December 21st, 2012

Palace audience for baby heart monitor developers

A hands-free heart rate monitor for babies, which was developed at the University, was viewed by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Each year in the UK, around one in 10 newborn babies need resuscitation, with the midwife or doctor having to break off to listen to the baby’s heart beat with a stethoscope. These lost seconds can endanger the baby.

HeartLight is a small electronic monitor, which is placed on the baby’s forehead to record its heart rate without interrupting resuscitation. It has been evaluated on almost 200 babies during clinical trials at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The technology, funded by Action Medical Research, was displayed as part of the children’s charity’s Diamond Anniversary Reception.
Three members of the team involved in developing HeartLight, Professor Barrie Hayes-Gill, Professor John Crowe and Dr Don Sharkey, met the Duke, the charity’s patron.

HeartLight has also benefited from a £250,000m Portfolio Award from the Medical Research Council. Fund-raising is ongoing through Impact: The Nottingham Campaign.

Smokers cost UK economy £1.4bn a year

Smokers are costing the UK economy £1.4bn by taking an average of two or three days more sick leave per year than non-smoking colleagues.

Smokers are 33% more likely to miss work than non-smokers and missed an average 2.7 extra days per year, according to Dr Jo Leonardi-Bee and Stephen Weng in the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University.

The report, published in the journal Addiction, analysed 29 international studies conducted between 1960 and 2011, covering 71,000 workers. The report called for further study into employers’ approaches to help smokers to give up.

Cubans draw strength from power of the book

Cubans enjoy one of the richest literary cultures in the world and the West could take a leaf out of their book in how to survive economic hardship, say researchers at the universities of Nottingham and Manchester.

Literary Culture in Cuba: Revolution, Nation-building and the Book, by Nottingham’s Professor Antoni Kapcia (pictured above) and Manchester’s Dr Parvathi Kumaraswami, concludes creating, reading and disseminating the written word can profoundly influence social cohesion.

Prof Kapcia, of the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, said:  “Literature, and the reading of literature in particular, has played a fundamental role in the whole process of revolution in Cuba since 1959 and therefore also in the parallel process of post-colonial nation-building.

“We also found that the years after 1991 (when the Cuban economy went into free-fall after the collapse of the Soviet Union) turned out to be years of imaginative and very productive thinking about writing, publishing and reading, with the cultural authorities trying once again, as in the early 1960s, to use literature and the book as means of rebuilding society.”

Dr Kumaraswami, of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, added: “Literature and culture are deeply embedded into Cuban culture: within every neighbourhood there’s a writing workshop and a ‘Casa de Cultura’. I think the Cuban model is something we should be emulating in the West: It makes us question the effectiveness of David Cameron’s Big Society and shows that culture can bring people together in times of economic hardship.”

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