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UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 11 | Nov. 6, 2008

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in October 2008

Compiled by Anna Moorhouse

Religion and Prosocial Behaviour

A new UBC scientific review suggests religion fosters cooperation and trust.

UBC psychologist Ara Norenzayan and his assistant Azim Shariff reviewed dozens of studies on the emergence of religions, sifting through three decades of accumulated scientific evidence in fields as diverse as anthropology, psychology and economics.

“One explanation for why religions have had such a staying power throughout human history is that they play a role in promoting altruistic tendencies in very large groups” Norenzayan said.

The Science article, titled “The Origin and Evolution of Religious Prosociality,” argues that religions were historically key to creating large-scale cohesion in communities.

The study’s findings were covered by USA Today, The Vancouver Sun, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Toronto Star, The Calcutta Telegraph, The Daily Mail, and The Globe and Mail.

Aspirin, Ibuprofen May Cut Breast Cancer Risk

According to UBC researchers, routine use of Aspirin or ibuprofen could cut the likelihood of developing breast cancer.

In a story covered by CNN, BBC News, Global TV, CTV, and CBC News, and reported in The Daily Mail, The West Australian, The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun, and The Edmonton Journal, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen work by inhibiting two immune proteins in the body that have been connected to driving the growth of cancer tumors.

The review, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in America, suggests that using NSAIDs reduces the influence of the proteins.

Mahyar Etminan, who led the research, calls the results encouraging. “Results from an ongoing trial will be available in 2009.”

UBC Tops Academics and Sustainability Rankings

In the Times Higher Education-QS World University 2008 Rankings, UBC held on to its place in the Top 35, second in Canada to McGill and ranking ahead of the University of Toronto, the only other Canadian school to break into the Top 50.

The story was covered by The Globe and Mail, The Edmonton Journal, The Montreal Gazette and The Canadian Press.

UBC was also the only Canadian school to earn top marks in this year’s College Sustainability Report Card released by the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI). As reported in The Calgary Herald, The Times Colonist, Sustainable Business News, and GreenBiz, only 15 of the 300 participating schools qualified for the distinction of College Sustainability Leader, with UBC heralded alongside Ivy League heavyweights like Harvard, Brown and Dartmouth.

Getting Lost

As told by The Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Denver Post, FOXNews and MSNBC, researchers at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute have documented the first cases of developmental topographical disorder.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, focuses on Sharon Roseman, a Colorado resident who, without any brain damage, gets lost in any environment. UBC postdoctoral fellow Giuseppe Iaria said people typically navigate their way through the world looking at specific landmarks and relying on distances.

“If you don’t have an ability to create this [mental] map and use the map then you are lost.”

In Roseman’s case, the sensation of being lost stems from a malfunction in her brain’s hippocampus.

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War Memorial Gym dedication 1951

Information Courtesy of UBC Archives

The end of the Second World War and the resulting influx of returned soldiers to campus sparked discussion about the establishment of a “living” memorial dedicated to the memory of those who died during the war.

Following a fundraising campaign spearheaded by students and alumni, the new War Memorial Gymnasium was dedicated during the university’s fall congregation ceremonies on Oct. 26, 1951. The event was marked by a bugler sounding The Last Post and the unveiling of the wall memorial inscription.

Just over two weeks later, the new venue played host to the university’s November 11th Remembrance Day ceremony, a ritual since repeated in an almost unbroken chain.


Last reviewed 06-Nov-2008

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