How Science Proved that Vancouver’s Insite Works

Vancouver’s safe injection site, Insite, a project that started out as an experiment, works but it took a good dose of scientific method and scrupulous data crunching to prove it. Researchers had to find a way to cut through biases of a skeptical public and a suspicious political front. Insite opened in September 2003, the first facility of its kind in North America (now more than 90 worldwide) following in the footsteps of success stories in Europe and Australia. Continue reading “How Science Proved that Vancouver’s Insite Works”

Polyphenols & Your Health

Have you ever heard of polyphenols? No? How about green tea and its antioxidant effects? Yes? OK, now we’re getting warmer. As it turns out, green tea and the very popular black teas contain similar amounts of polyphenols, a class of chemicals found most commonly in plants.

The word derivation of polyphenols is “poly” or many and “phenol”, a very stable, six-sided carbon ring molecule with three double bonds. These phenol molecules, when joined together through plant biochemical pathways, provide some very important features to plants and other organisms, like us, that happen to feed on them. Continue reading “Polyphenols & Your Health”

Diabetes: The Unpleasant Neighbor in the South Asian Community

A sobering statistic – upwards of 20% of the adult south Asian population of BC has received a diagnosis of diabetes versus around 7 % of the Caucasian population.

There are many theories out there attempting to explain this very distinctive difference. They range from ‘perhaps the South Asian population is more predisposed to diabetes and by association, heart disease’, all the way to the silly idea that diabetes stems from their love of butter and sweets. Or maybe it is as simple asa large group of people who were used to lots of activity and restricted access to calorie rich diets finding these conditions reversed when they live in North America. Continue reading “Diabetes: The Unpleasant Neighbor in the South Asian Community”

Carbon Capture & Sequestration (CCS)

This globe of ours is heating up. And now, just a month after the historic Paris Agreement on climate change it is generally acknowledged that this temperature increase is largely man made and that we have to do something to keep the temperatures from rising more than 1.5° Celsius, the point at which the effects of climate change could become irreversible.

So, what you might ask, is all the fuss about? Continue reading “Carbon Capture & Sequestration (CCS)”

The Art of Science

Science – what is it, how does it work and who does that kind of work? Answers to these questions and examples provided here on a weekly basis, are the underpinnings of this column. So, as to the answer to “what,” I very much like the elegant definition provided in a recent edition of LiveScience. “Science is a systematic and logical approach to discovering how things in the universe work. It is also the body of knowledge accumulated through the discoveries about all the things in the universe”.

Scientists like facts and have trouble with opinions or preferences, but that being said, we are human and recognize, as irksome, that not everything can be explained. Continue reading “The Art of Science”