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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 dollars.

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 Mail.

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.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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