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UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 9 | Sep. 6, 2007

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in August 2007

Compiled by Basil Waugh

Language Expert Comments on Toddler ‘Word Spurts’

UBC language development specialist Janet Werker featured prominently in international news coverage of a U.S. study on “word spurts,” when a toddler’s vocabulary explodes, seemingly overnight.

According to the study, babies start really talking after they’ve mastered enough easy words to tackle more of the harder ones.

“The work is extremely creative,” said Werker, whose comments appeared in The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN News and Fox News. “It suggests that the fact that some words are more difficult to learn than others is part of what propels the vocabulary explosion. That’s really insightful.”

Russia’s Deep-Sea Flag-Planting at North Pole Strikes a Chill in Canada

The Washington Post, Globe and Mail, National Post, and Toronto Star reported on a dramatic submarine dive to plant the Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole.
Canada and the United States scoffed at the legal significance of act, but the move underscores the growing stakes as the ice cap melts in the oil-rich Arctic.

“The huge irony is that we are only talking about this because humanity has burned so much oil and gas that the ice is melting,” said UBC international law expert Michael Byers.

“It could be a vicious cycle,” Byers added. “Climate change is opening up the Arctic to oil and gas drilling, which almost certainly will cause more climate change.”

Bulk Buying of Drugs Would Save Canadians Billions

A UBC study has found that Canadians could save billions of dollars a year on prescription medicines if governments negotiated bulk-buying discounts from drug manufacturers.

Reported by CanWest News, Global National Online and The Vancouver Sun, the UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research used New Zealand as an example to show how strong negotiations can reduce expenditures by up to 90 per cent on some types of commonly used drugs.

“Canada can, and should, expect manufacturers of tried-and-true medicines to price them competitively,” said lead author Steve Morgan. “The New Zealand experience shows that tough but fair negotiation is more powerful than regulation.”

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Last reviewed 06-Sep-2007

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