Today's news

November 14, 2003

Industry to be rebuked over support for colleges

Business leaders will be rebuked over their reluctance to invest in university research projects in a government-sponsored review into business links with higher education, which will be completed later this month. Richard Lambert, former editor of the Financial Times , was commissioned by chancellor Gordon Brown to look at how the economy could benefit from better links between business and universities. His interim report in July was critical of university governance, and vice-chancellors have been braced for a further onslaught. But yesterday Mr Lambert said universities had "cast off their ivory-tower image" and were well placed to capitalise on the more open way in which global companies carried out research. The next challenge was "getting business to understand and value" greater collaboration with universities.
( Financial Times )

Man held in hunt for missing student
A 39-year-old man was arrested in Plymouth last night on suspicion of abducting Alicia Eborne, 18, the student who was last seen in her Devon village a week ago. She was sighted walking along a lane to a bus stop in Cornwood, on the edge of Dartmoor, last Friday morning. No one saw her board the bus. Police have traced the location where her mobile phone last gave out a signal and it is thought this information may have prompted officers to focus their search on fields and moorland a few miles north of Plymouth.
( Times, Daily Mail, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Independent )

Researchers put myth of hard mattresses to bed
Hard mattresses, which have for years been prescribed by doctors for patients suffering from back pain, could do far less good than softer beds, Spanish researchers have shown. Traditional medical wisdom dictates that hard beds help to alleviate back pain, and 75 per cent of orthopaedic physicians still recommend a firm mattress. But results of a study published today in The Lancet overturn such orthodoxies. Softer mattresses put less pressure on the shoulders and hips and allow people to sleep more naturally.
( Times, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph )

New hope for diabetes sufferers
US scientists have raised fresh hopes of a cure for insulin-dependent diabetes, a condition that affects about 17 million people around the world. They have succeeded in not only halting the disease in mice mimicking the human condition but reversing it. Researchers at the Massachusetts general hospital, part of Harvard Medical School, are drawing up plans for trials on patients with type 1 diabetes, a condition that requires regular self-administered injections to control blood-sugar levels.
( Guardian, Independent )

Psychologists reveal secret of Kylie's bottom
According to Britain's leading bottom boffins, the perfect female rear should be slightly plump and rounded. The key is the waist-to-hip ratio. For the perfect British bottom, apparently personified by pop star Kylie Minogue, the ratio should be exactly 0.7. John Manning of the University of Central Lancashire, who carried out the study, said: "Fat is the key. In women it is stored in the bottom and forms a reserve that allows them to get through pregnancy. It's not really surprising therefore that men find those with a rounded bottom more attractive - it's a clear sign of their ability to reproduce."
( Daily Mail )

Second birth riskier for mothers who swap partners
Women who change partner between having their first two children have an increased risk of premature birth, low birthweight and infant mortality, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheimhave found. Doctors said that the figures might be explained by social and lifestyle factors. However, the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal , could not easily explain why the increased risk was found in the second birth but not in the first.
( Times )

Allergies put more people in hospital
Admissions to hospital caused by serious allergic disorders have more than tripled in the past decade, a study has found. Researchers from St George's Hospital Medical School, in South London, who studied hospital stays in England caused by one or more of four serious allergic conditions, said the rise could be caused by increased exposure to environmental risks, such as peanuts and other foodstuffs. The research is published in today's British Medical Journal .
( Times )

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