News

2018 news highlights

From space to happy goats and Brexit, we explore some of Queen Mary's media highlights over the last year.

A Queen Mary-led study of 2,000 children found that London air pollution was restricting lung development, making headline news in The Guardian.

Children exposed to diesel-dominated air pollution were not only at risk of lifelong breathing disorders, but control measures, such as London’s Low Emission Zone, were found to need significant strengthening.

The story was also covered nationally and globally by The Conversation, The Telegraph, Independent, Daily Mail, Evening Standard, The Times, BBC News, Reuters and CNN.

Queen Mary astronomers discovered a planet around one of the closest stars to our Sun. The news was covered extensively by BBC News, Independent, The Sun, Mirror, BBC Radio 4, Metro, The Telegraph, Gizmodo, Wired, Yahoo! News and ABC News.

The BBC reported that the planet's mass is thought to be 3.2 times that of our own, placing it in a category of world known as a "super-Earth". It orbits Barnard's star, which sits "just" six light-years away. The star is an extremely faint "red dwarf" that's about 3 per cent as bright as the Sun.

Professor Julian Jackson, a leading historian at Queen Mary, published a book on Charles de Gaulle which sheds new light on one of the most famous figures in French history.

The book revealed that de Gaulle may have been the unlikely prophet of Brexit, with many of his views on Britain and its membership to the European Economic Community. It received extensive and wide-ranging reviews in the media including the Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Spectator, The Times, Le Monde and the Sunday Express.

Dave Michels wrote in The Independent about his research that revealed that Cryptocurrencies are not technically recognised as property in English and Welsh courts – the same could be true of other courts around the world too.

The research showed that courts are unlikely to identify digital tokens as property, since the law does not recognise possession of intangible items. The news was also featured in The Conversation and the Daily Mail.

Thousands of children with oral pain are being taken by parents to pharmacies and A&E, instead of their dentist, and could be costing the NHS £2.3 million a year, according to Queen Mary research.

Dr Vanessa Muirhead, told The Huffington Post: “The fact that only 30 per cent of children with oral pain had seen a dentist before going to a pharmacy highlights a concerning under-use of dental services.”

The study was also covered by The Sun, The Telegraph, Daily Mail and the Irish Examiner.

The BBC reported that testing all women for the "Angelina Jolie gene", even if not considered at risk, would prevent cancers, save lives and be cost effective.

The Queen Mary research found that screening the entire population for breast and ovarian cancer gene mutations, as opposed to just those at high-risk of carrying this mutation, could prevent more cancers than the current approach.

The research was also featured on Channel 4 News, The Times, iNews, Sky News, Daily Mail, The Sun, Mirror, Daily Express and Huffington Post.

Scientists have discovered evidence that the American swamp sparrow, Melospiza georgiana, has likely been singing the same songs for a millennium.

Robert Lachlan told National Geographic: “We were able to show that swamp sparrows very rarely make mistakes when they learn their songs, and they don't just learn songs at random, they pick up commoner songs rather than rarer songs.”

The news was also featured by The Daily Mail, Science, ABC Spain and Wiener Zeitung.

Professor James Lindsay was interviewed live on BBC Radio 4's Today about a clinical trial which will use stem cell transplants to grow a new immune system for people with untreatable Crohn’s disease – a painful and chronic intestinal disease which affects at least 115,000 people in the UK.

He said: “What we’re trying to do now is to use a patient’s own stem cells to reset their faulty immune system.”

The study was also featured by Channel 4 News, BBC World Service, The TelegraphThe Conversation and International Business Times

Over 500 new gene regions that influence people’s blood pressure were discovered in a global study of blood pressure, led by Queen Mary and Imperial College London.

Professor Mark Caulfield told The Telegraph: “This is the most major advance in blood pressure genetics to date. With this information, we could calculate a person's genetic risk score for high blood pressure in later life.”

The research was also covered by the Evening Standard, The Sun, Daily Mail, The Mirror, Daily Star, Yahoo!, United Press International and the Irish Examiner.

Scientists from Queen Mary discovered that goats are drawn to humans with happy facial expressions. The result suggests a wider range of animals can read people's moods than was previously thought. The researchers showed goats pairs of photos of the same person, one of them featuring an angry expression, and the other a happy demeanour.

The findings were covered nationally and internationally by BBC News, Sky News, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, ITV, Yahoo! News, Bangkok Post and France 24.

Researchers at Queen Mary may have found a way to regrow tooth enamel using a process similar to that which constructed it in the first place.

Professor Alvaro Mata told The Sydney Morning Herald: “Through this, we have developed a technique to easily grow synthetic materials that emulate such hierarchically organised architecture over large areas and with the capacity to tune their properties.”

The work was also featured in The Times, Mail Online, El Pais, The Telegraph and The Mirror.

The Guardian reported the results of a Queen Mary study which suggests an opt-out register is unlikely to increase the number of organ donations because family members would be more likely to veto a presumed consent. The study found that that next of kin are more likely to quash a donation if their deceased relative has not given explicit consent.

The study was also covered by BBC News, The Telegraph, The Times, Daily Mail and Sky News.

The Guardian ran a story about Queen Mary bringing cleaning staff in-house in the mid-2000s, and how this changed lives and transformed a community for the better.

Queen Mary was the first accredited university to pay a real Living Wage - an hourly rate that covers what it costs to live and support a family.

Journalist Aditya Chakrabortty wrote: “This is more than just a great story. The cleaners are the living rebuttal of some of the most repugnant hypocrisies in Britain today – over who is entitled to what, over what kind of work matters, over who counts as part of a working community.”

A survey of the country’s party members revealed glaring contrasts between Tories and their Labour, Lib Dem and SNP counterparts, on subjects including gay marriage, Brexit and the death penalty.

The Guardian reported: “The findings by academics at Queen Mary University of London could spell trouble for the chances of a more socially liberal candidate such as Ruth Davidson succeeding Theresa May as Tory leader.”

The Independent and Sky News also covered the survey.

Family Courts are failing to recognise and protect human rights by not giving victims of domestic abuse a safe and fair hearing and putting children’s safety at risk, according to a joint report by Women’s Aid and Queen Mary.

Professor Shazia Choudhry told BuzzFeed: “This research indicates that the human rights of these survivors to their family life and to be free from discrimination are not being given sufficient effect in the domestic family courts.”

The news was also covered by The Guardian, The Telegraph and BBC Breakfast.