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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Scientists find mechanism to reset body clock

Monday, April 14th, 2014

“Researchers from The University of Manchester have discovered a new mechanism that governs how body clocks react to changes in the environment.”

“And the discovery, which is being published in Current Biology, could provide a solution for alleviating the detrimental effects of chronic shift work and jet-lag.”

“The team’s findings reveal that the enzyme casein kinase 1epsilon (CK1epsilon) controls how easily the body’s clockwork can be adjusted or reset by environmental cues such as light and temperature.”

“Internal biological timers (circadian clocks) are found in almost every species on the planet. In mammals including humans, circadian clocks are found in most cells and tissues of the body, and orchestrate daily rhythms in our physiology, including our sleep/wake patterns and metabolism.”

The article ‘A novel mechanism controlling re-setting speed of the circadian clock to environmental stimuli’ by Violetta Pilorz, Peter Cunningham, Anthony Jackson, Alexander West, Travis T Walton, Andrew A.S.I. Loudon and David A Bechtold in Current Biology can be viewed at:  http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)00195-X

[Source Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) news:  http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/health/2014/140319-pr-mechanism-to-reset-body-clock.aspx ]

Re-use of fashion heritage and new digital perspectives

Monday, April 14th, 2014

“Just think of a designer delving into a brand archive to inspire a new collection or a director researching a fashion film. Using fashion heritage is not just looking at the past but discovering how the past can become relevant in a contemporary context.”

“While previously kept in archives and only seen by researchers and fashion industry insiders, the internet and digitisation have changed the game of fashion heritage. Museums and brand archives now make digital copies of their collections and put them online for use in online exhibitions, marketing campaigns and more.”

“A recent example is the house of Lanvin, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary on social media with  ‘Lanvin History’. For the occasion, the house opens its archives and shows its heritage through photos, videos and original artwork by Jeanne Lanvin on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and its own website.”

“Now that archives are starting to show their material on the internet, more and more people can discover and re-use this material. Europeana Fashion wants to explore these new opportunities for fashion heritage during its series of three annual conferences around fashion and digital technology. The second conference will take place on 9 April 2014 at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. The opening up of archives to a large audience combined with the power of archives to inspire new forms of fashion culture is the topic of this conference. The event is sold out, but we will keep you updated on interesting outcomes from it.”

[Source Europeana:  http://blog.europeana.eu/2014/03/13905/ ]

Telling research participants about health related findings

Monday, April 14th, 2014

“The Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust have launched a framework to help researchers design and implement a policy on feeding back findings that arise during the course of a study which have a potential health implication for the individual participant.”

“In the course of a study involving human participants, it is possible that researchers may make a finding that has potential health or reproductive implications for an individual participant. For example, during a brain imaging study, researchers might identify a brain tumour, or a genome-wide association study looking for genetic risk factors for diabetes might show that a participant is at an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”

“Whether and how these ‘health-related findings’ (sometimes called ‘incidental findings’) should be fed back to the participant is currently subject to intense debate. Given the lack of evidence and consensus on how such findings should be handled, the MRC and the Wellcome Trust worked with the Health Research Authority to develop a framework to help researchers and research ethics committees identify and consider the relevant issues around feedback in a study. The framework is also supported by the Association of Medical Research Charities, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Health & Social Care R&D Division, Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland.”

Here is a link to the framework:  http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Utilities/Documentrecord/index.htm?d=MRC009787

[Source MRC News:  http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Newspublications/News/MRC009788 ]

Turning the spotlight (and your MP3 player!) on to the European audio heritage

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“What do a Mozart concerto, the cries of a seagull, a lecture on the international rock scene, the voice recording of the Emperor Kaiser Franz Joseph I in 1915, and the Latvian folk song Pūt, vējiņi (Blow, wind, blow) have in common?  These are all part of our European audio heritage.”

“The year 2014 marks the beginning of a Europe-wide project – Europeana Sounds – aimed at creating easy access to over 1 million high quality audio and audio-related items through a single online access point. Together these items reflect the diverse cultures, histories, languages and creativity of the peoples of Europe over the past 130 years.”

“Whether you are a jazz fan, a creative professional or playing in your own band, a teacher, or only curious, you will be able to navigate through the future sound library and its thematic channels (contemporary music, soundscapes and natural sounds, dialects samples, etc.). Apart from that, you may re-use some audio material and share your own creative mix!”

“Europeana Sounds is a three-year project, co-funded by the European Commission under the CIP ICT-Policy Support Programme, aimed at significantly increasing audio and audio-related content accessible through Europeana.”

 [Source Europeana website:  http://blog.europeana.eu/2014/03/turning-the-spotlight-and-your-mp3-player-to-the-european-audio-heritage/ ]

Wearable arts: time to experiment

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts mission is to inspire and support the use of digital technologies in the arts sector. This mission is realised not only through funding collaborations but also by researching and learning processes which inspire the sharing of knowledge among project partners and the wider arts sector. To expand this knowledge base, we’re constantly scrutinising emerging technologies, exploring how tech trends are shaping the future of other industries and how this could be directly or indirectly related to the arts.”

