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Oxford academics' 'It will be a tough Christmas for retailers'

Retailers this Christmas will find it a tough challenge to match last year's festive spending figure of ninety one billion pounds according to academics in Oxford.

They say changing shopping habits and low real wages rates will have a significant impact on shopping.

Christmas spending reached £91bn last year Credit: ITV Meridian

"We have found that overdoing the Christmas cheer with flashing bright lights and piping fast-paced music such as Jingle Bells into stores puts shoppers under greater pressure. Less harsh lighting, pleasant smells and gentler seasonal music such as The Nutcracker are far more likely to put us in the mood for spending."

– Nancy Puccinelli, Associate Professor in Marketing

Oxford Ebola vaccine trials continue progression at speed

The 60th and last healthy volunteer will receive the Ebola vaccine in a trial carried out by the University of Oxford today.

The first volunteer in the UK trial at Oxford University was vaccinated on September 17, two weeks after the first volunteer in the USA. This allowed further trials in Mali and then Switzerland to begin shortly afterwards in October.

Almost 200 people have received a candidate Ebola vaccine in little more than two months in safety trials carried out in the USA, UK, Mali and Switzerland.

If the safety and immunogenicity data from the Phase 1 trials are promising, the expectation is that the vaccine will move into the next phases of study to further evaluate safety as well as effectiveness in protecting against Ebola infection in African countries.

The Oxford trial is being funded under a £2.8 million grant from the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the UK Department for International Development.

Professor Adrian Hill of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, who is leading the Oxford trial, said: "The response we have seen from people coming forward to take part has been remarkable."

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Oxford University reveals new study on Alzheimer's Disease

New research on Vitamin B Credit: ITV news

Taking B vitamins won't prevent Alzheimer's disease according to researchers at Oxford University. One trial undertaken four years ago showed - for some - it had an effect on the rate of brain shrinkage.

But new clinical trials involving 20,000 people show it doesn't slow mental decline nor is it likely to prevent the disease.Dr Robert Clarke from Oxford University who led the work said: "It would have been nice to have found something different

"Our study draws a line under the debate: B vitamins don't reduce cognitive decline as we age. Taking folic acid and vitamin B-12 is sadly not going to prevent Alzheimer's disease."

He added " It's better to have a balanced diet - eat more fruit and vegetables, avoid too much red meat and too many calories."

The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation, the UK Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the UK Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health. The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"I was always confident I'd be found innocent"

Video. The former president of Oxford's debating society, Ben Sullivan, told ITV that he was always confident that he would be found innocent after being arrested on rape charges.

Thames Valley Police have now told Ben that he will face no further action, after he was arrested six weeks ago.

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Student reputation left "in tatters" after rape allegation

Ben Sullivan Credit: ITV News

The former President of Oxford University's prestigious debating society has told ITV how his reputation was left "in tatters" after he was arrested on rape charges.

Ben Sullivan, who was head of the Oxford Union, has been told by Thames Valley Police that he will not face further action.

After his arrest, a petition was launched for him to step down, and many high-profile speakers boycotted debates.

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NHS: Statins save 7,000 lives a year in the UK

A 2012 Oxford University study, published in The Lancet medical journal, showed that even very low-risk patients benefited from taking cholesterol-lowering statins.

Rory Collins, professor of medicine at Oxford University, worked on the research and said the number of people who could begin taking statins as a result of the new Nice guidance "would be in the the order" of around five million.

He added: "The evidence is very strong that the treatment is cost-effective at these lower levels. Doctors are now in a position to offer statins on this basis."

He said it was up to individual patients to decide whether they wanted to take statins, based on their risk assessment, but Nice's strategy would "reduce the burden on the health service".

The NHS estimates that statins save 7,000 lives a year in the UK.

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Millions more people 'to be prescribed statins'

Millions more people in the UK could be prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins in a bid to prevent more cases of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

Millions more people in the UK could be prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins, following new guidance. Credit: Press Association

In draft guidance to the NHS, which is subject to consultation, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has cut the threshold in half for when doctors should consider prescribing the drugs to patients.

Statins are taken by as many as seven million people in the UK but this could rise dramatically - with experts predicting as many as five million more may have them prescribed.

At present, people with a 20 percent risk of developing cardiovascular disease within 10 years are offered statins, but this is being cut to include all people with a 10 percent risk of developing cardiovascular disease within 10 years.

Promising results for trials treating inherited blindness

Patients suffering from an inherited form of blindness have, for the first time, had their vision dramatically improved by gene therapy.

The first six people given experimental injections at the Oxford Eye Hospital were able to see better.

Researchers at the city's university and also at Southampton University say trials have shown promising results for the treatment of Choroideremia.

The Phase I clinical trial is funded by the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, a partnership between the Wellcome Trust and the Department of Health.

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