Smart on Sugar

We are the first university in the country to launch a campaign to cut sugar consumption – and are being backed by Jamie Oliver.

JamieOliver_SugarSmart_campaignimageThe renowned chef, who launched the Sugar Smart drive, has sent staff and students a message of support as the university joins with Brighton & Hove City Council in its Sugar Smart City campaign.

Jamie Oliver sent our university’s 23,000 students and staff the following message: “I’m hugely excited that the University of Brighton is joining the Sugar Smart campaign. It’s brilliant to hear that you are introducing a levy on sugary drinks to help raise awareness about the long-term damage too much sugar can have on our health, and empowering us all to reduce it in our diets. We’re facing a growing obesity crisis; with more than four million people in the UK diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, the need for action is more urgent than ever. Students of all ages need to be more aware of the dangers sugar consumption can have on our long-term health.

“I really believe that we need a comprehensive strategy to turn the tide of diet-related disease and get back on track. It’s not about banning sugar altogether – a piece of cake for a special treat is totally fine, but we need to understand that by reducing the way we eat and drink sugar, we can have a huge impact on improving our health. Paired with regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet, we can all lead a healthier, happier life.”

The university intends introducing initiatives over the next academic year to raise awareness of sugar consumption and hidden sugar, including the introduction of a 10p levy on the price of sugary drinks. The money raised will be used to fund food education schemes for the university’s students.

This ties in with research being carried out by some our team in PABS.

Dr Claire Marriott, Senior Lecturer in the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences, is leading new research with Professor Adrian Bone, Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology, and Dr Wendy Macfarlane to find new ways to help people understand the need to cut back on sugar in order to avoid obesity and related conditions.

She said the problem was urgent: “Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are inherently linked and the complications associated with both can be very serious. For example, Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of amputations, with over 135 related operations a week. In addition to the personal cost, which should not be underestimated, tens of millions of pounds are spent in Brighton and Hove alone to treat people with Type 2 diabetes. Nationally, 10 per cent of the entire NHS budget is spent treating this disease and associated complications.”

To see a video about Jamie Oliver’s campaign, go to:

For more information on the university’s work in this area, visit the university website.

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Inspirational South Africa

Renee Mcalister , 2nd year Ecology BSc(Hons), was inspired by the fieldtrip to South Africa. Here’s a taster of her experience on the trip.

Sundownwer on the Kopje

Sundownwer on the Kopje

I found the South Africa trip life changing on many levels; educationally, emotionally and intellectually. The beautiful intensity of the work served to underpin the concrete learning experience. There have not been many times in my life when I actually desperately wanted to wake up at 5.30am! To watch the dam change from dark to half-light to light and know that anything might happen – from an African fish eagle swooping in to the sight of a water buck watching its young caper in the reeds. And the dawn shrieks of the ibis were a bracing start to every day.

The camaraderie with fellow students, lecturers and staff at the reserve was warm and fun. The atmosphere between us was supportive and nurturing and laughter was as abundant and hearty as a kudu stew. The teaching was utterly amazing. The staff were incredibly knowledge, incredibly encouraging and incredibly just incredible. It was so well organised and flowed wonderfully.

It was an honour to be able to see African wildlife in such a well cared for environment. And a privilege to share the experience with people who have devoted their lives to conservation.

On my return I found I had changed. I felt that I could possibly become a scientist. I felt that I learnt more in those two weeks than I would over a year in a 20 credit module. Learning by doing consolidates knowledge.

Enter your final year project into the Quorom prize scheme

If your final year, undergraduate project used Scanning Electron Microscopy you are eligible to enter this year’s Quorom prize scheme.

There are three x £200 final year undergraduate prizes available. The prizes will be awarded in recognition of the three most commendable undergraduate final year projects that have included the use of electron microscopy.

If you meet the criteria above, please email a copy of your final year project to Dr Jonathan Salvage or drop a hard copy off at the Image and Analysis Unit or the PABS school office, marked for the attention of Dr Jonathan Salvage.

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New research will benefit patients

Scientists at the University of Brighton are playing an integral role in developing a new early warning system that tells patients and carers when urinary catheters are infected and at risk of blocking.

Urinary catheters are the most commonly used medical devices, with hundreds of millions sold worldwide every year. Many of these will be used for long-term management of incontinence in older individuals or those with spinal cord injuries, and these patients are at particular risk of infection, and associated complications.

One of the most serious complications of infection is the encrustation and blockage of catheters, which is mostly caused by a bacterial species called Proteus mirabilis. Blockage, in turn, leads to the onset of serious complications such as kidney infection and septicaemia, one of the UK’s biggest killers.

A reliable system for patients or their carers to spot infection early and take action before blockage occurs would have considerable benefits to patients, and could considerably reduce NHS costs.

Dr Brian Jones

Dr Brian Jones

Leading the university’s research is Dr Brian Jones, Reader in Molecular and Medical Microbiology at the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences, and Head of Research Development at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. This work is a collaboration with scientists at the University of Bath.


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