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UBC Reports Feb 5, 2009

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VOL   55   I   NO   1   I   FEBRUARY   5,   2009
Environmental law
4     Sustainability
Pacific salmon
Child sleep apnea
6      New patinas
Priming the brain to recover from stroke
For the 300,000 Canadians
living with the aftermath of a
stroke, partial paralysis and loss
of independence is a daily reality.
Now a UBC brain stimulation
technique that primes the
brain to relearn and retain
old movements is showing
encouraging results for faster and
more effective recovery. A wand,
connected to a computer, is
placed adjacent to persons head
and a stimulus is applied.
"Currently, there are no drugs
to help stroke patients regain
mobility," says Lara Boyd, UBC
assistant professor of Physical
Therapy in UBC's Faculty of
Medicine. "Thus far, physical
therapy has proven to be an
effective treatment for stroke
patients to regain mobility.
However, one of the biggest
challenges is the time and amount
of practice it takes for the brain
to relearn an old movement."
The two-part study tests a
healthy brain first to ensure the
technique is safe and that there
are no adverse effects and then
applies the same technique to a
stroke-affected brain. The study
is currently in the second phase.
Following a stroke, the affected
part of the brain is no longer
active because of the loss of
blood flow, which causes brain
Assistant Prof. Lara Boyd's research, on regaining movement following a stroke, is already showing promising results.
cell death. The area of the brain
affected by the injury determines
the patient's inability to move,
see, remember, speak, reason and
read and/or write.
"One of the reasons that
it is so difficult for the brain
to recover from a stroke and
reorganize itself is that the side
of the brain that is damaged
becomes suppressed while
the undamaged side becomes
hyperactive," says Boyd, who
is a Canada Research Chair
in Neurobiology of Motor
Learning. "The left and right side
of the brain become unbalanced.
It becomes more difficult for the
affected side of the body to move
because the damaged side of the
brain is suppressed. Conversely,
the unaffected side of the body
moves much easier because the
undamaged side of the brain
becomes hyperactive."
This negative feedback loop
helps explain why it becomes
increasingly difficult for stroke
patients to regain mobility.
"Fortunately, the brain is
continued on page 7
Watch for a special online UBC Reports Extra the week of Feb. 12 marking one
year until the start ofthe 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Stories will profile our new arena venue and its link to the birthplace of Canada's
national hockey program, UBC's focus on Games-related learning opportunities,
and faculty with expertise on the Games and their impacts,     www.ubc.ca/2010
Band of sisters
Breast cancer patients test role of exercise
Prof. Sue Grayston joins Bif Naked for a morning workout.
When Sue Grayston began
chemotherapy last year, a brisk
morning workout with musician
Bif Naked wasn't exactly what
she was anticipating.
Grayston, a professor in the
Faculty of Forestry and Canada
Research Chair in Soil Microbial
Ecology, found a breast lump in
April 2008. She was diagnosed
with cancer in May, underwent
surgery in June, and began
treatment shortly after.
Through a tip from her
oncologist, she ended up at
CARE (Combined Aerobics
and Resistance Exercise), a
research trial in UBC's School
of Human Kinetics that studies
the role exercise plays in the
lives of breast cancer patients
undergoing chemotherapy.
Grayston says the trial has
had an unintended side effect:
establishing a close-knit,
emotional bond among patients,
including the aforementioned
Canadian rocker, that continues
long after involvement with the
study ends.
Women participating in CARE
take part in one of three exercise
programs over the course of four
to six months: aerobics, high-
intensity aerobics, or aerobics
combined with strength-training.
Like other participants in
the trial, Grayston's progress at
continued on page 4 2     |     UBC    REPORTS     |     FEBRUARY   5,    2009
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Andrea Polonijo surveyed
Canada's top women's magazines
for her study.
The downside of face lifts
A UBC study has found
articles in leading women's
magazines tend to portray
cosmetic surgery as an
empowering option for women,
despite the lack of scientific
consensus that it boosts
emotional health.
