Research News

Forest fires increasingly dominate Amazonian carbon emissions during droughts

Carbon emissions from the Brazilian Amazon are increasingly dominated by forest fires during extreme droughts rather than by emissions from fires directly associated with the deforestation process, according to a study in Nature Communications.

Newspaper small ads used by Victorians for their equivalent of ‘texting’

150 years before the advent of ‘texting’, the small ads of the Evening Standard were used by Victorian lovers to send each other illicit messages, beg forgiveness and arrange trysts.

Bipolar mood swings trial recruiting participants

People who have bipolar or cyclothymic disorder and live in Devon are being recruited for a scientific study.

Sex tips for Victorians: Men with broad noses make passionate husbands

The Victorians may have a reputation for prudery, but new research shows that 19th Century manuals contained explicit sex and flirtation advice.

Dominant male pheasants learn faster

Dominant male pheasants learn faster than their downtrodden rivals, new research shows.

Pimavanserin: relief from psychosis in dementia, without devastating side-effects

A new kind of antipsychotic has been found to relieve terrifying and disturbing symptoms suffered by millions of people with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide.

Pretentious ‘executive’ job titles were a Victorian invention

Pompous job titles, such as hygiene technician and communications executive are not a 21st or even 20th century invention

New discovery could lead to prevention of organ damage in chronic disease

Researchers at the University of Exeter have worked with researchers from Cardiff University and the Wales Kidney Research Unit to find a potential new method for preventing the process that causes scar formation in organs.

Forgotten crop pathogen may be about to return

Scientists, breeders, farmers and conservation groups must continue to work in close collaboration to prepare for the potential re-emergence of a forgotten crop pathogen, a new study says.

Memory loss identified years before Alzheimer's symptoms appear

Experts have developed a cognitive test to detect subtle memory deficits years before Alzheimer's disease symptoms develop.

Large-group living boosts magpie intelligence

Growing up in a large social group makes Australian magpies more intelligent, new research shows.

Dementia care improved by just one hour of social interaction each week

Increasing the amount of social interaction for people with dementia living in care homes to just one hour a week improves quality of life when combined with personalised care.

Exeter academics co-author four of BJGP’s top ten most read articles

Four of the British Journal for General Practice (BJGP)’s top ten papers of 2017 were co-authored by University of Exeter Medical School academics.

Exposure to chemical found in plastics ‘hard to avoid’ in everyday life

86 per cent of teenagers have traces of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound used to make plastics, in their body, an Engaged Research public engagement project in collaboration with the University of Exeter has found.

Hubble Probes Atmospheres of Exoplanets in TRAPPIST-1 Habitable Zone

Scientists have made the first steps towards understanding what makes up the atmospheres of several Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting the red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1.

Ex-forces personnel needed for study

The University of Exeter is inviting Armed Forces veterans who were deployed to a combat zone during their career to take part in a research study. 

New research on why GPs quit patient care

New research has shed light on the reasons driving doctors out of General Practice.

Pioneering new centre that tackles world’s most pressing health problems officially opens

A world-leading new research centre, designed to address some of the most challenging public health issues across the globe, has officially opened.

Exeter secures £2 million funding to train tomorrow’s scientists and engineers

The Government is investing more than £2 million in the University of Exeter to train the next generation of innovators in physical science subjects, it has been announced.

Global science to support coastal communities in SE Asia

During January 2018 world-class experts from the South West UK attended the Kick-Off meeting for the Grand Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Blue Communities Programme, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Over-60s needed for memory study

People aged over 60 who suffer minor memory problems are needed for a new study at the University of Exeter.

Teens need vigorous physical activity and fitness to cut heart risk

Guidelines for teenagers should stress the importance of vigorous physical activity and fitness to cut the risk of heart disease, new research suggests.

UK chalk-stream salmon genetically unique

Salmon from the chalk streams of southern England are genetically unique, researchers have discovered.

Brain food: How to eat well for a healthy brain in later life

A new international report gives the clearest evidence to date on the impact of diet on brain health in older adults.

Coral Reefs are in trouble - how can people adapt?

An international team of scientists has developed a strategy to boost people’s ability to adapt to climate change, revealed in a new study published in Nature Climate Change.

