Latest Blogs

  • What was sweating sickness – the mysterious Tudor plague of Wolf Hall?

    In the first episode of BBC historical drama Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s novel of the same name, Thomas Cromwell returns home to find his wife and two daughters have all died during the night, victims of a pestilence – the "sweating sickness" – that is scything through the Tudor world.

  • flu friends

    Targeting popular people is the best way to vaccinate against flu

    Influenza is a global health problem that affects 3-5m people a year and causes fatalities among the very old, the very young, and those with existing medical conditions. The virus spreads through contact. When we look at people’s social networks, an inter-connected web emerges that can help disease spread.

  • Five things you need to know about bird flu

    The UK has just recorded its second visitation of bird flu in less than three months. At the end of November, the relatively new subtype H5N8 – which was first spotted in late 2009 in China and which has since made its way westwards as far as the Netherlands – turned up in Yorkshire.

  • Medical staff in protective clothing.  Photo: Army Medicine, CC BY

    Ebola vaccines were always in the pipeline – now we’re starting to see the results

    When people look back on 2014, it may be best remembered as the year of Ebola. Two previous assumptions – that the virus was confined to remote regions of central Africa, and that the notorious virulence of the disease acted as a kind of self-limiting factor, with epidemics always burning themselves out after their initial flare-up – were shattered.

  • Copyright: BlueSkyImage  at Shutterstock

    Five common misconceptions about seasonal flu

    It’s that time of the year again. You probably think I mean Christmas, but as a virologist the sight of glitter, fairy lights and moulting pine trees immediately makes me think of the flu season. And if there’s one thing that can ruin your family’s Christmas, it’s the arrival of that particular unwanted guest.

  • Copyright dragon_fang at Shutterstock

    Teachers key to getting early help for children with mental health issues

    Mental health services for children and adolescents in the UK are beset by “serious and deeply ingrained problems”.

  • Ebola  © Sergey Uryadnikov | Dreamstime.com

    What is the Ebola virus?

    This morning you woke up feeling a little unwell. You have no appetite, your head is aching, your throat is sore and you think you might be slightly feverish. You don’t know it yet, but Ebola virus has started to attack your immune system, wiping out the T-lymphocyte cells that are crucial to its proper function.

  • Bipolar © David Castillo Dominici | Dreamstime.com

    Bipolar Disorder – we need a more balanced perspective

    Imagine you’re at University and you have your first manic episode. You think you are just partying too hard but things get out of control - you can’t sleep and your thoughts are racing. You are admitted to hospital and told you have Bipolar Disorder.

  • Hospice

    Establishing research-active hospices: new recommendations from Lancaster

    On virtually all international indices of development, hospices in the United Kingdom are highly rated except in relation to research. A new report from a team based at the International Observatory on End of Life Care has found that British hospices are not contributing sufficiently to the evidence-base in palliative care for a number of reasons.

  • Family care

    Support relatives and save England’s mental health services from crisis

    One way to reduce the crisis in mental health wards would be to improve working partnerships with relatives. This would reduce the need for people to be admitted, which often occurs when relatives can no longer cope, or close relationships have broken down and there is no longer family support available.