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Non-invasive heart treatment to mend a broken heart

McGill cardiologists perform a new procedure that lets patients avoid open-heart surgery and return home within 48 hours. According to Dr. Joe Martucci and Dr. Adrian Dancea, the procedure can significantly delay the need for open-heart surgery and greatly reduce the life-long morbidity associated with some heart malformations.

Published: 23 Feb 2007

Making the edible urban landscape

Vikram Bhatt, Director of the Minimum Cost Housing Group of the McGill School of Architecture, and his team of students have been travelling the world over the last three years with a project called "Making the Edible Urban Landscape," designed to use even an impoverished piece of land to benefit those who live there — and the planet itself.

Published: 19 Feb 2007

Breathing tied to waist size

Morbidly obese men tend to have more breathing difficulties than morbidly obese women, partly because they have much larger waistlines, a new study suggests. Dr Gerald S. Zavorsky from the McGill University Health Centre and colleagues led the study.

Published: 18 Feb 2007

Evolutionary psychology

"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.

Published: 16 Feb 2007

A mother's love

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.

Published: 14 Feb 2007

What's in your milk?

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.

Published: 13 Feb 2007

The Charter @ 25

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.

Published: 13 Feb 2007

New genes point to diabetes risk

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.

Published: 12 Feb 2007

Brain, music and sound research centre

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.

Published: 12 Feb 2007

Bitter pills

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.

Published: 10 Feb 2007

Reaching for stars: Juggling ambition, angst

Victoria Kaspi laughs at the prediction beside her name in the high school yearbook. "My ambition was to be a famous scientist and mother of six." At 39, she's at least halfway there. An astrophysicist at McGill, Kaspi's groundbreaking research tracking pulsar stars has won her many accolades, most recently the CAP Herzberg medal and Steacie Prize, national awards for research excellence.

Published: 6 Feb 2007

U.S. lags on family-oriented job rules

The United States lags far behind virtually all wealthy countries with regard to family-oriented workplace policies such as maternity leave, paid sick days and support for breast-feeding, according to a new study released by Harvard and McGill University researchers. The study, by lead author Jody Heymann, founder of the Harvard-based Project on Global Working Families and director of McGill's Institute for Health and Social Policy, says, "More countries are providing the workplace protections that millions of Americans can only dream of."

Published: 1 Feb 2007

Harper government too cosy with U.S.

The Harper government is snuggling up too closely to the United States at the expense of Canada's influence in the rest of the world, former prime minister Joe Clark, professor at the Centre for Developing Areas Studies, told a McGill audience on Wednesday. "Mr. Harper and his colleagues are moving away from the central elements of the foreign policy that has been a strength of Canada under both Progressive Conservative and Liberal governments."

Published: 1 Feb 2007

Breast cancer: McGill finds new path

A team directed by Michel L. Tremblay at the Cancer Centre at McGill has uncovered the role played by a gene associated with the propagation of breast cancer in two of five affected women. Their study, published in the magazine Nature Genetics, shows that halting the activity of this gene in mice predisposed to cancer slowed the growth of — and in some cases, prevented — tumors.

Published: 29 Jan 2007

Quebec's low tuition has failed as a policy

A strongly worded editorial in the Globe and Mail states that "Quebec's policy is a noble failure. The tuition freeze would melt away if ever the warm light of reason were shone on it." McGill principal Heather Munroe-Blum was interviewed for the editorial.

Published: 29 Jan 2007