Highlights of UBC media coverage in November 2010

Can a volcano spawn salmon?

The BBC, NPR, Nature News and the Globe and Mail reported on the speculation that a 2008 volcanic eruption on an Alaskan island was responsible for this year’s salmon run in B.C. rivers—the largest since 1913.

“The food chain set off by that ash and the phytoplankton growing was enough to cause a considerable increase in growth and survival of the Fraser River salmon,” said Tim Parsons, a retired oceanography professor.

“It’s as good as any other theory we have at this time,” says Carl Walters from the Fisheries Centre, who noted that the last big salmon run in part of the Fraser River, in 1958, came two years after a huge eruption on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Shift work linked to higher risk of work injury: UBC study

The Canadian Press, CTV, CBC, Canada AM and the Vancouver Sun picked up on a new report by UBC researchers that suggests Canadians who work night shifts are almost twice as likely to be injured on the job as those working regular day shifts.

“The hypothesis behind this is that working shift work increases sleepiness and reduces alertness which, in turn, can lead to injury,” said Imelda Wong, a PhD candidate at the School of Environmental Health and the study’s lead author.

The study was co-authored by Chris McLeod, a research associate at the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, and Paul Demers, clinical faculty member at the School of Population and Public Health.

Jon Stewart and his rally  may shun politics, but  attendees are embracing it

The New York Times, Postmedia News, CBC and CKNW spoke to journalism professor Joe Cutbirth, who studies news satire, about Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

Cutbirth said he believes the majority of people attending the event see Stewart as a credible critic of politics and the media.

“I think [Stewart] is a sincere guy who seriously is troubled by what he sees going on in America. And I think he has chosen to use his talent to live in that area and use it.”

Text messages helped  Kenyans with HIV

Sending simple text messages by cellphone to HIV patients in Kenya increased the likelihood that they would stay healthy, found researchers from UBC and the University of Manitoba.

Study participants who received the messages were more likely to follow their medication regimen compared with those who didn’t get the texts. Those who received messages were also more likely to have an undetectable level of HIV a year after starting treatment, as was reported by Scientific American, Agence France Presse, the Canadian Press and CBC.

“It’s not actually reminders, per se, it’s actually the support that they seek, and timely triggers to be able to report on any problems that they have,” said study author Richard Lester.

Increased age of sexual consent in Canada may not protect teens at greatest risk: UBC study

A new study found that increasing the legal age of sexual consent does not protect youth most at risk, as children 12 years old and younger have reported sexual experiences with adults. The CBC, the National Post, CTV and City TV ran versions of this story.

Legal age of consent increased in 2008 to 16 years old from 14 to protect younger teenagers. But the study shows the change clearly isn’t helping children at greatest risk, said Elizabeth Saewyc, a professor of nursing and adolescent medicine at UBC.

“The law was changed to protect 14 and 15 year olds from adult sexual predators. But it turns out they’re not the ones at greatest risk,” said lead investigator Bonnie Miller.


Alongside a story about UBC’s  new dean of the Faculty of Arts,  we incorrectly indicated that other original faculties at UBC were Medicine and Law. The correct original three were the Faculty  of Arts, the Faculty of Applied Science and the Faculty of Agriculture (now known as Land and Food Systems). The Faculty  of Medicine began in 1949, and  the Faculty of Law began in 1945.