"Alongside beauty, clothing
and diet advice, women's
magazines present cosmetic
surgery as a normal practice for
enhancing or maintaining beauty,
becoming more attractive to
men and improving emotional
health," says author Andrea
Polonijo, who conducted
the research at UBC as an
undergraduate honours thesis in
the Dept. of Sociology.
Polonijo examined articles
in Canada's five most popular
English-language women's
magazines: Chatelaine,
Cosmopolitan, O: The Oprah
Magazine, Flare and Prevention.
The study, published in
Women's Health Issues journal,
was covered by Agence France
Presse, Reuters, ABC News,
MSNBC, China Post, Yahoo
News, National Post, Montreal
Gazette and the Edmonton
Journal, among others.
It's not fish poop
The digestive systems of fish
play a vital role in mitigating
climate change by maintaining
the delicate pH balance of
the oceans, says a UBC study
published in the journal Science.
"This study is really the first
glimpse of the huge impact fish
have on our carbon cycle — and
why we need them in the ocean,"
said researcher Villy Christensen
of the UBC Fisheries Centre.
Christensen estimate of total
fish biomass in our oceans, at
two billion tonnes, was also
noted in the reports by the Los
Angeles Times, New Scientist,
The Canadian Press, The
Associated Press, Reuters and
The team discovered fish
get rid of excess calcium by
binding it to bicarbonate, and
then excreting it as pellets of
calcium carbonate, a chalk-like
substance also known as "gut
rocks." As the calcium carbonate
from these pellets dissolves, it
turns the seawater more alkaline,
which has relevance for ocean
acidification, and is impacted
by the ocean's exchange of
carbon dioxide (C02) with the
Climate change taking a toll on
Western trees
A study co-authored by UBC
biogeography Professor Lori
Daniels has found the death
rates of trees in Western forests
have doubled over the past two
to three decades, driven in large
part by higher temperatures and
water scarcity linked to climate
The findings, published the
journal Science, examined
changes in 16 long-term forest
plots in three broad regions
across the West, and found
similar shifts regardless of the
areas' elevations, fire histories,
dominant species and tree sizes.
Daniels, who studied 1,200
trees in old-growth forest plots
on the North Shore, says climate
change is the most likely cause in
the dramatic death-rate increase.
The death rate is expected to
continue to rise as temperatures
go up, leading to sparser forests
less able to act as carbon sinks,
leading to even more warming.
The study was picked
up by the New York Times,
Washington Post, Globe and
Mail, Bloomberg, The Associated
Press, Reuters, BBC News,
Scientific American, and the
Vancouver Sun
Blogging through class
Alfred Hermida, professor
at the UBC's Graduate School
of Journalism, is a regular
commentator on PBS's
MediaShift. The website tracks
how new media, from weblogs
to podcasts to citizen journalism,
are changing society and culture.
In January Hermida started
requiring his UBC Journalism
grad students to keep a blog. He
sees the medium as a tool for
reflection and critical thinking
about events in the headlines:
"The blog has emerged as a
powerful platform for journalists
to provide context, analysis and
interpretation, often including
behind-the-scenes information
that does not fit into the
structure of a traditional news
Hermida, a founding editor of
the BBC News website, was also
called upon this month by the
National Post to give advice to
the CBC on how it can adopt to
the demands of an Internet-savvy
"CBC can't just translate what
it does for new media, it needs
to evolve how it delivers the
news," he said. "Newsrooms are
notoriously reluctant to change.
When change comes, the initial
reaction is defensiveness. But
BBC changed and so can CBC."
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Ian Townsend-Gault is weighing the effects of projects that have sought to strengthen environmental law in Laos and Vietnam.
Law prof takes aim at foreign-aid projects
After 15 years of working
on foreign-aid projects in Laos
and Vietnam, Ian Townsend-
Gault may soon discover what
difference he's made.
The UBC Law professor is
mounting a two-year project
to examine what effect foreign-
funded law and policy projects
have had on the environmental
health of Vietnamese and
Laotian citizens.
