Anyone tuning into a hockey game in the heat of playoff action can see that players put their all on the ice—often sacrificing their bodies to the sport. Aggressive play often leads to aggressive injuries, but are players taking more time to protect their minds after suffering concussions and head injuries? A new Canadian study — produced by the University of Calgary in cooperation with the National Hockey League (NHL) — found that while incidence of concussion have gone down, the time it takes to recover has gone up.
In the study, published by Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers examined 559 incidents of concussions (classified as head injuries caused by traumatic force) experienced by NHL players between 1997 and 2004. With an estimated 1.8 concussions per 1000 NHL player-hours, the study found that those suffering head injuries reported the most common post-impact symptoms as headache and dizziness.
Over the . . . → Read More: Hockey Heads: Conclusions on Concussions in the NHL
A neutron star. (Credit: University of Alberta)
Researchers from the University of Alberta have made some cosmic discoveries within neutron stars—a so-called “superfluid” that defies the laws of gravity.
The researchers—led by assistant professor of astrophyics Craig Heinke—used NASA’s Chandra space satellite telescope to look study a 330-year-old neutron star called Cassiopeia A. Neutron stars are the byproduct produced by an exploding star—called a supernova. Through this research, Heinke found that the neutron star’s core contained an odd, frictionless liquid. “If you could put some of this superfluid in a jar it would flow up the walls of the container and over the edge,” said Heinke.
Further details of Heinke and his team’s research is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
‘Weird science’ uncovered inside neutron star [University of . . . → Read More: Supernova Superfluid
Greg Funk, Jennifer Zwicker, Tuca Alvares and Vishaal Rajani (Credit: University of Alberta)
Researchers from the University of Alberta are capitalizing on one of the hottest new neuroscientific research trends—combinations of optical and genetic techniques called “Optogenetics”—in an attempt to help improve the treatment given to premature infants.
Led by neuroscientist Greg Funk, who received a five-year, $778,000 research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, University of Alberta researchers use both optical and genetic research methods to study how the brain controls breathing. Specifically, Funk and his team will apply optogenetic research by shining various wavelengths of light on different areas of the brain in order to study the rhythms responsible for breathing.
Working with additional researchers Alex Gourine from University College London and Sergey Kasparov from the University of Bristol, the University of Alberta team will use their optogenetic techniques to investigate the role of . . . → Read More: Shine a Light on Research: Using Optogenetics to Help Premature Babies Breathe Easier
Study co-author Dr. Jack Mintz (Credit: University of Calgary)
Good news for Canadian business from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. The latest study by Dr. Jack Mintz and Dr. Duanjie Chen reveals Canada is now the most competitive country for capital investment tax among the seven largest developed countries represented by the G-7 alliance — a big improvement from 2005, when Canada was deemed the least competitive.
Capital investment tax is a valuable indicator of future investment and economic growth. Since global wage rates are gradually equalizing, corporate tax rates will become increasingly important in attracting business. Canadian prospects are good, especially in light of further planned reductions in corporate taxes by 2013. “The combination of resource wealth, a favourable tax regime and our proximity to the U.S. is very positive,” said Mintz.
Canada should not rest on its laurels, however. In the study’s analysis of . . . → Read More: Cutting Back To Climb Ahead: Study Reveals Canada Most Tax-Competitive G-7 Country
When the word “eating disorder” is brought up, anorexia or bulimia often spring to mind. However binge eating, although a less well-known disorder, is currently affecting many Canadians in a serious way. As such, researchers at the University of Calgary are working on a unique new project that aims to help binge eaters help themselves.
Binge eating disorder is a mental condition that occurs when you cannot control what—or how much—you eat in a short period of time. Victims of the disorder often feel depressed and guilty as they eat, but are unable to stop.
