Here you can read the latest research and clinical trials news

Here at the British Research Panel, we try to keep you updated with the latest breakthroughs and news within the world of research. Below, we bring a selection of articles regarding recent developments.

Is There a Link Between Birth Control and Cancer?

According to a 2017 study, hormonal contraception can slightly increase a person’s risk of breast cancer. Other factors such as age, may also affect a person’s risk.

Health professionals often say that the benefits of birth control outweigh the risks.

The pill is 99.7% effective at eliminating unwanted pregnancies when taken properly. Furthermore, it is found to reduce the risk of certain cancers, including ovarian cancer, as well as reducing the risk of ovarian cysts.

To read more about birth control and breast cancer, click the link below:


New Drug to Fight Obesity

New drug turns ‘energy-storing’ fat into ‘energy-burning’ fat.

In mice fed high-fat diets, the drug reduced weight gain by about 40%. The drug does not appear to cross the blood-brain barrier, so unlike other weight loss drugs, it is unlikely to adversely affect mood.

The research team focused on a nerve signalling molecule, NPY, that helps animals and humans survive during periods of food shortages. NYP can also make it difficult to lose weight.

The successful results in the mice study could work in the same way for people.

To read more about this drug, click the link below:


Malaria Vaccine up to 77% Effective in Young Children

Early clinical trials show promising results for vaccine against malaria.

In a trial of 450 children between the ages of 5-17 months, the vaccine, R21 was up to 77% effective at preventing malaria over the course of one year.

Researchers now plan to test R21 in a larger trial of 4,800 children.

Serum Institute of India, a vaccine manufacturer, has already pledged to produce at least 200 million doses of the vaccine if it is authorized for use.

Read the full story here:


Once-A-Week Insulin Treatment May Be a Novel Way to Treat Diabetes

Trial finds that using injectable insulin icodec once a week is as effective as using a standard injectable form of insulin daily.

A 2016 study showed that many participants who used insulin often made errors involving the dose or injection site. Insulin icodec could provide a convenient solution to this problem.

The phase 2 trials of insulin icodec included up to 300 participants. Not only did insulin icodec prove to be as effective as daily injections, researchers also found that transitioning from a daily to a weekly injection was safe and well tolerated.

Read the full article here:


One Billion Covid-19 Vaccines Administered Globally

The world has reached the milestone of administering one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, just four months after the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the first vaccine for emergency use.

As of 27 April, 1.06 billion doses had been given to 570 million people, which means that about 7.3% of the world’s population have received at least one dose.

However, vaccine inequality is clear, with about three quarters of all doses going to just ten nations.

Scientists say that more than 75% of the world’s population will need to be vaccinated to bring the pandemic under control.

Read more here:


Vaccine Effectiveness

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine more effective than expected with 96% of symptomatic cases and 95% of severe cases prevented.

The results also demonstrate that the vaccine is highly effective across all age ranges, with 92% effectiveness in preventing symptomatic disease in individuals 70 years and older.

Results were collected from a study of approximately 1,400,000 people and support the immediate need to vaccinate, especially those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Read more here:


Common Food Preservative May Harm the Immune System

A recent study confirms that a common food preservative called tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), might be negatively affecting the immune system.

TBHQ is a common food preservative used to increase products’ shelf lives. It is present in over 1,250 processed foods including Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

TBHQ has been seen to have immunotoxic effects in animal studies.

This study confirms the need for updated research and a thorough FDA review of chemical food additives to protect public safety.

Read the full story here:


How Vaccine Nationalism May Delay Global Herd Immunity

At current, global rates, it will take 4.6 years to achieve worldwide herd immunity against COVID-19.

Vaccine access and vaccination rates are high in high income countries, but remain low to non-existent among lower-income countries. High income nations, representing 14% of the world’s population possess up to 53% of the global supply of promising vaccines.

The slow vaccination rates in some nations will likely allow time for the development and spread of new variants and vaccine equity needs to be improved.

Over 6 million people in the UK have already received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and some estimate that the UK could achieve herd immunity in April.

It is crucial to treat vaccines as a public group to reduce vaccine nationalism. Read more about this here:


Cocoa May Protect Males’ Hearts from the Effects of Mental Stress

Researchers found that drinking cocoa may protect males’ blood vessels against the harmful effects of psychological stress.

Green tea, cocoa, and many fruits contain high levels of flavanols, which improve blood vessel function and lower blood pressure.

A study from the University of Birmingham which included males between the ages 18 and 45, tested the effects of high-flavanol and low-flavanol cocoa on participants completing a stressful arithmetic test. The participants who drank high-flavanol cocoa saw smaller decline in endothelial function and increased blood flow during and after the test, compared to those who consumed low-flavanol cocoa.

Read more about the study here:


AstraZeneca Vaccine Linked to Blood Clots in Rare Cases

The European Medicines Agency has concluded that there is a link between AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and “very rare”, but dangerous clotting.

Regulators stress that its 76% effectiveness in preventing Covid infections still outweighs its risks.

Many countries are counting on the AstraZeneca vaccine with the EU having purchased 400 million doses and the US buying 300 million doses.

On Wednesday, the UK announced that they recommend people under the age of 30 to receive other vaccines.

Read more here:


Mindfulness During a Pandemic: Can it help?

After an experimental online mindfulness session, 89% of participants recorded that the experience had been helpful.

A study by Wake Forest School of Medicine investigated the therapeutic value of online mindfulness. Of the 233 participants, 63% had never practiced mindfulness before.

