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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 11 | Nov. 6, 2003

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in October 2003

Compiled by Brian Lin

Papal Illness Shows

Dr. Jon Stoessl, director of UBC’s Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre, told the Globe and Mail that the Pope’s doctors may be under-medicating him in order to reduce the risk of the drug’s side effects, and as a result, making his symptoms more apparent.

Stoessl said medical scientists know how much L-dopa, a Parkinson’s medication, to administer, but haven’t figured out how to target the drug effectively to the part of the brain where it’s needed.

“So as the medication wears off, the speech could decline.” And when it improves, “it is also possible that his medication dose [has been] adjusted in response to poor performance the day before.”

New Discovery in HIV

A study in the October issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience shows that HIV can activate a previously unknown biochemical pathway that leads to nerve cell destruction in the brain.

Researchers from UBC and the University of Calgary have found that activation of the pathway could be a major contributor to such HIV-related conditions as dementia, seizures, depression, loss of memory, and loss of motor skills, reports The Advocate magazine.

Benefits of Working in Antarctica

UBC psychology professor Peter Suedfeld is taking advantage of Antarctica’s effects on those who work there.

Suedfeld studies the psychological impact of sensory deprivation and separation from family and friends at home.
Suedfeld told the Toronto Star that the beneficial long-term psychological effects of working in such remote circumstances outweigh some adverse short-term impacts.

Many people return from stints in Antarctica with significant changes to personal philosophies or religious beliefs, Suedfeld added. And that can cause friction with families who stay home and don’t have similar profound experiences.

Online Chef Lends Help in Kitchen

UBC Continuing Studies instructor Chef Eric Arrouzé offers a safety net for new cooks, and a place for kitchen enthusiasts to connect with an expert, on his online cooking school, www.911cheferic.com.

Arrouzé told the New York Times that a couple of hundred students have signed up for his online service, which costs $7 a month. For that fee, they get unlimited access to several hundred QuickTime clips showing Arrouzé at work.

In addition to basics, he offers tutorials on making exotic fare like escargots à la bourguignonne and pan-seared duck breast.

Bugs in the Forest

After the tough summer B.C.’s forests have just endured, there’s word that a huge infestation of a tiny and treacherous beetle is beginning.

Barely larger than a pinhead, the mountain pine beetle is destroying hundreds of millions of pine trees every year.

“What it lacks in size it makes up for in numbers,” UBC forestry professor John McLean told CBC Television.

“Right now the area that’s being attacked in the interior is four times the size of Vancouver Island. That’s a huge amount of our forest industry or forest inventory which is at risk.”

Newest Airline Holds Promise

UBC Sauder School of Business professor Tae Oum tells Canadian Business magazine that as a small, private operation, HMY Airways has an inherent cost advantage over some rivals.

Oum estimates that with low overhead, HMY could operate in the first few years at about 50 per cent of Air Canada’s overall per passenger cost.

“If they can sell tickets, say 80 per cent or 90 per cent of the seats, then they will make money.”

University Report Card

1,217 UBC students participated in the Globe and Mail’s University Report Card 2003 survey.

One student told the Globe and Mail that UBC is a “highly competitive university.”

According to one student, “intramurals at UBC rock!” with “great choices and the “biggest... program in Canada.”

Described as a “very reputable university,” most UBC students take pride in their soon-to-be alma mater. The future appears bright in the opinion of most UBC grads, thanks to co-op placements in some programs and a “faculty that will open doors for you.”

Bioethics Legislation Needed

UBC medical geneticist Patricia Baird told Canada.com that she’s concerned the long-debated federal legislation banning human cloning is headed for the back burner again.

“It’s tragic,” said Baird, who headed a $30-million royal commission that called for a ban on human reproductive cloning more than a decade ago.

Baird added that the lack of legislation would result in greater commercialization of such reproductive technologies as surrogacy and egg and sperm donations, something the bill would outlaw.

“If we really want to have social policy decide how we use these technologies, rather than the market, we really need to put in place some kind of regulatory agency,” she said.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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