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News from universities around the UK

9th November 2015
News from universities around the UK

University of Manchester

Scientists at the University of Manchester have discovered that the brain chemistry in individuals suffering from chronic pain can alter itself to raise the individual’s pain threshold, thus reducing their suffering. The researchers found that the brain carries out this process by increasing the number of opiate receptors. These receptors respond to the pain-killing effects of endorphins, meaning that individuals with a higher number of these receptors can withstand a higher level of pain. Dr. Christopher Brown, who led the project, was excited by the results they had gathered, claiming that if scientists could understand how to make use of the opiate receptors, they may “find ways of naturally increasing resilience to pain without the side effects associated with many pain killing drugs”.


Leeds University

Leeds Student Radio came under fire last weekend as it posted a poll on its Twitter feed asking ‘Should girls dress slutty for Halloween?’ The possible responses were ‘slutty’ or ‘stupid’. According to the hosts of the Saturday Breakfast show, the tweet was related to Mean Girls, a topic they were discussing on the show. They soon started to receive complaints and deleted the tweet. The hosts also apologised for any offence caused, with one of them commenting on a post on the University’s Feminist Society Facebook page saying that they ‘take full responsibility’ and that the tweet was ‘entirely out of context’. The hosts of the show also claimed that the tweet was in response to the costume that one of them had chosen to wear for Halloween, as well as the discussion topic of Mean Girls. This didn’t satisfy some of the complainants, one of whom claimed that the context was a ‘sexist society that shames women’; this being in spite of the fact that the tweet was partly in response to what one of the female hosts was themselves wearing.


Lancaster University

The Deputy Dean of Lancaster University, Andrew Lucas, was involved in a humorous gaffe last weekend as he sent an email intended for one student to the entire Undergraduate community of the University. The email included the student’s name, an appointment for a disciplinary meeting and details of the student’s alleged offences- including 4 breaches of Campus rules. It seems that the Deputy Dean realised his mistake only minutes afterwards as he sent a subsequent email asking for all students to delete the previous email. His efforts were fruitless, however, as Lancaster University students set up a support group for the student involved and many promised to attend the disciplinary hearing in order to support the student. There has as yet been no word of how many students attended the hearing or what the result of the hearing was.


London School of Economics

A health economics specialist at LSE, Dr. Grace Lordan, has published results showing that a brisk walk is the best exercise to keep weight down. Using data from the Health Survey for England between 1999 and 2012, Dr Lordan was able to show that the results are most apparent amongst women, those aged over 50 and those in low income groups. She also used BMI data collected by nurses to demonstrate that those who regularly walked briskly for 30 minutes had lower BMI’s and smaller waistlines than those who took part in regular exercise. The article, published in Risk Analysis, will call for the government to launch a campaign promoting brisk walking as a particularly effective way of tackling obesity. Dr. Lordan claims that the effects of obesity cost the NHS almost £1 billion per year and so a walking promotional campaign would help save this money and in a more effective manner than previous promotional campaigns promoting healthy lifestyles and balanced diets.

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