New study looking for lithium ‘fingerprint’ from space

Camborne School of Mines is part of a pioneering study to discover it's possible to detect a lithium ‘fingerprint’ from space.

Programme which empowers people to speak up about sexual and domestic violence set to expand

Experts at University of Exeter hope to expand a pioneering programme designed to help empower people to speak up about sexual and domestic violence.

Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme helps young people see scale of First World War losses

A programme which allows a group of pupils from every English school to tour First World War battlefields is helping young people better grasp the scale of loss caused by the battles on the Western Front, analysis shows.

University of Exeter to play key role in £20 million Institute of Coding

University part of new consortium announced by Prime Minister to train next generation of digital specialists

Pulling power reveals new insights into membrane dynamics in human cells

Scientists have discovered how the movement and membrane dynamics of a specific organelle – called peroxisomes – are mediated. 

Exeter receives EPSRC grant to revolutionise detection and treatment of life-threatening illnesses

The University of Exeter has received a multi-million pound research grant to lead pioneering new research to develop vastly more accurate procedures to detect, identify and treat life-threatening diseases, such as cancer. 

Exeter dementia research showcased in New York

Exeter’s world-leading dementia research will soon be showcased at a special event in New York.

Data Science at Exeter receives substantial funding boost

The University of Exeter has received a substantial funding boost to help cement its position as one of the UK’s leading centres for data science.

Gut instinct makes animals appear clever

Animals, including humans, can make surprisingly good decisions just based on the food in their stomach, new research suggests.  

People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion

People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the “size-weight illusion” as strongly as other people, new research shows

Dorset to benefit from green spaces and health research

A new partnership will further research into the health benefits of the natural environment in Dorset’s communities.

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

Mining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deep-sea ecosystems, says a new study of seabed mining proposals around the world.

Firms should encourage disagreements between staff to generate new ideas

Companies should encourage more disorder between staff because disagreements can encourage better decision making, research suggests.

Future Climate Change Revealed by Current Climate Variations

Uncertainty surrounding the extent of future climate change could be dramatically reduced by studying year-on-year global temperature fluctuations, new research has shown.

No-fishing zones help endangered penguins

Small no-fishing zones around colonies of African penguins can help this struggling species, new research shows.

Surfers three times more likely to have antibiotic resistant bacteria in guts

Regular surfers and bodyboarders are three times more likely to have antibiotic resistant E. coli in their guts than non-surfers, new research has revealed.

Exeter research helps shape Government blueprint for natural environment

Pioneering research from the University of Exeter has helped shape the Government’s new blueprint to improve the natural environment.

Obese fat becomes ‘inflamed’ and scarred, which may make weight loss harder

The fat of obese people becomes distressed, scarred and inflamed, which may make weight loss more difficult, research at the University of Exeter has found.

New studies aim to boost social science methods in conservation research

Scientists have produced a series of papers designed to improve research on conservation and the environment.

Orangutans, like people, use medicinal plants to treat joint and muscle inflammation

Scientists have discovered that the same plant used by indigenous people on Borneo is also used by wild orangutans to treat joint and muscle inflammation.

Fragile images of Devon on show for the first time in a century

Thousands of fragile and irreplaceable images of Devon have been preserved for future generations to see thanks to University of Exeter experts.

Pioneering new technique could boost understanding of causes of heart disease

The complex and mysterious mechanisms that drive communication and reactions within human cells could be on the verge of being unravelled, due to a pioneering new technique.

National research extended to stop young adults with ADHD slipping through the net

Researchers at the University of Exeter have launched the second phase of a national survey to help identify existing services and gaps in provision for young adults with Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD).

Research will help GPs diagnose dementia more accurately

Research at the University of Exeter designed to help identify patients with dementia and reduce the pressure on health services has received a generous boost of £120,000 from the Halpin Trust.

More than 10,000 people sign up to health research at Exeter

Thousands of people in Devon have signed up to take part in high-quality research, accelerating meaningful benefits to patient health.

Bosses with mood swings make workers most anxious

Bosses who have “Jekyll and Hyde” personalities cause their staff the highest levels of anxiety, a new study has shown.

