Should people who smoke receive free treatment from the National Health Service in the UK?

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 From time to time there have been debates in the press and in politics about the efficient use of money, and the allocation of funding, within the NHS in the UK. Smoking is often seen as a self-inflicted problem and thus some argue that smoking-related illness might not deserve to be treated free of charge by the NHS. In this article, I outline the problems associated with smoking and some of its scientific basis; I also discuss some of the arguments made for and against charging smokers for certain treatments. I describe some of the reasons why people start smoking and I conclude by making the case for improved smoking prevention and cessation resources as a preferable option to charging for treatment.

RSPG: Do sports drinks really work?

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Our investigation’s aim was to determine whether a sports drink containing glucose would improve athletes’ performance. We took five male students between the ages of 12 15 and, with their consent as well as their parents, conducted a test on them over the course of three weeks. We asked them to take one of three different drinks – Lucozade Sport, orange squash and water – then perform an 800m run. Participants were provided with a different drink each week before they performed the test, which happened a total of three times. The experiment showed that Lucozade Sport increased their performance the most, though our study was quite limited.

When Half of Your World is Forgotten – Hemispatial Neglect

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 With our population continuing to live for longer, doctors are beginning to learn about new conditions that affect our ageing population. Hemispatial neglect is a condition that causes patients to ‘ignore’ half of their space after a trauma to the brain which withdraws the ability to respond to sensory stimuli on the affected side. This article will discuss the causes of and treatments for hemispatial neglect, including the disabling effects on the individual.

Making Perfume From Bacteria: Kent iGEM 2014

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Every year hundreds of kit plates containing DNA parts are shipped to Universities and other scientific institutions across the globe as part of the iGEM competition. Teams of undergraduates must utilise these kits to create their own project, which they must present at the annual iGEM jamboree which this year, was held in Boston. It is the world’s largest undergraduate synthetic biology competition with 245 teams competing last year in 2013. This year a group of undergraduates from the University of Kent will be going to Boston to present their summer project on fragrance producing bacteria in the hope of obtaining a gold medal. But what does the iGEM competition hope to achieve? And more importantly, what is the Kent iGEM project all about and why is it significant?