Gazza spices up the shocks;The week in view

5th June 1998 at 01:00
A shocking week: first Ginger Geri's departure, Gazza's rejection, and the mysterious rise of "two-brain" David Willetts. The former Paymaster General will be facing David Blunkett across the dispatch box, replacing Stephen Dorrell.

Given the new shadow education secretary's brief to rethink Tory education policy, he and his opponent should take heed of Aberdeen University's medical school, which is introducing an eight-week literature course for final-year student doctors. Blair Smith, whose idea it is, said modern medicine concentrated on training rather than education, dehumanising the profession.

Edward Bond, the playwright, along with other luvvies, hammered home that message at the Birmingham Rep. He warned that Labour was in danger of completing Thatcher's mission in making the country more brutal and unjust.

Cambridge University has at last redressed an injustice by recognising the achievements of some 900 women who were awarded certificates through the post rather than full degrees. Full membership of the university was only accorded to females in 1947 - 28 years after Oxford. At the 50th anniversary to celebrate the first degree awarded will be Elizabeth Layton, who graduated 62 years ago. She recalled: "There were five men to every girl so we had a splendid time. It was great fun, but we were very serious about our work."

As in her case, longevity could be attributed to an active brain early in life: scientists at Kentucky University analysed the essays of elderly nuns written when they were aged 18-32, which showed those who had the fewest ideas in their youth were 10 times more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's disease in later life.

Help is at hand for those who suffer from "tip-of-the-tongue" state - that agonising feeling when you know a word but it just won't come out of your mouth. Researchers from Dundee and Warwick universities say that experiments suggest that recalling words is a two-stage process in which the brain links words to more general memories. Apparently we can dig out words that sound similar more easily than odd-sounding, less familiar, ones from our brains.

It is not only brain power that counts, but body language, especially if you are inclined to dissemble at job interviews. Adrian Furnham, professor of psychology at University College London, advises candidates not to touch their noses, shrug, alter their posture, or clasp their chairs if they are fibbing.

The plight of children forced to work is highlighted at this week's annual conference of the International Labour Organisation - the UN body that promotes social justice and welfare. Well-meaning, but its timing was less than impeccable - the eve of the World Cup is one thing, but add Spice and Gascoigne, and it looks like carelessness.

Diane Spencer

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