RSA Journal, pp 30-35, 3:2014, Matthew Taylor
An interview with GTC Associate Fellow Theodore Zeldin mentioning the GTC Future of Work Programme.
The new old
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 24/11/2014, Paul Yip and Stuart Basten
Stuart Basten, Associate Professor in Social Policy at the University of Oxford, co-authors an article which suggests that, as life expectancy and general health improves, our definition of old age should also change.
Read the South China Morning Post article online
Hackathon develops tech tools to fight Ebola epidemic
New Scientist, 19/11/2014, Chris Baraniuk
Earlier this month, teams of physicians and graduate students from various disciplines spent a weekend huddled round laptops and drawing boards in the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. The aim of the Ebola Crisis Hackathon was to develop software and systems to help West African communities devastated by the worst-ever outbreak of the disease. One such tool is a program which automatically detects people appearing in a video feed and measures their pulse using image analysis.
Article mentions that Alexander Finlayson, a medical doctor at the University of Oxford and a GTC Associate Fellow, helped establish the MedicineAfrica social network, which tracks where doctors are in Somaliland.
TV: BBC News, BBC News
Professor Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health from the Centre of Tropical Medicine at Oxford University and GTC Senior Research Fellow, gives a live interview on how the trials will work.
TV: Impact, BBC World News
Programme includes an interview with Professor Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health from the Centre of Tropical Medicine at Oxford University and GTC Senior Research Fellow.
Radio: Howard Bentham, BBC Radio Oxford
Professor Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health from the Centre of Tropical Medicine at Oxford University and GTC Senior Research Fellow, is interviewed about the Ebola clinical trials.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer (Around 2:09 on the clock)
Ebola the Trade Killer?
TIME (USA), 12/11/2014, Mark Harrison
Article on the history of Ebola and disease by Mark Harrison, Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford University.
Managers must become IT-savvy
Financial Times, 12/11/2014, Mark Say
Jonathan Reynolds, GTC Fellow and director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management [at the Said Business School], comments at length on the difficulties caused by a lack of IT knowledge in retail managers.
Read the Financial Times article online
Do bells jingle or the nerves jangle shopping at Christmas?
Oxford Mail, p.12, 11/11/2014
In this week's University Life column, GTC Associate Fellow Nancy Puccinelli of the University of Oxford, discusses her research into our shopping habits: "We are nearly into the throes of Christmas shopping. Does this give you a sinking feeling or do you revel in the thought? As an Associate Professor of Marketing at Saïd Business School, I have discovered some interesting things about our shopping behaviour. Some shopping malls will soon be reverberating with canned music renditions of Jingle Bells. We have found that overdoing Christmas cheer to demonstrate that 'it's the season to be jolly' actually puts more stress on shoppers, who find it off-putting. We have also found that dimmer lighting, wafting nostalgic gingerbread smells and playing classical melodies such as The Nutcracker instead of the usual clichéd jingles are far more likely to get us in the mood for Christmas spending. [...]
For those of you thinking of sending your husbands out to shop, beware! When men go Christmas shopping they are more likely to be seduced by red price tags. They perceive price tags in the colour red as offering greater value than those printed in black. Our research suggests men read advertisements and price tags superficially, relying on 'clues' for shortcuts to decision-making. We found that women read advertisement with a more critical eye, unaffected by the colour of the price tag, recalling prices with a greater degree of accuracy then men. We have also discovered that shoppers can be divided into those who respond to messages about maximising pleasure, the opportunity seekers, and those who respond well to message about prevention, the risk avoiders.'
Read the Oxford Mail article online
Experts who won't drink from plastic ... and others who say they're over-reacting
Daily Mail, 11/11/2014, p.34, Chloe Lambert
Article about scientists' opinions on the dangers of drinking from plastic bottles due to potential hormone-disrupting chemicals includes comment from Ashley Grossman, GTC Senior Research Fellow and professor of endocrinology at Oxford University.
Read the Daily Mail article online
What HIV And Ebola Have In Common: Lessons From That Other Stigmatized Virus
Huffington Post (USA), 05/11/2014, Anna Almendrala
An article on the stigma Ebola survivors are facing in their communities compares what they are now facing to the experiences of those affected by HIV/AIDS. The piece mentions the work of GTC Alumna of the Year 2014 Lucie Cluver (DPhil Social Policy) of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at Oxford University, who researches how to improve the lives of children affected by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The verdict on Ofsted: 'requires improvement'?
The Guardian online, 28/10/2014, Rebecca Ratcliffe
Richard Pring, the retired director of the department of educational studies at Oxford University, is one of several people to give their verdict on Ofsted as the schools watchdog holds a consultation on its future.
Read the Guardian article online
6 reasons CEOs feel powerless to drive sustainability into their companies
The Guardian online (Professional), 22/10/2014, Jo Confino
Andrew White, GTC Fellow and head of executive training at Oxford University's Said Business School, comments on the frustrations faced by company CEOs.
Radio: Newshour, BBC World Service
GTC Fellow Felix Reed-Tsochas, of the Saïd Business School, is interviewed about the effects of social media.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer (c.20:00 on the clock)
Government Health Checks flagship scheme `should be scuttled', says GP expert
Pulse magazine, 30/09/2014, Caroline Price
The NHS Health Check scheme 'should be scuttled' as it is 'unfit for purpose', a GP academic has said in an attack on the government's high-profile vascular screening programme. Writing in an editorial in the British Journal of General Practice, Professor David Mant, emeritus professor of general practice at the University of Oxford, said that the scheme was 'inefficient at case finding, strays into primary prevention and lacks an adequate quality-assurance mechanism to ensure subsequent treatment is effective.' Professor Mant backed calls made in another article - from researchers including Professor Richard McManus, GP and professor of primary care at the University of Oxford and a GTC Fellow - for the current programme to be replaced by a targeted screening strategy aimed at high-risk patients, using the electronic patient record.
Read the Pulse magazine article online
TV: Focus on Africa, BBC World News
Professor Alexander Betts, Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford and GTC Research Fellow, discusses the International Organization for Migration's report, published on Monday, which says that more than 3,000 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year.
A clean winner of monthly accolade
Oxford Times online, 15/09/2014, Ben Holgate
A doctoral student has won an award for his soap business for disadvantaged people. Sebastian Huempfer, 26, who is studying economic history at Green Templeton College, began Clean S18 in January last year. He started the social enterprise to turn old soap into new, and is the first person in Oxfordshire to win a Prime Minister's Point of Light award. His initiative uses lightly-used soap from seven Oxford hotels and recycles it into new soap bars. They are then given to local charities, homeless shelters and disaster relief agencies.
All newborns should be similar size in ideal conditions
New Scientist online, 08/09/2014, Linda Geddes
According to new international growth charts, a healthy foetus or newborn baby should look broadly the same, regardless of ethnicity or its mother's size. The charts have been developed to help identify signs of under-nutrition, stunting, wasting or obesity at the earliest possible stage of development, so that they can be addressed. "There are currently over 100 different charts that are used to describe the growth of babies," says GTC Fellow Stephen Kennedy at the University of Oxford, who led some of the research. "What that means is that a woman can go to hospital, have her fetus measured and be told it is normal, but if she went down the road and saw someone else, she might be told her baby isn't growing well. This lack of standardisation increases anxiety, and can lead to intervention where intervention may not be required." To combat this problem, the INTERGROWTH-21st Project pooled data from thousands of healthy, well-fed mothers from the US, UK, India, China, Brazil, Oman, Kenya and Italy, using identical equipment and methods to take regular measurements of their fetuses and newborn babies. These were then used to plot standard growth charts, representing what a fetus's abdominal circumference, length of thigh bone and head measurements should look like under optimal conditions. For newborns, they plotted a baby's weight, length and head circumference.
