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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 2 | Feb. 5, 2004

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in January 2004

Compiled by Brian Lin

Bounce at The Bell

UBC professor Heather McKay has conducted a pilot study that followed almost 100 students who had similar eating habits and physical activity levels. The only difference was that half of them jumped at the bell (just five jumps, three times a day) and half of them did not jump.

McKay found that those who had jumped actually built 3.2 per cent more bone mass in the hip region of the body than the other children. That could be enough to postpone, or perhaps event prevent, osteoporosis later in life.

"We're talking about these children gaining in eight months what we would see women lose in three years around menopause," McKay told ABC News.

"It takes no money to run the program," said McKay. "It takes no special training, and we're talking about an investment of about a minute and a half a day."

Researchers Study Newborns' Pain at Being Circumcised

UBC Nursing professor Fay Warnock is leading a research study on the pain babies sustain from circumcisions. The researchers systematically note and itemize the behaviour of 10 baby boys during circumcision, recording each head twitch, each leg kick, each eye squeezing.

Warnock told the National Post that this kind of detailed data collection meant exhaustive and successive viewing of each of these 90-minute tapes on a second-by-second basis.
Warnock says her work "is very basic in that it is focused on detailing normally occurring newborn pain-related distress behaviours... Its usefulness is conceptual and, hopefully, will result in a deeper and more comprehensive descriptive understanding of newborn pain expression."

She says the study focused on circumcision because it is "an intense form of newborn acute pain," but stressed that further research in this area requires ongoing descriptions of other kinds of acute pain.

Anorexia May Cause Emphysema

The malnutrition that results from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa may cause emphysema, according to a study lead by UBC radiology professor Harvey O. Coxson, also a VCHRI member.

Researchers used a new method of assessing computed tomography (CT) scans to analyze the lungs of 14 anorexia patients and found the malnutrition in these patients changed the physical structure of their lungs.

"There is a reduction in the amount of lung tissue in patients with anorexia nervosa,"Coxson told CBS News.

"It is unclear whether these structural changes are permanent, but if they are, early therapy is important in patients who have anorexia," Coxson says.

Man bites dog? No, Planet Heats Sun

UBC astronomer Evgenya Shkolnik has found a planet that is actually heating up its sun.

Shkolnik's study of a large planet orbiting a star 90 light-years away shows that the magnetic field of the planet is producing hot spots on its parent sun, a reversal of the effect the sun has on planets such as the Earth.

"The hotspot moves across the surface of the star keeping pace with the planet, but just a little bit ahead," Shkolnik told USA Today. She said measurements of more than 100 orbits showed that the hot spot on the face of the star exactly matches the motion of the planet.

Use the 'Force'

For the many who sometimes walk into a room and feel that something is not quite right, the answer may lie in a sub-system of our visual experience, according to a new study on visual perception by UBC psychology and computer science professor Ronald Rensink.

"Basically visual perception then is two parts. It's got the sort of pictures we all know and love, and then we've got this other thing, this feeling, this using the force, this sensing stream, and they work in parallel, I think. They both operate at the same time," Rensink told the National Post.

While you may not see anything, Rensink says the "sixth sense" or as he calls it, "mindsight," is basically another kind of vision where people can sense a change and have a visual experience of it.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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