Today's news

September 20, 2004

Scientists size up designer drugs
The Royal Society will today launch a year-long inquiry into the feasibility of developing drugs that are tailored to an individual patient's genetic makeup. The independent study will "cut through the hype that has surrounded this particular area that has arisen from the mapping of the human genome and producing new drugs that are tailored to the genetic makeup of an individual," the the Royal Society said.

Higher education comments and letters
- Admissions of error: Leader recommending a more positive response to the conclusions of the government committee on fairness in admissions chaired by Steven Schwartz. Guardian
- Ruining the university prize: Chris Woodhead says that the Schwartz report on widening access to university is a piece of social engineering that will damage standards. Sunday Times
- Bryn Jones , director, of the Business and Community Programme at Bath University writes that higher grades are not simply due to falling standards. Financial Times
- Chris Mullin , Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, writes that study visas aimed at foreigners have doubled since 1998. Financial Times

Norwich's poise hides degree of uncertainty
Latin is not often heard at football grounds. Anglo-Saxon is preferred. But, when the vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia completed his citation with " honoris causa" this weekend, he got the biggest cheer so far. And that was at half-time. Norwich had become the first Premiership football club to receive an honorary degree. The gowns were pretty, the hats dotty and the ceremony ended with bowing and doffing. It might have been the House of Commons except there were no intruders. And that was just as well. The doctorate was in civil law.

UCL study advocates car-free towns
Motorists should be forced out of their cars with mass pedestrianisation of town centres, hefty tolls, greater congestion charging and a fuel price rise, a ten-year study from the Transport Studies Unit, based at University College London, has concluded.

Why singletons are less likely to be obese
Researchers may have discovered the key to avoiding obesity - live on your own. An American study found that women living in households with four or more people were significantly more likely to be obese than those who lived by themselves. Married women were also more likely to be obese than those who remained single, according to research published by health journal BMC Family Practice .

How to eat sweets and lose weight
Turning conventional wisdom on its head, a study by researchers in London, Edinburgh and Birmingham has disclosed that a group of overweight cab drivers who were encouraged to eat more sugary snacks managed to lose an average of 12lb each over 12 weeks. The idea, the team reports online in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition , was to prevent the volunteers adopting the usual "starve and binge" pattern of dieting.

Higher education items in the weekend press
- The Liberal Democrats have pledged to get rid of top-up fees if they are elected. Times , September 18
- Battle lines have been drawn between the political parties over university tuition fees. Mail on Sunday
- Jarvis has initiated a sale process for what is left of its accommodation services division. Financial Times , September 18
- How special mortgages can save debt-ridden graduates from having to wait years before buying their first property. Mail on Sunday
- It costs £4,000 to kit out a student for college. Sunday Express
- One in ten students is taking a gap year before commencing university. Sunday Express

- Austin Woolrych, historian of the Civil War and a founding professor of Lancaster University, died on September 14 2004, aged 86. Independent
- Harvey Wheeler, professor of political science and co-author of Fail-Safe , the 1962 nuclear disaster novel made into a film by Sidney Lumet, died on September 6 2004, aged 85. Guardian

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