Women who take Pill at 'higher risk of cancer'
The Times, 01/08/2014, p.1, Oliver Moody
Article on new US research into the links between oral contraceptives and breast cancer includes comment from Dame Valerie Beral, GTC Fellow and Director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, who said that the latest findings should not be taken on their own. 'It has been known for about 20 years that recent users of the Pill have a transient, and small, increase in breast cancer risk,' she added.
Read the Times article online
Radio: Planet Money, NPR (US radio network which typically has 24 million downloads of podcasts)
Alex Betts, Associate Professor of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at Oxford University, is interviewed about his study looking at the effects of allowing refugees to work in Uganda. He has examined their economic survival and how this self-reliance benefits the host economy.
Government guilty of 'abject failure' over for-profits policy
Times Higher Education, 24/07/2014, John Morgan
The government was guilty of an "abject failure" in failing to see there would be problems in letting for-profit colleges access public funding.
Sir David Watson, GTC Principal and professor of higher education at the University of Oxford, makes the argument in a paper for the Higher Education Policy Institute, asking Is there still a higher education sector?
The paper also repeats Sir David's longstanding call for a proper system of credit transfer, allowing students mobility between different universities at different stages of their studies.
Read the THE article online
UK universities spending more on outreach and less on bursaries, report shows
The Independent, 24/07/2014, Richard Garner
An article about the University access watchdog the Office for Fair Access cutting spending on scholarships and bursaries and putting their efforts into sending students into their schools to raise their aspirations instead, mentions Professor Sir David Watson's HEPI paper Is there still a higher education sector?
Read the Independent article online
Read the GTC news story about Sir David's HEPI paper
Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom and A Rough Ride to the Future by James Lovelock: review
The Guardian online, 17/07/2014, Caspar Henderson
Review of the new book A Rough Ride to the Future by GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow Professor James Lovelock.
Tough to Teach: readers reveal their pedagogical no-go zones
Times Higher Education, 17.7.14, p25, Chris Parr
In a feature on academics' toughest teaching challenges, Carolyn Hoyle, Professor of Criminology and Director of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford, says she found "teaching human rights arguments against capital punishment to 150 Chinese judges in Beijing" difficult.
Harvard vs. Oxford in a Cholesterol-Drug Cage Match
Business Week (USA), 14/07/2014, David Armstrong
Big-name scientists at Harvard University and the University of Oxford are pitted against each other on statins, the popular drugs that lower cholesterol levels, and whether they provide benefits that outweigh side effects for people at low risk of heart disease. Last October, Harvard Medical School lecturer John Abramson and colleagues published an analysis in the BMJ-formerly known as the British Medical Journal-concluding that statins convey no overall health benefit in such low-risk cases. That was a direct shot at the Oxford-based Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' Collaboration, known as CTT, which in 2012 published its own findings that statins significantly reduced the risk of death among that very same low-risk group. Rory Collins, GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow and an Oxford professor of medicine who heads the CTT collaboration, found a mistake in Abramson's analysis that overstated the side-effect risk of statins. A correction was published in May, but Collins wants the entire paper retracted. He says other errors and misstatements are in the piece. Abramson acknowledges the error in the side-effect rate but says his paper's main point-that statins do not reduce the risk of overall mortality for people with less than a 20 percent risk of cardiovascular disease over the next decade-remains accurate. The BMJ has appointed a panel of experts to advise whether the journal should make additional corrections or retract the Abramson study. The panel is due to deliver its findings by the end of this month.
Read the Business Week article online
Putin's goal is to showcase Russia at 2018 World Cup
Globe & Mail (Canada), via Reuters, 14/07/2014, Timothy Heritage and Dmitriy Rogovitskiy
Article looking ahead to the World Cup in Russia in 2018 includes comment from GTC alumna Allison Stewart (MSc Management Research 2009), associate fellow in the BT Centre for Major Programme Management at the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School.
Facebook users more influenced by their friends than 'best-seller' lists, study shows
RTE (Irish national radio), 8/07/2014
Researchers at the University of Limerick, working with scientists at the University of Oxford - including GTC fellow Felix Reed-Tsochas - and Harvard School of Public Health, have developed a mathematical model to study people's behaviour on social networks. They looked at the level of influence that friends had on online behaviour versus reliance on so-called "best-seller" lists on Facebook pages. According to the research, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the tendency towards "copycat" behaviour in humans is strong, to the extent that we can be influenced by what others do over a relatively short period of time.
Babies born to healthy, well-nourished mothers are strikingly similar in size the world over, scientists have shown. It was previously suggested that ethnicity was largely responsible for the widespread variation seen in the size of babies born around the world. The new research, co-authored by GTC fellow Professor Stephen Kennedy, suggests race and ethnicity contribute little to baby size. What matters more is the education, health and nutrition of mothers and the care they receive during pregnancy. Overall, no more than 4pc of differences in foetal growth and birth size could be attributed to population differences. Professor Jose Villar of Oxford University said: "We are not all equal at birth, but we can be. We can create a similar start for all by making sure mothers are well-educated and nourished, by treating infection and by providing adequate antenatal care. Don't say women in some parts of the world have small children because they are predestined to do so. It's not true."
Will today's children die earlier than their parents?
BBC online, 08/07/14, Laura Gray
Article about the idea that children alive today will die younger than their parents includes comments from Sir Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics at Oxford University.
Healthy mothers 'key to baby size'
Yahoo UK News, 07/06/2014, via Press Association
Newborn babies born to healthy, well-nourished mothers are strikingly similar in size the world over, scientists have shown. On average, they have a body length of 49.4 centimetres (19.45 inches), an international study found. Previously it was suggested that ethnicity was largely responsible for the widespread variation seen in the size of babies born around the world. The new research suggests race and ethnicity contribute little to baby size. What matters more is the education, health and nutrition of mothers, and the care they receive during pregnancy. Lead researcher Professor Jose Villar, from the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Oxford University, said: "Currently we are not all equal at birth, but we can be. We can create a similar start for all by making sure mothers are well educated and nourished, by treating infection and by providing adequate antenatal care. Don't say that women in some parts of the world have small children because they are predestined to do so. It's simply not true.' GTC Fellow Professor Stephen Kennedy, another member of the Oxford team, is also quoted.
Healthy mothers 'key to baby size', say researchers
Nursing Times, 07/07/2014, via Press Association
End of the peer review
The Guardian, 07/07/2014, p.26
Editorial comments on the recent mistakes made by academic journals, mentioning that in June, the British Medical Journal 'was plunged into a public row' over two papers it published last year questioning the benefits of prescribing statins. The Guardian writes:' The papers have been under attack for a while, and the Oxford professor of medicine Sir Rory Collins -a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at GTC - now says the flawed research risks putting people off statins when they could be life-saving. The Guardian suggests: 'peer review, it appears, is less reliable than it sounds.'
Read the Guardian article online
Radio: Heart and Soul, BBC World Service
Theodore Zeldin of Oxford University discusses the concept of innocence.
Hummingbirds are the 'jewels of the jungle' yet their iridescent plumes are pigment free
Daily Express, 04/07/2014, p.14, John Ingham
In his regular column John Ingham writes about the launch of Lifescaped, a firm led by GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow Professor Andrew Parker of Oxford University which aims to use the science of biomimetics to come up with new innovations. The launch was held at Clarence House and was supported by Prince Charles.
Conversations for change
Campus Engage, 03/07/2014
A report about the Campus Engage symposium, Campus-community partnerships: conversations for change, at Dublin Castle on 17 June at which GTC Principal Professor Sir David Watson was one of the keynote speakers. In 'Soft citizenship': the university and civic engagement he examined the relationship between higher education, the state and civil society, in both an historical and philosophical context. He concluded by suggesting that the university has a special role in fostering a type of 'soft citizenship', structured around personal responsibility and Amartya Sen's concept of 'public reasoning.'
