FoMD in the News

A round-up of news stories in August featuring the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Ross Neitz - 31 August 2017

This is a round-up of relevant news and media stories involving the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. We appreciate you relaying information which is relevant to faculty members in your respective areas.


The Globe and Mail: Investing in research is the best way to create an innovative economy

Paul Armstrong

With Canada's 150th birthday squarely in the rear view mirror we should now look to our future. Our current government has been staking much on an innovation economy if the regular speeches by various ministries are anything to go by. So how do we get there? Paul Armstrong, a distinguished university professor at the University of Alberta and founding director of the Canadian VIGOUR Centre, co-authors this opinion piece. The op-ed also appears in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Science Magazine: Blocking The Back-Door That Cancer Cells Use To Escape Death By Radiotherapy

David Brindley (centre) and colleagues

David Brindley, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, discusses his latest research in which he found that irradiation of breast fat produces an inflammatory response that in normal circumstances promotes healing, but in cases of cancer enables the cancerous cells to survive. Brindley and his team are now looking for a way to counteract the effect.

CBC Edmonton: Kids go wild for Heart Heroes summer camp west of Edmonton

Heart Heroes Camp

20 kids from Alberta, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories attended the first Heart Heroes Camp early in August near Wabamun Lake. The medically supervised camp gave kids living with heart problems a chance to experience a variety of outdoor activities. Devin Chetan, pediatric resident and founder, said the weekend at Camp YoWoChAs Outdoor Education Centre allowed staff to interact with the kids outside the hospital with an aim to ease the burden on families. Coverage also appears on Global, Radio-Canada and euronews.


Nutrition Insight: Calcium could play key role in moderating cholesterol

New research from the U of A, McGill and Hanyang University in Seoul has revealed a direct link between calcium and cholesterol, which could lead to new ways of treating high blood cholesterol. Marek Michalak, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, is quoted and graduate student Wen-An Wang is mentioned.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Medical Q&A: Why we should shower, pre- and post-swim

Lindsay Blackstock, a doctoral student in analytical and environmental toxicology at the University of Alberta, is quoted in a story about if we should worry about the chlorine and other additives in pools? Blackstock was recently a co-author of a paper showing that 31 of the 31 swimming pools her team tested contained an artificial sweetener that could have gotten there only through people peeing it out in the pool.

Futurism: Scientists Move One Step Closer To "Curing" Diabetes Using First-Ever Stem Cell Implant

Clinical trials have begun for ViaCyte's PEC-Direct, an implant that grows insulin-producing cells from stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes patients. If successful, the implant could eliminate the need for these patients to inject themselves with insulin. The trial is taking place at the University of Alberta Hospital and UC San Diego School of Medicine's Atman Clinical Trials Research Institute. U of A's James Shapiro is quoted. Related coverage also appears in New Scientist, Digital Trends, IFLScience,,, EconoTimes, Boss Magazine and

CTV Saskatoon: Tuberculosis in northern Saskatchewan communities

Richard Long with the U of A's Department of Medicine talks about his research on tuberculosis in northern Saskatchewan, where rates can be up to 26 times the national average. No link.

Defense One: The Government Must Review What Bioresearch Journals Publish

The news that researchers have recreated an extinct cousin to the smallpox virus using only commercially available technology and items purchased over the Internet renews concerns that bioterrorists could do the same if detailed information about the methods were published. The story cites research done by U of A's David Evans to recreate a horsepox virus.

CIOL: IBM creates AI models to detect schizophrenia

IBM and the University of Alberta have conducted a pioneering research using Artificial Intelligence (AI) that could help doctors detect the onset of schizophrenia and severity of its symptoms. Professor Serdar Dursun with the U of A's Department of Psychiatry comments. Coverage also appears in India Times.

Science Newsline: Peroxisomes Identified as 'Fighters' in the Battle Against Bacterial Infections

A new addition to the fight against bacteria comes in the unlikely form of an organelle that previously had no link to the immune response. University of Alberta researchers Francesca Di Cara, Richard Rachubinski and Andrew Simmonds have found that peroxisomes are required for cells in the innate immune response to bacteria and fungi.

Medical Xpress: What's the best strategy to increase living kidney donation?

A new analysis indicates that few strategies to increase living kidney donation have been evaluated effectively; however, educational strategies targeted to recipients and their family and friends have the best evidence of being successful. Scott Klarenbach, a professor of medicine at the U of A, led the review.

Reader's Digest: This One Thing Lowers Risk of Allergies and Obesity in Babies (Hint: It Barks)

Dogs aren't called "man's best friend" for nothing. Dogs have been beloved family members for generations, but now research has uncovered significant health benefits to owning a dog. Anita Kozyrskyj, a professor of pediatrics at the U of A, is interviewed. Related coverage also appears on CBC.


Reader's Digest: 4 Ways to Trick Your Hormones Into Helping You Lose Weight

There's emerging evidence that your brain, and even household chemicals, can play a major role in weight gain. Arya Sharma, professor of medicine at the U of A, is quoted in the article saying that the sooner we unearth what causes us to gain weight and hold on to it, the sooner we can find a cure for obesity.

