Latest research news

November 6, 2002

Academics hail success of dyslexia treatment
A revolutionary exercise programme for children and adults with dyslexia and similar learning difficulties was hailed as a major breakthrough last night as academics said the therapy was working. David Reynolds of Exeter University and Rod Nicolson of Sheffield University, who monitored the progress of 35 children in the West Midlands, said those who had undergone the treatment showed "significantly greater improvements" than others in dexterity, reading and verbal fluency. Government advisers will now be under pressure to examine the apparent benefits of the treatment, which advocates say does not interfere with attempts to improve reading skills in the classroom.
(Guardian, Daily Mail)

All in the mind for gay rams
Scientists studying a flock of homosexual sheep have discovered a region of the brain that could explain their sexual preferences. The area of the brain is smaller in gay rams than in heterosexual sheep and may be the result of exposure to hormones in the womb. The gay rams were studied at the US Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho.
(Daily Telegraph)

New courses tackle alien life and e-study
Extraterrestrial life, and the evidence (or not) for its existence, is the big topic tackled by a new Open University second-level undergraduate course - Planetary Science and the Search for Life - which draws on the expertise of scientists working in astronomy, geology, physics and chemistry. Back on earth, a new global course, Learning in the Connected Economy, is being launched next February by the OU in partnership with the University of Cambridge.

Silence falls
Half of the world's languages may have disappeared by the end of the century. Experts are trying to save them.

85-year marriage is record
A Taiwanese couple who married in April 1917 were accepted as the world's longest-married couple by the Guinness Book of Records yesterday. Liu Yung-yang, 103, and his wife, Yang Wan, 102, celebrated at their home yesterday with about 40 of their 110 blood relations.
(Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph)

Bees keep elephants off crops
Beehives might keep African elephants off farms, say researchers. The insects could help stop elephants eating crops, and make lucrative honey for farmers. (Nature)

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