FoMD in the News

This is a round-up of relevant news and media stories involving the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

RYAN O'BYRNE - 26 July 2019


Edmonton Journal: Disease expert 'disturbed' by rise in syphilis cases; Nearly two thirds of infections reported in Alberta in 2018 were in Edmonton area

gloved hand holding vial of blood marked as syphilis

Story explores the outbreak of syphilis in Alberta. Interview with one of the U of A's infectious disease specialists Lynora Saxinger, providing a reaction to the Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health declaration a provincewide outbreak of syphilis in Alberta. The announcement included a report detailing that Edmonton appears to be a hotspot for the infection. Article also appears in Calgary Herald, Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Examiner and Calgary Sun. Dr. Saxinger was also interviewed for a Q&A article on syphilis in the Edmonton Star.

Global News: More cases of deadly tapeworm that causes tumour-like growths appearing in Alberta

A contemplative coyote

A team of researchers at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary, along with international partners, have raised the alarm about a rare, potentially fatal parasitic infection arriving in Alberta. A total of 13 documented cases of a tapeworm called Echinococcus multilocularis have been found in people in Alberta. FoMD's Kinga Kowalewska-Grochowska, Sara Belga, Clayton MacDonald, Safwat Girgis and Stan Houston were part of the research team. Stan Houston, a professor in the Department of Medicine, is quoted in the story. Coverage also appears in Canadian Press, Calgary Herald, Toronto Star, CTV News, Lethbridge Herald, Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune,


WSAU News (Wisconsin): Night shifts, long hours linked to miscarriages and preterm births (USA)

Research from Margie Davenport of the Alberta Diabetes Institute showed that occupational shifts and extended working hours during pregnancy can negatively affect the health of both the mother and child. The study found that pregnant women should try to avoid night shifts and long working hours as much as possible. Story also appears in International Business Times.
CNN: UFC teams with Aurora Cannabis on CBD study in fighters

Ultimate Fighting Championship athletes will serve as test subjects to find out if the cannabis compound CBD can treat the aches and pains that come hand in hand with their violent sport. The study is being led in part by Jason Dyck, Director of Cardiovascular Research and professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Coverage also appears in Culture, Market Realist, The Athletic, Small CAPS
My Medical Mantra: Too much screen time hurts toddlers' social skills, shows new study

Article references another U of A study from Piush Mandhane and Sukhpreet Tamana that showed kindergarteners who get too much screen time may be more at risk of behaviour and attention problems in school.

WebMD: Crypto, Other Dangers Abound Around the Pool

Story refers to a 2017 U of A study in which researchers tested water at 31 swimming pools and hot tubs and found high levels of the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium from each location. The researchers concluded that people were urinating in the pools and hot tubs and releasing the sweetener through their urine. Coverage also appears on ABC News (New York), Mirror Media (South Korea), Sanli News (South Korea) and TVBS (South Korea).

The Mayerthorpe Freelancer: Housing For Health launch event

Seniors in Whitecourt will soon have more options for housing. The Whitecourt Housing for Health project held its launch event on June 25. A collaboration between the U of A, the Christenson Group of Companies and Whitecourt, the project will begin with the building of residential housing units for seniors. Related coverage also appears in, the Whitecourt Star, and the Mayerthorpe Freelancer. Discovery of mechanism behind precision cancer drug opens door for more targeted treatment

U of A oncologist and cell biologist Michael Hendzel was part of a national research team that identified how a new class of cancer drugs known as PARP inhibitors work, opening the door to better targeted therapy for cancer patients. Coverage also appears on Vision Times, Science Daily and ecancernews.

The Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

After reviewing the medical evidence, co-authors Stephanie Liu, Erin Manchuk and Shannon Ruzycki of the University of Calgary, conclude that "some of us have chosen to enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink while breastfeeding. But we have carefully timed any alcohol consumption to reduce the amount of alcohol present in the breast milk."

Tehran Times: What are the effects of pain on memory? (Iran)

According to Science Daily, a new Canadian study has showed that chronic pain may distract the mind and hamper the memory-making process. Researchers Bruce D. Dick and Saifudin Rashiq in the U of A's Multidisciplinary Pain Centre believed that learning more about chronic pain's effects on mental skills such as memory may one day lead to new treatments

Edmonton Journal: 'The kind of gift that has the power to transform a community': Kaye Competition helps fund groundbreaking projects in healthcare

University Hospital Foundation awards winners of the 2018 Kaye Competition to improve patient care. Neurologist Christopher Power received an award to test the link between pegivirus and encephalitis, a brain condition that is fatal in 20 to 30 per cent of cases. Anatomic pathologist Benjamin Adam received a grant to study lung-transplant rejection.