“The proliferation of these technologies seems to move increasingly from solely practical purposes to more creative and subjective uses. For instance concepts like ‘computational creativity’ explore how a programme or a computer can be used to create a new recipe and instructive devices teach children how to compose a song. This opens up vast opportunities for enhancing cultural experiences by augmenting the digital with the physical and effectively adding value to the sector.”

“Over the next few weeks, we will be writing about some key technological areas which will offer a great ‘space’ for exploration and experimentation in arts and creative projects. In this first post from a three blog series we’re looking at wearable technology and its relation to the arts.”

To read on go to:  http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/wearable-arts-time-experiment

[Source Nesta blog as above]

More than one in 30 in the UK participate in cohort studies

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“The Medical Research Council (MRC) [has published] the first review of the UK’s largest cohort studies. The Strategic Review of the Largest UK Population Cohort Studies, which looks at cohorts funded by the MRC and other funders, has found that more than 2.2 million people (3.5 per cent of the population or one in 30) are a participant in a cohort study.”

“A commentary in The Lancet highlights the MRC’s 50-year history of supporting population cohort studies including the world’s longest continuously running birth cohort (the 1946 Birth Cohort), UK Biobank’s tracking of half a million participants, and the largest longitudinal study of women’s health (the Million Women Study). Close to £30m per annum is spent on the 34 largest UK population cohort studies. More than half of these participants have been followed for more than 20 years. The vast majority are aged 45 years or over (92 per cent) and female (62 per cent after exclusion of the Million Women Study), with men aged 20-40 years less well represented.”

“Population cohort studies are a major long term commitment for participants, study teams and funders, but their strength is in their ability to identify multiple risk factors over time.”

To view the report Maximising the value of UK population cohorts go to:  http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Utilities/Documentrecord/index.htm?d=MRC009764

[Source MRC News: http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Newspublications/News/MRC009765 ]

Developing Community Collections

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“Jisc’s new guide ‘Developing Community Collections‘ is an online guide for beginners which highlights the key issues to bear in mind when creating and setting up online community collections.”

“A community collection is where content is created and shared by individuals or groups to form an online digital resource. Online community collections can be developed through partnerships between universities, colleges, libraries and museums and a wide range of communities, including local groups, schools, heritage organisations, employers, and the public at large.”

For more information on Developing Community Collections visit the website: http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/infokits/community_content/

[Source National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement news: http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/developing-community-collections ]

Cultural heritage counts for Europe

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“Towards an European Index for Valuing Cultural Heritage”

“The project “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe” will gather, analyze, consolidate and widely disseminate the existing data on the impact of cultural heritage – i.e. the impact on the social, economic, cultural as well as environmental.  It will result in a European mapping of both qualitative and quantitative evidence-based research carried out at the European, national, regional, local and/or sectorial levels.”

“Europa Nostra leads the project in partnership with 5 other organisations, ENCATC (the leading European network on arts and cultural management and policy education), Heritage Europe-EAHTR(European Association of Historic Towns and Regions, UK), The International Cultural Centre (Krakow, Poland), The Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (RLICC, KU Leuven, Belgium), and The Heritage Alliance(as associate partner from England, UK). The project is supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union.”

To find out more go to: http://www.heritageportal.eu/News-Events/Latest-News/Cultural-heritage-counts-for-Europe.15786.shortcut.html

[Source Heritage Portal as above]

Study uncovers new approach to autism

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded research reveals that autistic children who take part in drama and performance-based activities may demonstrate improved communication levels and interpersonal interaction.”

“In a University of Kent research project entitled Imagining Autism, children with autism engaged in a series of interactive sensory environments such as ‘outer space’, ‘under the sea’ and ‘the arctic’. Each environment was designed for them to encounter a range of stimuli and respond to triggers created through lighting, sound, physical action and puppetry.”

“Using trained performers in each of the environments, the work aimed to promote communication, socialisation, playful interaction, and creative engagement, encouraging the children involved to find new ways of connecting with the world around them.”

“The research found changes in children’s behaviour, including changes in several areas identified as deficits in autism, such as social interaction and emotion recognition. The severity of autistic symptoms displayed by the children, which were rated by their parents and teaching staff were also found to decrease significantly.”

[Source AHRC News:  http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/News-and-Events/News/Pages/Study-uncovers-new-approach-to-autism.aspx ]

Scientists trace ‘bad’ fat back to its roots

Monday, March 31st, 2014

“It’s widely accepted that having too much fat is unhealthy, but it’s the hidden fat surrounding our vital organs that poses the biggest threat. Scientists now believe they’ve discovered where this ‘bad’ (visceral) fat comes from, which may have important implications for our future understanding and treatment of obesity and its health consequences.”

“The research, led by scientists in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh, is published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.”

“There are two main types of fat in the body: subcutaneous fat, which sits directly beneath the skin and provides energy, cushioning and insulation; and visceral fat, which forms in six depots around the heart, intestines and other vital organs.”

“Studies have shown that having a lot of visceral fat increases the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease, while subcutaneous fat is thought to be protective. Understanding where these two types of fat originate has posed a challenge to researchers, until now.”

The paper, entitled ‘Visceral and subcutaneous fat have different origins and evidence supports a mesothelial source’ by Chau et al, is published in Nature Cell Biology at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncb2922

[Source MRC news:  http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Newspublications/News/MRC009751 ]

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