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Patient wearing a specially adapted helmet which delivers infrared light deep into the brain

Between Friday 11 and Sunday 20 March, we’re celebrating British Science Week. In the second of our five-part series, we’re highlighting the incredible contribution our researchers make to global health.

Guidelines on Physical Activity for Disabled Children and Young People

Disabled children and young people will be supported to be more physically active following the publication of new guidelines from the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs). The guidelines are underpinned by research from our Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Bristol and Disabilities Rights UK.

The guidance will support disabled children and young people to improve their physical and mental health throughout their lives. The infographic used to present the guidelines is the first of its kind to be co-produced with disabled children, young people and their families.

Sugar could help repair artificial human joints

We’re working on a new sugar-containing polymer that could one day help repair artificial joint implants like hip replacements. Researchers in our Department of Chemistry are part of an international team of chemists and engineers helping to develop this new way of patching up the damage caused to low-friction surfaces. 

Infrared light therapy might aid dementia patients 

We’re working on a new infrared light therapy that might have the potential to help people with dementia. People wear a specially adapted helmet which delivers infrared light deep into the brain for six-minutes per treatment. 

This stimulates mitochondria that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the biochemical reaction in the brain’s cells. 

Our researchers say this can lead to a rise in the level of an organic compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is markedly decreased in dementia patients, provides energy to drive processes in living cells and helps nerve cells repair. 

Can echolocation help people with vision loss? 

Known as nature’s own sonar system, echolocation occurs when an animal emits a sound that bounces off objects in the environment, returning echoes that provide information about the surrounding space. 

While echolocation is well known in whale or bat species, previous research has also indicated that some blind people may use click-based echolocation to judge spaces and improve their navigation skills.  

Equipped with this knowledge a team of researchers, led by Dr Lore Thaler from our Psychology Department, delved into the factors that determine how people learn this skill. 

Find out more