"I know it sounds like
I'm investigating myself, but
an insider is going to be as
dispassionate as possible," says
Townsend-Gault, who is also
director of the Law faculty's
Southeast Asian legal studies
economic growth, protecting
children from landmines, and
building foreign-language skills
among young people.
In picking an area to
investigate, Townsend-Gault says
projects focused on strengthening
or creating environmental law
and policy were the clear choice:
"I chose environment because it
affects everyone in the country."
The question for Townsend-
Gault, who has served as a
legal consultant to government
ministries in both countries, is
how well these projects have
worked. He says despite the
best intentions of donors, such
large-scale aid can fall victim
to shortcomings such as time
frames that are too short, or
"I chose environment because it affects
everyone in the country."
The research takes aim
at aid projects by donors
such as the United Nations
Development Program and
the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA),
which have helped create basic
environmental law and policy in
both countries.
Supported by a 2008
Hampton Fund Research Grant
funded by UBC's real estate
endowment, Townsend-Gault
will measure the outcomes of
these projects, looking at how
future law and policy initiatives
can better support residents'
environmental health.
CIDA, which manages
Canada's $4 billion in
international development
assistance, has planned more
than $230 million in projects for
Initiatives include combating
HIV/AIDS, improving access
to primary school, encouraging
failing to transfer the necessary
expertise from international to
domestic workers.
One initiative he will
investigate is the Vietnam-
Canada Environment Project, a
$12-million CIDA endeavor with
a broad mandate to help build
the capacity to manage industrial
Townsend-Gault aided in the
program, which in part sought
to equip laboratories in three
provinces with the expertise
and capacity to undertake
environmental diagnostic testing,
such as air and water quality.
"We're not looking to evaluate
the legislation this project or
that project developed, but what
happened after that," he says.
In Vietnam, decades of
shifting priorities and changing
government have led to varying
levels of enforcement and a
hodge-podge of environmental
regulations. The country's
1994 Law on Environmental
Protection took aim at problems
it does not face (e.g., nuclear
waste disposal) while omitting
provisions that are standard in
most countries' anti-pollution
laws, such as the "polluter pays"
Poverty in some regions
has also led to discrepancies
in Vietnam's enforcement of
environmental law, perpetuating
a divide between the health of
people in poor and wealthy
areas, he says.
During a 1996 visit to the
environment office in Halong
Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage
Site in northern Vietnam,
Townsend-Gault found the
office staffed by Soviet-
trained engineers with little
understanding of the existing
environmental law.
"They said, Ah, you're a
lawyer, you can tell us what this
means, we haven't the faintest
clue!'" he says. "And we're
talking about one of the most
sensitive environmental areas in
the country."
So, to what extent have things
improved since then?
In Laos, Townsend-
Gault points to the need for
infrastructure and legislation
that effectively protects the
sensitive Mekong River, which
is critical to the health of those
downstream in Vietnam and
Townsend-Gault's Hampton
project will look at a project
funded by Sweden that set up
Laos's environmental law, and
for which he was a consultant.
The project could also
contribute to the understanding
of what practical steps are
involved, for example, in using
aid dollars to purchase latrines
that won't contaminate drinking
water, and how such programs
can be set in stone without
having to rely on further foreign
Back home, Townsend-Gault
says he hopes his research will
prompt Canadian officials to
take a better look at their aid
to Southeast Asia. Despite
years of big-ticket projects, his
counterparts in the area say
Canada is slipping from their
"We had a very important
place in Southeast Asia, and
I'm afraid that due to policy
uncertainty in many fields we've
either lost it or are in the process
of losing it." 13
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continued from page 1
the small gym near Vancouver
General Hospital was carefully
monitored and recorded by
a team of volunteers and
UBC graduate students, led
by research technician Diana
However, Grayston quickly
found the program offered more
than just data for CARE's study.
