UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 3 |
Mar. 3, 2005
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in February 2005
Compiled by Brian Lin
First Prescribed-Heroin Project Begins
Vancouver has opened North America’s first safe heroin-injection
site, a pilot project which, it claims, will curb disease
and deaths among addicts.
The North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI),
a two-year $8 Million study funded by the Canadian Institutes
of Health Research, will also take place in Montreal and Toronto
and enrol a total of 470 “treatment-resistant”
addicts, reports The Economist.
By keeping hardcore addicts from committing crimes to fund
their habits, it is hoped that they will leave drugs behind
and lead a more productive life. UBC HIV/AIDS researcher and
the project’s lead investigator, Martin Schechter says
that in similar studies done in Europe, the participants “reduced
their use of street drugs, their health improved, the level
of employment went up and the levels of criminality fell drastically.”
This Little Piggy Hurts
In a feature story on animal welfare in The Independent,
UBC agricultural sciences professor Dan Weary argues that
conventional husbandry methods should be rethought on the
basis of the animals’ reactions.
For example, Weary suggests that pigs should be injected
with hormones that neutralise the sex hormones -- “immunocastration”
-- instead of being painfully castrated.
National Study Reports Drug Reactions
At least seven children’s hospitals will participate
in an $8.4-million nationwide project to report adverse reactions
to drugs in children, ranging from rashes to drug-induced
Researchers will also collect DNA and blood samples, searching
for genetic markers that could explain why a drug is safe
for one child but not another.
“Instead of passively waiting, we’re hiring
people to go out and find (adverse drug reactions), catalogue
them, put them in a central registry and share them among
hospitals to see if there are any patterns,” co-principal
investigator Dr. Bruce Carleton of UBC’s Centre for
Healthcare Innovation and Improvement told The National Post.
Urnbanites Healthier than Suburban Counterparts
UBC professor Larry Frank recently spoke to CTV’s
Canada AM about his research on urban sprawl and public health.
“We found that the people who live in the most walkable
parts of the Atlanta region, who have shops and services near
to where they live . . . are 2.4 times more likely to meet
the US Surgeon-General’s recommendation and the Heart
and Stroke’s recommendation of 30 minutes of moderate
activity per day than people who live in the more sprawling
parts of the same region.
“Non-leisure-time physical activity is a better way
to guarantee that we will add up and collectively become more
physically active, or less likely to be sedentary,”
Let Them Stay Up and Watch TV
Television programs designed to be entertaining, intelligent
and educational can open a “cognitive window”
and have a profound effect on formative young minds.
Studies have shown that television has the ability to stimulate
both sides of the brain, making it easier to retain and understand
“There is no question about that any more. The research
is in,” UBC psychologist Tannis MacBeth told The Globe
and Mail. “Programs intended to be educational have
positive effects on the children who watch them.”