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This happens pretty frequently with USB mice and is almost definitely hardware-related. The most likely cause is worn or broken wires in the mouse itself. You can test that by using another known good USB mouse in the same port. If it works, you know it's the mouse that is a problem. If the known good mouse also fails, you may have the second most likely cause, a bad USB port. That can be tested by moving the mouse to another known good USB port (if you have one) or by using another USB device like an external drive in the suspect port.
My money is on the bad mouse. I live in a 3-laptop household, and we typically go through two or three replacement mice per year.
I suppose it's possible that you could have some sort of kernel bug causing the disconnects. I have seen bugs logged from time to time on similar issues, but they were usually cleared up with either a mouse replacement or an OS upgrade. The following link has info about how you might log a bug on this yourself:
Before going through all that though, I would suggest creating live cd or usb key of another distribution and seeing if the problem persists when you boot from the Live CD. Perhaps try Ubuntu 11.04 or even Linux Mint to see if updating might have an effect.