News + Announcements

Breakthrough discovery will change treatment for COPD patients

Post Date: Jul 17, 2018

Permanent lung damage caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) starts much earlier than previously thought, even before patients are showing symptoms.

These are the findings of a new study recently published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The breakthrough discovery, led by Dr. Tillie-Louise Hackett, associate professor in the University of British Columbia’s faculty of medicine, will dramatically change how patients are treated for COPD, the leading cause of hospital admissions in B.C. and Canada.

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Urban greenways can reduce neighbourhood carbon emissions

Post Date: Jul 05, 2018

Greenways are great for cyclists and strollers, runners and walkers, but do they really reduce carbon emissions, as city planners hope? A new study provides some of the first direct proof that they do.

UBC researchers surveyed people living near Vancouver’s Comox-Helmcken Greenway the year before and after its completion in 2013. About half of the 585 participants lived within 300 metres of the greenway, and the rest were within a 500-metre radius. Results showed that the closer group (300 metres) reduced their daily car or bus travel distance by 18 per cent after the greenway was built.

Victor Ngo

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Bacteria-powered solar cell converts light to energy, even under overcast skies

Post Date: Jul 05, 2018

UBC researchers have found a cheap, sustainable way to build a solar cell using bacteria that convert light to energy.

Their cell generated a current stronger than any previously recorded from such a device, and worked as efficiently in dim light as in bright light.

This innovation could be a step toward wider adoption of solar power in places like British Columbia and parts of northern Europe where overcast skies are common. With further development, these solar cells—called “biogenic” because they are made of living organisms—could become as efficient as the synthetic cells used in conventional solar panels.

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Theory of general relativity proven yet again in new research

Post Date: Jul 04, 2018

In a novel test of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, an international group of astronomers has demonstrated that the theory holds up, even for a massive three-star system.

Einstein’s theory states that all objects fall the same way despite their mass or composition, like a cannonball and apple falling off the Leaning Tower of Pisa and hitting the ground at the same time. While this theory works in many situations, others hypothesize there are circumstances when alternative theories of gravity would be at play, such as in instances of extreme gravity. New research published in Nature confirms that, even in an extreme gravity system, the theory of relativity still applies.

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As penguins dive, their location data takes flight

Post Date: Jul 11, 2018

Data sent from penguins to space and back to UBC could help researchers determine why the species’ breeding population fluctuates so dramatically.

UBC researchers visited the South Atlantic in April to attach small transmitters to the backs of 66 Gentoo penguins from two colonies in the Falkland Islands. They are now watching to see where the birds forage for food as they fatten up for their spring breeding season beginning in October.

One-third of the world’s Gentoo penguin population lives in the Falklands. They use winter to build up their energy reserves so they can make it through rearing chicks in summer and moulting in fall.

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Anger overlooked as feature of postnatal mood disorders: UBC study

Post Date: Jul 11, 2018

Women in the postpartum period should be screened for anger in addition to depression and anxiety, new research from the University of British Columbia suggests.

Although anger has been recognized as an element of postpartum mood problems for some women, it has not been well studied and is not included in the widely used Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale screening tool. In a review of existing research, UBC nursing PhD student Christine Ou found anger to be a significant feature in postpartum mood disturbances.

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Some seniors entering long-term care homes too soon: UBC expert

Post Date: Jul 11, 2018

With seniors now outnumbering children in Canada, an increasing number of families are caring for aging loved ones. Often, this involves difficult decisions about whether to place an elderly relative or loved one in a care facility. UBC faculty of medicine’s Dr. Roger Wong, the executive associate dean, education and clinical professor in the division of geriatric medicine, believes that some seniors are entering facilities too soon. In a recent TEDx talk, he argued technology can go a long way to helping seniors lead independent, healthy lives—even in the face of early dementia.

Roger Wong

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