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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 hepatitis.

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,” he said.

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 information.

“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.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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