"One thing they can't measure
at the moment is the support we
get from the other women," she
While the research will be
published in oncology journals,
and may lead to methods that
could alter treatment for breast
cancer, Grayston says it was
the bond forged among the
participants that helped her get
through chemotherapy.
The trial has allowed her
to connect with other women
undergoing the same treatment,
sharing tips on drugs and
doctor's visits — not to mention
the best places in town to buy
wigs (chemotherapy patients
typically lose most of their hair).
"It's just made it actually
bearable. I don't know how
people could do this without
support," she says.
Led by Dr. Don McKenzie,
director of Sports Medicine at
UBC and Dr. Karen Gelman of
the B.C. Cancer Agency, the trial
is a joint venture between UBC,
the University of Alberta and the
University of Ottawa.
McKenzie is known
worldwide for launching the
Abreast in a Boat dragon boat
racing program, following his
study that debunked a long-held
belief that upper-body exercise in
women treated for breast cancer
encouraged lymphedema, an
irreversible swelling in the arm
and chest.
He says the current research
trial could mark a turning point
for women undergoing breast
cancer treatment.
"After 25 years, we're starting
to appreciate that exercise is as
useful in intervention and health
care as a lot of the other things
we can do."
However, he concedes it can be
difficult for a woman undergoing
chemotherapy to find the
motivation to begin exercising.
"Chemotherapy takes the
wind out of your sails," he
says at the project's small gym.
Side effects vary greatly, but
patients can experience anemia,
nausea, fatigue and depression.
It's hardly the stuff that would
prompt a visit to the treadmill.
If it weren't for CARE, Bif
Naked, the study's first and most
high-profile patient, says she
would have had difficulty getting
out of bed every day.
The Canadian rocker, known
offstage as Beth Torbert,
announced her breast cancer
in a January 2008 interview
with the CBC's George
"When I was diagnosed with
breast cancer it came as a big
surprise to me," she says. "And
had this not been in place for me,
I wouldn't have done anything. I
would have probably just stayed
in bed the whole time."
Seventeen women have
finished the program at UBC,
and another 25 are currently
involved. In all, 300 women will
take part at the three universities.
For graduates of the UBC trial,
their three-day-a-week exercise
regimen has evolved into a
weekly morning walking group,
though Torbert jokes that she
and her friends see it more as a
"It's really fascinating,
psychologically and emotionally,
how integral this group of people
became to each other in very
unusual circumstances," she says.
"It's not that we cried together;
we laughed together".
"It's probably somewhat
unheard of for anyone to have
a grand old time during breast
cancer treatment, especially
during chemotherapy, but I
assure you, we have a riot." 13
Factoring biodiversity
into farming
fL '
-■* ■ '■ "*"fl
yr.-~-   ^WB   \
- * 1
Kai Chan's research is boosting biodiversity and farm productivity in Costa Rica.
How do you improve farming
operations while protecting
"The people who structure
farm payment schemes and
subsidy policies are in dire
need of tools to help them
make those complex decisions,"
says Kai Chan, a professor in
UBC's Institute for Resources,
Environment and Sustainability.
Enter Chan and colleague
Prof. Gretchen Daily of Stanford
University who have published
the world's first planning
framework that calculates the
production and conservation
benefits of investments in
Chan recently used the
framework to create a business
case for Costa Rican farmers to
invest in a series of windbreaks
that are protecting bird habitats
and improving agricultural
"Biodiversity is a tremendous
store of natural capital and
we've got moral duties to
protect it," says Chan, a Canada
Research Chair in Biodiversity in
Ecosystems Services.
"To do this, we must find a
balance between agricultural
production and conservation."
"Most people simply don't
realize that small, targeted
changes to farms can have a
positive impact on biodiversity,
without affecting their bottom
line," Chan adds.
Chan and Daily's framework
has antecedents. In the
1980s, planning algorithms
revolutionized wildlife reserve
and park design, helping
decision-makers to better tailor
large regions to biodiversity
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
MAY 8, 2009
2010 Distinguished Scholars in Residence
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with distinguished research records and commitment
to interdisciplinarity will be chosen as Peter Wall
Distinguished Scholars in Residence. Appointments run
April 1 until March 31.
