News Reading a novel may boost brain functionality for days, new research has found

Reading a gripping novel causes biological changes in the brain which last for days as the mind is transported into the body of the protagonist

Journey's End: Larner wants the law on assisted suicide to be changed

Chris Larner: The actor who helps his ex-wife die every night

Taking a loved one to a suicide clinic isn't something most people would want to write a play about. Let alone when they've only just got married again. Emily Dugan meets Chris Larner

Racing circuit groundsman awarded £2m damages

A racing circuit groundsman who was brain-damaged in a freak work accident has been awarded more than £2 million damages.

David Cameron vows to double dementia funding

Funding for research into dementia is to be more than doubled by 2015 in a bid to make Britain a world leader in the field, David Cameron announced today.

Best Friends: Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan exchange confidences and laughter in The Trip, and we love to listen in

The Listening Project: Yes, it's good to talk. But the real joy is in being allowed to listen

As the BBC airs intimate conversations, project deviser Tony Phillips finds he is deeply moved

Pill breakthrough in battle with MS

At least 3,000 people in the UK with multiple sclerosis (MS) could benefit from the world's first pill for the condition, it was announced today.

Met's restraint on autistic boy 'was not justified'

The Metropolitan Police subjected a severely disabled boy to assault, battery, degrading and inhumane treatment, false imprisonment and unlawful disability discrimination by forcing him into "shackles" at a swimming pool, a landmark ruling has found.

Letters: My gravely ill son had to starve himself to death

How well I understand the feelings of Tony Nicklinson and his family ("My right to choose when to die", 13 March). We were in the same situation last year.

RICHARD MANNINGTON BOWES: The retired accountant was hit as he tried to put out a fire

Youth admits killing pensioner during riots

A teenager yesterday admitted to killing a retired accountant by punching him as he tried to put out a fire in a rubbish bin during last summer's riots.

Scrap metal row murder pair jailed

Two men were jailed for life today for killing an unemployed plumber who was beaten to death after cashing in stolen scrap metal for £105.

The rapid advance of the research is raising concerns that meddling with the brain could change people's personalities

The six million dollar question

Like Steve Austin in the 1970s sci-fi show, it is now possible to implant microchips into the body to control everything from weapons to wheelchairs. But is it the start of a sinister new era in science?

Romana Canneti: Shining a light into darkness at the Court of Protection

The media should be allowed to act as the eyes and ears of the public
Muhammad Ali has been battling against Parkinson's for 18 years

Boxing: Clinton praises Ali's courage in adversity

Bill Clinton, the former United States president, has paid tribute to the courage Muhammad Ali has shown throughout his entire life, not just during his boxing career.

Brief encounter: Jonathan Brown wears distorting glasses, noisy headphones and neoprene mittens to experience what life is like for people living with dementia

Dementia: A small taste of hell on earth

Dementia affects hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, yet few know how it feels. A new awareness course aims to help us to find out

Ali celebrates his 70th in style

Muhammad Ali was set to celebrate his impending 70th birthday with the first of five parties last night. The three-time world heavyweight champion, sometimes hailed as the greatest sportsman of all time, was back in his hometown in Kentucky to mark the milestone.

Superficially similar, but the Iron Lady had a quality that Streep lacks

Iron Lady film made too soon, says David Cameron

David Cameron today stepped in to the row over the Iron Lady, claiming the film should have been made "another day".

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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all