FoMD's Top Stories of 2019

Find out what stories captured our readers' attention the most in 2019.

RYAN O'BYRNE - 18 December 2019

1. Brenda Hemmelgarn to take reins as new dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.
After a long search, the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry has found its new dean. Readers were eager to meet Brenda Hemmelgarn, a health-care veteran with a passion for clinical care, research and leading the faculty into an exciting new decade.

2. A mother's courage remembered
Karen Hamilton became the first-ever patient to receive a set of reconditioned lungs thanks to ex vivo perfusion technology, invented at the University of Alberta. Though Karen passed away in 2018, her memory lives on in the Karen Jane Hamilton Ex Vivo Organ Perfusion Research Laboratory at the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation.

3. Meet five young changemakers who are driving gender equality in health care
Five FoMD trainees were featured in the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation's Top 30 Under 30 for their work to advance gender equality and improve health equity around the world.

4. Passionate Preceptors || May Mrochuk
The first in our new ongoing series featuring clinical teachers was a huge success in September. In this edition, readers got to meet May Mrochuk, associate clinical professor and emergency physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, as she discussed her passion for teaching, her motivations and why she thinks others should take up the mantle of preceptor.

5. Dr. Mom dispels parenting myths in the age of misinformation
After noticing how much misinformation appears on many "mommy" blogs, Stephanie Liu launched, a blog devoted to providing medically credible parenting and health advice, drawing on Liu's experience as a mother and family doctor.

6. Too much screen time associated with behavioural problems in preschoolers
A study of more than 2,400 Canadian families with young children found that preschool-aged children show greater behavioural and attention problems when they have more than two hours of screen time per day. Associate professor of pediatrics, Piush Mandhane, says for preschool-aged children, zero to 30 minutes is the optimal amount of screen time, and that you can never start too early in building healthy habits.

7. U of A researchers discover new genetic link to premenopausal breast cancer
Professor Sambasivarao Damaraju and his research team at the Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta discovered a new genetic marker linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women. The study was the first of its kind to examine breast cancer in women divided by post- and pre-menopausal groups.

8. Clinical trial for new anti-obesity drug ready to launch at U of A
Andrea Haqq of the Alberta Diabetes Institute has partnered with Rhythm Pharmaceuticals to trial a new anti-obesity drug designed to address rare genetic conditions that contribute to obesity. The trial is focused on helping patients with Bardet-Biedl syndrome or Alstrӧm syndrome, but could expand in the future to other genetic disorders linked to obesity.

9. World's longest baseball game swings for the fences
Fifty-six players set a new Guinness World Record in August, playing 85 hours of baseball and taking the title for the longest baseball game in the world. When the last inning was played, the players had raised nearly $500,000 for a clinical trial of a new cancer drug at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.

10. University Hospital Foundation helps bright new ideas take flight
Earlier this year, the University Hospital Foundation announced it would provide more than $480,000 to support 14 health research projects at the U of A as part of the annual University Hospital Foundation Medical Research Competition. Funded projects include treating chronic pain in multiple sclerosis patients, improving cancer outcomes and accelerating nerve-injury repair.