For more information, please visit our website at
www.pwias.ubc.ca or call our Program
Secretary at (604) 822-8528.
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Excellence Nominations
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For nomination forms and new award
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Deadline for nominations is
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needs. But these do not apply to
smaller scale decisions such as on
individual farms, Chan says.
"When you consider the
huge amount of land devoted
to farming around the world,
you get an idea of the need for a
biodiversity planning algorithm
that addresses the needs of the
agriculture industry," says Chan.
The framework identifies how
the components of a landscape,
such as field and vegetation
types, contribute to individual
species. It then analyzes the
species' survival chances based
on its need for habitat types
and the distribution of habitats
across the landscape. Then it
predicts how changes in habitat
will affect individual species and
the total richness of species.
To test the framework, Chan
traveled to Costa Rica where
- like many areas in Latin
America - biodiversity has
been ravaged by logging and
agriculture industries. The results
of his work with farmers were
recently published in the journal
Proceedings of the National
Academic of Sciences.
Chan and colleagues used
the framework to identify
windbreaks as way to improve
productivity of cattle and crops,
and to help protect 17 species
of birds, including many that
migrate from the U.S. and
"Cattle, bananas and coffee
were under stress from high
winds and underperforming,
so there was a clear economic
argument for investing in wind
barriers," says Chan. "We
investigated how different
wind barriers would impact
Using the framework, they
determined that by planting
a mix of native trees, shrubs
and other plants they could
not only shelter the farm from
wind for less than the cost of
a wood fence, but also provide
an important habitat for these
birds. 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     FEBRUARY    5,    2009     |    5
A crystal ball for Pacific salmon:
unprecedented genomics study underway
A team of UBC researchers
is dialing up the heat to study
Pacific salmon from the inside
out - 30,000 genes at a time.
In the most ambitious
and largest-scale ecological
genomics study ever launched
on a wild species, Kristi Miller
and Scott Hinch are sorting
through countless interactions
among temperature, physiology,
behaviour and diseases to
identify genetic markers that
could accurately predict the fate
of future salmon stocks.
"Not all salmon are built the
same or behave the same way
as they navigate a myriad of
environments during migration,"
says Miller, an adjunct professor
in the Dept. of Forest Sciences
and head of Molecular Genetics
at Fisheries and Oceans Canada
"British Columbia, like the rest
of the world, has experienced
unprecedented changes in our
natural environment due to
climate change. As a result,
traditional fisheries management
tools, largely based on historic
observations of salmon stocks,
are falling short.
"The traditional ways of
managing salmon stocks based
on their return run time don't
take into account genetic
differences among stocks
returning to the same river at the
same time. We end up exploiting
some stocks too heavily and
under utilizing others," says
Miller, who currently runs a
sockeye genetic stock
identification program at DFO.
What's unique - and
powerful - about the UBC
team's approach, says Hinch,
a professor in the Faculty of
Forestry and the Institute for
Resources, Environment and
Sustainability, is its attempt to
link genetic expressions with a
variety of internal physiological
responses and external
Kristi Miller and Scott Hinch are taking a holistic approach to predict the future of wild Pacific salmon stocks.
conditions in a highly migratory
fish species.
To accomplish this, the
Genomics Tools for Fisheries
Management - or
FishManOmics - Project will
enlist a genomics technology
called cDNA microarrays to
profile the expression of tens of
thousands of genes at a time. The
technology was originally
developed to identify cancer
types in humans and has been
highly utilized for personalized
"We will look, for example,
at which genes are being
turned on or off - and what
the physiological function of
these genes are - to determine
whether a fish is being attacked
by a pathogen, how they are
responding to unusually high
water temperatures, or whether
they are prepared for shifts in
salinity," says Hinch.