Download Sir David's keynote
Fears that attacks on statins could put lives at risk
The Telegraph online, 01/07/2014, Laura Donnelly
People could be frightened off taking statins because of "prejudice, belief and anecdotes" used to attack the drugs, leading scientists and heart experts have said. Controversial draft NHS guidelines to increase the number of people taking the pills have come under fire in recent months amid concerns over their side-effects and the "medicalisation" of swathes of the public. But a panel of six leading cardiologists and scientists yesterday insisted that "the jury was no longer out" about the benefits of the drugs in preventing stroke and heart attacks, compared with risks which had been falsely over-stated. GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow Professor Rory Collins, head of the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, is one of the experts quoted. He said he felt "anxious" that those at high risk of heart attack and stroke might stop taking the drugs because they thought side-effects were far higher than is the case.
Read the Telegraph article online
The lost art of conversation
GTC Associate Fellow Theodore Zeldin is interviewed by Stephen Smith in the Radcliffe Observatory at GTC as part of a short film about the lost art of conversation.
Watch again on BBC iPlayer (c 39 minutes on the clock)
It's politicians who are shameless, not the poor
The Guardian, 30/06/2014, p.28, Robert Walker
Comment piece by Robert Walker, GTC Fellow, professor of social policy at Oxford University and author of The Shame of Poverty, published in July. He writes about new research, reported in his book, which indicates that far from being shameless, people in poverty feel humiliation on a daily basis. The research is drawn from countries as different as India and Norway, China and Uganda, South Korea and Pakistan. He argues that shame undermines confidence and saps the ability of people to help themselves. "Policies that are stigmatising are likely to be equally counterproductive," he says.
The Global Search for Education: A Healthy Start for All
Huffington Post, 29/06/2014, C M Rubin
Following the Green Templeton Emerging Markets Symposium on Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition in January 2014, this article shares some of its recommendations through a Q&A with particpants including Sir George Alleyne (Chancellor, University of the West Indies), Tsung-Mei Cheng (Co-founder of the Princeton Conference), Caroline Fall (Professor, International Paediatric Epidemiology, University of Southampton, UK), Governor Madeleine Kunin (Author of The New Feminist Agenda, Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work and Family), Sania Nishtar (Founder and President, Healthfile, Pakistan), and Srinath Reddy (President, Health Foundation of India).
Safety with Saatchi Bill
The Daily Telegraph, 27/06/2014, p.23, Unattributed
GTC Fellow Professor Stephen Kennedy, Professor Alastair Buchan, Professor Ahmed Ashour Ahmed, and Dr Wen Hwa Lee, all of Oxford University, are amongst the signatories to a letter in support of the Medical Innovation Bill: 'We are patients, advocates and doctors. We have one thing in common: we all support the Medical Innovation Bill currently having a second reading in the House of Lords, which will legally protect doctors who try out innovative new techniques or drugs on patients when all else has failed. This Bill will protect the patient and nurture the innovator. It will encourage safe medical advancement, while at the same time deterring the maverick, thereby recalibrating the culture of defensive medicine. Finally, it will work with evidence-based medicine and provide new data that will inspire and support new research. We urge the Lords to pass this Bill.'
Read the Daily Telegraph letter online
Boom ohne Ende? [China - Boom without End?]
China Contact June 2014
Marc Szepan (DPhil Management Studies) commentary piece regarding the likely long-term transformation of the Chinese economy (co-authored with S Heilmann).
Read the article online (German language version)
Five things they tell you about refugees that aren't true
The Guardian online (Professional), 20/06/2014, Alex Betts
Blog by Alexander Betts, associate professor in refugee and forced migration studies at the University of Oxford, who says existing approaches to refugee assistance simply aren't working. He writes: " That's the topline from our report, Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions, published for World Refugee Day today... Current approaches often fail to recognise that refugees have skills, talents and aspirations."
Read the Guardian article online
Professor at centre of statins row says public being misinformed
The Guardian, 14/06/2014, p.13, Sarah Boseley
The Oxford professor who triggered a public row over statins says the Department of Health and other authorities should intervene to ensure the public gets accurate information on the risks and benefits of the potentially life-saving drugs. GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow Professor Sir Rory Collins said he had little confidence in an inquiry convened by the British Medical Journal to decide whether two papers it published last year that made an error on the extent of side-effects should be completely withdrawn. He said he did not think it appropriate for the British Medical Journal to investigate itself and called on the General Medical Council, the Academy of Medical Sciences or the Department of Health to investigate. He said when the BMJ "gets things wrong, it doesn't correct them properly; when it's shown it gets things wrong, it doesn't make that clear - for example blaming the peer reviewers when it wasn't the peer reviewers' fault - and they shouldn't be in a position where they are investigating themselves. That wouldn't be happening in any other sphere." Collins said he was in favour of debate, but that it was vital people had the facts. "I think it is perfectly reasonable that people decide not to take a statin or a doctor decides not to recommend it, but I think people should be able to make an informed choice," he said. "I'm concerned that the public as a whole and doctors as a whole are being misinformed. The impact is likely to be greatest in the people in greatest need. I know people don't like the comparison with MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine, but the reality of this is far worse. This has the potential to cause very large numbers of unnecessary deaths from heart attacks and strokes, and the people who put their names to that letter should be ashamed of themselves. But in my view this goes to the failure of the BMJ to deal promptly with the problem when it was identified [by withdrawing the two papers]."
PCs lose out to phones for news
Daily Telegraph, 12/06/2014, p.5, Christopher Williams
Britons are rapidly abandoning computers as their main way to access digital news in favour of updates on smartphone and tablets, a major study of media habits has found. The proportion of consumers who mostly rely on a computer to get news online has fallen by 23 percentage points in the past year to 57%, a report published by Oxford University's Reuters Institute says. Smartphones are now the main way to access digital news for 24%, up 11 percentage points in the same period, and tablets for 16%, also up 11 percentage points. Dr David Levy, director of the Reuters Institute and GTC Fellow, is quoted.
Bacon is safe to eat despite cancer scare
Oxford Mail, 12/06/2014, p.7
An Oxford University professor has defended bacon after Harvard researchers said it increased the rate of breast cancer. Professor Valerie Beral, director of the University's Cancer Epidemiology Unit, said: 'Available evidence indicates that red meat consumption has little or no effect on breast cancer risk. Vegetarians do not have lower risks of breast cancer than non-vegetarians, supporting evidence that meat consumption is unlikely to play a major role.'
Offering statins to millions more is wrong, say doctors
The Times, 11/06/2014, p.17, Chris Smyth
Giving statins to almost everyone over 50 would do more harm than good, claims a group of doctors including Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, and Clare Gerada, past chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs. They say the evidence used to dismiss concerns about side effects is flawed and too much data remains hidden or biased to be confident about the effects of the drugs. Their stance has prompted a furious response from GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow Sir Rory Collins, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Oxford University, who accused them of "thoroughly irresponsible misinformation". "There's a perfectly reasonable debate over whether people at low risk should choose to take statins, but it's not appropriate to misrepresent the evidence and misinform the public," he said. "The absolute benefits to lower risk patients are smaller [than for higher risk patients] but the reduction in non-fatal heart attacks, fatal heart attacks, non-fatal strokes and fatal strokes is incontrovertible."
