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Naked Mole Rats and Faecal Transplants: Resolute at New Scientist Live

By Cicely Proctor, Account Executive

Back in October, several Resoluters joined thousands of like-minded geeks who descended upon PALEXPO London for the New Scientist Live event.

The event’s mainstage included talks from Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), Chris Packham (Spring/Autumnwatch) and the legendary astronaunt, Tim Peake (European Space Agency).

Personal highlights from the team included talks on the fascinating social lives of bees (FUN FACT: the queen can choose the sex of the eggs she lays!) and the links between the gut microbiota and mental health issues, with faecal transplants as a potential treatment (yes, these are what they sound like).

However, the most fun was to be had at the many exhibition stands, where you could experience a whole range of STEM-themed activies. These ranged from examining meteoroid fragments and building robots, to genotyping your DNA and cuddling with naked mole rats (cuter than they sound).

Here, 3D printing of MRI scans was used to demonstrate how different types of dementia, each with different symptom profiles, cause different regions of the brain to deteriorate. As this deterioration occurs before symptoms manifest, these models could offer a predictive tool, helping patients know how their symptoms will develop and to plan accordingly.

The Alzheimer’s UK exhibit showcased their A Walk Through Dementia app. When paired with Google Cardboard, the app places you in the virtual world of someone living with dementia – a truly unnerving educational tool demonstrating the daily struggles which the 850,000 dementia patients in the UK face. A great disease awareness piece!

And finally, we saw an eyePhone (sorry) attachment which can photograph your retina. This is a useful tool for medical education and in emerging markets where high end optical microscopes are often unaffordable.


All in all, an excellent day – see you next year New Scientist Live!


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