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…

Keeping young, ambitious and talented people in Alberta

There’s already a strong engineering, finance and transportation capability in the province. We need to build on that in the new economy

Keeping young, ambitious and talented people in AlbertaA new study related to abandoned coal mining in the United Kingdom and the movement of displaced workers offers insight for Albertans. Not many of us read the online peer reviewed academic journal Nature Human Behaviour. That’s why occasionally perusing the back pages of The Economist makes sense. The Oct. 26, 2019, Economist reviews an…

Genetics strongly influence our predisposition to mental illness

It is becoming increasingly clear that our genes influence everything from our personality traits to specific psychiatric disorders

Genetics strongly influence our predisposition to mental illnessNature has been pitted against nurture for centuries. People have always pondered the question of whether human behaviour is primarily dictated by genetic hard-wiring or by our experiences and environmental factors. The debate has lasted so long because we know comparatively little about the functioning of the human brain. As a result, disorders of the…

Donor-conceived people need to know their medical history

The first international Genetic Identity Day comes just as Health Canada seeks to prevent people from knowing their genetic identity

Donor-conceived people need to know their medical historyBy Juliet Guichon and Ian Mitchell University of Calgary and Barry Stevens People have a moral right know their medical, social and cultural history, and the identity of their genetic parents. And this right applies to those who have been adopted or conceived by egg and sperm that were either sold or given. This moral…

Using genes to attack disease with precision

Pharmacogenomics, a mixture of the pharmaceutical and genetic sciences, holds vast potential for health care

Using genes to attack disease with precisionPharmacogenomics is a long word that describes an area of health research with vast potential for future medicine. Now part of most new clinical trials, it's a mixture of the pharmaceutical and genetic sciences. It involves the study of how a person’s genes affect the way the body responds to drugs. The hope is that we…

Temper your confidence in the science that runs your life

Trust requires consistency and transparency. It must be understandable. And we need regulations that protect the public

Temper your confidence in the science that runs your lifeThe big success stories of our time have scaled at exponential rates – Facebook, Amazon, Apple and the other ‘super bigs’ relentlessly enlarge themselves. When something scales, however, the mix of characteristics, benefits, and costs of a business or organization may scale with it. In contemporary life, the tools that business, research and social interaction…

Genetic modification a crucial tool in feeding the world

Scientists have found no negative differences in the health of people eating GM and non-GM foods

Genetic modification a crucial tool in feeding the worldThe changing environment means we face weather patterns that haven’t been seen in generations. And that means new challenges in feeding humanity. But we have the tools. Storms and floods are more frequent and widespread. Changing temperatures affect oceans and lands, wildlife and crops. Because we haven’t seen such changes before, we often don’t know…

Monsanto lawsuit ruling leaves Bayer in need of more Aspirin

Monsanto, now a division of Bayer, ordered to pay $289M to a single plaintiff. Even if Monsanto’s brands no longer exist, its legacy remains

Monsanto lawsuit ruling leaves Bayer in need of more AspirinIn California, where lawsuits can be found more easily than drinking water, German chemical giant Bayer has been dealt a huge legal blow. Monsanto, now a division of Bayer, was ordered to pay a whopping US$289 million in damages to a gardener suffering from cancer, allegedly from using Monsanto products. Given that more than 5,000 such…

Putting science to work solving real-world problems – and winning awards

University of Lethbridge students continue to win international honours by developing groundbreaking technology

Putting science to work solving real-world problems – and winning awardsThe University of Lethbridge has been sending teams of students to compete in the iGEM Jamboree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston for the last 10 years. At the competition sponsored by iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation), student teams by the hundreds gather from around the world to present their latest…

Canada Revenue Agency discriminates against PKU sufferers

The federal government routinely denies the Disability Tax Credit to those who need it – and are eligible by law

Canada Revenue Agency discriminates against PKU sufferersThis story began when I offered to represent the mother of a three-year-old with PKU, a rare genetic disorder, in a federal tax court. She had never even fought a parking ticket before she went against the federal government. We won. It turns out, evidence matters. But the story doesn’t end there. We went to…