In Oxford, England, a botanical garden for both self-indulgence and self-improvement
Washington Post (USA), 06/06/2014, Frances Stead Sellers
Feature article on a tour of the University of Oxford's Botanic Garden led by Stephen Harris, Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria: '[The Garden] was founded almost 400 years ago, when the 1st Earl of Danby donated 5,000 pounds to start a "physic garden," producing plants to support medical practice. The garden's ongoing commitment to scientific inquiry is balanced by the sheer aesthetic pleasures of a place that's home to more than 5,000 plant species on less than five acres of land, making it one of the most biodiverse places on Earth...'
Read the Washington Post article online
Knighthood for innovative educator
stuff.co.nz (New Zealand), 02/06/2014, David Gadd
Dr John Hood, who has served as vice-chancellor of both Oxford and Auckland universities, was this week named as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to tertiary education.
Read the stuff.co.uk article
Saatchi tries again with revised medical innovation bill
Financial Times, 01/06/2014, p.2, Andrew Jack
Doctors would have more freedom to use experimental treatments on patients suffering from cancer and other diseases under legislation to be presented in parliament this week by Lord Saatchi. The medical innovation bill, a revised draft of which is to be introduced in the House of Lords on Thursday, has provoked fierce disagreement among doctors, lawyers and patients. Stephen Kennedy, professor of reproductive medicine at Oxford University, and a longstanding supporter of the bill, said: "Some of the criticism is illogical and ignorant. We set out to design this bill from the outset to help patients when the evidence base is limited." Professor Kennedy said he was in talks with senior government officials about the creation and funding of a public database which doctors carrying out innovative procedures would be required to use. That would allow others to draw on their experiences and also ensure that they were held accountable, although neither the database nor funding for it is included in the draft legislation.
Blood pressure drugs prevent 70,000 heart attacks in single year
Daily Mail, 30/05/2014, p.19, Jenny Hope
A series of articles in The Lancet explore how tens of thousands of lives have been saved since the 1990s because patients with high blood pressure have been diagnosed and treated more effectively. In a commentary accompanying the analysis GTC Fellow Richard McManus of Oxford University and Jonathan Mant of Cambridge University write: "After 50 years of treatment, it seems that the drugs are working."
Read the Daily Mail article online
Better care for high blood pressure cuts heart risks
The Daily Telegraph, 30/05/2014, p.10, Rebecca Smith
Read the Daily Telegraph article online
Magic bullet or massive misfire?
The Spectator, 31/05/2014, p.8, Dr James Le Fanu
Comment piece claiming that cholesterol-lowering statins don't help most of the people who take them and cause serious side effects. Le Fanu states that despite this the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended that everyone aged 60 and over should be eligible for statins: 'Intuitively, this seems a bad idea for any number of commonsensical reasons but, claims Sir Rory Collins, GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, "The evidence supports these recommendations - the drugs are effective." He concedes that some "may not like the idea of mass medication" but they can be reassured at least that statins have been found to have "virtually no side effects". Dr Judith Finegold of the National Heart and Lung Institute, in a recent, much-publicised study scrutinising nearly 80,000 patients, found the incidence of symptoms commonly attributed to statins to be no different from those of volunteers taking a placebo. Both Sir Rory Collins's endorsement of the benefits of statins and Dr Finegold's reassurances about the low incidence of side effects are based on the findings of drug company-sponsored clinical trials - not perhaps the most reliable source of evidence, given their well-known reputation for consistently reporting 'favourable efficacy and safety results'.'
Read the Spectator article online
Radio: In Search of Ourselves: A History of Psychology and the Mind, BBC Radio 4
20/05/2014, 13:46 & 13:56
Programme about the psychology of advertising and public information campaigns. GTC Visiting Fellow Professor Nancy Puccinelli from Oxford University's Saïd Business School is interviewed about her research into the way that advertising can influence the choices made by consumers. Later in the programme Professor Miles Hewstone of Oxford University is interviewed about how factors such as the attractiveness of presenters and politicians can influence our decisions.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer [01:00 on the clock]
CMRIT Graduation Day
The Hindu (India), 18/05/2014
'Eminent personalities from across the globe' who participated in the second international seminar on 'Philosophy of education', organised recently by Azim Premji University, India, included John Furlong from Oxford University.
Radio: Four Thought, BBC Radio 4
Dr Mark Graham, GTC Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, discusses the geography of information, the growing entangling of our physical and digital worlds, and global equality of access to the internet.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer
Is the Russell Group an oligarchy?
BBC News online, 14/05/2014, Sean Coughlan
Article on the Russell Group includes comment from Sir David Watson, GTC Prinicpal and professor of higher education at the University of Oxford, who has 'warned that the rise of the Russell Group is a danger to the reputation of the wider university sector'.
Medical science honour for six professors
Oxford Mail, p.6, 14/05/2014
Six Oxford University professors have to be announced as fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, including GTC Fellow Fiona Powrie, Sidney Truelove Professor of Gastroenterology. They are among 44 new Fellows revealed on Friday. It recognises their outstanding contribution to the advancement of medical science, innovative application of scientific knowledge, or conspicuous service to healthcare. They will formally be admitted to the academy at a ceremony on July 2.
Read the Oxford Mail article online
Infographic: A freelance working week revealed
Wired UK online, 13/05/2014, Tom Cheshire
A team of researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute have mapped out when and how the world's freelancers go to work using data from oDesk, which claims to be the world's largest online marketplace for remote workers. "In the Philippines, there isn't really a shift between night and day in terms of hours worked, which means they are matching themselves to an American market, and they do more stuff like personal assistance," says GTC Research Fellow Mark Graham, who heads the Information Geographies programme at the institute. "But if you look at India, there's a clearer night-to-day working pattern -- maybe that's because they're doing work, such as writing software, where it's less important to be synchronous with their clients."
An engaging tour through Oxford's medical history
The Lancet, 05/04/2014, Paul M Matthews
A review of the Bodleian exhibition 'Great Medical Discoveries: 800 Years of Oxford Innovation' which runs until 18 May. Organiser Conrad Keating is the biographer of Professor Sir Richard Doll, world-renowned epidemiologist who discovered the link between lung cancer and tobacco and the founding Warden of the former Green College. The review mentions Doll as well as the work of GTC Fellow Professor Sir Richard Peto and Senior Visiting Research Fellow Professor Sir Rory Collins.
Journos didn't bash bankers for recession: Oxford study
Hindustan Times (India), 13/05/2014
Claims that financial journalists set out to bash the bankers between 2007 and 2013 are exaggerated, says a new study conducted at the University of Oxford. Despite the scale of the financial and economic crisis and the number of banking scandals uncovered, they found that only 25% of the coverage was 'negative' in tone. A similar proportion (24%) of financial news was found to be 'positive'. Some 3% of the coverage was judged to be mixed. Robert G Picard, GTC Fellow and director of research at Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, said: 'When things are going well, the media appear keen to report good news ... but when institutions suffer large losses or become mired in scandals or legal probes, financial news suddenly becomes front page news'.
Read the Hindustan Times article online
Radio: David Prever, BBC Radio Oxford
Professor Sir Muir Gray, director of the National Knowledge Service and Chief Knowledge Officer to the NHS, is interviewed ahead of his talk (12 May) at the Oxford Martin School on the future of digital health within the NHS.
Why Journalist 'Banker Bashing' is Grossly Exaggerated
International Business Times, 29/04/2014, Lianna Brinded
A new study has shown that journalists have not unduly "bashed bankers" following the credit crisis and spate of financial scandals, despite the moans from financiers. According to University of Oxford and Prime Research, claims that financial journalists set out to bash the bankers between 2007 and 2013 are exaggerated. GTC Fellow Professor Robert Picard, director of research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, is quoted.
Whose side are we on?
