Face Blindness research sparks interest once again

Bournemouth University’s (BU) research directed by Dr. Sarah Bate has received even more attention as Dr. Rachel Bennetts featured on two different radio shows this week. The research looks at a condition called prosopagnosia, or face blindness, where sufferers are unable to recognize familiar faces including those of their friends and families.

Dr. Bennetts, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Face Processing Disorders at BU, has recently been a guest for two radio shows, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 5 Live. She said in the interviews: “Most of us recognize faces on a daily basis without even having to think about it. But with sufferers of face blindness, it’s a whole different story.” In her interview, she talked about the recent developments in their research and how they have informed policy, with the NHS recognising the condition on the NHS Choices website.

The research by BU has been paramount in raising awareness of the condition; before this, prosopagnosia did not receive enough attention to be registered as a life effecting condition even though 1 in 50 UK individuals are believed to suffer from prosopagnosia. Taking part in interviews such as those on the radio and giving quotes for national newspapers, the team have been able to spread the word about their successful breakthroughs, allowing them to go even further into the developments of their research.

By Charlotte Cranny-Evans

Charlotte is a graduate of Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. She joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from the college with work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Bryce Dyer discusses Paralympic tech for The Conversation

Bryce Dyer, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at Bournemouth University wrote a feature article for The Conversation discussing some of the technology used in the Winter Paralympic Games.

Dyer stated, “Technology has long been a part of sport. Every event, whether it’s cycling, sailing or skiing requires uniquely designed technology. Over in Sochi right now, athletes are showcasing the greatest of innovations being pushed to the limits of their design.”

A number of innovative solutions have been created to assist competitors such as; Bluetooth headsets for the visually impaired, sophisticated sit ski’s where a seat is mounted to a single ski, and electro-acoustic headphones to effectively “aim” by listening to a tone that varies in pitch as they move their gun on target.

One of the newest additions to this year’s Winter Paralympics is snowboarding. For this event, specialised prosthetic limbs have been developed using linkages and pneumatic springs to help absorb impacts, but allowing “competitors to perform manoeuvres without being restricted by weight and mobility”.

“The Paralympic Games showcases novel sports that require innovative solutions to get the best from athletes, be it through engineering, wireless technology or adaptation of traditional equipment.”

Dr Heather Hartwell speaks to BBC West Midlands

Dr Heather Hartwell, Professor of Food Service at Bournemouth University recently appeared on the BBC Radio West Midlands as a part of their debate on saturated fats.

Hartwell’s views contrasted with new research findings from Cambridge University which found that “there is no evidence to link saturated fat with heart disease”.

Hartwell began by stating “saturated fat is fat that can increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood. The message is we should eat less fat” because we all eat too much”.

The presenter debated Hartwell commenting that “scientists discovered saturated does not cause heart disease, so doesn’t this mean we can all pick up the butter again?”

Hartwell disagreed, arguing that “fat is fat is fat”, and we should all “be reducing our fat intake as many of the foods we eat have lots of hidden fat in them. We should all be eating far more fruits and vegetables”.

“If we get into our heads that we should be eating less fats, that is a simple message to take forward”.

Sue Thomas debates digital detox for The Conversation

Sue Thomas, Writer and Visiting Fellow for The Media School at Bournemouth University, wrote a feature article for The Conversation UK discussing the appeal of taking a ‘digital detox’.

“A digital detox can be achieved by disconnecting yourself from the internet and turning off your phone for short bursts of time to flush out the anxiety infesting your poor wired mind,” she said in the article.

Thomas also discusses the idea of taking digital detox holidays. “The Caribbean island of St Vincent and the Grenadines offers a digital detox holiday package where travelers exchange their smartphones for a guidebook explaining how to function without technology and a life coach to help them through it”. Another option would be Camp Grounded in northern California, which says it helps visitors to “disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself”.

Thomas goes on to suggest that although switching off can be beneficial, the internet “is good for you in many ways”, such as “strengthening relationships”. Also “studies have shown that encountering nature on a screen can be as beneficial as the real thing”.

Thomas concludes by proposing “another kind of resort, one which offers not detox but intoxication – with both nature and with digital life. Gaze at the stars each night while tracking the International Space Station on your iPad; take wonderful photos and share them on Facebook, and journal the entire experience on whatever platform you like best”.

“If you have all that kit in the first place, you are a lucky grown-up living in the 21st century: enjoy it”.

Miles Russell discusses Piltdown Man hoax on BBC Radio Solent

Miles Russell, programme leader of the BSc Archaeology course at Bournemouth University appeared on Steve Harris’ Drivetime show on BBC Radio Solent, discussing the 60 year anniversary since the discovery of the Piltdown Man was uncovered as a hoax.

Russell suggested archaeologists have learned from the hoax saying, “We have all become more cynical. If a find is too good to be true, it often is”.

Piltdown Man was said to be the biggest archaeological discovery of the century in 1912 when fossils of a human braincase and an ape like jaw were discovered, marking the midpoint in evolution between apes and humans.

