UBC Reports | Vol.
50 | No. 2 | Feb.
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
"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
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.