In The News

Scary scans make smokers stop smoking: new Brock research

Smokers, take note. There’s an image that could alarm even the hardest core into giving up the vice for good.

It’s a computer tomography (CT) scan of the smoker’s lungs. The more serious the CT results, the more likely a smoker will be to quit smoking, according to new research by Brock University epidemiologist Martin Tammemagi, published May 28 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“Abnormal screening results may present a ‘teachable moment’,” says Tammemagi. “Future lung cancer screening programs should take advantage of this opportunity to apply effective smoking cessation programs.”

Tammemagi and colleagues used data from the U.S. National Lung Screening Trial on 14,621 current smokers, 55 to 70 years old, with a 30 or more pack-a-year smoking history and who had smoked during the last 15 years. The researchers excluded participants who developed lung cancer during follow-up.

For smoking information, the authors used the results of annual study updates starting at one, two, and up to seven years later. Researchers found that the more serious the screening result, the greater the likelihood that smoking stopped. In addition, the effect appeared to be durable, lasting up to five years after the last screening.

“There’s a long, long list of diseases caused by smoking – cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases being two examples – that are not related to lung cancer or even cancer,” says Tammemagi. “Quitting smoking will reduce risk of these diseases and for some of them improvements can be seen within a week of stopping smoking.”

In related research published May 27 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Tammemagi reports that if people who are at high risk of lung cancer receive low dose computer tomography (CT) screening, mortality from lung cancer death can be reduced by 20 percent.

“This is one of the biggest breakthroughs that we’ve had for decades in terms of reducing lung cancer mortality,” says Tammemagi. “Although lung cancer screening is not free from side effects and complications, it appears that we should attempt to introduce and evaluate CT lung cancer screening in a gradually phased-in, well thought out manner ” Tammemagi goes on to say.

In early 2013, he launched a calculator that predicts the likelihood of someone developing lung cancer, and thus determining if they might benefit from lung cancer screening.

Also, Tammemagi created risk calculation software that can reduce surgical procedures by helping doctors know if nodules showing up on CT lung scans have a high probability of being cancerous.

Share: Print

Blog Posts

Georges Sioui on spiritual ...

Araina Bond | October 24, 2014

Georges E. Sioui studies Aboriginal education, culture and religion at the University of Ottawa. Sioui, who is Huron-Wendat, has recently noticed a resurgence of matricentrist values among young people. read more »
Manipulus florum

From manuscript to search ...

Guest blog by Chris Nighman | October 23, 2014

Long before the advent of the Internet, and well before Gutenberg invented moveable type, medieval intellectuals devised information technologies to take advantage of a growing mass of Big Data repositories known as “manuscripts.” read more »

If you’re happy ...

Cathy Majtenyi | October 22, 2014

Brock University recently launched a series of monthly podcasts covering a wide range of themes. As part of our own package of “Belief” related blog posts, Research Matters is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Brock Associate Professor of Psychology, Michael Busseri. Busseri will join two other colleagues to explore this topic in Brock’s January 2015 podcast, “What gives us a sense of wellbeing?” read more »

Lucid dreaming depends on ...

Trent University Staff | October 21, 2014

New research by Trent University Oshawa Anthropology professor Roger Lohmann and graduate student Shayne Dahl indicates that cultural learning shapes the kind of awareness and control people can experience while dreaming. “Scouring the ethnographic record on dreaming for hints of lucidity under Professor Lohmann’s guidance, I found something surprising: that lucid dreaming is widely thought to have serious consequences,” said Dahl, who completed his M.A. thesis, “Knowing Means Connecting with the Source of Life: Knowledge and Ethics among Blackfoot Traditionalists” at Trent in 2012. (He is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto.) “As one of my Blackfoot informants put it, ‘You could die in your dream.’” Lohmann and Dahl’s findings were published in the 2014 collection, Lucid Dreaming: New Perspectives on Consciousness in Sleep. Lucid dreaming – waking consciousness arising during a dream – has been a hot topic of scientific research in recent years. According to Lohmann and Dahl, the common assumption that dreams are products of isolated imaginations has distorted our understanding of lucidity’s variation in form, function, and real-world outcomes. Pop culture portrayals in films such as Avatar and Inception present fantasies where lucid dreaming enables marvelous real-world powers. Many traditional and religious cultural worldviews take the relationship between waking and dream worlds as reality rather than fantasy. Lohmann’s fieldwork in Papua New Guinea among the Asabano people explored how they used dreaming as evidence for and contact with supernatural beings. “Asabano converts often told me that seeing dreams of Jesus or Heaven convinced them that what the missionary told them was true,” said Lohmann. “It struck me that they had to believe their dreams were more than figments of their own imaginations to reach that conclusion, and that I, for example, would not be convinced by the same experience because of my different cultural background.” Similarly, Dahl’s fieldwork in Alberta included encounters with Aboriginal medicine men who practiced lucid dreaming. “Shayne’s field experiences and his search of ethnographic literature brought home to us that lucid dreaming has profound potential for people who think it’s more than just a fantasy. We found that descriptions of lucid dreams are radically different in form, function, and outcome depending on the cultural assumptions of the dreamer,” said Lohmann. Their research revealed evidence that in some cultures, lucid dreaming is unknown, while in others it is a commonly taught skill. In some, lucidity is tacit rather than acknowledged, but people nevertheless believe that they actively undertake goals in their dreams. Lohmann and Dahl found that this implicitly lucid “volitional dreaming” commonly appears in ethnographic accounts of dreaming. In cultures where “generative” theory holds sway, dreaming of something is understood to cause it to happen in the waking world. This leads people to experience lucid dreams as opportunities to create or do magic. By contrast, people who believe dreams are what one sees during “soul travel” use lucid dreams as an opportunity to spiritually visit real places. “Even when we consciously disbelieve our dreams,” Dahl said, “They still affect us at a deeper, emotional level that we can’t easily control with reason.” “All of this shows that cultural dream theories are multiple, that people invoke them in complex ways, and that they are at the very core of what lucid dreaming is and what it makes possible,” said Lohmann. This story was originally published by Trent University on, July 15, 2014. Is has been edited for style, brevity and clarity and appears here with permission.

In money we trust

U of T Staff (With introduction by Patchen Barss) | October 20, 2014

A few years ago, late, late at night, I was tooling around the streets of Ottawa in the back seat of a Jeep being driven by former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge. American economist and Nobel Laureate George Akerlof was riding shotgun. read more »
More Blogs »