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We throw away or destroy millions of unused medicines each year, at an estimated cost of £300m to the NHS. But could they be safely re-used? Reading’s Dr Parastou Donyai has gathered the views of patients and says it’s time for a public debate.

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90 years ago this week, Nancy Astor, the first female British MP to take her seat, held a garden party at Cliveden House to celebrate the passing of the Act of Parliament that granted equal voting rights for men and women. Rachel Newton has been delving into the University’s Astor archive and tells us what she’s discovered.

This summer, I have a research internship working with Dr Jacqui Turner on the undergraduate research opportunities programme (UROP) within the Department of History and in collaboration with Special Collections here at the University of Reading.

We are preparing a digital exhibition curating archive material to tell the story of the political career and legacy of Nancy Astor, the first sitting female MP in Britain. While I was researching, I came across some fascinating documents relating to a garden party that Astor held at her riverside country home, Cliveden House, almost exactly 90 years ago.

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If it had not been for the discoveries of Arvid Carlsson we would have no drugs for Parkinson’s disease. In a recent post for The Conversation, Reading neuroscientist Dr Patrick Lewis explores the legacy of the scientist who discovered a critical molecule that brain cells use to communicate.

Arvid Carlsson, the Swedish neuroscientist and Nobel laureate, died on June 29, 2018 at the age of 95. He had devoted his life to understanding how the brain works and was awarded the Nobel for his research into dopamine – an important chemical found in the brain.

So what is dopamine, and why did finding out about it merit the Nobel Prize?

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Anxious about the fate of your dahlias and tomatoes in the warm weather? Dr Alastair Culham from the School of Biological Sciences explains the best time of day to water your garden in a new post for The Conversation.

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Evidence against a death row inmate in Japan is shaky, but retrial is unlikely because it would damage the Japanese criminal justice system’s image of infallibility and provide an opportunity for abolitionists, says Dr Mai Sato in a new piece for The Conversation.

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Professor Rosa Freedman says bias towards Israel played a part in the US leaving the UN Human Rights Council. She examines the likely fall-out in a recent post for The Conversation. 

The US’s announcement that it is leaving the UN Human Rights Council should not surprise anyone, since the Trump administration has long made clear its disdain for many parts of the United Nations. But the damage that the decision is likely to cause could nonetheless topple an increasingly wobbly house of cards.

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The exam grades gap between rich and poor remains stubbornly constant. If we are ever to achieve parity of life chances for all, we must shift the focus away from exam results towards skills such as confidence, resilience, and personal measures of achievement, say Dr Carol Fuller and Gaston Bacquet.

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When Billy Caldwell’s medicinal cannabis oil was recently seized at Heathrow Airport, the drug was put back in the spotlight. Reading’s Professor Gary Stephens investigates the effects of cannabis-derived compounds on the brain. Here gives update on the research, why it’s needed and how long it will be before new drugs will reach patients in a new post for The Conversation.

Gary Stephens with University of Reading colleagues Dr Ben Whalley and Dr Claire Williams, pictured at a Cannabis-growing site in 2011.

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Our farm at Sonning recently threw open its five-bar gates to the public as part of the national Open Farm Sunday event. Anna Thompson from the Centre for Dairy Research  talks us through some pictures from the day.

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What will Reading look like in 30 years‘ time? How can we ensure there will be jobs, living spaces and facilities that we can enjoy in a sustainable way? The Reading 2050 project, including Professor Tim Dixon from the School of the Built Environment, has led development of a vision for Reading 2050 in consultation with local communities, organisations and businesses. Tim is hosting a series of public lectures to encourage debate on delivering the vision.  On 28 June, he will welcome Natalie Ganpatsingh, from Reading-based Nature Nurture and on 18 July, Dr Eugene Mohareb and Dr Daniela Perrotti from the School of the Built Environment, University of Reading will be speaking. Tim explains more.

The Reading 2050 project was established in 2013 to deliver a strategic, long-term vision that will support growth and prosperity, and help ensure that a truly smart and sustainable city can be delivered by 2050. The project was ‘co-created’ as a partnership between the University of Reading (School of the Built Environment), a planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, and Reading UK.

The vision was developed through a series of workshops and activities with a wide range of organisations and residents from across Reading and the Thames Valley region and was launched in October 2017.  It has been cited in the Government Office of Science Future of Cities Foresight Programme and final report (2014-16) and directly supports Reading Borough Council’s statutory Local Plan and Corporate Plan. The project was also recently shortlisted for an award in the University of Reading’s Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2018.

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