"We will also assess changes
in the physiological condition of
fish sampled throughout their life
history, and examine the links
between condition, behaviour
and eventual fate of spawning
adults by tracking them using
telemetry tags and in controlled
lab experiments."
Some of the lab experiments
involve turning up the water
temperature to simulate climate
change to learn how salmon
stocks' physiology responds to
severe conditions.
All this information will
then be used to build a new
generation of tools that will
allow scientists to predict the
likelihood of each river stock in
B.C. to survive two of the most
critical junctures in their lifetime:
as juveniles entering the ocean
and as spawning adults returning
to fresh waters. The new
models will also give fisheries
managers a better grasp of how
salmon might behave when
challenged by varying water
flows, pollutants and diseases or
whether they are physically fit to
withstand these adversities - and
"A stock-specific approach
based on genetics allows us
to be much more precise in
our fisheries management and
maximize catch on healthy,
abundant stocks while
minimizing impact on weak
The three-year project,
supported by Genome BC, the
Pacific Salmon Commission,
DFO and the Natural Sciences
and Engineering Research
Council of Canada, is the salmon
equivalent of a holistic health
approach, says Hinch. The multi-
disciplinary team, including
UBC professors Anthony Farrell,
Paul Wood, Paul Pavlidis and
DFO's Janelle Curtis, also covers
expertise in physiology, social
science, bioinformatics, and
"A better understanding of the
mechanisms underlying salmon
behaviour gives us insight into
what they'll do or how well they
could survive under different
circumstances," says Hinch.
"This is as close to having a
crystal ball of the salmon's fate
as we could get." 13
Pump prices high? Don't
bother shopping around
When gas prices skyrocket,
who doesn't look around for
According to a new UBC
study, that is precisely the wrong
time to shop around. Consumers
are better off comparison
shopping when prices are
dropping, the study finds.
And with pump prices falling
in recent times, that means the
time for looking around is now.
UBC Sauder School of
Business assistant professors
Ambarish Chandra and Mariano
Tappata recently studied daily
gas prices at 25,000 U.S. gas
stations for an 18-month period.
They found significant pricing
differences when gas prices
were low or moderate, but
these differences diminished or
disappeared when prices where
"People are really shopping
around for gas at the wrong
time," says Chandra. "There are
bargains out there, but at the
price valleys, not the peaks. The
differences between prices shrink
when the price is high."
Chandra says the study
was motivated by anecdotal
observations of significant
fluctuations in the price of retail
gasoline sold at gas stations, even
though gasoline is a relatively
standardized and homogenous
They found myriad reasons
for fluctuations in gas prices.
The price of oil is a key factor,
but there are other variables that
can impact pricing, including
location, brand power, number
of neighboring stations and
amenities such as car washes,
convenience stores and number
of pumps.
"When oil prices spike, as
they did last summer, gas station
owners find their profit margins
squeezed and they have a smaller
range of prices that they can
profitably set," Tappata says.
"Shopping around during these
periods really doesn't pay off."
Gas stations have more
flexibility around pricing
strategies when oil prices
are moderate, Tappata says.
"That is when you will find
particular stations charging
relatively higher prices, hoping
to catch consumers who are not
comparison shopping."
On the flipside, low oil prices
also enable stations to lower
prices and still be profitable.
"That is when many stations
will try to target price-sensitive
consumers, attempting to drive
sales by slashing their prices,"
Chandra says.
"If you are willing to shop
around, that's when you'll find
the bargains."
Chandra, who says the U.S.
and Canadian retail gasoline
markets are very similar, expects
the results to apply in Canada.
"But the lack of data availability
from the Canadian market
prevents us from doing the same
study right now for Canada." 13 I     UBC    REPORTS     |     FEBRUARY   5,    2009
Sleep Apnea:
children may benefit
from UBC device
Prof. Alan Lowe's invention, an oral appliance called Klearway
is being tested to treat sleep apnea in children.