Men more likely to try to dodge paying tax

Men are significantly more likely than women to try to evade paying tax, researchers have found.

Antibiotic resistance: ‘sleeping’ bacteria that can survive drug treatment identified

‘Sleeper cells’, which can survive doses of antibiotics and lie resting in a dormant state, may hold a key to understanding antibiotic resistance, research has found. 

Are bones discovered under an Exeter street from the first turkey dinner in England?

Bones dug up from under an Exeter street may be the remains of the first ever turkey dinner in England, archaeologists believe.

Some monkeys prone to isolation

Some individual animals are prone to social isolation, new research suggests.

Human societies evolve along similar paths

Societies ranging from ancient Rome and the Inca empire to modern Britain and China have evolved along similar paths, a huge new study shows.

Grammar teaching leaves children confused, research shows

Children can be left confused and unable to write accurate sentences because of “uncertain” grammar teaching, experts have warned.  But confident teachers can enable students to use their grammar knowledge to help them craft and create their writing and positively support children’s development as writers.

Exeter marine biologist is star of the Blue Planet

Blue Planet II, which has captured the nation’s imagination and highlighted the beauty and plight of marine life around the world, starred the University of Exeter’s Steve Simpson, Associate Professor of Marine Biology & Global Change.

New NHS app will help people spend less time waiting for health services

A new free app which shows how busy local NHS services are will help people to spend less time waiting for treatment.

Marine turtles dying after becoming entangled in plastic rubbish

Hundreds of marine turtles die every year after becoming entangled in rubbish in the oceans and on beaches,  including plastic ‘six pack’ holders and discarded fishing gear.  

New training for clergy to help traumatised communities

Clergy who help communities devastated by horrific events are to receive new training.

Understanding ‘myths’ about sexual violence and domestic abuse key to prevention in Universities

Universities can play a key role in tackling stereotypical and prejudicial views around the causes of gender-based violence, a new study has suggested.

Boost for green research at Exeter

Sustainable seafood and electric cars are among the eco-friendly industries that will be the focus of new research at the University of Exeter.

Tuna dissected by university scientists

A tuna accidentally caught off Devon has been dissected by scientists at the University of Exeter.

Parental lifespan genes could hold clue to longer life

A large-scale international study led by the University of Exeter Medical School has discovered new genes linked to parents’ lifespan – which could one day be targeted to help prolong human life.  

Exeter and Cranbrook to pilot new health drive

Exeter and the East Devon new town of Cranbrook are among 12 areas selected to work on a ground-breaking new approach to tackle inactivity in communities, Sport England has announced.

Blood pressure declines 14 to 18 years before death

Blood pressure in the elderly gradually begins to decrease about 14 or so years before death, according to a new largescale study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.

Exeter reports to UN on antibiotic resistance in environment

Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest health challenges of modern times – and now two world-leading academics have reported to the United Nations on how the problem can be spread through our natural environment.

New tool allows farmers to compare their environmental impacts

Farmers can now compare their business’s impact on the environment using a new tool designed to help them operate in a more sustainable and productive way.

Doctors could improve health by being aware of their patients’ shame

Doctors could improve patient’s health if they were more aware of the serious impact shame has on the body, research suggests.

Type 1 diabetes as common in adults as children, but many adults are misdiagnosed

Type 1 diabetes is not predominantly a ‘disease of childhood’ as previously believed, but is similarly prevalent in adults, new research published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology shows.

Charity funds Medicine students’ placements abroad

Final year Medicine students have spent the summer developing their clinical skills through international work placements in locations around the world, thanks to a charity donation.

Lighting revolution may increase light pollution

A study of pictures of Earth by night has revealed that artificial light is growing brighter and more extensive every year.

Exeter Clinical Trials Unit receives national registration

The future of high quality health research in Exeter and the South West has been boosted by announcement of the national registration of the Exeter Clinical Trials Unit.

New CO2 device for unmanned ocean vessels

Carbon dioxide in remote parts of the world’s oceans will be measured by a new instrument being developed by scientists.

Military veterans to take part in new study exploring how they make the transition to civilian life

Military veterans and their families will take part in a new University of Exeter study which will explore their experiences leaving military life behind.

