College lecturers strike over pay
Thousands of college lecturers across England went on strike today in a long-running dispute over pay. The lecturers' union Natfhe said up to 26,000 members of staff in about 220 colleges would be affected by the one-day strike, which was expected to disrupt classes for thousands of students. The focus of the action was today's speech by the education secretary, Ruth Kelly, to the Association of Colleges' annual conference in Birmingham. She promised to tackle the 13 per cent funding gap between colleges and schools, which she acknowledged was resented in the sector.
Campaign targets student drinking
A new campaign is encouraging students to mend their drunken ways in the run-up to Christmas - or at least drink more responsibly. From today, students at 53 universities will be bombarded with beer mats, messages on their pint glasses and washroom stickers when they go to a student bar. They will also be served by staff wearing T shirts all advising them to drink more sensibly.
SCS signs its first stem cell licensing deal
Stem Cell Sciences announced yesterday that its Japanese unit has signed a licensing agreement with the University of Nice to commercialise human stem cells - the Edinburgh-based group's first ever cell therapy programme in humans. Under the agreement, SCS will obtain exclusive rights to the use of patents and expertise relating to the hMADS technology - stem cells that are derived from the fat of young children and which are able to produce many different types of cells.
Scientists 'on the brink of creating malaria vaccine'
Scientists have hailed the "unprecedented" results of a trial of a malaria vaccine that halved the incidence of severe disease in children over 18 months. The success of the trial involving more than 1,400 children aged one to four in Mozambique has raised hopes that a vaccine can be created against malaria - a disease that kills more than one million people a year. Researchers have been working on a malaria vaccine for more than 20 years, but, until now, none of the candidates has showed promise. The vaccine used in the latest trial is the most advanced among more than a dozen experimental vaccines being studied in humans.
Atkins could stress unborn babies
A study to find out the long-term effects of Atkins-style diets on unborn babies is to begin today. Researchers are investigating whether a woman who consumes a high-meat, low-carbohydrate diet in late pregnancy risks damaging the future health of her child. The study by the universities of Edinburgh and Southampton focuses on a group of nearly 1,000 men and women born in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, in the late 1960s whose mothers' diets were similar to Atkins.
The Daily Mail
Why a ticklish dream could hold the key to psychosis and schizophrenia
Why can't we tickle ourselves? It may seem a trivial question but neuroscientists now believe the answer could provide a clue to the underlying mechanism behind such disorders as schizophrenia. This insight follows the recent discovery by Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore at University College London that people with schizophrenia are less able to distinguish between self-produced touch and a touch produced by someone else, suggesting they may be more capable of tickling themselves.
The Daily Telegraph