In women with Multiple Sclerosis, relapse rates are known to fall during pregnancy, and rebound post-partum. A study led by the Wolfson Institute’s Dr Ruth Dobson now shows that while this remains true, the post-pregnancy relapse rate appears to be decreasing over time.
Ahead of the UK Government’s imminent review of factors affecting the impact of COVID-19 on infected patients, the Wolfson Institute’s Action on Sugar and Action on Salt group has delivered an evidence-based plan for the Prime Minister to address obesity.
A study offering personalised ovarian cancer risk prediction to women in the general population shows that 98% of participants felt less worried after finding out their ovarian cancer risk status.
A study of breast cancer outcomes in nine Swedish counties has found that differences among counties in the effect of screening on breast cancer outcomes were mainly due to survival variation in women not participating in screening.
An analysis of data from over half a million Swedish women reveals that mammography screening reduces the rates of advanced and fatal breast cancers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented changes in gynaecological cancer treatment delivery in the UK, with many aspects of the patient pathway affected and treatments prioritised and modified. The UK Covid and Gynaecological Cancer Study (UKCOGS) launched on 27 April is a multi-phased study recording and assessing changes and outcomes in patient care across the patient pathway, within the multi-disciplinary team context. 51 UK sites have now registered, and the British Gynaecological Cancer Society has awarded the study COVID19 research funding.
In the largest survey of its kind, The Wolfson Institute’s Action on Salt research group have exposed the reality that many ‘healthy’ sounding plant-based and vegan meals served at UK eating establishments are shockingly high in salt, with some containing more salt than eight McDonald’s Hamburgers.
PROTECTOR STUDY HOLDS FIRST COLLABORATORS’ MEETING
9 March 2020
A successful first meeting of the PROTECTOR study collaborators has been held, under the guidance of Chief Investigator Professor Ranjit Manchanda and his team at the Wolfson Institute.
A new meta-analysis published in the BMJ shows that salt reduction lowers blood pressure across the whole population, including among those with “normal” blood pressure, but also that people who are older, have higher blood pressure, or are of non-white ethnicity have an even bigger fall in blood pressure for a given reduction in salt intake. The study by the Wolfson’s Action on Salt group and other international researchers provides new evidence supporting salt reduction as a key public health strategy to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease.
A new survey by the Wolfson Institute’s Action on Sugar research group shows that ‘ready to drink’ pre-mixed spirits and cocktails are extremely high in hidden sugar.
Food industry fails to meet salt reduction targets in bacon
9 January 2020
New survey findings by Action on Salt, based at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, have revealed astonishing and varying levels of salt in bacon, whilst at the same time exposing the dismal lack of progress made by the food industry in meeting voluntary salt reduction targets. Bacon is the second biggest contributor to salt in the UK diet, and salt is the leading cause of raised blood pressure, which is the major cause of strokes and heart disease.
E-cigarettes paper in top 20 Altmetric list for 2019
17 December 2019
Research on e-cigarettes led by Professor Peter Hajek and colleagues from the Health and Lifestyle Research Unit at Queen Mary’s Wolfson Institute is among the 20 most discussed papers in the world in 2019.
Anastrozole protects against breast cancer for at least 12 years
12 December 2019
A study led by Wolfson Institute Director Professor Jack Cuzick has confirmed that Anastrozole offers significant long-term protection for postmenopausal women who take it for five years. Findings from the IBIS-II trial published in the Lancet, and simultaneously presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas, show that in trial participants 12 years after starting Anastrozole (up to seven years after they last took the drug), breast cancer incidence was 49% lower than in women given a placebo.
A survey comparing sugar content in 83 carbonated sugar-sweetened soft drinks before and after the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy has found a mean sugar decrease of 42%.
FESTIVE HOT DRINKS LOADED WITH SUGAR STILL EXEMPT FROM SUGAR TAX
3 December 2019
A national survey by Action on Sugar has found that some festive hot beverages contain almost as much sugar as three cans of Coca Cola, but these milk-based drinks remain exempt from the soft drinks industry levy.
