FoMD in the News

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

22 December 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.


National Post: Research lacking on medical pot, ample evidence of harms: doctors' groups

Mike Allan

There is little to no research to support the supposed benefits of medical cannabis, and what evidence exists suggests that using marijuana as medicine may do more harm than good, family doctors' associations across Canada are telling their members. Mike Allan, a professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta, is quoted. The story also appears in the Toronto Sun, Vancouver Sun, and other PostMedia newspapers.


6 Minutes: Fecal transplants: easy-peasy, not so queasy

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) just got a whole lot easier with the latest evidence showing a pill is just as effective as a colonoscopy for delivering treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile. The study was led by Dina Kao, an associate professor of medicine at the U of A. Coverage is also found in MD Magazine, and Clinical Advisor.

CBC Online: How consciousness could live in your brain cells

The question of where the mind ends and the brain begins has preoccupied philosophers for centuries. Now that blurry line is coming into focus, thanks to steady advances in neuroscience. U of A physicist and professor of oncology Jack Tuszynski is quoted.

E21: Copy the New Zealand Model to Compensate Organ Donors

A study by Scott Klarenbach, professor of medicine at the U of A's Division of Nephrology, is referenced, estimating that 96 per cent of kidney donors have experienced adverse economic consequences.

CTV News: Mental effects of wildfire lingering in Fort McMurray

Vincent Agyapong, with the U of A's Department of Psychiatry, has been studying the mental-health impact of the Fort McMurray wildfire. Of 486 adults surveyed in November 2016, the rate of probable post-traumatic stress disorder was 12.8 per cent. It would have been less than one per cent under normal circumstances, Agyapong said. Coverage is also found in the National Post and several other Postmedia newspapers across Canada.

Global News Edmonton: 3 mind-blowing health innovations from Edmonton in 2017

Research on prosthetics at the U of A, "closed-chest" open heart surgery and gamma knife surgery are featured.


CBC News: Concerns raised in Alberta about flu shot's success rate against predominant strain

Health officials in Alberta say it's still important for people to get flu shots, despite indications from Australia that the vaccine may not be effective against this year's predominant strain. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease specialist at the U of A, is quoted.

Benefits Canada: Metabolic syndrome targeted as part of efforts to reduce chronic disease drug spending

Despite rising health-care costs, there's a gap when it comes to seeing the results of all of that spending, according to a speaker at the recent Calgary Drug Trends Summit. "Although health-care costs are increasing, we have not seen a significant improvement in the health of Canadians," said Doug Klein, an associate professor at the U of A's department of family medicine, during a session at the Nov. 23 event.

Global News: Global News investigates: Calls for Alberta to license estheticians

If you want to be an esthetician-which involves intimate procedures to the body such as manicuring nails, doing facials and removing body hair with hot wax-there are no standard education requirements. Louis Francescutti, a professor with both the U of A's School of Public Health and Department of Emergency Medicine, comments.

Calgary Herald: Virani: Social issues affect us all whether we know it or not

Hakique Virani, an assistant professor at the U of A's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and one of Alberta's foremost experts in addictions, public health and preventive medicine, writes an op-ed in support of the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund.

St. Albert Gazette: Study suggests annual physical exams more harmful than good

Some medical doctors are saying annual checkups are not only ineffective, but could negatively impact patients. Neil Bell, a professor with the U of A's Department of Family Medicine and a former member of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, said annual physical examinations don't actually improve health outcomes. In November the task force published an article in the online journal Canadian Family Physician calling for an end to the annual physical exam.

CTV News Atlantic: Family of Delilah Saunders continues to fight for liver transplant

Vincent Bain, a professor with the U of A's Division of Gastroenterology, gives expert comment on a a health policy in Ontario in which patients must be sober for six-months prior to receiving a liver transplant.

Global News: Tooth-whitening products

Alexandra Sheppard, an associate clinical professor at the U of A's School of Dentistry, comments on the efficacy of different tooth-whitening products.

CNN: Teen, young adult cancer patients fall through the cracks: Can technology help?

Teen and young adult cancer patients may live a long time, so it's "important to pay more attention to the quality of their survival-and not just to their survival," says U of A professor of pediatrics and oncology Paul Grundy.

Edmonton Journal: Opinion: Objections to medical cannabis 'dead wrong'

In an opinion piece, James Moir, an assistant clinical professor with the U of A's Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, objects to a stance taken by the Alberta College of Family Physicians that there is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of medical cannabis.


Edmonton Journal: Nick Lees: Celebrating Alberta's pioneers of gastroenterology

There were so many gastroenterologist specialists at the Royal Alberta Museum one night in late November that nearly everyone could have pulled out a scope and performed an emergency endoscopy. Some 300 guests were there to celebrate the work of three visionary doctors who pioneered the world-class Division of Gastroenterology at the U of A.

Edmonton Journal: Students want cannabis taxes invested into mental health for youth

A group of Alberta's future doctors are calling on the provincial government to use cannabis tax revenue to fund mental health initiatives for youth. Medical students from the University of Alberta and University of Calgary are speaking with MLAs from various parties to advocate for the initiative. Coverage also appears on CTV News, Global News, CBC News and in Metro News.

Edmonton Journal: Two University of Alberta students named Rhodes Scholars

Two students at the U of A are among the 11 Canadians who were named Rhodes Scholars for 2018. MD student Iain Sander and Mackenzie Martin learned they had been selected by the prairies committee on Nov. 18. Coverage also appears in the Edmonton Examiner and the Lethbridge Herald.

CBC News: New U of A program helps under-represented students who seek health-care careers

Yasmin Rafiei, a former U of A student has helped start Venture Healthcare, a program that aims to assist people from under-represented communities learn more about careers in health care. Rafiei was given the opportunity to work with the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the U of A to create the two-week internship program for students from groups that are under-represented in health professions. The program is run through the support of the college and the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's Division of Community Engagement.

Global News Edmonton: Health Matters: Dec. 19

UHF is celebrating a decade of money well spent. In the past 10 years the foundation has supported 169 local research projects involving 437 researchers. The $5 million investment led to $24 million more in provincial, national and international funding. U of A associate professor of surgery Todd McMullen is quoted.