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UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 3 | Mar. 1, 2007

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in February 2007

Compiled by Basil Waugh

UBC Prof. Develops New Tools to Offset Travel Emissions

Offsetters.ca and Cool Drive Pass -- personal carbon trading initiatives founded by Hadi Dowlatabadi, UBC Canada Research Chair in Global and Environmental Change -- were featured on the CBC TV program The National.

The two projects -- targeted at air and automobile travelers, respectively -- enable commuters to neutralize their CO2 emissions by contributing an equivalent amount of money toward green projects.

“If you fly from Vancouver to Toronto and back, that’s three quarters of a tonne of carbon dioxide,” Dowlatabadi said in an interview with CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge. “This offers the opportunity of spending $15 on projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in doing so, negating the emissions associated with your travel.”

Dowlatabadi sees offsetting as an important bridge from one social habit to another.

“If people feel they need to go and pay in order to absolve their own conscience, they have made the first step,” he said. “This might be one of those 12-step programs, where eventually they’ll get rid of their SUVs. I just want to get them going.”

Dowlatabadi also appeared on TV Ontario and Global TV-BC to discuss Kyoto Protocol targets and a U.N. report on climate change, respectively.

UBC Prof. Dreams up New Treatment for Sleep Disorder

The New York Times and U.S. News and World Report reported on a new method for evaluating sleep apnea co-authored by UBC Dr. C. Frank Ryan.

A standard sleep apnea diagnosis method currently requires patients to travel to special labs for two nights of testing, but Ryan says likely candidates should be given equipment that assesses their responses from home.

Writing in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers argued this new method could speed up diagnoses and treatment for those with the disorder, which causes people to wake up repeatedly when they stop breathing. The condition can lead to fatigue, high blood pressure and other health problems.

Stem-Cell Refugees: Americans are Flocking to China for Banned Therapies

UBC Dr. John Steeves commented in U.S. magazine Business Week in an article that says Americans are flocking to China for controversial stem cell therapies banned elsewhere in the world.

Steeves, co-author of a recent paper in the journal Spinal Cord that offers guidelines for clinical trials involving stem cells, expressed concern over the Chinese approach to stem cell treatments.

“The way Chinese doctors are doing this means nobody will learn anything,” said Steeves. “They can't prove their treatments work because they don't have statistically valid sample sizes and there are no control subjects. It won't help them, it won't help us, and it won't help the medical community.”

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Last reviewed 27-Feb-2007

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