UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 5 |
May 5, 2005
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in April 2005
Compiled by Brian Lin
Fish Farm Study Sparks Opposing Views
A new study by University of Alberta and University of Victoria
researchers suggests fish farms are such prodigious producers
of parasites that juvenile fish become very heavily infested
just by swimming near them.
UBC fisheries expert Scott McKinley says the study, published
in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B,
fails to establish cause- and-effect. “They would have
to show that the lice that are on the fish originated on the
farms,” McKinley told The New York Times.
Meanwhile, Daniel Pauly, another fisheries researcher at
UBC, said evidence so far was consistent with the hypothesis
that wild fish near fish farms were affected by sea lice.
Rising Drug Cost in Canada
Leading health economist and UBC professor Steve Morgan
says it is unclear whether Canada’s massive investment
in medication is actually a wise use of limited health-care
Canadians spent a staggering $21.8-billion on prescription
and non-prescription drugs last year.
“We’re spending a lot of money on drugs, and
prescription drugs in particular, but we’re not investing
in systems to monitor drug use so we can’t say we’re
getting value for money,” Morgan told The Globe and
While prescription drug makers claim that many treatments
are cost-effective because they keep patients out of hospital,
there is no way of determining if that is actually true in
the real world, he said.
Painkillers may Slow Vision Loss
A new Canadian study suggests that common painkillers may
prevent or slow the progression of macular degeneration, the
most common form of age-related blindness in North America.
Authors Patrick McGeer of UBC and John Sibley of the University
of Saskatchewan published their findings in the current issue
of Neurobiology of Aging.
“This is a good population to test the idea that anti-inflammatories
would cause a sparing of age-related macular degeneration
because these are people who are known to be heavy users of
anti-inflammatory agents and they’re generally on them
prior to the age of risk for macular degeneration,”
McGeer told The Globe and Mail.
Children’s Psychiatric Care Shortage
Canadian children and teens are having a tough time finding
care for mental health problems due to an acute shortage of
child psychiatrists in the country.
“We’re talking about illnesses that affect a
very significant number of children,” UBC adolescent
psychiatry head Derryck Smith told Maclean’s Magazine.
“One in five children and teens probably has a mental
illness of some sort.”
There are about 375 child psychiatrists in Canada, based
on the membership of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry. Currently, the waiting list to see a child psychiatrist
in Toronto for a first assessment is about nine months.
Canada’s Frayed Welcome Mat
UBC Canada Research Chair in migration law Catherine Dauvergne
says the two fundamental weaknesses of Canada’s immigration
laws are failure to enforce removal orders, and misuse of
the humanitarian and compassionate review.
“What allows people to stay so long in Canada isn’t
their legal rights conferred by the 1985 Singh decision,”
Dauvergne told The Globe and Mail, referring to Harjit Singh,
whose bid to stay in Canada was repeatedly spurned but appealed
his way through more than a decade.
“It’s the fact that we don’t make them
leave.” Dauvergne adds that the criteria for humanitarian
and compassionate reviews are too “loose and fluid,”
but believes Canada should retain the positive elements in
its system -- a fair adjudication process.