Penny Park

In Memoriam: Penny Park

  Penny Park – founder, first Executive Director, and guiding light of the SMCC – passed away this past weekend. Penny was one of Canada’s leading science journalists, a passionate defender of free speech for both journalists and scientists, and a proud promoter of Canadian research. Penny began her science journalism journey in 1980 at […]

New tumour test could guide personalized treatment for children with cancer

JNCI Cancer Spectrum Published January 23, 2019 12:00 ET (News release from the University of British Columbia) A new test for pediatric tumour analysis may one day guide personalized treatments for children with cancer. Researchers analyzed 28 childhood tumour samples from nine cancer types. The test found more mutations per sample compared with tests used […]

Peter Calamai, 1943–2019

Peter Calamai, the founder, along with Penny Park (who died last month) of the Science Media Centre of Canada, died yesterday morning at his home in Stratford. Peter was a journalist’s journalist: curmudgeonly, dogged, determined, demanding. He was an old-fashioned, ink-stained newshound. He began as a dashing young foreign correspondent for the old Southam News in […]


Standard medication for newborns exposed to opioids during pregnancy may be least effective

JAMA Pediatrics Published January 22, 2019 11:00 ET (News release from JAMA Pediatrics) The number of newborns born addicted to opioids because of exposure in the womb tripled in Canada between 2003 and 2014. This study analyzed results from 18 clinical trials to treat newborns for opioid withdrawal, a condition called newborn abstinence syndrome. Researchers found […]

SMCC Heads Up | January 22, 2019

Baby addiction | New child-cancer test | Dopamine & music | SMCC Heads Up | January 22, 2019. Embargoed and recently published research with a Canadian focus, curated by SMCC for science journalists. Read more>


Dopamine directly affects how much we enjoy music

PNAS Published January 21 Dopamine directly increases our enjoyment of listening, singing, or playing to music, which confer no known survival advantage. This double blind within-subject study directly manipulated healthy participants’ dopamine levels while they listened to music. The results indicate how an individual’s ability to absorb dopamine may play different, unforeseen roles in the […]

Antibiotics still routinely prescribed for infants with viral lung infections

Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Published January 17, 2019  00:15 ET (News release from Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society) Despite recommendations issued more than a decade ago, antibiotics are still routinely prescribed in U.S. emergency rooms for infants with bronchiolitis, an acute viral infection of the lower respiratory tract. The American Academy of Pediatrics 2006 guidelines […]

Burgess Shale: Mysterious agnostids find a family

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Published January 16, 2019 (Brief from the Royal Society) Newly discovered 508-million-year-old fossils from the Burgess Shale preserving the soft tissues of mysterious, extinct arthropods called agnostids reveal appendages and internal organs for the first time in adult individuals. Based on this new information, researchers conclude that agnostids are […]

Burgess Shale: Trace fossils found on ancient soft-tissue shells

Royal Society Open Science Published January 16, 2019 (Brief from the Royal Society) For more than a century, British Columbia’s 508-million-year-old Burgess Shale deposits were thought to be mostly devoid of trace fossils – the tracks, trails and burrows produced by animals. However, in this study, researchers used a novel, modelling approach to show that some fossil […]

fossil fuel emissions

Immediate fossil fuel infrastructure phase-out may keep global warming below 1.5° C

Nature Communications Published January 15, 2019 11:00 ET (News release from Nature Research Press) Immediately starting to phase out fossil fuel infrastructure as it reaches the end of its expected lifetime may result in a 64 per cent chance that global mean temperature rise will remain below 1.5° C relative to pre-industrial levels. The research suggests […]

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