In The News

The Hamilton Spectator: McMaster students win international prize for cancer-detecting devices

November 16, 2017

A group of four McMaster University students has won a $50,000 prize to develop their idea for a hand-held device that detects skin cancer. The recent grads — all students in electrical biomedical engineering at the Hamilton university — earned the International James Dyson Award for their final-year project, called The sKan. They say the non-invasive device can diagnose melanoma by monitoring the heat emissions of various cells. The heat map it creates shows which cells recover more quickly from thermal shock, indicating the presence of skin cancer. Its creators are 22-year-old Rotimi Fadiya, and 23-year-olds Prateek Mathur, Michael Takla and Shivad Bhavsar. Read the full article here.

The Globe and Mail: Why don’t women go into engineering? It’s not just because of bias

November 15, 2017

What kind of program is more likely to lead to an increase of women graduating with engineering degrees: A college or university scholarship for promising high-school students, unconscious bias training for human resource managers or an intensive math and science education program for girls in elementary school?

New research shows that if governments have to choose, focusing their efforts on early learning interventions will have the most impact. A scholarship would come too late for the thousands of women who close the path to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as children. And addressing bias and hiring more women into those fields will help, too, primarily by providing more models of success for younger generations.

Read the full article here.

Guelph Today: Arts-based drop-in centre for LGBTQ+ youth begins pilot project

November 7, 2017

The Guelph Youth Council is hoping a five-week pilot projecting offering a drop-in space for LGBTQ+ youth will be a success with the possibility to become a permanent fixture. Jenn Bucci, Youth Services coordinator with the City of Guelph, said the LGBTQ+ drop-in centre will be operated from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the next five Fridays at Evergreen Seniors Centre on Woolwich St. No seniors events are planned at the centre over the course of the five-week pilot program, said Bucci, so the drop-in centre will not interfere with seniors programming. The need for a dedicated drop-in space for LGBTQ+ youth was identified by third-year University of Guelph student Sophia Thompson Campbell, who is in a 12-week placement with the City’s Youth Services as part of her Youth Development program. Read the full article here.

The Toronto Star: Skipping breakfast might be healthier than eating sugary foods in the morning

October 24, 2017

This made me wonder: should I kick my morning-eat-a-thon to the curb and wait for lunch? To help me out (I’m a reader and can ask questions for this column too, you know!), I turned to Dr. Nick Bellissimo, associate professor and director of the Nutrition Discovery Labs at Ryerson University. He agreed to put me through an experiment that would give me an answer. But before we get to that, here’s what the research says about feasting or fasting right after you wake up. Read the full article here.

Ottawa Citizen: Groundbreaking research shows Ottawa firefighters absorb harmful chemicals through skin

October 20, 2017

Like most firefighters, Ottawa Fire Capt. David Matschke has watched colleagues, including close friends, die from cancer. It is a common story among firefighters, who are exposed to harmful toxins on the job. Most know all too well the price some of their colleagues pay for that exposure. A growing body of evidence has shown firefighters have an increased risk of cancer and other serious illnesses compared to the general population, partly due to their exposure to hazardous chemicals from the smoke. Ontario introduced so-called presumptive legislation in 2007 to address the reality of firefighters and cancer — the onus was no longer on firefighters and investigators to prove their cancer was work related, but assumed to be. The province initially included eight forms of cancer on that list and has since expanded it. That reality and the need to understand more clearly what and how firefighters are exposed is what drove Matschke and Ottawa fire officials to seek better information with which to protect themselves. Read the full article here.

The Conversation: Sugar in the diet may increase risks of opioid addiction

October 17, 2017

Could a diet high in refined sugars make children and adults more susceptible to opioid addiction and overdose? New research, from our laboratory of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Guelph, suggests it could. Approximately 20,000 people died of fentanyl-related overdoses in the United States last year and in Canada there were at least 2,816 opioid-related deaths. During 2017 so far, over 1,000 people have died of illicit drug overdoses in British Columbia. High schools are stocking up on the overdose-reversing drug naloxone and universities are training staff to administer the drug. Nobody is talking about sugar. And yet there is substantial experimental evidence that refined sugar can promote addictive behaviours by activating the brain’s rewards centres in much the same way as addictive drugs. Opioid abuse is also associated with poor dietary habits, including preferences for sugar-rich foods, as well as malnutrition. These connections have led to questions of whether excessive consumption of refined sugar may affect vulnerability to opioid addiction. Read the full article here.