Canadian Science News

Canadians fall short and long on scientific literacy
Science Literacy Week was from September 19th to Septeber 25th, and according to Radio Canada International’s Marc Montgomery, Canadians topped one list of science literates in a 2014 survey. But another survey by the Ontario Science Centre showed significant gaps in the science knowledge of Canadians.

“19 percent of Canadians still think there is a link between vaccinations and autism,” Montgomery said. There is no connection between vaccinations and autism. 47% of Canadians can understand basic news reports, which means the rest cannot in full.

Montgomery said, “The 2014 findings were gathered from 2,000 Canadians polled in 2013, [the results] left Canada on top.” Even though the majority do not understand basic news science reports.

Canadians face tough competition for the Nobel Prizes
According to The Globe and Mail, Canada’s international reputation as a leader in research might get a boost through Nobel Prizes being won “back to back.” Art McDonald, based on a neutrino experiment close to Sudbury Ontario, won a Nobel Prize in Physics last year.

And although Governor-General David Johnston’s has worked to “ensure Canada’s research institutions are nominating their most worthy scientists for the Nobels,” Canadian scientists have tough competition this year based on data produced by Thomson Reuters.

The list of nominees is meant to see the researchers with the greatest “achievements and impacts most closely” matched with prior awardees. October 3rd will be the date of the announcement for the 2016 Nobel Prize winners.

Canadian pharmacies and natural health.
According to an article by Ubaka Ocbogu and Candace Necyk in The Globe and Mail, your pharmacist and Health Canada might have approved the sale of conclusively disproven ’health products’ such as “fancy homeopathic children’s cough medicine,” which is “nothing more than expensive water.”

In spite of the Health Canada ’seal of approval’, “many of the natural health products Canadians buy and use are simply not backed by science,” Ocbogu and Necyk said. In a survey of 400 pharmacists in Alberta, most recommend natural health products. Some rely on Health Canada only for approvals.

But the current state of approvals will change soon. Ocbogu and Necyk noted that, “The changes are largely motivated by loopholes in the existing regulatory framework, which allows the licensing of products that do not meet scientific standards for safety and efficacy.”

A native British Columbian, Scott Douglas Jacobsen is an AU undergrad and AUSU Councillor. He researches and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.

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