Plant health a decidedly human issue

Climate change knows no borders and neither should science. And when it comes to plant science, Canada is a force to be reckoned with

Plant health a decidedly human issueEvery year, the United Nations promotes something that it believes warrants attention and it has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health. Celebrating plant health and bringing more awareness to the issue is well worth pursuing. Plants represent about 80 per cent of everything we eat. And animals raised on farms, of course, eat…

USMCA will stunt potentially lifesaving innovation

The new trade agreement represents progress for international trade, but crucially, it weakens protections for the biopharma industry

USMCA will stunt potentially lifesaving innovationIn December, the United States, Mexico and Canada signed a new trade agreement (USMCA) in Mexico City. The agreement represents progress for international trade, but crucially, it weakens protections for the biopharma industry, as the final version of the deal removed provisions that would have extended the exclusivity (essentially, the period of time when brand-name…

Superbugs kill over 700,000 people a year worldwide

And that could rise to 10 million deaths per year within 30 years, at an economic cost of US$100 trillion

Superbugs kill over 700,000 people a year worldwideA deadly threat hangs over us that’s much more immediate than climate change and has already started killing people. It now kills over 700,000 people a year worldwide. The fatalities could rise to 10 million per annum within 30 years. Together, cancer, diabetes and cholera take fewer lives. The economic cost would be US$100 trillion.…

Prolonged journeys in space help inform research into frailty

Astronauts and seniors with frailty have much in common and innovative research may help solve problems for both

Prolonged journeys in space help inform research into frailtyFor decades, researchers have studied the effects of reduced physical activity on astronauts during prolonged journeys to space. But what's surprising is one of the uses of that research. It turns out that understanding the effects of space travel on the body may be important to understanding what happens to us on Earth as we…

Taking a bite out of the dangerous notion that food is medicine

Pseudoscience and quackery love the food-is-medicine philosophy because it helps them sell their nutritional supplements, diet books and therapy sessions

Taking a bite out of the dangerous notion that food is medicineHippocrates supposedly said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I disagree. Food is not medicine. I can hear people saying, “But Dylan, you have type 1 diabetes and a PhD in human nutritional sciences. Surely you of all people know that food has a powerful impact on health?” I do. But…

Three nutrition trends to stay away from

Skip the cleanses, alkaline diets and IV vitamin therapy; there's no evidence they work and plenty of evidence they can be harmful

Three nutrition trends to stay away fromIf you follow health tips in some media, you’d think the nutritional sciences are a mess: Is butter good for you or bad? Should I eat breakfast or skip it? Should I eat like a caveman? Or should I eat more like a bird? Alternative facts are not a new concept in the field of nutritional…

Cool the hype around genetics and health care

We are a long way from identifying definitive biomarkers to illness and personalized gene therapies are likely generations away

Cool the hype around genetics and health careBy Nicole Letourneau and Suzanne Tough University of Calgary Genetics will save the day – that’s the message you see constantly in the media and even in academic literature. But it's a message that can distract us from providing quality care now. Newspapers herald breakthroughs in finding genetic biomarkers for autism. Magazines trumpet finding a…

Fishing for seafood fraud report of questionable value

The methodology used by non-profit Oceana for its report lacks scientific rigour

Fishing for seafood fraud report of questionable valueOceana – an environmental NGO – is known for its splashy reports on fish and seafood fraud. Their cumulative assessment across several Canadian cities showed that 44 per cent of the fish samples assessed were falsely identified. After Halifax, Toronto, Victoria, Ottawa, and Vancouver, Montreal is the latest market Oceana has looked at, and results…

The red meat merry-go-round

The protein war isn’t about the amount of meat we should eat, but rather about how studies on nutrition should be interpreted. It's messy

The red meat merry-go-roundFor a few years, we’ve been force-fed the notion that red meat and processed meat products threaten our health. But the protein war between the livestock industry and plant-based supporters has taken an interesting twist. In 2015, the World Health Organization went as far as to say that processed meats were carcinogenic, adding them to…

Antibiotics no cure for colds or flu

And using an antibiotic when not needed makes patients more vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant infections

Antibiotics no cure for colds or fluBy Guylène Thériault McGill University and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Cold and flu season for many Canadians means getting ready to have their lives and routines thrown off by painful and annoying symptoms. This can mean days off work or school dealing with sore throats, nasal congestion and fever. For parents, it can be…
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