Tag: health

  • Health, wellbeing and veganuary

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    Just as I was starting to notice a slight increase in day length, and daring to think ahead to spring, our weather reminded us that it is still very much winter, with possibly the largest snowfall in rural Wiltshire that I can remember.

    It is during these winter months that colds and flu cases are at their peak – I’m sure we all notice the coughs and sneezes as we go about our daily lives. While there is no cure for the common cold and over-the-counter medications can help alleviate some of the symptoms, controlling the cough reflex is one of toughest problems to solve. Noscapine is a known cough suppressant but due to its limited availability had not found widespread utility. A BBSRC-funded collaboration, between the University of York and GlaxoSmithKline, which builds on earlier fundamental research led by Professor Ian Graham, has helped to change this. Their research has led to the breeding of a new poppy variety (PDF) that produces much higher levels of noscapine, so much so that it is now responsible for 80% of the world’s noscapine supply. Because of the higher quantity of noscapine produced by this new poppy, extraction is much simpler and cheaper, opening up the possibility of noscapine being used more widely in cough medicines – and this could bring welcome relief to many of us. Interestingly, noscapine is also undergoing phase II clinical trials as a low toxicity anti-cancer agent. […]

  • Bees, diversity and worms

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    I hope, like me, you have been able to take some time away from your ‘day jobs’ to recharge and refresh over the past couple of months. This year my family and I travelled to Croatia and Bosnia for our summer break – both very scenic and interesting locations – although cycling, as we were, in temperatures of 30-35OC did not feel particularly refreshing! During our trip we had an interesting visit to a local third-generation Bee keeperon the Croatian Island of Solta, whose enthusiasm and concern for the health of our pollinators knew no bounds. He was delighted to hear about the outcomes of the multidisciplinary Insect Pollinators Initiative that we supported, summarised in this recently published evaluation. […]

  • Reflections from Japan

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    At the time of writing I am heading back from the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum meeting, held in Kyoto, Japan. The STS forum was established 13 years ago and attracts leaders from academia, industry, funding agencies and governments from around the world. The forum is very much focused on discussion and I was delighted to present as part of the plenary session on ‘Delivering healthcare to the world’. The focus of my talk was the potential of microbiome research and I was pleased at the level of interest and positive feedback I received – a Canadian delegate commented with surprise on the 2kg of microorganisms in his gut! […]