Oncology Times: Researchers Discover New Genetic Link to Premenopausal Breast Cancer

University of Alberta researchers have added a new genetic marker to the breast cancer map, helping to expand the list of genetic mutations clinicians can watch for in cancer screenings. Sambasivarao Damaraju, a professor at the U of A's Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology, is quoted. Coverage also appears in Mirage News (Australia)

Vaaju: New anti-obesity drug trial set to start at the Alberta Diabetes Institute (Singapore)

The Alberta Diabetes Institute (ADI) will be at the center of a new clinical study for an obesity drug targeting people with rare genetic conditions that contribute to their obesity. The trial will be led by Andrea Haqq, clinical researcher at ADI and associate professor at the U of A's Department of Pediatrics. Coverage also appears in Daily Heralds, Centre Daily Times, Drug Development Technology and Technology Networks.

Now to Love: 11 tips to help you with your weight loss goals in winter

In a story about weight loss tips, a study from Peter Light with the U of A's Alberta Diabetes Institute is referenced. In the study, researchers determined that a culprit for winter weight gain is an absence of sunlight. Coverage also appears on KSBI.


American Medical Association: 4 ways to counteract medical misinformation

An essay, co-authored by the U of A's Paul Armstrong and the University of Toronto's David Naylor, and subsequently published in JAMA is referenced in this article. It outlined the roles that members of the health care, education and journalism communities can play in exposing, debunking and preventing medical misinformation.

Mirage News: U of A eye specialist warns parents about dangers of Nerf guns (Australia)

U of A ophthalmologist Matthew Tennant wants safety rules put in place for Nerf toys, after a patient was shot in the eye and nearly lost her vision. Coverage also appears in the Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Sun, Calgary Sun, 630 CHED, News Talk 980, 680 CJOB, and Medical Xpress.

Mirage News: University of Alberta research informs proposed new Canadian drug pricing rules (Australia)

If proposed new regulations are adopted this summer as expected, Canadians could be paying much less for drugs within about a year, with or without pharmacare, thanks in large part to research by U of A health economists. Coverage also appears in Education News Canada.

CBC News: 'We don't want to be over-optimistic': Deadly fentanyl overdoses on the decline in Alberta

Fentanyl deaths are on the decline in Alberta, but addictions medicine specialist Hakique Virani said he is concerned that the province's cap on harm reduction services is going to halt the progress shown in the report. Coverage also appears on CBC Radio.

Edmonton Journal: Opinion: Cancelling superlab undermines foundation of patient care

Cheryl Mather, an assistant clinical professor of laboratory medicine & pathology at the U of A, criticizes the decision to cancel the superlab in Edmonton and suggests if nothing is done to improve the lab situation, Alberta physicians will reach the limits of their ability to provide care. Coverage also appears in other Postmedia papers, including The Province and The Calgary Herald.

CityTV: The secret to avoiding sunburn includes watching what you eat

Story references advice by U of A dermatologist Robert Gniadecki for a Folio story. Gniadecki said a chemical found in common fruits and vegetables can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun's ultraviolet radiation. Coverage also appears in MedicalXpress, KFI AM 640, Mirage News and Medicine Newsline.

CBC News: Beware of the margarita burn: the unfortunate side effect of limes and sun

Dermatologist and U of A clinical professor of dentistry Jaggi Rao gives expert comment on phytophotodermatitis, a condition more commonly known as margarita burn. Coverage also appears in Fox News, The Epoch Times, MSN, Yahoo News and 610 WIOD News Radio.

The Conversation: Cannabis: Misinformation about CBD can be life-threatening

Opinion piece co-written by Tyler Marshall, PhD student and research assistant in the Department of Psychiatry, on harmful headlines that claim cannabidiol (CBD) could be used to treat heroin addiction, versus the more cautious findings of the studies which looked at reductions in cravings and anxiety in drug-abstinent individuals. The article also appears in Times Colonist.

Edmonton Journal: Opinion: Alberta must ban debunked practice of conversion therapy

An opinion piece by Lorne Warneke, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the U of A, gives a history of conversion therapy, suggesting that the current provincial government should ban the practice in the hopes of protecting young gay, lesbian and transgender individuals in our province.

