Health

Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health

Sub-title: 
First endowed institute in the world to focus on building thriving Indigenous communities
Author: 
Nicole Bodnar

The Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health is the name given to the University of Toronto’s new research institute dedicated to the health of Indigenous Canadians.

The institute – among the first of its kind in the world – was created last June with a $10 million gift from Michael and Amiran Dan and received its name at a ceremony March 23 at U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. 

2015 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award goes to Dr. Janet Rossant

University Professor Janet Rossant is the winner of the 2015 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award – one of the most prestigious medical research awards in Canada. 

Rossant was recognized March 25 for her extensive scientific contributions to developmental biology, her international leadership in stem cell biology and policy-making, and her pivotal role in advancing research programs for children’s health. 

Brain bleeds in newborns and fetuses may be caused by immune system, research shows

Sub-title: 
Study challenges notion that low platelet counts are behind life-threatening condition
Author: 
Melissa Di Costanzo

A newly-discovered bodily process in mice may explain why some human fetuses who have different antigens than their mothers suffer life-threatening brain bleeds, says a new study.

“Antigens are like the body’s national flag. They’re planted on each cell in the body and tell the immune system whether something in the body, such as a bacteria or virus, is foreign,” said Heyu Ni, a professor in the departments of laboratory medicine and pathobiology, medicine and physiology.

How expectant mothers' diets can affect offspring

Sub-title: 
Study shows diet high in vitamin K, D, E and A can affect brain development and food preferences in animals
Author: 
Vitaly Kazakov

High-vitamin diets in pregnant rats can alter their offspring’s brain development and behaviour, University of Toronto researchers have found. 

The study raises questions about the effects of diets, fortification of foods with nutrients and the use of vitamin supplements on prenatal brain development in humans.

Portable HIV blood-testing device from U of T startup, ChipCare, readies for market with $5 million in funding

Sub-title: 
Headquartered at U of T's Banting & Best Centre, global health venture wins millions above target for its field-testing technology
Author: 
Brianna Goldberg

Imagine having blood drawn for HIV-related testing. And then imagine never finding out the results.

In many low-income and middle-income countries around the world, research suggests that up to 50 per cent of patients don’t receive test results for treatable diseases such as HIV. They’re cut off from labs by poor infrastructure, unreliable sources of electricity, and other realities of life in rural or developing areas.

But what if the testing could be brought to them and performed on the spot?

How to kill a fungus – and why

Sub-title: 
Steacie Fellowship winner Leah Cowen pioneers our understanding of drug-resistant fungal pathogens
Author: 
Jenny Hall

MRSA, C. difficile – most of us have become familiar with the ominous alphabet of drug-resistant bacteria. We’ve heard the alarms about the improper use of antibiotics and warnings of a frightening future without drugs to treat strep throat or protect us during routine surgical procedures.

The science of proteins and why Dev Sidhu's work matters to you

Sub-title: 
“Clever science is only 10 per cent of getting a drug that can cure people,” says Sidhu
Author: 
Jovana Drinjakovic

It's called The Protein Society – and its members include chemists, biologists, physicists, mathematicians, students and educators at universities, foundations, institutes and corporations in more than 50 countries working to understand the structure, function and design of proteins.  

Canada needs a universal drug plan – and it won't require tax increases, study finds

Sub-title: 
Plan would reduce total spending on prescription drugs by $7.3 billion per year
Author: 
Allison Mullin

Contrary to common public perception, Canadian taxpayers could save billions by the introduction of a universal public drug plan to provide prescriptions to all Canadians, researchers say.

“In many of the scenarios that we modelled, universal pharmacare was cost neutral for governments. This goes against current thinking that a universal program will cost more,” said Dr. Danielle Martin, one of the authors of the study, published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Encouraging high school students of Indigenous and African ancestry to see themselves here

Sub-title: 
Meet LaToya Dennie, outreach administrator at the Faculty of Medicine
Author: 
Liam Mitchell

Applications to the Faculty of Medicine's outreach program for youth of Indigenous and African ancestry have almost doubled under Outreach Coordinator La Toya Dennie – and the number of students has jumped to 60 participants from 40 just a few years ago.

“I am really inspired by the work,” Dennie said. “I think it’s important that the University of Toronto look like the city it’s a part of and I love the chance to help make that happen.”

Baby boomers are not as healthy as previously believed – but Gen X has no reason to gloat

Sub-title: 
Lower smoking rates offset by increased obesity, research finds
Author: 
Nicole Bodnar and Judith Zimmer

We hear all the time that “50 is the new 40” or “60 is the new 40” – claims that make it sound as though today’s baby boomers are healthier than their counterparts in other generations. But are they?

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