In the Headlines news
Using thermal imaging for the first time to measure arousal rates, a new McGill study shows that women become sexually aroused as quickly as men do. The study, by McGill psychology prof and director of the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Irv Binik, and grad student Tuuli Kukkonen, shatters the long-held myth that men get excited faster than women.
Reut Gruber, a child psychologist and sleep researcher at the Douglas Hospital, conducts major studies of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to see whether improving the quality of their sleep enhances their ability to learn and listen.
For decades, there have been attempts to draw a direct line between genes and/or environmental factors and mental illness with no success. Psychiatrists now realize that there is something else in between. That something may be epigenetic imprinting. The Economist looks at the work of Moshe Szyf and Michael Meaney.
Giant tortoises, dwarf elephants and little people. All examples of species that became very large or very small when they colonized islands. For years, it was assumed that evolution must speed up to produce such variety so rapidly. Now, Virginie Millien of McGill has found that mammals on islands evolve around three times as fast as their continental counterparts.
A few years ago, researchers like McGill's Moshe Szyf were scoffed at for their ideas. Today Szyf, a professor of pharmacology at McGill, and a few others are mini-celebrities in the increasingly accepted field of epigenetics. The study of epigenetics postulates that there is a "second code" of programming on top of our DNA, a code that -- unlike DNA -- can change during our lifetimes.
Daniel Levitin, associate professor at McGill and one of the world's leading experts in cognitive music perception, is interviewed by Wired magazine about his new book, "This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession."
Two decades ago, Barbara Sherwin, professor of psychology and obstetrics and gynecology at McGill, conducted testosterone studies on women. Testosterone was demonstrated to clearly boost women's arousal and desire. European authorities have finally approved a testosterone patch for women to deal with libido problems but the Food and Drug Administration has yet to comment on the future of its testosterone patch in the U.S.
Dr. Mark Wainberg writes that HIV/AIDS kills 5,000 people each day -- a body count far higher than the number of individuals who have died in recent military conflicts anywhere in the world, and also higher than the number of deaths attributable to any natural disaster in recent memory. Yet HIV/AIDS no longer receives the attention it once did. (Wainberg will co-chair the AIDS conference in Toronto beginning August 13.)
A new technique that uses radar beams to track wet air could lead to more accurate and timely warnings of severe thunderstorms and flash floods. Frédéric Fabry of McGill developed the idea behind the method.
On May 10, 1996, Dr. Stuart Hutchison was just 100 metres from the top of Everest when he turned back. Within hours, eight climbers would die. Bestsellers (Into Thin Air) have debated that deadly day, yet few have heard from the lone Canadian on the climb. McGill grad Hutchison, MD'86, talks to the Ottawa Citizen about climbing, summit fever and morality on the mountainside.
A new treatment for asthma is showing great promise in a multi-centre clinical trial involving MUHC researchers. The project involves treating the airway of the lung with thermal energy. Initial trials have shown dramatic results. Dr. Ronald Olivenstein is lead investigator on the study.
McGill's Frederick Andermann, professor of neurology at McGill and internationally known for his treatment of epilepsy, has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Anne Macaulay, a teacher of family medicine at McGill, and Dennis Osmond, emeritus professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, have been named Members of the Order.
Research into a new family of drugs will be unveiled next month at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, raising hopes that there could soon be another first-line treatment against HIV. Director of the McGill AIDS Centre Dr. Mark Wainberg discusses the research.
Titans of biodiversity science and policy warn that the Earth is on the verge of a major crisis. "Despite this evidence, biodiversity is still consistently undervalued and given inadequate weight in both private and public decisions. There is an urgent need to bridge the gap between science and policy." Biology prof Michel Loreau of McGill is one of 19 experts from 13 countries who endorsed a report which appears in Nature.
Fossil hunters have discovered that fierce prehistoric sea monsters apparently used the Arctic Ocean as a migration route to rule the world's oceans at roughly the same time as dinosaurs reigned on land. The discovery is part of a fossil "hat trick" pulled off by paleontologist Hans Larsson and team as part of a McGill expedition camped on a remote and inhospitable stretch of Melville Island, 1,200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.