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James Blunt honoured at former university

James Blunt is congratulated by Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor of the University. Credit: University of Bristol

Singer and songwriter James Blunt has returned to his former university to collect an honorary degree recognising his contribution to music.

The musician was awarded a Doctor of Music honorary degree by the University of Bristol, where he was a student from 1992 to 1996.

James Blunt giving a speech after receiving his honorary degree. Credit: University of Bristol

The pop star had some heart-felt words to say about his time in Bristol.

The reason I’ve accepted this is to say thank you so much to a university where I had the best four years of my life. If I could turn back the clock to any time in my life, it would be to Bristol University.

– James Blunt

The 41-year-old and former soldier studied Sociology, in a degree which was sponsored by the army.

Bristol University apologises for acceptance delays

Bristol University apologises for acceptance delays Credit: ITV News

Bristol University have apologised after some applicants have been left not knowing if they've been accepted onto courses after problems with their phone system.

More than 41,000 students applied for the 4,500 under graduate places available.

The university used Twitter to apologise for delays.

Their results hotline will re-open tomorrow morning at 9: 0117 331 7500.

Jo Pavey set to get bronze medal eight years after race

Jo Pavey missed out on a medal with a fourth-place finish in Osaka. Credit: Gareth Copley/PA Wire

Olympian Jo Pavey, a Bristol University graduate, looks likely to win a bronze medal for a race from 8 years ago - because the woman who won silver is facing doping charges.

Elvan Abeylegesse is among dozens of athletes whose urine samples from earlier championships have been re-analysed and tested positive for a banned substance.

An emotional Pavey tweeted to confirm the rumour, after saying earlier in the week that it would be "bittersweet" to get the medal from the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.

Dementia research needs more participants, say scientists

Bruce Wilson, 77, is being scanned as part of a clinical trial at Bristol University. Credit: ITV News

Researchers in the South West are urging more people in the region to consider volunteering for dementia studies.

Scientists at Bristol University are looking into the devastating condition but say efforts can be hampered if researchers can't find people willing to take part.

There are currently 39 studies looking for volunteers, including several studies running in the Bristol area. They include a clinical trial to investigate whether a blood pressure treatment could slow memory decline, as well as study investigating the earliest brain changes in the disease.

Bruce Wilson, 77, from Nailsworth is taking part in a clinical trial at the university looking into dementia. While he does not have the condition himself, he has been diagnosed with 'mild cognitive impairment', a possible precursor.

The trial, which has been running for more than a year, is looking for the early warning signs of the disease.

Not only is dementia a condition with no cure, it is a growing problem - with somebody in the UK developing it every three minutes. The number of people it affects is predicted to double in the next 30 years, and it costs the UK more than £26billion.

As an optimist, Mr Wilson believes scientists will get there, and hopes the small part he has played will help.

Researchers are hoping enough people feel the same.

People with and without dementia can sign up online here or contact one of the charity helplines: Alzheimer’s Research UK, on 0300 111 5 111, or Alzheimer’s Society, on 0300 222 1122.

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Mental health problems in men linked to domestic abuse

Mental health problems in men linked to domestic abuse Credit: PA: Dominic Lipinski

Men experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence linked with two to three-fold increase in mental health problems according to a University of Bristol study.

Questionnaires were distributed across 16 GP practices in the South West and were completed by 1,368 men aged 18 years and above.

The findings indicate there is a higher likelihood of men who present symptoms of anxiety and depression in primary care could be the victims or perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse.

Researchers found men who used some form of negative behaviour towards their partners were three to five times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety than non-perpetrators.

However, the study found no strong association between domestic violence and abuse with excessive drinking or cannabis use.

The research was led by Professor Marianne Hester from the University and is now calling on GPs urged to ask male patients with anxiety or depression about domestic violence.

Research on domestic violence and abuse has largely focused on women and there is a lack of research on men, both as victims and perpetrators.

The findings from this study are important as they suggest that when men present to GPs with anxiety or depression, they should be asked about domestic violence and abuse as there is a higher likelihood that they will be victims or perpetrators.

The findings are consistent with previous studies, which found that mental health problems are more common in men who either perpetrate or experience domestic violence and abuse, and serve as an important indicator to clinicians.

– Professor Marianne Hester OBE, lead author of the study and Head of the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at Bristol's School for Poli

Passing exams with puppy love

Research suggests looking at cute things can help improve concentration. Credit: ITV News

Exam stress at this time of year has given Bristol University paws for thought - so it's trying something different to help students.

The university has set up a special 'puppy room' today, where stressed students take a break from exam prep and dissertation deadlines by cuddling guide dogs and their puppies.

Over 600 students signed up for 15 minutes with the dogs Credit: ITV News

Research published in Japan suggests pictures of cute things such as puppies and kittens can help improve concentration and performance.

About 20 dogs and puppies are being rotated throughout the day with the support of local owners and trainers. Each 'cuddle slot' lasts 15 minutes.

Over 600 students have signed up, and are being asked to make a suggested donation of £2 to the Guide Dogs charity.

While I'm more of a cat person myself, I'm really excited that the University is providing this for students. It's really important to do fun and different things to de-stress during exams and cuddling a puppy is a perfect way to release some endorphins.

– Jo Woods, Union Affairs Officer at Bristol Student Union
This time of year can be stressful for students with exam and deadline pressure. Credit: ITV News

Guide Dogs are most pleased to be able to work with the University of Bristol and allow students the chance to de-stress at this busy exam time. We are sure we will meet lots of students who miss their own pet dogs whilst away at University.

– Sarah Knox, Community Fundraiser for Guide Dogs

University of Bristol voted best for city life

Bristol University was voted best for city life

The University of Bristol has been voted as the best for city life by students.

The poll of more than 20,000 students across the country placed the university top, beating competition from Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds.

The award comes a year after The Sunday Times crowned Bristol the best city in Britain.

City life is a huge part of university life and we know that our students love all the opportunities on their doorstep.

It’s not just the nightlife which ticks the boxes, it’s the rich culture, vibrant music scene, countless festivals, free activities, beautiful green spaces and independent shops and cafes.

– Charlotte Wilson, Head of Customer Relations and Student Marketing

One of the reviews submitted, from a student called Hayley, said: “I am totally in love with the city, there are lots of things to do apart from studying and preparing for exams.

– Katherine, Bristol University Student

Does your dog chase its tail?

Mr Darcy doesn't have much of a tail to chase... Credit: ITV News

Researchers at the University of Bristol are trying to find out why some dogs chase their tails or spin in circles and why some don't.

The School of Veterinary Science wants to sign up dogs that don't exhibit this behaviour for its study.

It has already recruited enough "spinning dogs" and now needs those that don't as a comparison.

For more information and to find out how to enrol in the study, click here or email spinningdog-study@bristol.ac.uk.

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