In the News

UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 11 | Nov.
6, 2003

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in October 2003

Compiled by Brian Lin

Papal Illness Shows

Dr. Jon Stoessl, director of UBC’s Pacific Parkinson’s
Research Centre, told the Globe and Mail that the Pope’s
doctors may be under-medicating him in order to reduce the
risk of the drug’s side effects, and as a result, making
his symptoms more apparent.

Stoessl said medical scientists know how much L-dopa, a
Parkinson’s medication, to administer, but haven’t
figured out how to target the drug effectively to the part
of the brain where it’s needed.

“So as the medication wears off, the speech could
decline.” And when it improves, “it is also possible
that his medication dose [has been] adjusted in response to
poor performance the day before.”

New Discovery in HIV

A study in the October issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience
shows that HIV can activate a previously unknown biochemical
pathway that leads to nerve cell destruction in the brain.

Researchers from UBC and the University of Calgary have
found that activation of the pathway could be a major contributor
to such HIV-related conditions as dementia, seizures, depression,
loss of memory, and loss of motor skills, reports The Advocate

Benefits of Working in Antarctica

UBC psychology professor Peter Suedfeld is taking advantage
of Antarctica’s effects on those who work there.

Suedfeld studies the psychological impact of sensory deprivation
and separation from family and friends at home.
Suedfeld told the Toronto Star that the beneficial long-term
psychological effects of working in such remote circumstances
outweigh some adverse short-term impacts.

Many people return from stints in Antarctica with significant
changes to personal philosophies or religious beliefs, Suedfeld
added. And that can cause friction with families who stay
home and don’t have similar profound experiences.

Online Chef Lends Help in Kitchen

UBC Continuing Studies instructor Chef Eric Arrouzé
offers a safety net for new cooks, and a place for kitchen
enthusiasts to connect with an expert, on his online cooking

Arrouzé told the New York Times that a couple of
hundred students have signed up for his online service, which
costs $7 a month. For that fee, they get unlimited access
to several hundred QuickTime clips showing Arrouzé
at work.

In addition to basics, he offers tutorials on making exotic
fare like escargots à la bourguignonne and pan-seared
duck breast.

Bugs in the Forest

After the tough summer B.C.’s forests have just endured,
there’s word that a huge infestation of a tiny and treacherous
beetle is beginning.

Barely larger than a pinhead, the mountain pine beetle is
destroying hundreds of millions of pine trees every year.

“What it lacks in size it makes up for in numbers,”
UBC forestry professor John McLean told CBC Television.

“Right now the area that’s being attacked in
the interior is four times the size of Vancouver Island. That’s
a huge amount of our forest industry or forest inventory which
is at risk.”

Newest Airline Holds Promise

UBC Sauder School of Business professor Tae Oum tells Canadian
Business magazine that as a small, private operation, HMY
Airways has an inherent cost advantage over some rivals.

Oum estimates that with low overhead, HMY could operate
in the first few years at about 50 per cent of Air Canada’s
overall per passenger cost.

“If they can sell tickets, say 80 per cent or 90 per
cent of the seats, then they will make money.”

University Report Card

1,217 UBC students participated in the Globe and Mail’s
University Report Card 2003 survey.

One student told the Globe and Mail that UBC is a “highly
competitive university.”

According to one student, “intramurals at UBC rock!”
with “great choices and the “biggest… program
in Canada.”

Described as a “very reputable university,”
most UBC students take pride in their soon-to-be alma mater.
The future appears bright in the opinion of most UBC grads,
thanks to co-op placements in some programs and a “faculty
that will open doors for you.”

Bioethics Legislation Needed

UBC medical geneticist Patricia Baird told that
she’s concerned the long-debated federal legislation
banning human cloning is headed for the back burner again.

“It’s tragic,” said Baird, who headed
a $30-million royal commission that called for a ban on human
reproductive cloning more than a decade ago.

Baird added that the lack of legislation would result in
greater commercialization of such reproductive technologies
as surrogacy and egg and sperm donations, something the bill
would outlaw.

“If we really want to have social policy decide how
we use these technologies, rather than the market, we really
need to put in place some kind of regulatory agency,”
she said.