In the News

UBC Reports | Vol. 55 | No. 4 | Apr.
2, 2009

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in March 2009

Compiled by Sean Sullivan

Health Claims ‘Fishy’

The health benefits of eating fish have been over-dramatized and have put increased pressure on the world’s rapidly depleting stocks of wild fish, say researchers from UBC’s Fisheries Centre.

The researchers, who teamed up with medical scientists from St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, as well as acclaimed Canadian author Farley Mowat, challenged the popular notion that fish are beneficial to human health.

As it turns out, the jury is still out. Researchers found that people who do not eat fish, such as vegetarians, are not at increased risk of illness.

"Governments and industry tell consumers to eat more fish because it is healthy," explains Rashid Sumaila, director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC Fisheries Centre and study co-author. "But where do we get these fish? They are increasingly coming from the waters around Africa and other places where food security is a problem."

The research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and reported by the Times of India, The Canadian Press, the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, and the CBC.

Oranges May Prevent Gout

UBC researchers say men with a higher intake of vitamin C from food or supplements have a lower risk of developing gout, a form of arthritis from uric acid build-up that causes inflamed joints.

The researchers, led by Hyon Choi, believe their study shows that vitamin C lowers levels of uric acid in the blood and may provide a great way to prevent the painful condition.

Gout can lead to permanent joint damage and is linked to alcohol abuse, obesity, high blood pressure and a diet heavy in meat and cheese. It is increasingly common and afflicts three million people in the United States.

The paper, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, was reported on by Reuters, CTV, The Telegraph, the BBC, ABC, Forbes, and others.

Here Comes The Sun

Technology invented by UBC physics Prof. Lorne Whitehead could eventually allow builders to harness the sun’s rays in order to illuminate the insides of office buildings.

Physicists at UBC have begun rolling out a "solar canopy" that uses mirrors to redirect sunlight deep inside commercial office towers, reported the Vancouver Sun.

On a sunny day, it can light up an entire office floor without any electric power at all.

"This is the first such system to be practical for widespread adoption in standard office buildings," says Whitehead. "

"The system will not only bring natural light into workplaces but could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from lighting in commercial buildings by ten to 25 per cent."