A Fight for Sight campaign is to launch this weekend, to raise awareness of eye health and the need for vital eye research. Former House of Commons Speaker the Rt Hon Baroness Boothroyd will kick off the campaign with an interview on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday (5 August). Sight loss affects more than two million people in the UK, a figure that is set to double by 2050. Despite this, eye disease is a desperately under-funded area of research in the UK. Professor Anna Horwood, in the Department of Psychology and Clinical Language Studies, explains how Reading research aims to tackle these issues.
Sight loss is an under-funded area of health research
Research into sight loss is a neglected area of research funding, but imagine what it is like to lose your sight? What would you be able to do? Read? Drive? Watch TV?
We are all familiar with research into diseases like cancer and dementia, but funding for sight loss is a fraction of that set aside for those conditions. With an ageing population, more and more people are having their lives affected by not being able to see. What might be an active old age can be devastated by not being able to do things most people take for granted.
The ‘language of depression’ can be spotted using computer analysis which looks for patterns of words used by those who are suffering from the disorder, explains PhD researcher Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi in a new post for The Conversation.
From the way you move and sleep, to how you interact with people around you, depression changes just about everything. It is even noticeable in the way you speak and express yourself in writing. Sometimes this “language of depression” can have a powerful effect on others. Just consider the impact of the poetry and song lyrics of Sylvia Plath and Kurt Cobain, who both killed themselves after suffering from depression.
Scientists have long tried to pin down the exact relationship between depression and language, and technology is helping us get closer to a full picture. Our new study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, has now unveiled a class of words that can help accurately predict whether someone is suffering from depression.
Dinosaurs, chickens and the Russian revolution were among the topics that won University of Reading academics prizes for their research last week.
The prize winners with Prof Steve Mithen, Lord Waldegrave, and Sir David Bell
The five academics, one from each research theme, were honoured with a Research Output Prize for Early Career Researchers at University Court, the showcase annual event for the University community, on 20 March.
Professor Steve Mithen, Deputy Vice Chancellor, said: “Congratulations to all five winners. They were selected by peer-review from a strong field of outputs by our Early Career Researchers in each of our five research themes.
“Whether having produced single or multi-authored works, the success of these award winners represents not only their own outstanding achievement , but the support and hard work of many more people at the University and further afield.”
By Katie Barfoot – Nutritional Psychology Lab, University of Reading
We all know that fruit and veg is good for us. But some new research from the University of Reading has revealed there is more than meets the eye with the little blue super fruits we call blueberries.
These berries, which are full of a type of nutrient called flavonoids, were shown in two separate studies to improve the positive mood of children and young adults just two hours after consumption.
The two studies, which were conducted by the University’s School of Psychology and Clinical Language Science’s Nutritional Psychology Lab, were run in two populations – healthy young adults aged 18-21, and healthy schoolchildren aged 7-10.
After consumption of a flavonoid-rich blueberry drink, both groups rated their positive mood as being significantly higher than before the blueberry drink consumption.
What’s more, we know it was the flavonoids present in the blueberry drink that made the difference, because no such finding was observed in a group of study participants who consumed a placebo control drink, which was matched for sugars, vitamins and taste.
Researchers at the University of Reading secured more than £3.9 million in research awards in December.
A total of 21 research projects were given the go-ahead in the last month of 2016, with funders from a variety of sources including government, research councils, charities and business.
Steve Mithen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for research, said: “Congratulations to everyone whose research grants were confirmed during December. I am particularly pleased that Reading has continued to collaborate with a wide range of funders, including the European Horizon 2020 programme.
“I have no doubt that these awards represent an excellent investment in knowledge and will reap great rewards for society in the near future.”