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Posts from the ‘Opinion’ Category

GCRF: don’t judge a book by its cover (or title)

In 2016, the then-government introduced a new approach to funding science and research targeted at urgent problems being faced by people the world over: the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which the MRC helps to deliver. Rachael Sara-Kennedy, Head of International Partnerships at Universities UK, says we must look beyond the face value of overseas research funding to see how it benefits us all.

The GCRF enables our universities and world-class research base to access resources drawn from the government’s overseas aid budget – the Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding to help fight global challenges. The fund represents a not insignificant slice of the government’s commitment to spend 0.7% GDP on overseas aid.

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Confidence to cross the road in time

Using public transport and crossing the road are part of everyday life. But for older people these activities can be difficult, dangerous and put them off walking altogether. Dr Elizabeth Webb, lecturer in gerontology at the University of Southampton, explains the negative knock-on effects for health and how extending road crossing time could help.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is consulting on new draft guidelines on environmental changes which should be made to support people to be physically active.

The consultation caught my eye, since it directly relates to research I’ve published today with colleagues, funded by the MRC and the Economic and Social Research Council.

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Dementia: why don’t we have any treatments yet?

Alois Alzheimer first described his eponymous disease a century ago, but there are still no effective treatments. For World Alzheimer’s Day, Professor Bart de Strooper, Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute, asks why that is, and tells us how that might all be about to change.

Bart de Strooper UK Dementia Research Institute

Professor Bart de Strooper

In the early 1900s, a German neurologist called Alois Alzheimer became obsessed with studying an Asylum patient in her 50s, who had started to show unusual behavioural changes, including short-term memory loss. After her death he examined her brain and discovered structures known as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles – the hallmarks of what became known as Alzheimer’s disease.  So why, when we’ve known about the disease for so long, are there still no treatments? Read more