreign students bring to the UK.

The government’s independent Migration Advisory Committee, in its report on the impact of international students, concluded that international students benefit the wider economy and the public finances, with the average non-EEA student making a net fiscal contribution of more than £5,000 a year, compared to the average resident.

Read more in The Independent

Bottle of wine

Student mental health research gets £1 million boost

A team led by King’s has been awarded £1.1 million to create the first student mental health research network in the UK. With reports showing that growing numbers of students are accessing institutional counselling services, the network will seek to track student mental health over the next four years. Its findings will feed into the UK’s University Mental Health Charter, which will be designed to recognise good practice on mental health within institutions.

Read more in Times Higher Education (behind paywall)

Mary Wollstonecraft
King’s research suggests link between air pollution and greater risk of dementia

A London-based observational study suggests that air pollution may be linked to a heightened risk of developing dementia. The associations found couldn’t be explained by factors known to influence the risks of developing the condition.

The study found that those living in areas in the top fifth of NO2 levels ran a 40 per cent heightened risk of being diagnosed with dementia than those living in the bottom fifth.

Many factors may be involved in the development of dementia and the researchers point out that the exact cause is still not known. They add that while there are several plausible pathways for air pollutants to reach the brain, their contribution to neurodegeneration isn’t clear.

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