Pint of Science: Big Diseases

  • 22 May 2019
  • 19:30 - 21:30
  • Old Abbey Taphouse
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Pint of Science is a worldwide science festival that takes place 20-22 May and brings researchers to your local pub to present their scientific discoveries.

The Old Abbey Taphouse at MSP is hosting a unique, interesting event on each day of the festival.

Wednesday 22nd May: Big Diseases

From the very young to the very old, many of us are likely to suffer from a disease in our lifetime. Some of these are caused by infections and others by the immune system attacking your own body. And for many diseases we don’t fully understand the cause yet. Come to an evening where we discuss the latest research into some of the biggest diseases: cancer, arthritis and dementia.


‘Arthritis and how to avoid being tricked by the media’
Dr James Gwinnutt (Research Associate)

Did you know that there are over 100 different types of arthritis? Over 10 million people in the UK are affected by these conditions, which cause daily pain and disability, yet many people believe that arthritis is simply a few achy joints. This may be due to the media’s portrayal of medical science. I will introduce some of the more common forms of arthritis, and tell you about a few of the common tricks used (sometimes unintentionally) by the media to misrepresent medical science. Then, next time you open a newspaper, you will be ready to take the claims within with a pinch of salt.

‘Is Cancer Catching?’
Professor Ian Hampson (Professor of Viral Oncology)

Most people don't think cancer is catching but it depends how you look at it. It's not like catching a cold or flu but there are some infections that can cause cancer. The difference is that most cancer causing infections show very few symptoms and they take their time. For example there are some that can take 50yrs for the cancer to develop. Why is this important? Simple, cure the infection, prevent the cancer and for cancer, prevention is most definitely better than the cure!

‘Not just old age: what causes dementia in younger people?’
Dr Sarah Ryan (Research Associate)

It’s a common myth that dementia is just a normal part of aging, but this isn’t true. Dementia is caused by diseases like Alzheimer’s that physically damage the brain, causing symptoms like memory loss. There are also some diseases that cause dementia earlier in life, proving it isn’t just a sign of aging. I’ll talk about my research into a rare kind of dementia that affects people in their 50s, and how this can be caused by a faulty gene. We’ll look at what happens inside the brain of a person with dementia, and how we can study that in a lab. Expect mice, flies, fish, and cells in a dish!

Other Pint of Science events at Old Abbey Taphouse

20th May - ‘Me, Microbe and I’ 

21st May - ‘Take your health into your own hands’ 

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