News in brief
Improved support for disabled students – but there’s more to do
Some universities still need to do more to secure disability equality, despite improved support for disabled students over the past ten years. The findings are the result of research by the University and funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales (HEFCE and HEFCW) as part of a review of HEFCE’s policy as it relates to disabled students.
Good practice requires that accessibility is integrated into new buildings and refurbishments, and there was some evidence of this in the review. However, some universities may still be designing buildings without considering needs of disabled students, according to Professor Malcolm Harrison, Centre for Disability Studies, whose team looked at 96 institutions across England and Wales.
They found an inconsistent pattern of provision – with some universities fully in tune with the needs of their disabled students, and others much less aware of these issues.
New lecture series explores European Identities – Past & Present
A new public lecture series organised by the School of Modern Languages & Cultures (SMLC) – European Identities, Past & Present – will explore and reflect on the nature of European identities in a changing international context, looking at how they’re constructed, represented and symbolised in the present day.
“This series promotes the impact of research activity within the school and brings it to a broad public audience,” said Dr Sarah Waters.
“Academics are increasingly being asked how their research brings value to their communities, so we wanted to draw on our links with schools, cultural institutions and language centres in the region and run a lecture series that was accessible to all these groups.
“The series will bring together specialists in film, politics, history and culture from across the SMLC and will examine representations of identity in France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Portugal.”
For further details contact S.A.Waters@Leeds.ac.uk
New thrombosis treatment in sight
An international team of scientists including Dr Nicola Mutch (Faculty of Biological Sciences) has discovered that the molecule polyphosphate can affect blood clot formation within veins and arteries without changing the body’s ability to heal.
The findings could help develop new drugs for patients at risk of strokes or heart attacks, many of whom take anticoagulant drugs to lower this risk by reducing the blood’s ability to clot. These drugs reduce the risk of thrombosis, but also affect normal wound healing, leaving patients at risk of lethal bleeding if they are injured.
The findings were published in the journal Cell.
Two new spinal research projects
Improving treatments for spinal fracture is the focus for a new €3 million research project, led by Professor of Spinal Biomechanics Richard Hall of the Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
The EU-funded research will look mainly at problems caused by ageing, but will also consider better treatments for spinal damage caused by trauma and cancer.
“As we age, our bones get weaker and the front portion of the spine can begin to collapse,” explained Professor Hall. “This can be extremely painful and have a major impact on people’s quality of life.
As more people live longer, improving how we treat such conditions to keep people active and pain-free is increasingly important.”
A further £600,000 four-year project has been funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), in order to research new technologies to repair spinal fractures in patients suffering from the bone marrow cancer multiple myeloma.
How to ease the pain online and on DVD
Health professionals and patients can now go online or put on a DVD for help and tips from a groundbreaking pain clinic, which halved referrals to hospital.
Researchers from the University in partnership with Leeds Primary Care Trust have produced the DVD to share their successful pilot project to help patients live with and manage neuropathic pain. The community-based pain clinic in Leeds has reduced pain, increased patient satisfaction rates and cut referrals to the main hospital pain clinic.
The research team was able to make the DVD after winning first prize and £10,000 in the Napp Achievement in Pain Practice Awards. It’s available on http://lutube.leeds.ac.uk/hcssjc/videos/1630 or for a hard copy firstname.lastname@example.org