Dr Belinda Nedjai and colleagues at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, have developed a non-invasive test to detect cervical pre-cancer by analysing urine and vaginal samples women collect themselves. In a presentation at the 2019 NCRI Cancer Conference, Dr Nedjai said that the self-sampling test had proved popular with women taking part in the study – suggesting it’s likely to improve participation in cervical cancer screening programmes.
Excess psychosis diagnoses amongst Black and South Asian men in deprived urban areas could reflect a cluster of disadvantage in specific places, rather than individual experiences of deprivation alone, a study led by Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine researchers at Queen Mary University of London concludes.
An analysis published on 3 October in JAMA Oncology describes a lifetime model evaluating the financial, health and social impact of multi-gene testing (BRCA1/2/PALB2) at diagnosis for all breast cancer patients, and concludes that the policy would save lives and be extremely cost effective for both UK and US health systems. The model incorporated data from 11,800 breast cancer patients in the UK, USA and Australia, and suggests that just one year’s testing could save 2102 cases of breast and ovarian cancer and 633 lives in the UK alone. In the US this would save 9733 cases of breast and ovarian cancer and 2406 lives.
An expert neurology research group co-chaired by Alastair Noyce of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London has produced an evidence-based report of policy recommendations, calling for policymakers, researchers, funding bodies, and healthcare professionals to collaborate in planning for the healthcare structures of the future, and to encourage individuals to actively prioritize their own brain health.
In a paper published in the Journal of Medical Screening, researchers from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and King’s College London have found that despite free cancer screening programmes, only 35% take part in all offered programmes.
Sauces in China 4.4 times saltier than similar sauces sold in the UK
9 September 2019
A new study on the salt content of sauces in China and the UK, led by researchers at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and The George Institute China, has found that:
Salt intake in China is confirmed to be among the highest in the world, with adults over the past four decades consistently consuming on average above 10g of salt a day, which is more than twice the recommended limit, according to new research led by Queen Mary University of London.
Professor Graham MacGregor awarded CBE
10 June 2019
Dr Hormuzd Katki (National Cancer Institute)
Professor Hugh Watkins
(Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford)
Consumers misled on honey
3 May 2019
Consumers misled on honey and so-called healthier syrups, despite them being officially categorised the same way as table sugar
Professor Jack Cuzick wins ASCCP2019 Abstract Award
1 April 2019
The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology has awarded their prize for the Best Overall Scientific Abstract 2019 to Professor Jack Cuzick and his co-authors.
E-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as nicotine replacement treatments, such as patches and gum, at helping smokers to quit, according to a clinical trial led by Queen Mary University of London.
CASH slams failure by many companies to reduce salt despite three weeks to go to reach the 2017 salt targets
Four QMUL researchers in the top 1 per cent
1 March 2018
Four researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have been placed in the top 1 per cent in the world, in this year’s Highly Cited Researchers list.
NEW shock survey reveals certain lunchtime meal deals sold by supermarkets and retailers contain up to 30 TEASPOONS of sugar – that’s the amount of sugar in 79 chocolate fingers
We are proud to announce that Kawther Hashem, Nutritionist and Researcher for Action on Sugar at Queen Mary University of London, has been awarded the GG2 Young Achiever Award at the GG2 Leadership Awards ceremony on Thursday 26th October. GG2 Leadership Awards have been, for the past 19 years, celebrating British talents and achievements among ethnic minorities.
NEW findings reveal some food manufacturers have INCREASED salt levels in their pesto sauces despite warnings that salt damages our health
Wolfson staff win prizes at William Harvey Day
8 August 2017
Two members of staff from Wolfson Institute won prizes from the four poster awards at William Harvey Day yesterday.
Professor Jack Cuzick from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has been elected as a new Fellow of the Royal Society. The election is in recognition of his achievements in the application of basic science discoveries to the practice of medicine, particularly preventive medicine in cancer.
Wolfson MSc student wins QM prize
8 August 2017
One of our MSc students – Ioanna Skaltsa - has been awarded one of only 5 College prizes within the SMD this year awarded to postgraduate taught students for academic excellence ( as indicated by the award of a Masters Degree or an MClinDent with distinction).
