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New research to combat 'devastating illnesses' in Dementia Awareness Week

One in 14 people over 65 - and one in six over 80 - have dementia, but new research in our region is hoping to combat these devastating illnesses.

Some of this work is being done at the University of Sussex where a build-up of proteins on the brain is being studied. And in this Dementia Awareness Week members of the public have been invited to see their work close up.

Andy Dickenson reports. He speaks to Andy and Janet Gumbrill, Dr Karen Marshall and Prof Louise Serpell.

South Downs named International Dark Sky Reserve

The South Downs has been declared an International Dark Sky Reserve. England's youngest national park won the accolade from the International Dark-Sky Association after rangers and volunteers spent the past three years mapping out the quality of the night skies.

The new reserve is the second in England Credit: PA

The South Downs National Park takes in parts of Hampshire, West and East Sussex and the edge of the new reserve is less than 5km from Chichester, where British astronaut Tim Peake went to school.

J. Scott Feierabend, Executive Director of the IDA, said: "We are pleased to announce the designation of South Downs National Park as an IDA Dark Sky Reserve. It is remarkable that a true dark-sky experience remains within reach of nearly 17 million people in Greater London and southeast England, and a testament to the hard work of South Downs staff and area residents in keeping it that way."

Plans to create the reserve have received support from more than 70 parish, town and county councils and other organisations with more than 1,300 people signing up to a 'dark skies pledge'. The new reserve is the second in England and only the eleventh to be named in the world.

With the South of England under threat from losing its last few patches of properly dark skies this is a statement that the skies of the South Downs are worth protecting. With 2 million people living within 5 km of the National Park, the reserve will be one of the most accessible in the world and certainly one of the most cared for.

– Dan Oakley, South Downs National Park


University praised for developing female scientists

The University of Sussex has been recognised for its work supporting female scientists.

The university's School of Life Sciences received a national "Athena Swan" award for its efforts to reduce inequality in teaching and research.

Professor Louise Serpell Credit: University of Sussex

Science is often regarded as a boys' subject - but we should all have the potential to choose our career path.

We know that 90 per cent of professors in the UK are men, and that women don't go for jobs unless they feel qualified. At the University of Sussex we are making a concerted effort to support women who want a career in science and we are delighted that our efforts have been recognised with this Athena SWAN Silver award."

– Professor Louise Serpell, University of Sussex

It's called 'healing honey' - but how does it work?

Honey's healing properties are well known

Researchers in Hampshire have been trying to unlock the secrets of honey's well-known healing properties.

The team at the University of Southampton have been using the knowledge they've found to tackle serious infections. Their work with honey could even prove to be a valuable tool in the fight against the most resistant superbugs, such as MRSA.

The report by our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford does contain an image of a nasty wound.

The interviewees are Roger Backhouse; Doctor Matthew Dryden Consultant, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust; and Mr Rami Salib Associate Professor of Rhinology at the University of Southampton's Faculty of Medicine.

  1. Sarah Saunders @SSaundersITV

VIDEO: Which question leaves astronaut Tim Peake stumped during live link-up with Kent schoolchildren?

Kent schoolchildren had the chance to fire questions at astronaut Tim Peake, as he flew overhead aboard the International Space Station today.

Pupils from 23 schools came together to ask him questions via radio link-up from Wellesley House School in Broadstairs.

One question asked by a little girl called Scarlett left him stumped: "What is your favourite Shakespearian quote?", she asked.

But science is clearly his strong point and his answer was inspiring.

WATCH : Kent school children have some surprising questions for astronaut Tim Peake

There were worrying moments at the start of the live link-up when Tim Peake didn't seem able to hear messages from the school.

Science teacher Kerry Sabin-Dawson said: "There was so much tension in the room, waiting and hoping he would hear us. But he did and that was a wonderful moment."

WATCH: Full package


One small step - pioneering robot technology helps patients find their feet

Hospitals in Kent have become some of the first in the country to experiment with the use of bionic legs.

New research shows that so called 'exoskeletons' could improve the health of all manner of patients - including people who have suffered strokes or have multiple sclerosis.

In this exclusive report from the robotics lab at the University of Kent, we meet a man whose been paralysed for a year using the new legs for the first time.

Andy Dickenson hears from clinical specialist Karen Saunders, patient Steve Walker-Manuell, and consultant physician Dr Mohamed Sakel.

MP's brain studied by pupils in Kent

Junior school pupils in Kent were given a science lesson they won't forget in a hurry today. The subject was the human brain.

And to spice things up a bit they got to see a real brain in action. The South East's longest serving MP volunteered to be wired up by a neuroscientist.

His brainwaves were then transmitted to a big screen as he answered pupils' questions. So which issues most excited the grey matter?

John Ryall reports.

  1. National

New scheme to help girls pursue STEM industry careers

A new scheme aiming to encourage schoolgirls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industries is being launched by four leading communication giants.

The scheme will aim to encourage more girls to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing industries Credit: PA

BT, Ericsson, O2 and Vodafone have teamed up to pull together the pilot programme, which will see school students matched with a business mentor.

Paula Constant, who chairs BT's Women's Network, said if successful they hope to roll the programme out across the UK.

This scheme could make a real difference in encouraging girls to apply for jobs that require STEM skills.

Research shows that even though girls study the relevant subjects in school, only a inority go on to pursue careers in this area.

This issue needs to be addressed and we're really excited about the role we can play in inspiring and supporting female school leavers who may be considering a career in STEM.

– Paula Constant, BT
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