Canadian Science News

Sober Second Thoughts on Prescribed Cannabis

According to Science Daily, a brand new medical guideline is making the suggestion that family physicians should reconsider the prescription of “medical cannabis to most patients.” The guideline is a simplified version published in Canadian Family Physician.

The Project Lead for the Guideline and the Director of Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Alberta, Mike Allan, said, “While enthusiasm for medical marijuana is very strong among some people, good-quality research has not caught up.”

Poor research was done before, in general.  Now, the guideline was created with an in-depth review of the clinical trials.  There were 10 members in the committee in addition to 10 other contributors, and peer review by another 40 with “a mixture of doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, nurses and patients.”

Allan noted that the medical cannabinoids should be used in a handful of conditions with sufficient evidence after other therapies have been tried for the patient.  The guideline will be distributed to 30,000 physicians.

A Nasty Year for Influenza in Alberta

660 News says that it has been a bad year for influenza in Alberta with updated numbers coming out of Alberta Health Services.  Dr.  Judy MacDonald have stated that 65 Albertans died from “lab-confirmed influenza.”

There was one fewer last year at 64.  Calgary has been the most impacted this year.  The majority of confirmed deaths from influenza have been there.  There have been 3,000 cases of confirmed-by-labs of influenza A and B.

The most prominent strain this year has been AH3.  “There can be differences in those viruses from one year to the next,” said MacDonald.  “So when you’re comparing the damage that they do, it’s really difficult to say it’s exactly the same virus.”

Dr.  MacDonald “urges” Albertans to get their seasonal flu shot, which are “still available at AHS public health clinics, some pharmacies and some doctors.”

Plans for Big Animal Farming Operation at Hutterite Colony

“It’s going to have a huge impact to our citizens, we’re downwind and various studies show the pollutants, the hydrogen sulphide from [confined feeding operations] have harmful effects in human beings,” Carmangay Mayor Stacey Hoyde said to CBC News.

Hoyde was referencing the small village near Vulcan, Alberta that is making an appeal to the NRCB or the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB).  The appeal is to stop the big animal farming operation planned for a local Hutterite colony.

The plan was submitted by Summerland colony and “would involve more than a dozen new barns and manure storage areas, located six kilometres away from Carmangay.” The entire operation could incorporate as man as 130,000 chickens, 140 dairy cows, 1,300 ducks, 200 geese, and 550 pigs.

The NRCB approved of the initiative in January, but “the village falls outside the required minimum distance for it to be considered directly impacted.”

Ankylosaurs: Stranger than Fiction

Ankylosaurs are a fat and squat dinosaur, according to Science Magazine, and have backs that armored.  They even come with a club for a tail, basically.  Many of the fossilized remains of the creatures are found upside-down.  Why?

It has remained a mystery for numerous decades, since the 1930s.  But with the help of paleontologists and armadillo experts, the answer may lie in “bloated, floating dinosaur carcasses.” Interestingly, many theories have been given from the relevant empirical data with zero proved true so far.

Jordan Mallon, a dinosaur paleontologist associated with the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, tested each hypothesis or theory.  What did he find about the armored, up-side down dinosaurs? First theory, they fall down hills and land on their backs: discounted theory.

Second theory, predators flip them on their backs, so they can get to their tasty bellies: disproven.  Third theory, the bodies swell with gases as they decompose and then this tips them over onto their backs: no evidence.

Fourth theory, it gained some traction.  It was called the “bloat-and-float” model.  The carcasses got bloated and washed into the sea., where they became super unstable and bloated and then tipped over: proven.  The “bloat-and-float” model came out the winner.