At the CCP, Professor Stephen Duffy is continuing his exceptional research track record in cancer epidemiology, screening and policy.
His new publication reports the results of the TOMMY trial that tested the effectiveness of adding a 3D imaging technique to standard mammography.
Cuzick and Bhui receive honours from the Queen
8 August 2017
Academics from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have been given two appointments of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and an appointment of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), as published in the Queen’s New Year 2017 Honours List.
Tesco First to Take Action on Sugar
8 August 2017
A study being published on 15th November in the BMJ Open entitled: Cross-sectional survey of the amount of sugar and calories in carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages on sale in the UK reveals, that the sugar content in carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages (CSSB) was found to be alarmingly high – with large variation in sugar content between different flavours and within the same type of flavour ranging from 3.3 to 52.8 g/330 mL – equivalent to 12 teaspoons.
Sugar - Cameron Must Act Now
8 August 2017
Scientists from Queen Mary University of London have found text messaging prevents one in six patients from forgetting to take, or stopping, their prescribed medicines.
Violent Radicalisation and Terrorism are on the news on a daily basis with concerns expressed about young people involved in international terrorist movements. The process by which violent radicalisation takes place is complex and continuing to be investigated whilst counter-terrorism experts continue to try and minimise the risks and maximise public safety.
State of the Art Annual Congress
8 August 2017
This Mental Health Research Congress will bring together the best psychiatric research from international experts ranging from genomics through to public health. We will have cutting edge research presentations by international experts and by and from promising junior researchers who will become future leaders.
A modest reduction in salt intake could reduce the risk of strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease in people with early onset type 2 diabetes, according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and St. Helier Hospital.
Risk & Public Protection Research Group (RPPRG) meeting
8 August 2017
QMUL scientists win Cancer Research UK prize
8 August 2017
A team of researchers led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have been awarded the 2014 Cancer Research UK Prize for Translational Cancer Research at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool.
Professor Kelly Brownell lecture 2015
8 August 2017
New study on the link between depression and radicalisation launched
Leading QMUL cancer researcher Professor Jack Cuzick has been given a prestigious award for his contributions to clinical research
Prevention and Early Detection of Prostate Cancer
8 August 2017
Postgraduate Mental Health Open Evening
8 August 2017
Research led by CCP's Professor Sue Moss and the Bowel Cancer Screening Hubs has shown a markedly increased participation in a bowel cancer screening pilot study in England using a faecal immunochemical test for haemaglobin (FIT).
Data was presented in the prize-winning poster at the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) Conference, hosted by Cancer Research UK on 27-28 March 2015, which demonstrated that the uptake of screening with FIT was significantly greater than that for the currently used guaiac-based faecal occult blood test (gFOBt).
New research in northern China funded by the UK MRC shows that:
New research has predicted one in two people in the UK will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to the most accurate forecast to date from Queen Mary University of London and Cancer Research UK.
Full data set availablehere [PDF 500KB]
Full media coverage here
Scientists have developed a new HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine which protects against nine types of the virus – seven of which cause most cases of cervical cancer. The new vaccine offers significantly greater protection than the current vaccine, which protects against only two cancer causing types of HPV.
The food we eat is now the BIGGEST cause of death and ill health in the UK, owing to the large amounts of salt, saturated fat and sugars added by the food industry. The UK is in desperate need of an independent agency to improve nutrition, which the responsibility deal has failed to do according to a new paper by CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health), published today in the BMJ.
The UK’s salt reduction programme, started in 2005 and pioneered by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and CASH, has been considered a worldwide success. The programme involved a collaborative effort with the food industry to reduce salt in the nation’s diet. This was done by setting up specific salt targets for 86 categories of food, with the aim of re-setting them every 4 years. Whilst the targets remained voluntary, monitoring of the food industry was maintained throughout, ensuring no company lagged behind. As a result, significant reductions in salt intake were made at a population level, consequently reducing blood pressure and resulting in fewer deaths from heart attack and stroke.