Times Higher Education, 24/04/2014, p.40, Thomas Docherty
Professor Thomas Docherty, University of Warwick, argues that universities should take a stand against market competition. He claims the 'marketisation' of higher education is increasing inequalities between institutions, which weakens the sector as a whole. The article mentions a claim by GTC Principal Sir David Watson, Professor of Higher Education at Oxford, that the UK's real elite consists of only five universities (Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, LSE and Imperial).
Mongolia: 'The Gobi desert is a horrible place to work'
The Guardian online, 20/04/2014, Tania Branigan
Article on Mongolia includes comment from GTC student Ariell Ahearn-Ligham (DPhil geography and the Environment), who is researching herding at Oxford University.
Read the Guardian article online
Neuer Partner, altes Problem
Deutsche Welle, 18/04/2014, Jan D Walter
Marc Szepan (DPhil Management Studies) is quoted in article regarding China's investment strategy in South America.
The article was run in several languages including German, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese.
Read the Deutsche Weller article online (in German)
Radio: Charles Nove, BBC Radio Oxford
DrJohn Lennox, GTC Fellow Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, discusses how science and religion can complement each other.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer (c.2:25:00 on the clock)
Printers play a game of digital survival
International New York Times, 12/04/2014, p.10, Georgi Kantchev
Article on the effect of digital technologies on the traditional printing industry includes comment from GTC Fellow Robert Picard, a professor of media economics at the University of Oxford.
Radio: The Report, BBC Radio 4
GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow Professor Sir Rory Collins of the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University contributes to a programme looking at the use of statins - cholesterol-lowering drugs - to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Do preventive home visits work?
The Guardian online, Social care network, 07/04/2014, Evan Mayo-Wilson, Sean Grant and Paul Montgomery
Comment: Sean Grant (DPhil Social Intervention) and GTC Fellow Paul Montgomery of the University of Oxford, together with Evan Mayo-Wilson of UCL, say that their comprehensive review of trials on home visits is inconclusive on their benefits: ‘The number of older people in the UK has increased in recent decades, and surveys show that many people want to continue living in their own homes as long as possible…Trials and reviews of preventive home visits have reported inconsistent effects. For this reason, we conducted a systematic review of randomised trials to identify the overall effects of home visits and to identify factors that might make some programmes more effective than others…On average, these programmes did not reduce hospitalisation, long-term care or mortality. That is, there were no consistent differences between older adults receiving home visits and those who did not.’
Better nutrition for babies and mothers key to growth, emerging countries told
Article in GMA News, The Philippines (20 March 2014)
Article about the Emerging Markets Symposium hosted in Oxford in January 2014 by GTC mentions that experts have called on the governments of 22 emerging economies, including the Philippines, to put more resources into early childhood and maternal care after new studies showed a bigger payoff for countries where adults enjoyed good nutrition starting from the fetal stage.
China im Wandel - Interview mit Marc Szepan (China in Transformation - Interview with Marc Szepan)
Märkte und Zertifikate" ("Markets & Certificates" - Royal Bank of Scotland customer magazine), April/May 2014, pp: 29-32.
Marc Szepan (DPhil Management Studies) is interviewed about the current state of the Chinese economy with particular reference to the financial sector and future prospects for Chinese economic reforms.
Read the interview online (in German)
'Russellers' are not all they claim, senior scholar warns
Times Higher Education, 03/04/2014, p.12, John Morgan
The two key threats to the sector's 'controlled reputational range' in the coming wave of student expansion are the government's concern to ease the path for alternative providers and the "divisive behaviour of the sector itself, especially through the mission groups", Sir David Watson, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford, told a seminar hosted by the Higher Education Policy Institute in London on 26 March. Sir David, who is also Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford, argued that in previous waves of expansion - such as that following the Robbins report and the transformation of polytechnics into universities in 1992 - the sector had safeguarded quality through its own shared commitment to academic standards. He noted that the UK's external examiner system, where academics are involved in marking and assessment at institutions other than their own, was "envied by other systems". On private providers, Sir David said the government's approach was symptomatic of its wider view beyond higher education: a "fear that if the private sector is regulated to public sector standards it will simply not play". And in the context of the need to protect a 'controlled reputational range' in the sector, he continued: "Particularly dangerous, I think, is the bottom half of the Russell Group ...The problem with the Russell Group is that it represents neither the sector as a whole [nor], in many cases, the best of the sector". Sir David also argued that people in the sector looking for unity "must look for it in the right places - it won't simply be legislated into being".
Read the THE article online
Study: men who started smoking as boys could be more likely to father obese sons
The Independent online, 03/04/2014, Steve Connor
GTC Fellow Professor Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University comments on a study led by Bristol University that found men who start smoking as children go on to have fatter sons. Professor Peto says the study does not provide good evidence.
More support needed for retail innovation to boost European economic recovery, say experts
Times of India, Hemali Chhapia, 27/03/14
A poor understanding of the sector and lack of financial, research, and policy support is hampering innovation in retailing and getting in the way of economic recovery across the European Union, say retail experts who have made 17 specific recommendations to European governments, universities, trade associations and retailers in order to boost innovation and competitiveness in this inherently dynamic and economically important sector. The recommendations are detailed In the Final Report from The European Commission's Expert Group on Retail Sector Innovation, an international team of retailers, academics and innovation specialists chaired by GTC Fellow Dr Jonathan Reynolds of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management at Said Business School, University of Oxford.
Read the Times of India article online
Patients' views 'are still being ignored'
The Times, 27/03/2014, p.6, Chris Smyth
Patients' views on their care are routinely ignored despite a decade of NHS surveys and ratings, experts say. Oxford researchers say it is "depressing" that the collection of so much data has ended up changing so little. Writing in the BMJ, they say it is "unethical to ask patients to comment on their experiences if these comments are going to be ignored". They write: "While most NHS patients give mainly positive reports about their experiences, some problems crop up repeatedly: the failure to provide appropriate information about prognosis and treatment; not enough involvement in decisions; weak support for self care; lack of empathy and emotional support; fragmented and poorly co-ordinated services." The NHS began surveying inpatients in 2002 and there are at least ten regular national surveys of how people are treated by the NHS. Angela Coulter, the lead author of the paper and GTC Common Room Member, said the Friends and Family Test, which asks patients whether they would recommend a hospital or GP was the "the least useful" of the many surveys, which so far showed little sign of making improvements.
Read the Times article online
Radio: Kat Orman, BBC Radio Oxford
Interview with Angela Coulter who has been studying patients' views on the NHS for 30 years, and has released a study on how the NHS can react better to patient feedback.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer (Around 2.49 on the clock)
Radio: Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio 4
GTC Research Fellow Elaine Chase of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford considers the way that shame and stigma have been experienced by British people receiving welfare aid throughout history. Sohail Choudhry, also of Oxford University, says that Pakistanis on the breadline also feel shame, but were also more inclined to blame the government and the 'big guns' for their reduced state.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer
Radiation improves odds for some women after mastectomy
Reuters (US), 25/03/2014, Andrew Seaman
Women who have their breasts removed because of cancer may benefit from receiving radiation if they still have traces of cancer in their lymph nodes, suggests a new analysis. Radiation reduced the risk of death and of cancer returning among women who had cancer cells detected in the cluster of nodes under the arms after a mastectomy. The nodes are part of the lymphatic system, a conduit for immune and other cells. Dr Sarah Darby, GTC Fellow and one of the study's authors from the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group at the University of Oxford, comments on the findings.
Read the Reuters article online
Doctors' doubts over statins 'may be putting lives at risk'
The Guardian, 22/03/2014, p.1, Sarah Boseley
Doctors worrying about the safety of cholesterol-reducing statins are creating a misleading level of uncertainty that could lead to the loss of lives, GTC Associate Fellow Professor Sir Rory Collins of Oxford University has said. He believes GPs and the public are being made unjustifiably suspicious of the drug, creating a situation that has echoes of the MMR vaccine controversy. Sir Rory, one of the country's leading experts on the drug, is particularly unhappy with the British Medical Journal, which has run well-publicised articles by two critics of statins that he argues are flawed and misleading.