Research hopes to make dental visits less stressful for children with autism

Inspired by her own experience as a mum to a five-year-old son with autism, a dental hygienist has published new research hoping to make dental examinations less stressful for autistic children.

Building empathy between planners and migrants for sustainable cities

Researchers will engage new migrant populations and planners in Bangladesh’s second city to build human security into planning processes.

Dementia research at Exeter gets £190,000 boost

The dementia research charity BRACE and Kirby Laing Foundation have together awarded more than £190,000 to the University of Exeter Medical School to support cutting-edge genomic research to better understand the causes of dementia.

University experts and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation to work towards a circular economy

Experts at the University of Exeter are celebrating a new collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as they join its network as a Pioneer University.

Exeter secures significant rise in research funding

Exeter has seen an increase in the amount of research funding it receives from Research Councils UK, continuing its upward trajectory over recent years.

“Outdated and incoherent” curriculum turning children off Religious Education

The “incoherent, confusing and outdated” Religious Education curriculum is leading children to reject the subject and needs radical reform if it is to stay relevant, experts have said.

Companies should monitor egos of employees to prevent unethical behaviour

Monitoring the egos of employees could prevent bad behaviour because people who feel entitled are more likely to behave unethically at work, research suggests.

Climate change impacts already locked in – but the worst can still be avoided

Some impacts of global warming – such as sea level rise and coastal flooding – are already locked in and unavoidable, according to a major research project. 

Artificially cooling planet “risky strategy”, new research shows

Proposals to reduce the effects of global warming by imitating volcanic eruptions could have a devastating effect on regions prone to either tumultuous storms or prolonged drought.

‘Friends of friends’ relationships may be simpler than they seem

New research gives clues into how social networks can evolve by showing that complex social patterns seen in the animal kingdom may be simpler than they appear.

Hong Kong residents invited to study to maintain healthy brain

People in Hong Kong aged 50 and over are being invited to join a ground-breaking online study called PROTECT, to help learn how they can maintain a healthy brain in later life.

Female mongooses help their pups by driving out rivals

Mongoose mothers boost their pups’ survival chances by evicting rival females from their social groups, new research shows.

Cornish residents help improve health and wellbeing within their communities

Residents from Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth have united with businesses and academics in a project designed to improve people’s health and wellbeing in tomorrow’s homes.

Record high CO2 emissions delay global peak

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels have risen again after a three year hiatus, according to new figures from the Global Carbon Project (GCP).

Forecasts help predict future of UK birds

Forecasts which predict how climate change will affect UK birds are improving, new research suggests.

Research highlights ethical sourcing of materials for modern technology

Researchers have identified methods to predict the environmental and social cost of resourcing new deposits of rare earth minerals.

Traditional Amazonian drug linked to improved sense of wellbeing

A psychedelic drug traditionally used in South America improves people’s general sense of wellbeing and may offer a treatment for alcoholism and depression, new research suggests.

Women on Boards: progress on appointments, but too few women appointed to senior board roles

The percentage of women holding FTSE 100 non-executive (NED) positions is at an all-time high of 33%.

Sports psychologists suffer fear and uncertainty working with elite footballers, research shows

Sports psychologists have to cope with “fear and uncertainty”, job insecurity and long working hours when working with elite footballers, research shows.

Old human cells rejuvenated in breakthrough discovery on ageing

A new way to rejuvenate old cells in the laboratory, making them not only look younger, but start to behave more like young cells, has been discovered by researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Brighton.

Crime-scene technique used to track turtles

Scientists have used satellite tracking and a crime-scene technique to discover an important feeding ground for green turtles in the Mediterranean.

More women than men diagnosed with bowel cancer as an emergency despite extra GP visits

More than a third (34%) of women with bowel cancer in England were diagnosed after an emergency hospital visit compared to less than a third of men (30%).

Nanoscale ‘abacus’ uses pulses of light instead of wooden beads to perform calculations

The quest to develop ever-faster and more powerful computers has led to one of the most rudimentary methods of counting being given a 21st century make-over.

Biodiversity loss raises risk of ‘extinction cascades’

New research shows that the loss of biodiversity can increase the risk of “extinction cascades”, where an initial species loss leads to a domino effect of further extinctions.