Unfortunately under the coalition government, responsibility for nutrition was taken away from the FSA by Andrew Lansley, disturbing progress in salt reduction made by the FSA. Lansley’s decision to hand power back to the food industry as part of the flawed responsibility deal has meant potentially 4 years of salt reduction has been lost, putting an estimated 6,000 lives per year at risk and draining valuable NHS resources.
CASH is now calling for urgent action to protect and improve the nation’s health together with an independent agency for nutrition and a transparent monitoring programme to improve the food that we eat once and for all.
“The food industry is the biggest and most powerful industry in the world. Most of the foods that it currently provides are very high in salt, fat and sugars, causing increased risk of strokes, heart failure and heart attacks, and predisposing to cancer than healthier alternatives. It is therefore imperative that robust mechanisms should be set up immediately to control the food industry in a similar way to the tobacco industry,” says Professor Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and leading author of the BMJ paper.
“If the food industry were forced to produce healthier food, it would result in major reductions in cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as healthcare costs.”
In 2005, the FSA – the independent governing body responsible for nutrition at that time – developed the first set of voluntary salt targets for the food industry to follow. This was drawn up following strong evidence that salt intake raised blood pressure. Along with public awareness campaigns e.g. Sid the Slug, close monitoring and enforcement of the targets was made by the FSA and non-governmental organisations to ensure that all major food companies were involved. The targets were set up with the intention of gradually lowering them further every four years until the target for population salt intake of 6g/day was achieved.
In the 5 years after the policy was introduced the salt content of many food products has been gradually reduced by around 20-40%, with no reported loss of sales. Within the same period of time, average population salt intake has fallen by 15%, from 9.5g/day to 8.1g/day. This was accompanied by a fall in population blood pressure and mortality from stroke and coronary heart disease. As a result of these reductions, it is estimated that 9,000 deaths from stroke and coronary heart disease have been prevented each year, with annual healthcare savings of around £1.5bn in the UK.
Disruption by the coalition government
Following the formation of the coalition government in 2010, Andrew Lansley was appointed secretary of state for health and transferred responsibility for nutrition from the FSA to the Department of Health. This disrupted the salt reduction programme, making it unclear who would be responsible for the policy. In 2011, Lansley launched the responsibility deal, whereby he made the alcohol and food industries responsible for reducing alcohol consumption and improving nutrition, respectively!
No further commitment to the salt targets were made by the responsibility deal, until Andrew Lansley was replaced by Jeremy Hunt and Anna Soubry was appointed minister for Public Health. New targets were eventually set in 2014 to be achieved by 2017, but the delay has meant momentum in salt reduction has been lost, with many companies stopping or slowing down their planned reductions in salt added to foods.
This delay has disrupted progress in salt reduction. CASH estimates that over the last four years salt intake would have been further reduced by around 0.9g/day. Assuming no salt reductions have been made over this period, the lost 0.9 g/day corresponds to approximately 6,000 deaths per year from stroke and heart attack which could have been prevented, over 4,000 per year of which would have been premature.
Additionally, there has been very poor sign-up to the 2017 salt targets, with big companies such as Unilever, McDonalds and Kellogg’s failing to publicly commit to the responsibility deal.
Sonia Pombo, a nutritionist at CASH and joint author says, “The responsibility deal is no longer fit for purpose. For too long the food industry have been allowed to police themselves, putting the health of our nation at risk. It is therefore imperative that responsibility for nutrition be handed back to an independent agency, where it is not affected by changes in government, ministers, or political lobbying. Let’s get the UK back on track with salt reduction and retain our status as world leaders.”
First IBIS-II results published
8 August 2017
Energy Drinks Fuel the Obesity Epidemic
8 August 2017
For full data per 100ml, click here [PDF 253KB]
For full data per serving, click here [PDF 302KB]
For media coverage, click here
Dr John Schiller lecture 2016
8 August 2017
Daily aspirin can reduce cancer risk
8 August 2017
Cereals Still Stuffed With Sugar
8 August 2017