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Newcastle professor helps save lives in Sri Lanka

A Northumbria University academic is playing the lead role in bringing heart and lung transplants to Sri Lanka – a country where this life-saving surgery has not previously been available.

Professor Stephen Clark. Credit: Northumbria University

Stephen Clark, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiopulmonary Transplantation in Northumbria’s Department of Applied Sciences, is helping the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka establish its first heart and lung transplantation programme.

Until now, no heart transplant has ever taken place in Sri Lanka and only one lung transplant has taken place, back in 2011. Anyone requiring such life-saving surgery would have to travel abroad and pay prohibitively high costs.

Prof. Clark, who is also Director of Cardiopulmonary Transplantation at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, is mentoring Sri Lanka’s College of Surgeons through their first operations. He will also lead a team in the UK that will provide training, advice and practical support to surgeons undertaking these significant operations.

“We are fortunate to have a vibrant transplant programme here in the UK and in other westernised countries, so for many people it may seem unusual to hear that other countries have not been able to provide this life-saving surgery before now. We have been working with Sri Lankan doctors for over two years to form the Sri Lanka Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation which has now been approved under Sri Lankan law. The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka is keen that Sri Lanka becomes a centre for excellence in transplantations for neighbouring countries.”

– Professor Stephen Clark,, Northumbria University

"It is fantastic news to hear that Professor Clark is playing such a leading role in making these life-saving operations accessible for people in Sri Lanka. I have no doubt that his work will enhance the long-standing relationships the University has with organisations throughout Sri Lanka and South East Asia.”

– Julie Edgar, Northumbria University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Promiscuous or not? Check the length of your fingers...

Fingers - pointers to infidelity? Credit: Northumbria University

Whether you're faithful or promiscuous may be revealed by the length of your fingers, according to new research at Northumbria University.

The study found a link between attitudes to promiscuity and the length of the ring finger compared to the index finger.

This may be because long ring fingers indicate that an individual was exposed to high levels of testosterone in the womb. Because of that, men tend to have relatively longer ring fingers.

The data showed that men were slightly more likely to stray, with 57% appearing to favour an unrestricted, short-term mating strategy compared to 47% among women.

It's thought this is the first study of its kind to provide evidence for alternative mating strategies in men and women.

The authors point out that while it has been widely suggested that males divide into two mating types - which can be known as ‘cads versus dads’ - this study is the first to suggest that a similar split may also exist in females.

Professor John Manning of Northumbria University's Department of Psychology has analysed finger length ratios for almost 20 years. As well as indicating prenatal testosterone levels, finger ratios can also indicate other conditions such as fertility, lung and heart functioning and performance in sports such as football and running.

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Meningitis: What are the symptoms?

Northumbria University has confirmed that a 22-year-old student from Malaysia died in hospital from suspected meningococcal meningitis.

Students in Newcastle are now being advised to look out for the symptoms of meningitis:

Early symptoms

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Fever
  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Feeling generally unwell

Later symptoms

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or fits
  • Being unable to tolerate bright lights
  • A stiff neck
  • A rapid breathing rate
  • A blotchy red rash that does not fade or change colour when you place a glass against it

University confirms meningitis victim was a woman

Northumbria University has confirmed that the student who has died from a suspected case of meningococcal meningitis was female. Her identity has not yet been released. Staff and fellow students who came into contact with the the woman are being offered anti-biotics and information about the illness.

University's 'deepest condolences' after student's death

Northumbria University has released more details about a student who died from suspected meningococcal meningitis.

We can confirm that one of our students, a 22-year-old female from Malaysia, sadly passed away in hospital on Wednesday 1 October from suspected meningococcal meningitis.

She came to Northumbria last month to study the final year of her degree. We offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Meningococcal bacteria do not spread easily. Those students and staff identified as being in prolonged close contact with the student concerned in the days before she became ill have been offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

– Spokesman, Northumbria University

Warnings after Northumbria student dies from suspected meningitis

The student died at Northumbria University Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Staff and students at Northumbria University are being warned to be aware of symptoms after a student died from suspected meningococcal meningitis. It's not been revealed when the student died, however staff and fellow students who came into contact with the individual have been offered anti-biotics and information about the illness. Levi Pay, Head of Student Support and Wellbeing, said:

“I would like to reassure students and staff that it is very unlikely that there is any risk to anyone other than those already contacted and offered antibiotics.

However, it is crucial to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and to get treatment as soon as possible.

These symptoms include fever, vomiting, severe headache or muscle pains and drowsiness. Anyone displaying these symptoms should seek medical attention.”

– Levi Pay. Northumbria University

The identity of the student has not been released. Anyone concerned about the infection can seek advice here.

Staff and students who were in contact with the patient have been offered anti-biotics Credit: PA
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