Live updates

Oxford science research leads to new drug

A new drug has been approved by the European Medicines Agency which could offer better treatment to patients with multiple sclerosis. Alemtuzumab will give people who have the disease the chance to live without the side effects for much longer.

Symptoms of the disease can include loss of physical skills, sensation, vision and bladder control.

Professor Herman Waldmann was involved in the early discovery work of the antibody drug called Campath-1H at Cambridge University. It was originally used to treat leukaemia. He continued to study the drug for two decades while at Oxford University.

Oxford explains inner workings of brain

The university have launched a new animation to replicate a MRI scan and how our brain works.

Dr Stuart Clare of Oxford University, lead scientific advisor on the animation, said:

‘The animation beautifully shows what is going on inside the body during an FMRI scan, right down to the atomic level, and how the very strong magnet at the core of the machine gives us incredible detail on brain function.

‘Ruby Wax has a real interest in the neuroscience of mental health, something that we are researching here in Oxford, and we were delighted that she agreed to voice the animation.’

Advertisement

Oxford uni gives insight into brain science

The animation is the latest video from Oxford Sparks from Oxford University Credit: Karen Cheung

Oxford University have launched a new animation to look at our brain and how we move and talk.

The video is the latest from the web portal which gives people access to some of the exciting science happening at the university.

The animation shows what is going on inside the body during a MRI scan Credit: Karen Cheung

Ruby Wax narrates the animation where a Magnetic Resonance Kmaging (MRI) scanner sees inside our brains and detects surges of oxygenated blood to how we move.

The scanner looks inside our brains Credit: Oxford University

Dr Stuart Clare of Oxford University, lead scientific advisor on the animation, said: ‘Functional MRI is revolutionising our understanding of the brain. As long as someone can do something lying down then we can scan their brain and discover the activity behind the action."

"As technology improves and magnet strength increases, we can determine finer detail about brain activity related to particular tasks or behaviours. This isn't just about finding out how our brains work, but also how they respond to damage or treatment.

Mel Smith dies at the age of 60

Mel Smith has died of a heart attack at the age of 60. The comedian celebrated for the long-running sketch shows Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones, first became interested in drama while a student at Oxford University.

While at the University he produced The Tempest and this then led to him joining the Royal Court Theatre. He was also heavily involved in the Oxford Dramatic Society and performed with them at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Advertisement

Researchers say offering prisoners yoga lessons could save taxpayers money in the long run

Researchers say yoga may help to reduce mental health problems in prisons Credit: The Prison Phoenix Trust

Researchers from Oxford University say that offering yoga to prisoners can improve their moods and mental wellbeing, and may also have an effect on impulsive behaviour. The study was carried out in conjunction with the University of Surrey, Kings College London and a Dutch university.

The researchers found that inmates who had completed a ten-week course reported reduced stress levels and were better at a task related to behaviour control. The study was supported by the Oxford-based Prison Phoenix Trust which gives yoga classes in prisons. One hundred inmates took part.

Dr Amy Bilderbeck and Dr Miguel Farias, who led the study at the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry at Oxford University said:

'The suggestion is that yoga is helpful for these prisoners. This was only a preliminary study, but nothing has been done like this before. Offering yoga sessions in prisons is cheap, much cheaper than other mental health interventions.

'If yoga has any effect on addressing mental health problems in prisons, it could save significant amounts of public money.'

Dr Bilderbeck added: 'We're not saying that organising a weekly yoga session in a prison is going to suddenly turn prisons into calm and serene places, stop all aggression and reduce reoffending rates. We're not saying that yoga will replace standard treatment of mental health conditions in prison.

'But what we do see are indications that this relatively cheap, simple option might have multiple benefits for prisoners' wellbeing and possibly aid in managing the burden of mental health problems in prisons.'

Man jailed for attempting to hack police and university websites

Lewys Stephen Martin Credit: Kent Police

A man from Kent has been jailed for two years after attempting to hack corporate websites, including those of Kent Police, Cambridge University and Oxford University.

Lewys Stephen Martin, 21, previously of Dover Road, Walmer, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court today.

He was charged in November following a series of attempts to compromise websites. He pleaded guilty on April 12 to nine charges:

Five counts of unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of or hinder access to a computer, two of unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences, one of unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences and one of unauthorised access to computer material.

The court heard that between January 29 and February 1, 2012, Martin attempted to cause disruption to both the Cambridge and Oxford Universities’ websites, by overwhelming them with requests for information. Martin had also tried to disrupt Oxford University’s website in March 2011.

There was no compromise or access to the websites but they were temporarily disrupted. On February 1 and 2, 2012, the Kent Police website suffered a sustained attack by Martin and was temporarily disrupted.

Det Const Nicky Holland-Day said: "Cyber attacks are a nuisance and cause aggravation as well as costs to countless private and public organisations up and down the country.

"Most websites have systems in place to prevent them being compromised, and none of those attacked in these instances suffered any more than a temporary disruption. However, those who try to carry out these attacks will be traced and brought before the courts."

More volcanic air disruption "certain"

Ash plume of the volcano Eyjafjoell, 120 km east of Iceland's capital Reykjavik, Iceland, on May 15, 2010 Credit: De Malglaive Etienne/ABACA/Press Association Images

Experts say it is just "a matter of time" before another volcano in Iceland erupts with the potential to cause major disruption to flights like in 2010. Then most services in Europe were grounded for a total of eight days causing misery to millions of people.

The problem is that when a volcano explodes it can send millions of ash particles into the air causing a cloud. If a plane flies into it engines can be badly affected and even stop.

So now Easyjet and Airbus are developing a system called AVOID that would better detect ash in the sky. Planes would be fitted with sensors that detect it and they would be directed around the ash by air controllers.

iew of the volcano from Reykjavik. Eyjafjoell is 120 km east of Iceland's capital, Iceland, on May 15, 2010 Credit: Etienne de Malglaive/ABACAPRESS.COM

Airlines say it is a much better alternative to the current system which is to ground flights over a wide area. The sensors feed back information from the system which is added to data from satellites.

The aim is to keep more planes flying and reduce the type of disruption in 2010.

Load more updates