Reporter 422, 8 June 1998


Misleading message

Dr Susan Farmery
Professorial Surgical Unit
St James’s University Hospital

In the recent article (Reporter 421) describing Professor Cuckle’s Down’s syndrome research, it was strongly implied that it is possible to determine whether a woman is carrying a foetus with “severe” Down’s syndrome.

When my neice (now age 3) was born with Down’s syndrome, one of the family’s primary concerns was how severe the phenotype was likely to be. We were informed that even at this stage it is not possible to give a developmental prognosis.

I strongly support a woman’s right to choose whether to proceed with any pregnancy. However, I feel it is misleading to suggest that the triple test can distinguish “severe Down’s syndrome”, from the Down’s syndrome which allows people to participate fully in society in a very positive way.

Fond memories

Professor Ursula King
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Bristol

I am delighted to learn that a University building will be named after Professor Manton. I remember her so well and fondly.

When I first came to the University as a young lecturer in 1971, we regularly met over meals because we were both members of the Senior Common Room of Charles Morris Hall, where we shared many fascinating conversations over the next three years.

Professor Manton had such amazingly wide interests; she even lent me a Danish PhD on handprinting and papermaking in Nepal which contained many details about printing Buddhist scriptures and images.

In early 1981, when I organised a day on “Women and Research”, I invited her as the most senior and first woman professor to speak, together with several others, to younger researchers from different disciplines. She was remarkable and inspiring when she said she was doing more research in her retirement years than she had ever done before. Several young contract researchers were much affirmed by this day and felt it had given them hope to go on rather than to give up.

I shall never forget the experience, and I cherish the memory of Professor Manton as a very kind person of great humility as well as an unusually brilliant mind.

Roll up for launch

Dr Jeremy P. Toner
Institute for Transport Studies

I have just received an invitation to the launch of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. I am rather surprised to see the University promoting CIGS during the current smoking controversy.

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