Statins are currently being taken in the UK by 7 million people who have at least a 20% risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. Following a major study overseen by Collins' team at Oxford in 2012, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommended in February that they should be given to people at only 10% risk - potentially dramatically increasing the number of people taking them.
Sir Rory criticised two papers published by the BMJ which both said statins did not reduce mortality and that side effects meant they did more harm than good.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer [51.21 on clock]
Fears over statins 'are misleading'
BBC News online, 22/03/2014
Patients are dying over GPs' fear of statins, says expert
Daily Mail, 22/03/2014, p.12, Sian Boyle
Statins scaremongering will cost lives, expert warns
The Daily Telegraph, 22/03/2014, p.8, James Edgar
Why the Dutch are so tall
Business Standard (India), 19/03/2014, Suman Bery
Comment piece on the height of Dutch people mentions a ‘conference on maternal and child health in Oxford organised under the sponsorship of the Emerging Markets Symposium, an activity of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford’.
Radio: Jason Mohammad, BBC Radio Wales
John Lennox, GTC Emeritus Fellow and Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, discusses the significance of the apparent discovery of gravitational waves.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer [Around 2:05 on the clock]
BMJ Awards 2014: Clinical leadership team award
BMJ 2014; 348: g2051, 11/03/2014, Adrian O'Dowd
The article looks at the programmes nominated for this year's BMJ Award, including GTC's Management in Medicine Programme, which works to train junior doctors in the Thames Valley in management and leadership.
Why the wealthiest countries are also the most open with their data
Washington Post (USA), 14/03/2014, Emily Badger
New graphs released by the Oxford Internet Institute compare the openness of 70 countries in releasing their data, using information based on the Open Knowledge Foundation's Open Data Index. The UK was classed as the most open, followed by the US, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Australia, while less economically developed countries were much less open with their data. The article's author points out that "the reasons why open data looks like the luxury of rich economies are many, and they point to the reality that poor countries face a lot more obstacles to openness than do places like the United States. For one thing, openness is also closely correlated with Internet penetration. Why open your census results if people don't have ways to access it (or means to demand it)?" Mark Graham, GTC Research Fellow and Director of Research at the OII also comments: "And it is imaginable that governments in rich economies simply have more manpower to throw at the problem...You can't really enact an open data strategy on autopilot: you need an actual implementable strategy."
Mounting pressure on social care to build evidence base
The Guardian online, 13/03/2014, David Brindle
Two new reports suggest that the social care sector needs to prove the positive benefits of what it does. One, from spending watchdog the National Audit Office questions the "weak" evidence base upon which social care services are commissioned and provided from a standpoint of cost-effectiveness. The second report, by a joint team from the University of Oxford and University College London, asserts that there is "no consistent evidence" to show that providing homecare to older people results in any benefit. After studying 64 randomised control trials (RCTs) over 20 years, researchers could find "no advantage" in having homecare as opposed to coping without. Study author and GTC DPhil student Sean Grant, from Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, says: "We are not saying that those people currently getting homecare visits should have this service withdrawn." It is possible, he accepts, that some services provide some benefit that is obscured by poor measurement and reporting. However, Grant adds: "This review is pointing out that despite homecare visits being available to the elderly in many countries, there is no robust, consistent evidence to show they provide any benefit to the elderly that we can measure." The Oxford and UCL study looked at RCTs covering 29,000 older people mainly in the UK, Canada and the US. It found that no direct value could be attributed to homecare in terms of death rates, falls, risks of injury and illness, rates of admission to hospital or care homes, or overall quality of life.
(China's) Trade with Eastern Europe is Equivalent to Ten Percent of Total Trade Volume: A Conversation with Marc Szepan (Handel mit Osteuropa entspricht zehn Prozent des Handelsvolumens: Ein Gespräch mit Marc Szepan)
52° LIVE - Die Mittelstandsseite aus Hannover, Issue 5.4 | Special - Mittelstand: Aufbruch in Osteuropa (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: Awakening in Eastern Europe), March 2014
GTC student Marc Szepan (DPhil Management Studies) is interviewed in a special issue of the online customer magazine of NORD/LB Norddeutsche Landesbank about China's investment strategy in Eastern Europe.
Read the interview (in German)
Home care visits are of little benefit to the elderly, study finds
Daily Telegraph, 13/03/2014, p.8
Home care visits are of 'no proven benefit' to elderly people, a study claims. Researchers found pensioners who receive such visits do not live longer or have more independent lives. In what is thought to be the biggest review of academic literature on home care visits, researchers from the University of Oxford and University College London conclude there is 'no consistent evidence' to show they lead to the elderly living longer or having more independent lives than those without any visits. Sixty-four trials, mainly in the United States, Canada and Britain, were analysed and researchers say that they cannot rule out the possibility that some programmes involving home visits may be effective, but neither is there significant evidence of benefit. The researchers conclude that they cannot support government policies that make home care visits widely available to the elderly. GTC Fellow Professor Paul Montgomery of Oxford University and Dr Evan Mayo-Wilson, formerly of Oxford University, are quoted.
TV: BBC 1 Oxford, South Today
11/03/2014, 18:30, 22:25
Report on a review of international studies by the Rees Centre for Fostering and Education at Oxford University on the best outcomes for teenage mums in the care system. Report includes interview with Professor Judy Sebba, GTC Senior Visiting Research Fellow.
Radio: Phil Gayle and Friends, BBC Radio Oxford
Listen again on BBC iPlayer (around 2:26 on the clock)
What is life like when your period means you are shunned by society?
New Statesman, 1/03/2014, Rose George
Article on 'menstrual taboos' in the developing world includes comment from GTC Fellow Dr Catherine Dolan of the University of Oxford's Said Business School.
The Maternal Thread of Life
Project Syndicate, 11/03/2014, Sania Nishtar
Article highlighting the issues raised at GTC's Emerging Markets Symposium on maternal and child health and nutrition which took place at Egrove Park, Oxford in January 2014. The author argues that initiatives such as school-based food programmes should be backed by policies that foster positive nutritional choices and initiatives that enhance public knowledge of nutrition
Also published in:
The Timaru Herald, New Zealand (18 March 2014)
El Nacional, Venezuela (17 March 2014)
Business Day, Nigeria (17 March 2014)
The Jakata Post, Indonesia (16 March 2014)
Al Jazeera, Qatar (13 March 2014)
Al Shabiba, Oman (13 March 2014)
Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy (12 March 2014)
Les Echos, France (12 March 2014)
Today's Zaman , Turkey (11 March 2014)
Internet is the new doctor
Times of India, 06/03/2014
More and more people today are using internet to learn and share health problems - a remarkable shift that has gained momentum in the last decade, a new research finds. This study examined interviews with patients conducted between 2001 and 2013 and explored how people talked about internet - capturing changing attitudes towards the use of internet for health. "By 2013, the web has become an almost routine part of many people's experience of health and illness. The internet has transformed how people make sense of and respond to symptoms, decide whether to consult, make treatment choice, cope with their illness and connect to others," said Professor Sue Ziebland, GTC Research Fellow from the University of Oxford.
Read the Times of India article
How oily fish could help our children sleep better
Daily Mail, 06/03/2014, p.7, Jenny Hope
Boosting levels of omega-3 fatty acids resulted in children sleeping for longer and waking up less in the night, a study has shown. Oxford University researchers gave children rated as poor sleepers omega-3 [algae] supplements for four months, or a dummy capsule. They studied 352 children aged seven to nine who were struggling readers at a mainstream primary school. They found children taking the daily omega-3 supplement had 58 minutes more sleep and seven fewer waking episodes per night compared with those on the placebo. Oxford researchers Professor Paul Montgomery - a GTC Fellow - and Dr Alex Richardson are quoted.