In the 1950’s further research was carried out on Piltdown and, 60 years ago, the discovery was exposed as a hoax.

“People were so worried about proving Piltdown as a hoax that they wanted to make sure every last test was complete,” said Russell. “Before the hoax was uncovered, children had always been taught that civilization began in the south east”. However the science behind Piltdown didn’t align with other scientists discoveries over the years.

Dr Jeff Bray appears on BBC Radio Solent

Dr Jeff Bray, a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Retail management, appeared on Steve Harris’ Drivetime show on BBC Radio Solent, discussing the marketisation of Christmas and whether the popularity of adverts translates into sales.

Bray suggested advertising is money well spent saying “advertising helps to build retailers brand value and it subtly influences our purchase decisions”.

“Talkability is the important thing… Spending a lot on a creating a decent advert means businesses don’t have to spend that much showing it” said Bray, suggesting that YouTube and other online video outlets are the perfect place to watch a good advert.

Although he went on to suggest that advertising is hard to quantify as it is “difficult to know what is having influence on the customer”.

University contribution recognised in the Bournemouth Echo

An article in the Bournemouth Echo highlighted Bournemouth University contributes more than £1 million per day to the economy of the South West.

An economic impact study produced by Professor John Fletcher and Dr Yeganeh Morakabati of Bournemouth University shows the university is worth £378 million in the South West.

John Fletcher said in the Bournemouth Echo the University was “part of the fabric of the conurbation of Dorset”.

He suggested it’s more than just numbers saying “it brings in people who you meet on the street, who enjoy the entertainment, enjoy the beach, go to the shops and spend money. It creates a vibrant and young society”.

“It also brings a highly creative and skilled workforce into the region, as well as their families”.

Across the region the university contributed £85 million for wages and supported 3124 jobs. These numbers are the equivalent of 11,476 households or 3.3 million visitors.

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns praised the University for “seeking to become an integral part of the community it’s serving”.

Burns also said “Bournemouth would not only be economically and socially diminished without Bournemouth University, it would be decimated without Bournemouth University”.

By Peter Blackhall
2nd year student studying BA Public Relations at Bournemouth University

Archaeology lecturer John Gale in The Independent

BU archaeology lecturer John Gale appeared during an article about the modern profession of archaeology in The Independent.

“Being an archaeologist in 2013 is no longer about tweed jackets, beards and bohemian lifestyles” said Gale.

John Gale is programme leader for the MSc in archaeological practice at Bournemouth University.

While traditional skills remain essential, today’s archaeologists need more. The Institute for Archaeologists, suggests that postgraduate qualification could be helpful for those looking to move into practice, particularly those interested in heritage management and conservation.

As a postgraduate subject, archaeology appeals to students from a range of backgrounds such as history of art, English, music and sciences.

“Archaeology, while looking into the past, is rewarding as it provides great insight into the present,” says Gale.

“Why human beings do what they do, when and where are universal questions that transcend time and space. For the enquiring mind of whatever persuasion, archaeology offers a base from which you develop both intellectually and professionally”.

By Peter Blackhall
2nd Year Student at Bournemouth University, BA Public Relations

BU in the Independent on Sunday and The i Paper

Emma Kavanagh, a lecturer in sport psychology and coaching sciences at BU, gave her comment in an article in The i Paper about the shift towards masters-level study in the sports science field.

Kavanagh said “there is definitely a shift towards masters-level study. Sport Science accreditation for example, relies upon completing a master’s programme, and increasing the numbers of performance coaching roles requires a higher level qualification”.

She goes on to add that growing specialisation in the sport and exercise industry is driving a demand for postgraduates in fields such as sport psychology, physiology, biomechanics and strength and conditioning.

The industry is rapidly expanding reflected by the rise in people studying for higher level qualifications and trying to stand out.

In an article in the Independent on Sunday, Yasmin Sekhon, Director of MBA’s at BU, offered advice to students who may be thinking of studying MBA’s in the future.

Speaking to journalist Russ Thorne, Yasmin said, “Students gain first-hand experience of juggling more than one task, listening where required and also having to work more intensely when approaching deadlines and submissions.”

By Peter Blackhall
2nd Year Student at Bournemouth University, BA Public Relations

Anthea Innes talks to BBC Radio Solent about carers

The Director of the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute Professor Anthea Innes discussed on the Steve Harris show on BBC Radio Solent, the issue of overstretched carers providing 15 minute visits to patients.

Innes suggested 15 minutes would not even provide enough communication and social contact time between carers and patients and by doing so people’s basic care needs are not being taken into account.

Steve Harris highlighted the increasing drive for people to be treated at home. Innes replied saying “most people would rather stay in their own homes for as long as possible which is still a cheaper option than hospital or nursing home treatments.”

Innes implied change is needed by describing the situation as “a square peg in a round hole. There isn’t the supply of carers to give people what they want and need”.

By Peter Blackhall
2nd Year Student at Bournemouth University, BA Public Relations