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Michael Kramer's name is in the news following the recent publication of his study showing that drug-induced labour increases the risk of fatal complications during childbirth. As reported worldwide by such media outlets as the CBC, Fox News and the BBC, Kramer's findings indicate that labour induction doubles a woman's chances of developing amniotic-fluid embolism, the leading cause of delivery-related maternal fatalities. While the pediatric department Prof is quick to point out that this type of complication is very rare, it shouldn't be taken lightly if the decision to induce is elective and not based strictly on medical necessity.
As reported across the country in such newspapers as the Montreal Gazette, the Edmonton Sun and the Ottawa Sun, findings of another important McGill-led study offer a ray of hope for the blind. Led by Robert Koenekoop, clinical director of the Royal Vic's ophthalmology department, a team of researchers have linked a mutation of the CEP290 gene to Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), the most common form of congenital blindness. Afflicting one in 30,000 newborns, LCA causes cells in the eye to die or malfunction. As a result, children with the condition are born with highly reduced vision and develop extreme sensitivity to bright light. The discovery of the troublesome gene opens the door to possible gene therapy treatment that could partially restore vision.
Speaking of children's health, Laurette Dubé, a professor in the Desautels Faculty of Management, has brought together world leaders in academia, business, health and agriculture to come up with a game plan to combat childhood obesity. Profiled in the Montreal Gazette, Dubé discussed the ever-growing numbers of overweight and obese children worldwide. Surprisingly, people in developing countries who have traditionally suffered from malnutrition are themselves getting fatter as they replace diets rich in grains and beans with high-calorie, low-nutrition fare. The think tank, which includes Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, runs Oct. 25-27.
It seemed like a day didn't go by without a McGillian being quoted by papers like the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail in their coverage of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver earlier this week. Among the newsmakers, Department of Medicine professor Jacques Genest discussed how evolution has left our bods ill-equipped to process modern diets dripping in fat and sugar and our all-you-can-eat attitude. Igor Karp, a researcher in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, presented results from a recent study showing that teenage girls who smoke gain weight at the same rate as their non-smoking counterparts — thereby discrediting the much-used excuse that smoking helps keep their weight down. And finally, Louise Pilote, director of the division of general internal medicine of McGill and the MUHC, looked at three separate studies that demonstrated how men and women with heart failure react very differently to common cardiovascular drug treatments.