Read the Daily Mail article online
Oxford research aids London and Berkshire hospital ward care
BBC News online, 05/03/2014
Research by the University of Oxford is being used to improve patient care on hospital wards in London and Berkshire. Videos of patients and families recounting their experiences were used to trigger discussions between doctors, nurses and their patients. As a result, a raft of minor changes are being trialled at Royal Brompton & Harefield Trust in Chelsea and the Royal Berkshire Trust in Reading. The changes include installing clocks in sight of intensive care beds. This was after researchers discovered patients often had no sense of what time of day it was. The wards are also issuing V-shaped pillows to recovering patients and providing better information about their treatment. Lead researcher and GTC Research Fellow Dr Louise Locock, of the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford, said: 'The challenge is to find ways of enabling organisations to learn from this evidence, to move beyond gathering data and really use patient experiences to improve care.'
Coming round needn't be a nightmare
The Guardian, p. 34, 05/03/2014, Anna Bawden
Article on a new project in which patients and NHS staff work together to improve services, which was designed by academics from Oxford University's Health Experience Research Group. The Oxford academics compiled short videos about patients' experiences of intensive care and lung cancer services. The videos were drawn from Oxford University's HealthTalkOnline archive of more than 3,000 patients talking about their illnesses. They formed the basis for small group discussions between medical staff, managers, patients and relatives who identified priorities for change. The article quotes GTC Research Fellow Louise Locock, director of applied research at Oxford university's health experiences research group.
Read the Guardian article
Radio: Simeon Courtie, BBC Radio Wiltshire
Mark Harrison, GTC Fellow and professor of the history of medicine at the University of Oxford, comments on the effect of venereal diseases on the troops during the First World War, and the unpleasant treatments they could expect to receive.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer [1:16:00 on the clock]
The Guardian University Forum 2014
The Guardian online, 26/02/2014, Claire Shaw and Abby Young-Powell
Round-up of the Guardian University Forum 2014, where speakers included Professor David Watson and Dr Scott Blinder of Oxford University. They talked about the changing higher education landscape and immigration respectively.
Tug of war won't topple universities, says Oxford professor
Guardian Online, 25/02/2014, Lucy Ward
UK universities are being buffeted by "feverish" contradictory claims that, on the one hand, they cannot survive the present turbulent economic times and, on the other, that they can fix all the country's problems, a leading academic will warn at a Guardian conference on Wednesday. Professor Sir David Watson, Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford and professor of higher education, will reject the view of some critics that "the game is up" for the traditional model of the university. He will argue that institutions have ridden out previous panics over their role in society - such as fears over expansion of student numbers in the 1960s and, more recently, the dawn of the internet age - and will again adapt to new demands.
Weather Eye: rainy records
The Times, 20/02/2014, p.57, Paul Simons
Feature on rainfall records notes that Thomas Hornsby, Professor of Astronomy at Oxford University, had the Radcliffe Observatory (now at the heart of GTC) built in 1772, making it one of the earliest weather recording stations. Article refers to the finding that January 2014 was the wettest since records began in Oxford, the previous wettest January being in 1852.
Read the Times article online
Empowerment in women plan is investigated
Oxford Mail, p.24, 20/02/2014#
Researchers at Oxford University are investigating a scheme aimed at empowering women. American retail giant Walmart has hired them to examine its Empowering Women Together Scheme, which it launched internationally in 2011 to boost female-run businesses. The independent study is being conducted by GTC Fellow Professor Linda Scott of the Saïd Business School. She said 'There has been a growing realisation that increasing women's incomes has profound positive effects on national competitive.'
Radio: BBC Radio Wiltshire, Ben Prater
Professor Mark Harrison from Oxford University comments on what were known as 'Bad Boy' camps, venereal disease units for soldiers during World War One. One of the camps was based at Chiseldon near Swindon and the camps feature in the BBC's new World War One At Home series.
Listen again on the BBC website (Around 2:13 on the clock)
Why Russian Men Don't Live as Long
New York Times, 17/02/2014, p.D5, Rachel Nuwer
The probability that a Russian man will die before he turns 55 is 25 percent. Russia's life expectancy is exceptionally low compared with that in other developed countries. While American men have a 1-in-11 chance of dying before their 55th birthday, in Russia the odds are 1 in 4. "The main reason for the extraordinary difference in premature death between Western and Eastern Europe is alcohol," said study author Richard Peto, GTC fellow and professor of epidemiology at the University of Oxford."'Russians are drinking spirits dangerously."
Call for a more creative country
China Daily, 17/02/2014, Zhang Chunyan
Article about the new book by GTC Fellow Fu Xiaolan, director of the Technology and Management for Development Centre at Oxford University. In China's Role in Global Economic Recover, she argues that China has invested a lot in innovation and has grown extremely quickly, but that it urgently needs to upgrade the level and efficiency of innovation.
Read the China daily article online
Radio: Broadcasting House, BBC Radio 4
Oxford University claims the longest set of weather records at the Radcliffe Meteorological Station - situated in the gardens at Green Templeton College - which date back to the 1760s. This January has been the wettest month on record, but there was almost as much rain in 1852, which had held the record for January until now. Dr Ian Ashpole, a researcher at the University, is interviewed about the weather station.
Listen to the interview on the BBC website (c.31:00 on the clock)
Radio: Nick Piercey, BBC Radio Oxford
GTC Fellow Dr Stephen Harris of Oxford University's Botanic Garden describes the Garden's plant of the week.
We must not starve Afghanistan's children of the help they need
The Guardian, 31/01/2014, p.37
Letters: Sir David Watson, Principal of Green Templeton College, is one of the signatories to a letter on the need to 'take a fresh, longer-term perspective on social investment in pre-conception, neonatal, child health and nutrition', noting a recent symposium on maternal and child health and nutrition in emerging markets at Green Templeton College, Oxford.
Vodka blamed for high number of early deaths in Russia
The Independent online, 31/01/2014, Antonia Molloy
A new study by the Russian Cancer Centre, Oxford University, and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer in France has found that 25 per cent of Russian men die before they are 55 and that most of these deaths are attributable to alcohol consumption. This figure compares to 7 per cent in the UK. Over the past 30 years, there has been a positive correlation between the easier availability of vodka and premature death statistics, say scientists.
'Russian death rates have fluctuated wildly over the past 30 years as alcohol restrictions and social stability varied under Presidents Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin, and the main thing driving these wild fluctuations in death was vodka,' said study co-author Professor Sir Richard Peto, a GTC Fellow. 'This has been shown in retrospective studies, and now we've confirmed it in a big, reliable prospective study.'
Researchers tracked about 151,000 adult men in the Russian cities of Barnaul, Byisk and Tomsk from 1999 to 2010.
Read the Independent article online
You thought it was bad but January is now confirmed as wettest winter month since 1767
The Observer, 02/02/2014, p.8, Damian Carrington
Recent rainfall in southern and central England has produced the wettest winter in almost 250 years, according to figures from the world's longest-running weather station. The rainfall measured at the historic Radcliffe Meteorological Station which is based at Green Templeton College in January was greater than for any winter month since daily recording began there in 1767, and three times the average amount.
The latest Met Office data shows that the region from Devon to Kent and up into the Midlands suffered its wettest January since its records began in 1910. But Ian Ashpole, the Radcliffe Meteorological Observer, said: 'The Radcliffe measurements more than double the length of the Met Office record and give us a better grip on how things are changing.'
