The newspaper of Imperial College London
 Issue 148, 19 January 2005
Taking Imperial from strength to strength«
UK-Thai scientific collaboration boosted by new agreement«
Cirque du Soleil in the main entrance«
A nose job«
Frizzy hair today, gone tomorrow«
New microscope gives boost to UK nanotechnology«
Lord Sainsbury visits Imperial«
Imperial leads the way in surgical training and innovation«
New programme will train next generation of health leaders«
Tea off to good health«
Success halts trial«
The perfect Formula«
Spotlight on new R&D solutions«
Imperial students are best trainees«
Cash boost for Wye’s top new scholars«
In Brief«
Media mentions«
What’s on«

Media mentions

with Abigail Smith

Don’t blame the badgers
An analysis of DNA taken from skeletons excavated from the churchyard of an abandoned medieval village challenges traditional understanding of how tuberculosis was transmitted in the middle ages, according to The Daily Telegraph (28.12.04). Michael Taylor, investigative science, who examined the DNA explains: “It has always been assumed that animals gave us TB, but now it looks as though that’s not so. It is possible it actually went the other way.” He adds that the disease was probably spread in rural areas by villagers returning from towns. “Once brought into the village, it would thrive in the family unit,” he says. “The belief that the fresh, open air might have protected them doesn’t work. They went home to crowded and not particularly clean houses.”

How do you like your eggs in the morning?
A study carried out by the University of Connecticut looking at how eggs are kept in arrested development until they are ready to be fertilised could have great potential in helping us understand human reproduction, according to Steve Franks, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology. Explaining the implications to BBC News Online (29.12.04), he said: “It may be important for understanding unexplained infertility, where you have poor fertilisation of eggs and you do not know why. It may be a key to understanding chromosomal abnormalities and perhaps even early pregnancy loss.”

Fresh liver for heavy drinkers
As politicians and health professionals search for ways to tackle Britain’s binge drinking culture, The Observer (02.01.05) reports on pioneering stem cell research carried out by Imperial’s Nagy Habib to treat patients suffering from chronic liver disease. Professor Habib, surgery, anaesthetics and intensive care, explains: “The liver is a wonderful organ in the way it can regenerate itself, but if there is a lot of damage it stops functioning properly. If we can get 15 to 20 per cent of the organ regenerated, then that is enough to really improve the patient’s condition. These cells seem to have the fantastic ability to become whatever is needed in order to repair the damage.”

Journalists under the spotlight
Imperial’s David Fisk, civil and environmental engineering, commented upon The Guardian’s question of what the people who run Britain really think of journalists (10.01.05). He said “Perhaps we all live in parallel universes. The tragedy for British technology journalism is that it may soon not even live in its own universe. Technology journalism, of all media skills, should be able to cut windows between our different worlds. A volt is a volt wherever you are. But the necessary critical examination is fast disappearing.”

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