Nowadays few people would dispute that it’s important for people to know about medical matters, but that wasn’t always the case. While our Max Perutz Science Writing Award is open to MRC-funded PhD students, Katherine Nightingale looks back at Charles Fletcher, MRC researcher and physician, whose strong belief in medical communication led him to become the first ‘TV doctor’ in the 1950s.
You don’t notice it at first – your eye is drawn instead to the strangely bandaged faces of the people to the left of the image. But there, together with the IV stand, scissors and scrubs, is not a piece of surgical equipment but a 1950s television camera and lights.
What’s it doing there? Filming a medical drama? Broadcasting the television news live from a hospital? Not quite. Instead it’s the filming of Your Life in Their Hands, a controversial medical documentary which began in 1958.
Research published today, funded by the MRC* and the Alzheimer’s Society’s Drug Discovery programme, has made important progress in the search for new treatments for dementia by re-purposing old drugs. Dr Louise Walker, Research Communications Officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, spoke to the scientist who led the research, Professor Giovanna Mallucci at the MRC Toxicology Unit, to find out more.
Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative brain diseases are characterised by the presence of misfolded proteins in the brain. These proteins are thought to have toxic effects on brain cells, but exactly how they contribute to dementia still remains a mystery.
In 2016, the results of a trial led by Professor Jonathan Green from the University of Manchester showed long-term improvement of autism symptoms in children for the first time. But what if we could reduce the severity of these symptoms by acting even earlier? In National Autism Awareness Month, Jonathan describes why the results of his new collaborative study give cause for optimism.
Jonathan with one of his study participants. Image credit: Jonathan Green
Intense scientific work to understand autism and its causes has continued ever since it was first identified over 70 years ago. But good quality research to develop effective interventions has only really accelerated since the turn of the century.
My research focuses on helping parents of children with autism communicate with their child. We work with parents, using video feedback techniques, to help them understand and respond to their child’s communication style.