Edmonton Journal: Opinion: Children face health risks from non-essential use of pesticides

Opinion piece by Alvaro Osornio-Vargas, professor in the Department of Pediatrics under the Children's Environmental Health Clinic, Raquel Feroe and Randall McQuaker. The authors claim that children in Edmonton are among the least protected in Canada when it comes to unnecessary exposure to pesticides.

CBC News: Asian supermarket adds flavour, generates buzz in Edmonton

Story about a new Asian supermarket opening up in south Edmonton. The store specializes in Korean products. Story includes quote from associate professor Karen Lee who specializes in preventative medicine and building healthy communities, saying having a supermarket in the neighbourhood will also increase the wellbeing of residents.

Quanta Magazine: Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About 'Which Came First?'

Article quotes Joel Dacks, Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Cell Biology and associate professor in the Division of Infectious Disease.

630 CHED The Ryan Jesperson Show: Syphilis outbreak in Alberta: Are social determinants impacting the STI's reach

Interview with infectious disease specialist Ameeta Singh providing insight on the syphilis outbreak.


Edmonton Journal: Three Edmonton men honoured with the Order of Canada

Three Edmonton men, including an Arctic scientist, a trailblazer in biochemistry, and a longtime pillar of the legal community, have been appointed to the Order of Canada. Brian Sykes, distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry at the U of A, received an Order of Canada for his pioneering contributions to the field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and for his commitment to education and science. Coverage also appears in the Edmonton Sun, Global News, iNews880, and Mirage News.

Edmonton Journal: Newborn blood testing saves life of infant after launch

Stacey Hume, genetics laboratory head at the U of A Hospital, talks about a newborn screening program that includes additional screening. The program has already saved the life of newborn infant. Story also appears in Edmonton Sun.

Xinhua News: Feature: Canadian university lab taps new tech to train surgeons (China)

Feature story on Bin Zheng, associate professor and director of the Surgical Simulation Research Lab. The story discusses Zheng's history, as well as the work the lab is doing, including the new simulations for surgical training. Story also appears in the Namibia Press Agency.

Mirage News: Medical researchers developing tool to make end-of-life care more effective (Australia)

A new U of A project is hoping to provide patients and health-care providers with a roadmap for treating the final stages of chronic illnesses that will boost standards of care and help more patients stay out of the ER and hospital. The project is led by U of A professor of medicine Sara Davison.

CTV News: Looking at cells from the inside

A new virtual reality app allows biology students to get a comprehensive view of the mechanical processes that happen inside cells. Cell biologist Paul LaPointe (FOMD), who helped create the app, is quoted.

Japanab: From Edmonton to the world

Toru Tateno, an assistant professor of endocrinology & metabolism at the U of A, is interviewed about his journey from Japan to Canada, his research efforts involving pituitary tumors, and his clinical work as an endocrinologist at the U of A Hospital.

Athabasca Advocate: New family physician coming to Athabasca; Dr. Ryan Schaub will begin work Aug. 6 (No link)

Athabasca will have a new family doctor in August. Ryan Schaub will begin practicing Aug. 6 out of the Athabasca Professional Building. A medical graduate from the U of A, Schaub says rural practicing has been his goal since he applied to medical school. (AHS Link)

Redwater Review: Lack of reliable, affordable transportation has a huge impact on seniors

A 2017 provincial transportation needs assessment conducted by the U of A Medically at Risk Driver (MARD) Center surveyed 1,400 seniors. It showed almost 20 percent of seniors who do not drive said they were unable to get to medical appointments 'sometimes or often' in the last six months because they did not have a ride.

Edmonton Journal: David Staples: Edmonton surgeons create cyborg tech to better transplant lungs and hearts

Story on Darren Freed and Jayan Nagendran, their company Tevosol and the Ex Vivo Organ Perfusion machine.

Global News: Health Matters: July 11

U of A researchers have come up with a way to see inside a cell in 3D. The Cell 101 VR App allows students to visualize the inner workings of a cell. Paul LaPointe, an associate professor of cell biology, is interviewed. Coverage also appears on CTV and

Global News: Health Matters: July 15

The Children's Environmental Health Clinic in Edmonton is the only one of its kind in Canada, caring for kids affected by indoor and outdoor air pollution and contaminated water. The piece includes an interview with Lesley Brennan of the Department of Pediatrics.

Global News: Health Matters: July 23

U of A elder-care specialist Marjan Abbasi, family physician Sheny Khera and their research team recommend primary care physicians check their electronic medical records to identify patients who are at risk of frailty so they can prescribe early intervention. Coverage also appears in Medical Xpress.