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Measuring creativity, one word at a time

Can you think of three words that are completely unrelated to one another? What about four, five, or even ten? According to an international team of researchers from McGill University, Harvard University and the University of Melbourne, this simple exercise of naming unrelated words and then measuring the semantic distance between them could serve as an objective measure of creativity.

Published: 20 Jul 2021

Prognosis: The future is bright for the next generation of healthcare leaders

As the world slowly emerges from a pandemic that exposed the vulnerability of healthcare systems when overwhelmed with multifaceted management challenges, McGill University has launched a new Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management (GCHM).

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Published: 15 Jul 2021

STOPMTL.CA: First interactive map to self-report police stops in Montreal

In 2019, an independent report commissioned by the City of Montreal demonstrated racial and social profiling by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) targeting Black, Arab and Indigenous peoples, and young adults in particular. According to the data, Indigenous and Black people are four to five times more likely to be stopped by police than non-racialized people.

Published: 14 Jul 2021

Cell structure previously associated with disease actually improves brain function

Researchers at McGill University have shown that a brain cell structure previously thought to be pathological in fact enhances cells’ ability to transmit information and correlates with better learning on certain tasks.

Published: 8 Jul 2021

Understanding our perception of rhythm

Scientists have long known that while listening to a sequence of sounds, people often perceive a rhythm, even when the sounds are identical and equally spaced. One regularity that was discovered over 100 years ago is the Iambic-Trochaic Law: when every other sound is loud, we tend to hear groups of two sounds with an initial beat. When every other sound is long, we hear groups of two sounds with a final beat. But why does our rhythm perception work this way?

Published: 8 Jul 2021

Arctic seabirds are less heat tolerant, more vulnerable to climate change

The Arctic is warming at approximately twice the global rate. A new study led by researchers from McGill University finds that cold-adapted Arctic species, like the thick-billed murre, are especially vulnerable to heat stress caused by climate change.

Published: 7 Jul 2021

Painting a picture of the oral health of Canadians

A new study “Oral health and oral health care of Canadians” led by Prof. Paul Allison of McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry, has received $3.3 million of funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to support a collaboration with Statistics Canada’s existing Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) to gather data and address oral health-related knowledge gaps. The study is a partnership involving all ten Canadian dental schools across the country.

Published: 7 Jul 2021

Patently harmful: fewer female inventors a problem for women’s health

"Necessity is the father of invention," but where is its mother? According to a new study published in Science, fewer women hold biomedical patents, leading to a reduced number of patented technologies designed to address problems affecting women.

Published: 6 Jul 2021

$4.95 million to make cities smarter

A smart city—supported by digital solutions to enhance food access and mobility—is a healthy city. That’s the thinking behind the Implementing Smart Cities Interventions to Build Healthy Cities (SMART) Training Platform co-led by McGill, the University of Guelph and the University of Manitoba.

Published: 5 Jul 2021

Faecal records show Maya population affected by climate change

A McGill-led study has shown that the size of the Maya population in the lowland city of Itzan (in present-day Guatemala) varied over time in response to climate change. The findings, published recently in Quaternary Science Reviews, show that both droughts and very wet periods led to important population declines.

Published: 30 Jun 2021

Songbirds and humans share some common speech patterns

If you listen to songbirds, you will recognize repeated melodies or phrases. Each phrase is made up of distinct sounds, strung together. A study from researchers at McGill University has found that the song phrases of many songbird species follow patterns that are similar to those used in human speech. At least in some respects.

Published: 22 Jun 2021

Five McGill teams awarded funding in new Genomic Integration program

Today Genome Quebec announced the results of its Genomic Integration Program, Human Health Stream competition. Five McGill teams from a diverse array of fields were awarded funds, totaling nearly $1 million.

Published: 21 Jun 2021

Most rivers run dry - now and then

A new study led by researchers from McGill University and INRAE found that between 51-60% of the 64 million kilometres of rivers and streams on Earth that they investigated stop flowing periodically, or run dry for part of the year. It is the first-ever empirically grounded effort to quantify the global distribution of non-perennial rivers and streams.

Published: 16 Jun 2021

Training the next generation of leaders in the responsible use of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming our world in powerful ways, from improving medical care and changing the retail landscape to enabling convenient features on our smartphones. But as AI increasingly underpins our daily lives, important questions about its application – and potential misuse – will continue to arise.

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Published: 16 Jun 2021

Mountain fires burning higher at unprecedented rates

Forest fires have crept higher up mountains over the past few decades, scorching areas previously too wet to burn, according to researchers from McGill University. As wildfires advance uphill, a staggering 11% of all Western U.S. forests are now at risk.

Published: 15 Jun 2021

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