PhD candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Calgary Phil Masson has developed a self-help manual that aims “to help people stop binge eating by learning healthy ways to cope with stressful situations, and giving them new strategies for controlling their emotions that don’t include food.” While self-help manuals are a common part . . . → Read More: Helping You Help Yourself: University of Calgary Researchers Try Self-Help Manual to Treat Binge Eating
Photo Credit: sanchom
An ant is not just an ant. There are many different species or kinds of ants squirming around in the dirt—and University of Alberta graduate student James Glasier is out to find them.
Since beginning his research, Glasier has identified 85 different species of ants in Alberta; this more than doubles the previously known number of species established at the university in the 1960’s.
In this video, made with the help of John Acorn, Glasier describes his research and explains why ants are an important part of the Albertan ecosystem.
Let’s hope that, unlike me, you didn’t spend too much time memorizing the atomic weights of elements on the periodic table back in Chemistry 11—because things are about to change.
University of Calgary researcher Dr. Michael Wieser. (Photo Credit: Riley Brandt/University of Calgary)
A new periodic table outlined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s (IUPAC) Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights shows that the atomic weights of 10 elements—hydrogen, lithium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, silicon, sulfur, chlorine and thallium — will change.
Historically, all elements were assigned a single-value standard atomic weight. Upon further investigation, however, scientists have found that the atomic weights of certain elements have natural fluctuations in weight depending on where the particular element is found. As University of Calgary associate professor and IUPAC secretary Dr. Michael Wieser explains, “[a]s technology improved, we have discovered that the numbers on our chart . . . → Read More: Back to the (Periodic) Drawing Table: Researchers Revamp the Table of Standard Atomic Weights
According to a new study released from the University of Calgary, the millions of people a year turning to Botox injections for a variety of cosmetic and therapeutic purposes may ultimately be getting more than they’re bargaining for.
Researchers, including lead study author Rafael Fortuna, gave small animals dosages of Clostridium botulinum toxin A neurotoxin complex (the complex that makes up Botox) simulated to resemble the typical dosages used for therapeutic purposes to treat conditions like cerebral palsy. About six months post-injection, the study found that the animals showed unintended side effects including muscle weakness, loss and atrophy throughout their bodies —not just at the site of injection as intended.
University of Calgary researchers Dr. Walter Herzog and Rafeal Fortuna. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Hexham)
Based on the findings of this study, Fortuna suggests that “it’s fair to say that the paper raises some important questions about the long-term . . . → Read More: University of Calgary Study Suggests Botox May Be More Than You’re Bargaining For
With their massive bodies, tiny arms and penchant for meat, the Tyrannosaurus rex has long been recognized as one of the most ferocious species of dinosaurs. Now, thanks to new research into the musculoskeletal structure of the T. rex, it’s even more apparent how the dinosaur managed to be such a successful hunter.
According to University of Alberta researcher Scott Persons, who utilized detailed measurements of T. rex bones and computer modeling programs, the key to the T. rex’s power and speed is in its distinctly designed tail.
In reptiles like the T. rex, as well as modern animals like crocodiles, tail muscles are attached to upper leg bones—giving the reptile tail a powerful stroke and aiding forward movement. In his research, however, Persons found that the tail of the T. rex has a unique characteristic: while modern reptile tails are limited by rib bones attached to the vertebral . . . → Read More: Just Another Reason to Avoid Jurassic Park: Rethinking the Tail of the T. Rex
In news that sounds like it could double as the beginning of the diabolical plot from a sci-fi super-villain, a group of international scientists has captured antimatter atoms for the first time in history.
The team—which includes Canadian physicists from Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary, York University and TRIUMF—has developed an innovative technique to trap atoms of antimatter long enough to be studied.
Antimatter is the opposite of matter, which is the substance that makes up our universe. Scientists believe that at the time of the Big Bang, when the universe was created, there was an equal amount of antimatter to match the amount of matter in the universe.
Up until now, it has been impossible to trap, and thus study, antimatter because antimatter is instantly annihilated when it comes into contact with matter. As matter is the substance that makes up . . . → Read More: From Science Fiction to Science: Researchers Capture Atomic Antimatter