Children suffering from
obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
may soon be sleeping better
thanks to a new use of a device
being studied in UBC's Division
of Orthodontics, Faculty of
The study, led by Prof. Alan
Lowe, is the first to test and
document the effectiveness of an
oral appliance called Klearway™
in children with OSA. The devise
is already being already being
used in 30,000 adults world wide.
Habitual snoring in children
can be an indicator of OSA,
which is characterized by
cessations of breathing and
problems with sleep, including
restless sleep. OSA occurs when a
child repeatedly gasps and stops
breathing during sleep because
the upper airway is obstructed.
During sleep, the tongue can be
sucked back against the back of
the throat, obstructing the airway.
The Klearway™ oral appliance
is made of clear acrylic resin
and is similar to two connected
orthodontic retainers. It prevents
the lower jaw from dropping
down and back and keeps the
teeth together during sleep.
"The preliminary results from
this clinical trial are promising
and better than expected," says
Lowe, who invented the UBC
technology. "What is most
surprising is how quickly the
appliance works in children.
In just a matter of months,
we have found that children
who wear the appliance show
dramatic improvements in sleep
and significantly improve how
their upper and lower teeth fit
Although snoring in children
is a common condition that may
affect up to 27 per cent of kids
aged two to 12, OSA affects from
one to 10 per cent of children
who snore. Many of these
children also exhibit enlarged
The effects of OSA in children
can include attention-deficit
disorder, behavioural problems,
poor academic performance,
failure to thrive, bedwetting,
cardiopulmonary disease and, in
some cases, obesity and type II
The study shows promise
for Klearway™ to treat OSA
particularly in those children with
prominent upper front teeth and
short lower jaws - a condition
called malocclusion. The distance
between the upper and lower
front teeth was reduced and the
vertical incisor overlap decreased.
According to the study, when
compared to baseline recordings,
the Klearway™ appliance
demonstrated improved minimum
blood oxygen levels. The results
also show that the episodes of
not breathing were reduced from
eight per hour pretreatment to
2.4 posttreatment.
"One of our patients'
grandmothers reported that she
suspected a problem because her
grandson was often very tired
and reported that he fell asleep
on the bus on the way home from
school," says Lowe. "After using
the device for a few months, the
patient and grandmother have
seen a tremendous improvement
in sleep, energy, concentration
and overall mood."
The Klearway™ appliance
effectively increases the size of the
airway during sleep by creating
more room at the back of the
throat at the base of the tongue.
The appliance fits over the top
and bottom teeth and gradually
moves the lower jaw forward
giving the patient more room to
"In prepubescent children with
this condition, Klearway™ may
also correct the malocclusion,"
says Lowe. "It has the potential
to treat OSA because it opens
the airway and decreases the
mismatch between the upper and
lower teeth."
Lowe cautions that not all
children who snore suffer from
OSA, nor do all OSA patients
snore. Assessment by the family
physician and referral to a
pediatric sleep specialist are
required before a definitive
diagnosis of OSA can be made
and therapy decisions determined.
New patinas bridge science and art
Imagine a purple Statute of
Liberty, dressed in a canary-
yellow robe, holding a bright red
The artistic concept is in
the scientific works, thanks to
research by Ashley Devantier,
a fourth-year UBC Okanagan
student using chemistry to create
more colour options for artists
working with patinas.
A patina is a coloured coating
on the surface of bronze or
similar metals, often produced
naturally by oxidation over a
long period - such as the blue-
green colour on the Statute
of Liberty's copper surfaces.
Artificial patinas are used by
artists to add an antique look
or feel to their artwork, but
these artificial patinas have their
drawbacks: they're confined
to a very limited colour palette
(usually blue-green) and often
use highly toxic or hazardous
By mixing and manipulating
common - and far less toxic -
metallic elements and identifying
the molecular basis for new
colours, Devantier has produced
nearly a full rainbow of colours
not previously available in the
patina palette. In addition, she
has studied and analyzed the
underlying molecular changes
that take place when applying
these new patinas.
