"The idea that evolution is an important determinant of who we are as human beings is unquestionable," says Laurence Kirmayer, director of the division of social and transcultural psychiatry at McGill. "The question is, what does our evolutionary history or our theories of evolution tell us specifically about the nature of human problems or about their potential solutions?" The Los Angeles Times writes on evolutionary psychology, a burgeoning field that is starting to influence psychotherapy. Evolutionary psychology sees the mind as a set of evolved mechanisms, or adaptations, that have promoted survival and reproduction.
The decades-long war between brand-name and generic drug manufacturers shows no signs of abating. But with a rapidly aging population and the spectre of new diseases on the horizon, there's new pressure to find a solution soon that can both motivate innovative research and sustain affordable drug prices. McGill's Richard Gold, director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and a professor in IP and common-law property, is interviewed for this story in the Canadian Bar Association's National Magazine.
McGill researchers have found that a good dose of motherly love may be enough to alter our genetic code, leaving us less fearful and stressed out in later life. If the finding is confirmed it could lead to dramatic new insights into the effects of upbringing and life experiences on a vast range of medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes and depression. The study, by Moshe Szyf, Michael Meaney, Ian Weaver and their team at McGill, is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The country's deep thinkers gather in Montreal this week for a conference marking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms' 25th birthday on April 17. Supreme Court judges from Canada and the U.S., constitutional experts and even the backroom boys who helped draft the law have been invited. Antonia Maioni, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, is calling the event a "celebration," a review of both the triumphs and questions arising from this pivotal piece of legislation.
A McGill- and Harvard-sponsored conference held recently in Boston brought together about three dozen dairy researchers, from nutritional epidemiologists to dairy scientists, to discuss the hypothesis that hormones and growth factors in dairy increase cancer risk. Michael Pollak, an oncologist who studies cancer risk and IGF-1 at McGill, was one of the conference organizers.
Science Magazine looks at the International Laboratory for Brain, Music, and Sound Research (BRAMS), a joint project of McGill and Université de Montréal. The members of BRAMS, including McGill's Robert Zatorre, Université de Montréal's Isabelle Peretz and nine other Montreal-based lead investigators, aim to explore music's mysteries. They seek to understand how humans cooperate to perform together, how children and adults learn to play music, and the relationship between music and language. "BRAMS will allow us to use music as a portal into the most complex aspects of human brain function," says Dr. Zatorre.
The genes associated with a risk of developing type 2 diabetes have been identified. The research, published online in Nature, is the first time the genetic makeup of any disease has been mapped in such detail. It should enable scientists to develop a genetic test to show an individual their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Rob Sladek and Constantin Polychronakos from McGill, along with scientists from Imperial College, London, and other international institutions, believe their findings explain up to 70% of the genetic background of type 2 diabetes.
A new study led by researchers at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has identified four genes that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest has named McGill University Professor Emeritus Charles Taylor to head a non-partisan commission that will explore and help frame the debate surrounding the reasonable accommodation of religious and cultural minorities. Professor Taylor will co-chair the commission along with Gérard Bouchard, a professor of sociology at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.