The Canadian Press: University of Alberta doctors raise alarm about rare coyote tapeworm in humans

Infectious diseases expert Stan Houston explains the emergence of a rare parasite in Alberta that develops into a tapeworm in humans, how it's transmitted and what to look for. Coverage also appears in the Alberta Farmer Express.

Vancouver Sun: Opinion: Hepatitis C, a silent killer that deserves more attention

Michael Houghton, a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology who co-discovered hepatitis C, is quoted in this op-ed that discusses the fact that more than half of Canadians who have the virus don't know it, and even fewer have access to life-saving medications which are widely available.

Reader's Digest: 13 Smart (and Sensitive) Ways to Talk to Your Kids About Their Weight

Addressing weight with your child is a sensitive matter-you want them to be healthy, but also want them to accept their body. Here's how to walk the fine line. Geoff Ball, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, is interviewed.

Global News: Canadian study shows teens can easily buy e-cigarettes online: 'It's kind of scary'

Barry Finegan, a professor in the U of A's Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, says young people need better protection when it comes to buying e-cigarettes off websites.

CBC News: Don't let the hype around Lyme disease lead to unnecessary treatment, warns U of A researcher

An infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta Hospital says the risk of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite is overblown. Lynora Saxinger is interviewed. Coverage also appears on CBC Radio Active and CTV.

Daily Herald Tribune: Lyme disease a concern: naturopath

A naturopath in Grande Prairie is taking issue with public comments from U of A infectious disease specialist Lynora Saxinger. Saxinger recently spoke on CBC radio about Lyme disease, saying concerns were overblown and that people should shun a test done in the U.S.

Today's Parent: 5 potty training problems (and how to solve them!)

Pediatrics professor Mia Long comments in a story about common toilet training setbacks.

Metro News: Blood feud: Advocacy groups at odds over how to test impaired drivers for marijuana

Edmonton emergency room physician Louis Francescutti says no one knows the best approach to marijuana-imparied driving. Francescutti is a professor in the U of A's Department of Emergency Medicine.

CBC : 9-year wait: POTS diagnosis comes after hundreds of tests for Regina woman

Zaaem Siddiqi, a professor in the U of A's Division of Neurology, comments in a story about POTS, a disorder of the nervous system.

The Conversation: Think Disability Is a Tragedy? We Pity You

In this opinion piece, Heidi Janz, an adjunct professor of disability ethics at the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, argues that as a society we need to say no to ableism. We must see disability for what it is-a natural part of human experience, rather than something to be feared. Story also appears in the National Post and The Tyee.

GQ: The Psychological Reason You Don't Feel Like You're Losing Weight

You find a weight-loss program that promises to zap your love handles in eight weeks. So you go through the grueling effort and, after the eight weeks, you feel disappointed. Arya Sharma, professor of medicine at the U of A, gives expert comment in this story.

Macleans: Why some parents are scared of vaccines

Joan Robinson, a professor with the U of A's Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, comments in this story about whether or not vaccines are safe for children. Story also runs in Today's Parent.


Edmonton Journal: University of Alberta cyclotron could meet province's demand for medical isotopes

Alberta has the potential to become completely self-sufficient in the production of medical isotopes and capitalize on the success of the University of Alberta's Medical Isotope Cyclotron Facility. Research lead Sandy McEwan is interviewed.

Edmonton Journal: Paula Findlay working her way back to the top

When you've won five World Triathlon Series events, like Paula Findlay, it might not feel like significant progress to finish 15th. But that was a different Paula Findlay with a different body and before suffering injuries. This Paula Findlay returned to medical school at the University of Alberta this past year and was no longer a member of the national team. It was enough progress that Findlay has decided she's going for 2020 in Tokyo and definitely shooting for the 2020 World Triathlon Grand Final in Edmonton.

Edmonton Journal: Edmonton kids learn about health, science at Rockin' Docs camp

Medical students at the University of Alberta are hosting a week-long day camp which gives local kids the opportunity to learn about health and science. Coverage also appears on CBC, CTV and Global.

Edmonton Journal: Doctor jumps out of car to help half-marathoner who collapsed on course

A doctor driving by the Edmonton Marathon rushed to the aid of a man who collapsed and stopped breathing just blocks away from the finish line. The man was resuscitated by Tamara Kuzma, who rushed from her car to assist a police officer and administer CPR at Jasper Avenue and 103 Street. Kuzma is an alumna of the U of A's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Dawson Creek Mirror: Little Warriors hosting Prevent It! workshop

A workshop offering adults and parents signs to look for in the fight to stop child sexual abuse goes middle of the month in Dawson Creek. Erin Martin and Peter Silverstone with the U of A's Department of Psychiatry note in a study that the Prevent It! program is unique.

Edmonton Journal: Doctor designs educational toys for children about heart health

Michiko Maruyama, a cardiac surgery resident who is also pursuing a master's degree in industrial design at the U of A, is combining her love of both disciplines to teach children about cardiac health.