55% of participants said the class diminished their concerns about COVID-19 and 65% were interested in learning more about mindfulness.

To read more about the study, click the link below:


New Drug Prevents hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease in Animals

Scientists have identified a new drug that is effective at inhibiting the development of plaques, a key sign of Alzheimer’s disease, in the brains of animals. In a recent series of studies in animals, scientists have shown that a drug that modulates the behaviour of one enzyme, reduces the formation of plaques.

The therapy modulated an enzyme called gamma-secretase and it was effective in reducing plaque formation and inflammation. Future clinical trials will determine if it is safe and effective to use in humans.

Alzheimer’s currently affects more than 5 million people in the US and this is only expected to increase. Read the full article here:


Mental Health During the Pandemic: 1 Year On

A US study from March 2020 found that 38% of people were feeling tired and lacking energy, 36% were having sleep disturbances and 25% were feeling depressed.

With the continuation of the pandemic, a study on residents in the US, UK and Australia found a 14% increase in anxiety due to the pandemic. Furthermore, cases of depression in the US have tripled during the pandemic and the younger population has been more severely affected.

Levels of loneliness and isolation have increased due to less social contact, which have contributed to rising anxiety and depression levels.

On the other hand, the pandemic appears to have brought some benefits, with 48% of people feeling a renewed appreciation for their family and 22% stating that slowing down has made them more mindful and reconsider their personal values.

To read more about the impact of the pandemic, click the link below!


The Link Between Anxiety and Inflammation

A study of 853 participants suggests that those with higher levels of anxiety also had higher levels of inflammation. Further findings suggest that higher levels of PTSD are also linked to higher levels of anxiety.

To research whether inflammation causes anxiety, researchers injected lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which induces an inflammatory response. Participants experienced anxiety and those whose LPS levels increased the most experienced the highest anxiety levels.

This led to further studies on the influence of gut bacteria on the brain and the possibility that anxiety can be treated using probiotics or prebiotics.

Read more here:


Lockdown May Have Boosted Wellbeing for Some

In a study completed on 385 care givers in the UK and Portugal, 88.6% believed there to be positives that have come out of the pandemic and social distancing restrictions.

The majority of respondents surveyed were mothers with 1 or 2 children. 48% of those surveyed reported a renewed appreciation for their family and 22% said they had been given the opportunity to reassess their personal values. 22% also reported living in a healthier way with less stress.

Despite many reporting lower income during this period, more time with family appeared to improve wellbeing for many of those surveyed.

Read more here:


High Fructose Diets May Harm Immune System

New study suggests that eating a diet high in fructose may cause the immune system to become inflamed. Inflammation can damage cells and tissues and lead to disease.

Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruits, honey and some vegetables. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on the other hand is a manufactured sweetener.

Fructose adjusts cellular metabolic pathways promoting the production of more reactive inflammatory cytokines which can contribute to organs and systems not functioning well and lead to disease.

Read more here:


Scientists Call for ‘Pan-Virus Vaccines’ to Prevent Next Pandemic

Scientists suggest that governments should invest in new vaccine technology to help fight against future pandemics. Future viruses may not be so amenable to rapid vaccine development like COVID-19.

Scientists argue that there should be investment in research around “broadly neutralizing antibodies.” These antibodies are able to effectively respond to a variety of strains of the same virus, not just one particular strain. This could make them valuable in responding to mutations of a virus.

Pandemics have been increasing over the last 20 years, partly due to deforestation and intensive farming that bring wild animals into closer proximity with humans. Scientists suggest investing $100-$200million per virus over a number of years would be well worth it.

Read the full article here:


Intimate Links between Diet, Gut Microbes and Health Identified

In a study of 1,098 individuals, scientists discover that gut microbiota is more strongly associated with a person’s risk of illness than their genetics.

This suggests that individualized diets can adjust the community of organisms in a person’s gut to optimize their health.

People with diverse diets rich in healthful plant-based foods and oily fish had high levels of health promoting ‘good’ microbes in their gut. The study revealed links between the composition of microbiota and a wide variety of biomarkers that reflect cardiovascular and metabolic health.

To read more, click the link below


Links Between Asbestos and Lung Cancer

Strong associations are present between asbestos and cancer, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

According to the American Cancer Society and other expert agencies, asbestos has been classified as a carcinogen meaning that it is a substance that causes cancer. Asbestos was previously a commonly used insulating material for homes, cars and factories.

Most cases of lung cancer linked to asbestos occur 15 or more years after the first exposure to the substance. Most cases of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer, result from asbestos exposure. Unlike with lung cancer, there is no link between smoking and mesothelioma.

If you have experienced prolonged periods of exposure of asbestos, or high levels of exposure. It’s recommended you see a doctor.

Read more here:


Suspension of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Vaccine

The list of countries suspending the AstraZeneca vaccine continues to grow due to reports of blood clotting.

AstraZeneca have stated that they are only aware of 15 events of deep vein thrombosis and 22 events pulmonary embolisms among the 17 million who have received the first shot. There appears no proof that these problems are more present in vaccinated patients, suggesting the possibility of “false side effects”.

The European Medicines Agency estimates the vaccine to be 60% effective, however there appears to be a loss of public confidence in this jab. With slow vaccine rollouts and the appearance of new variants, Europe appears to be facing its third wave.

To read more about the AstraZeneca vaccine, click here: