UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 11 | Nov.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.