"I took some common metallic
elements - like chromium, iron,
cobalt and copper - which are
known to give compounds with
very intense, vibrant colours, and
started to explore the chemical
processes that occur when they
are applied to bronze surfaces,"
says Devantier. "All of a sudden
these amazing colours started to
show up."
Although the practical
applications are yet to be
determined, Devantier's research
could potentially give artists
new, less-toxic formulas to create
patinas of varyingcolours — .
Devantier, who received an
Undergraduate Research Award
(URA) from the Irving K. Barber
School of Arts and Sciences
to conduct her research last
summer, says interest in her work
has been overwhelming and the
experience itself has been life-
"The response I've had
from the internal UBC arts
community is fantastic," she
says. "Personally, when I look at
where I was only a few months
ago and where this project
has taken me over time, well,
it's mind-boggling. The URA
grant has completely changed
my personal path and the way
I thought about science and
Devantier had planned to
finish her Bachelor of Science
degree in chemistry by December.
She was looking forward to
finishing university and was
eager to start working - in
whatever field she was able to
land a job. But after receiving
the URA and completing the
research part of her project
last summer, Devantier decided
to continue with her project
through an honours thesis.
"This project has been in
Ashley's hands since day one,"
says Stephen McNeil, assistant
professor of chemistry and
primary supervisor of Devantier's
patina research project. "It is
really something off the beaten
path. I was surprised to find out
that nobody seemed to have
done the preliminary work to see
what transition metals could be
put on a surface to create colour,
so it was very exploratory at
the start. It's a visually enticing
project that really bridges science
and art."
Currently, as part of her
honours thesis, Devantier is
studying molecular changes over
time occurring on the surface of
the bronze patinas, and recording
them. The next step will be to
approach the arts community
to determine the practical
applications of the research.
Although the project has been
rewarding for Devantier, it has
presented interesting challenges.
"There was the great saga
of the disappearing red," she
says. "I produced this beautiful
bright red and for the life of me
I couldn't figure out how to do
it again. I used the exact same
mixture, and it would repeatedly
turn blue. I was convinced the
colour gods hated me."
A few weeks of perseverance
and careful study revealed the
cause: solutions of an iron salt
would react with the copper
atoms in the bronze surface,
yielding a red iron compound.
If the iron solution had time
to react with oxygen in the
surrounding atmosphere, the
iron complex would oxidize,
and form a blue colour instead.
Applying the iron under a
flow of nitrogen gas would
prevent the oxidation, leaving
the original red. Chemical
identification of the blue and
red materials provided the clues
needed to reproduce each colour.
"Figuring that out was the
most rewarding thing I've ever
done," says Devantier. 13
Entirely new colours for metal patinas are being developed by UBC Okanagan chemistry researchers Prof.
Stephen McNeil and fourth-year undergraduate Ashley Devantier. UBC    REPORTS     |     FEBRUARY   5,    2009     |     7
continued from page 1
an amazingly dynamic organ
that can reorganize itself," says
Boyd, whose current study looks
at the benefits of applying an
electromagnetic stimulus to the
stroke affected section of the
brain. "What we want to do is
to stimulate and enhance brain
cell reorganization around the
damaged part of the brain."
In doing so, Boyd believes that
the brain can reorganize itself
and find an alternate pathway to
performing a previous movement.
The first part of the study
tested individuals who had
never suffered a stroke. The
participants received an
electromagnetic stimulus and
were then asked to practice a
specific movement. Participants
who received the stimulus
demonstrated increased and
improved learning for 15-20
minutes following the stimulus.
"Preliminary results of
our research on non-stroke
patients show that if you pre-
excite the brain by applying an
electromagnetic stimulus, motor
learning and retention of skill
is improved and retained," says
Boyd. "We are currently applying
this technique to the stroke
affected brain and the available
data is positive. We are quite
optimistic that this approach will
work and we expect results in the
coming months."
According to the Heart and
Stroke Foundation, each year,
there are between 40,000 to
50,000 strokes in Canada and
close to 16,000 Canadians die. 13
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