Today's news

March 16, 2005

European student had right to UK loan
The European Union's highest court yesterday ordered the Government to ease restrictions on university grants and subsidised student loans for EU students, saying current laws discriminated against foreigners. The European Court of Justice found in favour of a French student, Dany Bidar, who was denied a loan to help with the cost of an undergraduate degree at University College London because he was not deemed to have "settled" in the United Kingdom. The court's ruling will mean more students from other EU nations will qualify for British-funded maintenance loans and grants. A Government press officer said the number of EU students who would directly gain from the ruling was "very limited". "There's no question of any floodgates being opened," she said.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times

Faculty fires warning at Harvard's Summers
Harvard President Lawrence Summers was hoping for a sign that the worst was behind him, that critics were prepared to accept his apologies and move on. Instead, Summers got a reminder Tuesday of just how angry some Harvard faculty members are over his management style and recent controversial comments about women in science. In a surprising - if only symbolic - 218-185 vote, Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences approved a motion expressing a "lack of confidence" in Summers' leadership. In Harvard's nearly 400-year history, which includes bitter disputes between presidents and faculty over everything from religion to investment in apartheid-era South Africa, such a vote was unprecedented.
The Guardian, The Financial Times

Students 'fret more over debt than studies'
Students worry more about money than they do about their studies, according to new research out today. Twice as many undergraduates (59 per cent) cite their finances as being their main worry, followed by their studies (29 per cent) and having a good lifestyle and social life (12 per cent), a survey of almost 1,000 students carried out by the Post Office found. Money worries are one of the biggest causes of tension in shared households as students squabble over splitting rent and bills - more than one in 10 (13 per cent) cited finances as the biggest grievance with the people they live with.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

Researchers find new way to fight cancer by sending cells to sleep
Pioneering research by British scientists has found a new way of fighting cancer - sending tumour cells to sleep. Experiments with skin cancer cells show they can be frozen into a permanent state of suspended animation, which stops them multiplying. Although the cells do not die, the uncontrolled cell division characteristic of cancer is halted. The coma-like effect, known as senescence, is a natural defence the body uses to prevent damaged cells triggering cancers. When the mechanism breaks down, rogue cells are left to multiply and a spreading cancer can result.
The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph

Doctors to climb Everest - and get out the exercise bikes
It is the highest, loneliest and most forbidding place on Earth. Well into the so-called "death zone" above 8,000 metres (26,250ft), the frozen South Col of Mount Everest is the final obstacle before the summit for most climbers and the last place an unfortunate few see. It is also, in what must be the ultimate demonstration of British grit, ingenuity and downright eccentricity, where a team of mountaineering doctors from University College London intend to set up exercise bikes and pedal their way into medical history. The doctors said the expedition would yield vital information which could explain what happens when the body touches the void - on a mountain top and in a medical emergency.
The Guardian, The Times

Study by Sussex university into women binge drinking
Binge drinking could result in plummeting moods and impair cognitive performance, a new UK study of young alcohol drinkers suggests. And the research indicates that women are more affected than men. Getting drunk by downing large amounts of booze quickly, followed by days of abstinence can be considered as undergoing repeated alcohol withdrawal, say Theodora Duka at the University of Sussex, and Julia Townshend, now at Thames Valley University. This kind of withdrawal is known to affect cognitive ability and emotional responses in alcoholic patients, so the pair set out examine the effects of binge-drinking on these responses.
New Scientist

Taking vitamin E 'could raise risk of heart failure'
Taking vitamin E to cut the risks of heart disease or cancer has no effect and might even increase the chance of heart failure, doctors said yesterday. Researchers in Canada strongly advise against people with existing heart disease or diabetes taking vitamin E supplements. Their study in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed patients for almost seven years and is one of the longest trials of vitamin E supplement use. The trial, by Dr Eva Lonn of Ontario's Population Health Research Institute and McMaster University and her colleagues, involved more than 700 patients aged at least 55. They all had vascular disease or diabetes already.
The Telegraph, The Daily Mail

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