More than 100 toxic chemicals found in cannabis smoke

Typical joint contains nearly 2,600 chemicals, including some linked with cancer, genetic mutation and birth defects: U of A study

More than 100 toxic chemicals found in cannabis smokeUniversity of Alberta engineering researchers have characterized the potentially hazardous particles in cannabis smoke and have raised awareness about their potential health effects. “It's not out of line to say there's potential health risk in marijuana smoke, and there's not nearly enough research,” said Robert Nishida, a U of A post-doctoral fellow and co-lead on…

Why Canada’s gun ban won’t stop shootings

Addressing the more complex problems of narcotics, smuggling, and terrorism will yield more effective and durable results

Why Canada’s gun ban won’t stop shootingsBy Paz Gómez Research associate Frontier Centre for Public Policy A prohibition is the easiest way out of a policy problem. In enacting one to target gun violence, the federal government has admitted failure to find a solution that preserves both rights and lives. The deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history took place in Nova…

What can you do about the opioid crisis?

Much like first aid and CPR, bystander naloxone training is one of the best tools available to save lives, U of A experts say

What can you do about the opioid crisis?Who needs a free naloxone kit? Just about anyone who might come across an opioid overdose, according to a range of University of Alberta experts, including a pharmacist, the head of campus security, a student volunteer and a public health scientist. Alberta Health Services first made the kits and training available for free to the…

Gene therapy appraisals may limit new drugs in Canada

Canada's separate environmental protection oversight unnecessarily delays development and approval

Gene therapy appraisals may limit new drugs in CanadaBy Nigel Rawson and Mackenzie Moir The Fraser Institute The federal government plans to move ahead with major revisions in regulations governing the tribunal that sets ceiling prices for new prescription drugs in Canada. Revisions include: replacing countries with relatively higher drug prices with lower price countries in the international price-comparison analysis'; enforcing hard thresholds…

Similarities between COVID-19 deaths, severe rheumatic illnesses

U of A medical researchers recommend rheumatic drugs, exercise to boost immune-regulating ‘natural killer’ cells

Similarities between COVID-19 deaths, severe rheumatic illnessesRheumatologists at the University of Alberta are flagging similarities between the deaths of some COVID-19 patients and those with rheumatic illnesses. They are testing proven rheumatic treatments to see whether they help against the pandemic virus. A substantial proportion of COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care die of pneumonia due to a cytokine storm, where…

Why COVID-19 could make the overdose epidemic worse

Social isolation can be deadly for people struggling with addictions, says University of Alberta expert

Why COVID-19 could make the overdose epidemic worseWhen Alberta’s chief medical officer, Deena Hinshaw, announced special exemptions to COVID-19 regulations for group therapy in residential addiction treatment centres, it was exactly what University of Alberta addictions expert Cameron Wild was hoping to hear. “The whole concept of recovery is in part founded on developing strong social supportive relationships,” said Wild. Wild is principal investigator with the…

Combating the over-medication of seniors

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to the effects of too many prescriptions

Combating the over-medication of seniorsWorking aggressively to reduce their daily medication burden may be the single best thing we can do to improve the quality of life of our aging parents and grandparents. The issue of too much medication in Canadian seniors is finally starting to be recognized as the serious problem it has become. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to…

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…

The power of the placebo effect

A patient sometimes perceives a positive result, even from a fake drug

The power of the placebo effectMedical knowledge and treatments have advanced more quickly in the last 50 years than ever before, but the powerful effects of placebo treatments are still reported and are not fully understood. Simply put, a placebo is a medicine or medical treatment that has no active pharmacological ingredient. The term often refers to the inactive treatments…

Turning the tide on the harm of opioids

Doctors must discuss pain management options with patients and not jump to the prescription pad for a quick fix

Turning the tide on the harm of opioidsBy Dr. Wendy Levinson University of Toronto and Dr. Laurent Marcoux As clinicians, we’re bound by professionalism and our ethical responsibilities to do no harm, and to do what we can to address the pain and suffering of our patients. When powerful pain-relieving opioid medications were introduced a few decades ago, they seemed to be…
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