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The Dangers of Drinking

Bertrand Russell once described drunkenness as “temporary suicide,” a phrase that might turn out to be more literally true than the great philosopher knew. Heavy drinkers of beer and spirits face a much higher risk of developing cancer than the population at large, according to a recent study published in the journal Cancer Detection and Prevention by researchers from McGill and elsewhere.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Casualties of Conflict

We hear increasingly about the difficulties of veterans trying to return to ordinary life after a stint in the military. Associate professor of social work Myriam Denov is involved with a group of former soldiers whose re-entry into society is nothing short of miraculous.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Gold-en Hall of Fame

Dr. Phil Gold made Canadian medical history in 1965—and now it’s official. Forty-five years after he and his colleague Dr. Samuel Freedman discovered the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)—which, as the first clinically useful human tumour marker, revolutionized the diagnosis and management of cancer—Gold is being inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

A Space Junk Odyssey

Humans are getting good at reaching outer space. But, like on Earth, we’re lousy at cleaning up after ourselves up there. Law professor Ram Jakhu is helping tame this growing otherworldly problem—before it’s too late.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Outer Space's Gravest Hits

Devastating space junk collisions are becoming more and more frequent, and that’s bad news for owners of the $18 billion worth of commercial satellites, not to mention other spacecraft, currently orbiting the Earth.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Good Ethics for Good Science

The accelerated world of medical research promises new diagnostic tools and treatments for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. These advances, however, raise a daunting array of ethical issues. Enter Bartha Maria Knoppers, the recently appointed director of McGill’s new Centre of Genomics and Policy.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Balzan for Milner

Brenda Milner needs a bigger mantelpiece. On November 20, 2009, in a ceremony held in Berne, Switzerland, the legendary Montreal Neurological Institute researcher received the International Balzan Prize, yet another entry on her long list of prestigious accolades.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Of Health Care and Earthquakes

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) is funding nine new Strategic Research Networks that support the research priority areas identified in the Government of Canada’s Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy. Two of these initiatives are based at McGill: the Healthcare Support through Information Technology Enhancements (hSITE) and the Canadian Seismic Research Network.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Stargazer Wins Prix du Québec

Vicky Kaspi had to divert her gaze from the heavens long enough to shake some hands and collect some more hardware. McGill’s Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology and Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics was awarded a 2009 Prix du Québec, the highest honour conferred by the provincial government.

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Home of the Cosmic Rays

Scientists long tried to figure out why some spots on Earth had more radioactive air than others. It wasn’t until 1912, when Victor Hess took an electrometer skyward in a balloon, that it became clear the extra radiation was coming, not from inside the Earth, but from above it. Way above it. But where exactly did these “cosmic rays,” as physicist Robert Millikan dubbed them, come from?

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Published on : 02 Feb 2010

Debunking nonsense with science, common sense

"Dr. Joe Schwarcz is well known for being able to bring science down to the understandable level, and in his latest book he asks and answers the question posed by my friend. Along the way, he exposes many misconceptions, urban myths and outright fallacies that have been spun about chemistry in recent years..."

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Published on : 31 Jan 2010

Music: Can it tune up your health?

It can soothe, trigger memories, temper pain, aid sleep & make the heart beat faster or slower. It, of course, is music... Just why music seems to have these effects, though, remains elusive. There's a lot to learn, said Robert Zatorre, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, where he studies the topic at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

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Published on : 31 Jan 2010

Africa's Continental Divide: Land disputes

Land, at the very heart of security and survival, looms behind most of the African conflicts we've all heard of and dozens of others we have not. … "In Africa, most of the population has no documents. They believe they own the land as a group because they have been there for millennia," says John Unruh, a land tenure expert at McGill University in Montreal.

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Published on : 31 Jan 2010

Inuit must adapt to climate change: Study

In a new study published in the Global Environmental Change journal, James Ford and colleagues have concluded that Inuit must adapt to coming environmental changes that are inevitable and unavoidable. Climate change, they report, is threatening many aspects of Inuit life, including access to food, the integrity of local infrastructure and the ability to maintain their traditional lifestyles.

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Published on : 30 Jan 2010

Video games could one day boost mental health: McGill prof

Canada.com: Video games already provide entertainment and diversion, but they may soon boost self-esteem and improve mental health.

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Published on : 06 Jan 2010