Science for the unnewsed

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Study connects migranes and mental disorders

A study at the University of Manitoba suggests that there may be a connection between migraines and mental disorders.

The study found that 11 per cent of participants who suffered from migraines were also diagnosed with another disorder. The variety of disorders investigated in the study included major depression, panic disorders and general anxiety disorder.

You are what you eat ... forever

'A recent study by U of C Kinesiology Faculty associate professor Dr. Raylene Reimer found a dramatic link between early childhood diet and adult obesity. In the study, Reimer's group fed three groups of young rats a high protein, high fibre or a control diet.

Upon maturation, all three groups were switched to a high sugar, high fat diet reflecting the typical western diet. Rats that were fed the high protein diet when young gained substantially more weight than the high fibre and control groups.

This study supports growing evidence suggesting that early childhood diet influences the activity, or expression levels, of specific genes impacting the way the body handles food in adulthood.

McGill University ranks high in patent study

McGill University came out ahead of all other Canadian universities in a study by the Milken Institute concerning the translation of biotechnology research into patents. Ranking 14th in the study, McGill beat out Yale and UCLA. The study measured the total number of biotechnology patents issued and the impact of the patents in the field of biotechnology research.

Biofilms: looking into the bacterial collective

'Organized layers of bacteria, or biofilms, are not restricted to Petri dishes. Most bacterial infections, including 90 per cent of hospital-acquired infections, are the result of biofilms, and there is power in numbers. Biofilms are more resistant to detergents and antibiotics, making disinfecting surfaces or treating patients with medical implant complications difficult.

Calgary's Biofilm Research Group, headed by biological sciences professor Dr. Howard Ceri, developed the MBEC Assay, to rapidly study biofilms.

Ceri's research focuses on antimicrobial coatings for medical implants and has led to a patent application.

A new look at carbon capture

'The quandary of carbon capture and storage is shared the world over, yet potential solutions are popping up right in our backyard. Dr. Mehran Pooladi-Darvish and Dr. Jocelyn Grozic at the Schulich School of Engineering are developing a technology to store carbon dioxide in water.

Conventionally, captured carbon is injected into underground depleted oil and gas reservoirs where it can take centuries to dissolve into ground water or form solids. In a gaseous state, the crafty compound may find an old well bore or natural crack in the earth and escape. By encasing carbon dioxide in a cage-like structure as a hydrate, the gas essentially becomes a solid, happily resigned to a subterranean existence.