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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 10 | Nov. 4, 2004

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in October 2004

Compiled by Brian Lin

Glucosamine No Long-Term Help for Arthritis

UBC researchers have found that popular arthritis supplement glucosamine has no long-term benefit.

A recent study found that 45 per cent of glucosamine users still suffered arthritis attacks during a six-month period. forty-two per cent of those given a placebo suffered attacks.

“Our study shows that even if the supplement was initially perceived by study participants to be helpful, it has no benefit for maintenance, and continued use is not effective to control flare-ups,” lead researcher Jolanda Cibere told Reuters.

Removing Detainees from Iraq Disturbing

At the request of the CIA, the U.S. Justice Department drafted a confidential memo that authorizes the agency to transfer detainees out of Iraq for interrogation.

UBC international law expert Michael Byers says that creating a legal justification for removing protected persons from Iraq “is extraordinarily disturbing.”

“What they are doing is interpreting an exception into an all-encompassing right, in one of the most fundamental treaties in history,” Byers told MSNBC News. The Geneva Convention “is as close as you get to protecting human rights in times of chaos. There’s no ambiguity here.”

It will Survive

Researchers have discovered part of the secret behind the crucian carp’s ability to survive four months without oxygen. The fish keep their hearts pumping at full speed.

“It’s long been known that crucian carp are tolerant of low-oxygen conditions,” UBC PhD student Jonathan Stecyk, part of the Canadian and Norwegian research team, told The New York Times.

“We wanted to know what the cardiac activity was over a prolonged period.”

Stecyk says the fish probably maintains its heart rate to help get rid of the lactic acid. “Hopefully, this research will lead people to figure out why the carp’s heart can function so well,” he said.

Hope for the grieving

UBC psychiatry professor William Piper has studied the psychology of grieving for 20 years and says that complicated grief is clinically distinct from depression, and can be treated effectively if identified.

Piper told The Globe and Mail that lasting grief often involves “unresolved grief” and “intrusive memories,” but by learning better ways to identify and treat the problem, health workers can help break the grip of complicated grief.

Put a Leash on the Hog Industry

Hans Schreier, a professor at UBC’s Institute for Resources and Environment, is calling for tighter regulations in the hog industry to prevent water problems.

Speaking at the recent Living With Livestock conference, Schreier warned that a massive increase in worldwide demand for meat and water, coupled with a spike in the number of large-scale hog barns, is a recipe for disaster, reports Canadian Press.

“Everyone tells us efficiency gets higher as you get more intensive,” he said. “But eventually it comes to the point where I don’t think we can manage it.”

Nobel Laureate Commemorated by Canada Post

Canada Post released a new stamp Oct. 4 commemorating the work of the late UBC Nobel Laureate Michael Smith, whose family attended ceremonies in Montreal and on the UBC campus to mark the occasion. The $30-million Michael Smith Laboratories opened at UBC in September.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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