Oxford's Radcliffe Observatory was founded to assist astronomers, but while the telescopes have now gone, the weather station has continued its work and now has one of the longest-running series of daily measurements in the world.
Periodistas reflexionan este viernes en Madrid sobre los retos para la profesion en el nuevo entorno digital
[Journalists reflect on the challenges of a new digital landscape]
El Economista (Spain), 24/01/2014, via Europa Press
GTC Fellow David Levy, director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford, presented the 'Digital News Report 2013' in Madrid, a report about the present and future challenges of the profession.
Antidote needed for the toxic digital world
The Sunday Times, News Review, 26/01/2014, p.6, Eleanor Mills
Comment: Eleanor Mills writes about websites that promote or glorify self-harm after the death of a teenager. She includes a series of comments from GTC Fellow Professor Keith Hawton, director of the Oxford University Centre for Suicide Research.
The woman behind the Double X economy
Evening Standard, 23/01/2014, p.26, Rosamund Urwin
GTC Fellow Linda Scott is interviewed about her mission to empower women in the developing world. As part of her role as DP World chair for entrepreneurship and innovation at Saïd Business School, Professor Scott is researching the impact that better sanitary hygiene can have on girls, first in Ghana and now in Uganda: 'Her message? Give a girl a sanitary towel supply and you can educate her for a lifetime: "Before, they'd avoid school [when they were menstruating] or worry so much that they wouldn't remember what they were taught. And these schools don't have books - learning is done by rote - so if you can't focus you might as well not be there." Additionally, disposable pads can increase girls' self-esteem and even offer some protection from sexual violence. "In many of these societies, when a girl starts her period she's considered fair game," Scott explains. "So much so that the men often say the scent or sight of the blood is arousing to them ... If girls use a cloth and don't have the means to keep it clean, eventually it smells and they end up being more vulnerable to sexual attack because of it."...'
Cancer stem cells killed by trial drug
The Sunday Times, 19/01/2014, p.5, Justin Stoneman and Jon Ungoed-Thomas
Report on a new drug treatment developed by British scientists which targets the cancer stem cells that drive tumour growth includes comment from GTC Honorary Fellow Sir Walter Bodmer of Oxford University.
Read the Sunday Times article online
Miracle play proves a curious piece
Oxford Times, 16/01/2014, Angie Johnson
A review of the Croxto Play of the Sacrament, performed in St John's Chapel, Oxford, as part of the Blood Conference which took place between 8 and 10 January.
Radio: Call You and Yours, BBC Radio 4
GTC Fellow Dr Jonathan Reynolds, from Oxford University's Institute of Retail Management, talks about the health of our high streets and why leases are coming up all at once.
Radio: Annie Othen, BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire
Dr Nancy Puccinelli, GTC Associate fellow, talks about the marketing strategy being taken by retailers to put Easter eggs in the shops so soon after Christmas.
Most people only have a few 'close friends': study
New York Daily News (USA), 14/01/2014
Whether or not they have hundreds of contacts through social media, people still only have a handful of people they consider good friends, a new University of Oxford study finds. Felix Reed-Tsochas, GTC Fellow based at the Saïd Business School, who co-authored the study with Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford, said: 'At any point individuals are able to keep up close relationships with only a small number of people, so that new friendships come at the expense of "relegating" existing friends.'
Read the New York Daily news article online
Science may explain why your friendships fall apart
The Huffington Post (USA), 13/01/2014, Felix Reed-Tsochas
Read the Huffington Post article online
You can't beat a university education
The Guardian, 14/01/2014, p.38, Harriet Swain
An interim report by the British Educational Research Association (Bera) and Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce on the role of research in teacher education suggests that that the education systems that perform best and have improved most, such as in Finland and Singapore, put particular emphasis on research training for teachers. John Furlong, GTC Emeritus Fellow, professor of education at Oxford University and chair of the steering group behind the report, says: 'There is strong evidence that research is important in the best-quality teacher education programmes around the world in at least four different ways: it underpins the knowledge communicated to teachers; teachers need preliminary research skills in order to be able to start thinking about their own work; it helps explain how people develop professionally; and, built into programmes, it monitors what programmes are doing, making sure they are staying up to date with the latest developments about how professionals learn.'
'Friends limited, despite Facebook'
Oxford Mail, p.11, 13/01/2014
People deliberately limit their social network despite the popularity of social networking sites and mobile phones, according to a new Oxford University study. The research shows that people using mobile phones still put most of their efforts into communicating with a small number of close friends or relatives, and operate a one in, one out policy with friends so their communication patterns stay the same when friendships change. Dr Felix Reed-Tsochas, GTC Fellow based at the Saïd Business School, said people's capacity for maintaining emotionally close relationships was finite. Dr Reed-Tsochas worked on the research with Professor Robin Dunbar from Oxford University's department of experimental psychology.
Chaque média doit se demander dans quel domaine il peut proposer une offre unique
Le Monde (France), 26/12/2013, Alexis Delcambre and Alexandre Piquard
Interview with Dr David Levy, GTC Fellow and Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, about the future of news on the internet, based around the Institute’s Digital News Report 2013.
Read Le Monde article online (in French)
Triple tobacco tax will stop 200 million early deaths
Hindustan Times (India), 03/01/2014
GTC Fellow Professor Sir Richard Peto has co-authored a review paper which suggests that tripling the tax on tobacco would cut smoking by a third across the globe, and could prevent 200 million early deaths. Raising the tax would be particularly effective in lower-income countries, but richer countries would also benefit, and the increase in price should stop young people from taking up smoking. Professor Peto said: “Globally, about half of all young men and one in 10 of all young women become smokers, and, particularly in developing countries, relatively few quit. If they keep smoking, about half will be killed by it, but if they stop before 40, they'll reduce their risk of dying from tobacco by 90 per cent.”
Read the Hindustan Times article online
Tripling cigarette tax could stop 200 million deaths
CBS News (USA), 02/01/2014, Michelle Castillo
Researchers believe that tripling cigarette taxes around the globe could prevent about 200 million smoking-related deaths this century. The review article, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that raising the price of cigarettes may help improve the health of people in low and middle-income countries. Study co-author GTC Fellow Professor Sir Richard Peto, from the University of Oxford, said: "This study demonstrates that tobacco taxes are a hugely powerful lever and potentially a triple win – reducing the numbers of people who smoke and who die from their addiction, reducing premature deaths from smoking and yet, at the same time, increasing government income."
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Tripling of tobacco taxes may prevent 200m deaths
Times of India, 03/01/2014
Increasing tobacco taxes is most effective way to cut smoking
UPI (USA), 02/01/2014
Tripling tobacco tax could save 200 million lives
Examiner.com (USA), 02/01/2014
The Waste and Corruption of Vladimir Putin's 2014 Winter Olympics
Business Week, 02/01/2014, Joshua Yaffa
Article on the record $51 billion bill for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia includes comment from Bent Flyvbjerg, Professor and Chair of Major Programme Management at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and Dr Allison Stewart, Associate Fellow and GTC alumna at the Saïd Business School.
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‘Without the web, I’d still be searching for a diagnosis’
BBC News online, 26/12/2013, Jane Dreaper
Article on people searching for health advice on the internet includes comment from GTC Research Fellow Professor Sue Ziebland of Oxford University, who has spent 15 years examining how patients use the internet – including people with cancer. She says: ‘One of the men we interviewed went to his local library to go online and look for information about local support groups. Almost the first thing he found, on one of the voluntary society websites for that particular cancer, was the very distressing five-year survival rate. He was horrified. He shut down the computer and ran out of the library. The information he found was entirely accurate – but perhaps it shouldn’t be on the front page. It’s about signposting.’ Professor Ziebland adds that doctors now routinely discuss the internet as a resource with patients during consultations.