12 January 2023
King's in the News – January 2023
As the global King’s community is often at the forefront of research and society – we round-up a few articles featuring King’s alumni, staff and research.
King's project to promote the use of British Sign Language
The Language and Landscape project, led by King’s Dr Ellen Adams in collaboration with HES and supported by Deaf performer Trudi Collier and Heriot-Watt University linguist Dr Robert Adam, provides a tour of Holyrood Park in Edinburgh using BSL. Developed in response to Scotland’s 2015 BSL Act, the project aims to investigate how public bodies, like HES, can promote the use of BSL through the presentation and analysis of stories performed in BSL.
Holyrood Park is explored through four stories that are presented in BSL with captions and voiceover in English to also provide accessibility for non-BSL users. Topics range from the park’s historical sites, such as St Anthony’s Chapel, to the legend of how the park was given its name. These stories can be accessed via QR codes set in the park or via HES’s website.
History of dyslexia documented for first time
It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia globally, yet the back story of how it became a recognised condition that requires professional diagnosis has never been fully told – until now.
For the first time since the term ‘dyslexia’ was coined nearly 140 years ago, researchers have documented its history, sharing first-hand accounts from the people who led the fight for their children who struggled with a condition that many refused to recognise or failed to understand.
The result of a six-year research project led by King’s College London and St John’s College, Oxford, ‘Dyslexia: A History’ is the untold story of how dyslexia became embedded – politically, culturally and socially – in society during the 20th century.
Protein identified that helps skin cancer spread throughout the body
Researchers have identified a protein that makes melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, more aggressive by giving cancer cells the ability to change the shape of their nucleus. This characteristic which allows the cells to migrate and spread around the body.
The study is led by researchers from King's, Queen Mary University of London and the Francis Crick Institute, and funded by Cancer Research UK. The study is also partly funded by the Wellcome Trust and Barts Charity.
Healthcare workers in England experience PTSD at twice the rate of the general public
New research led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London in collaboration with the NIHR ARC North Thames at University College London and NHS Trusts across England, has found that healthcare workers (HCWs) experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at twice the rate of the general public.
The research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, was conducted as part of a study to establish a more accurate prevalence of mental disorders within the NHS workforce. The study also found that 1-in-5 HCWs met the threshold for diagnosable illnesses like depression and anxiety.
Machine learning currently ineffective for detecting brain aneurysms, suggests systematic review and meta-analysis
Researchers from the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences have published a systematic review and meta-analysis showing that the quality of evidence is poor from studies using machine learning algorithms to detect brain aneurysms, indicating that if used at all, then assistance would be best in the form as a second reader, such as with computer assisted diagnosis (CAD). Their findings were published in Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery.
Aneurysm detection using machine learning has been described as a primary focus in the field of neurointervention, but there has been no comprehensive systematic review or meta-analysis of relevant studies to assess their suitability for clinical use.
Read the study here.
Treatment for Motor Neurone Disease shows promise
Although the cause of ALS (also known as motor neuron disease) is not fully understood, it is known that inflammatory mechanisms influence motor neuron damage in the brain and spinal cord.
The Modifying Immune Response & Outcomes in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (MIROCALS) research trial aims to find a new treatment for ALS and stop the damage caused by the condition by testing interleukin-2 (IL-2), a molecule that helps to regulate the immune system. The trial used an innovative method, grouping patients by the level of a marker of disease severity measured in the spinal fluid.
The main findings from the MIROCALS trial showed that about 80% of people with ALS who were treated with IL-2 had improved chances of survival, with a decrease in the risk of death of over 40%.