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BACKGROUNDER: Health Effects And Science Of Cannabis

As of today, possession of cannabis is legal in Canada for the first time since 1923. But there remain major gaps and a lack of consensus around what we actually know in several key areas. The science is far from settled when it comes to cannabis use and its implications for personal health and public […]

Caring for the sick may have contributed to human evolution

Scientific Reports Published September 27, 2018 09:00 EDT (News release from Nature Research Press) Caring for individuals with diseases may have enabled prehistoric humans to prevent disease transmission as social networks became more complex and the threat from socially transmitted diseases increased. Researchers used computer modelling to simulate evolution of care-giving in four different social systems […]

Plants use fruit colour to communicate to fruit-eating animals

Biology Letters Published September 26, 2018  Researchers exploited a natural experiment setting in which plants have found themselves depending on the seed-dispersal services of animals with different colour-vision capacities in Uganda and Madagascar. They found that fruit colour is optimized to the visual system of the primary seed disperser. This indicates that fruit colour has evolved as […]

An evolving jet from a strongly magnetized accreting X-ray pulsar

Nature Published September 26, 2018 Researchers report an evolving jet launched by a strongly magnetized, accreting neutron star. The jet’s radio luminosity is two orders of magnitude fainter than those seen in other neutron stars with similar X-ray luminosities, implying an important role for the properties of the neutron star in regulating jet power. The […]

Image by NIAID via Flickr

Canadian clinics market unproven stem cell treatments

Regenerative Medicine Published September 26, 2018 (News release from Future Science Group) A survey of the Canadian direct-to-consumer marketplace reveals 30 Canadian businesses advertise unproven stem cell therapies at 43 clinics in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. The most commonly marketed therapies are for orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions, pain relief, and sports-related injuries, but one […]

SMCC Heads Up | September 25, 2018

Marketing stem cell therapies | Ancient sick care | Pulsar cools its jet | SMCC Heads Up Embargoed and recently published research with a Canadian focus, curated by SMCC for science journalists. Read more>

How parasitic plants lose the ability to photosynthesize

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Published September 19, 2018  (Brief from the Royal Society) The loss of photosynthesis genes in parasitic plants alternates between rapid loss of gene families and periods with little change. However, parasitic plants can integrate host genes into their own genomes. Lead author: Adam Schneider, University of Toronto Mississauga – […]

Bloated bodies and hairy legs attract dance-fly guys

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Published September 19, 2018 (Brief from the Royal Society) When researchers monitored physical models of female dance flies adorned with the species’ exclusively female sexual ornaments — swollen bodies and hairy legs — they found male flies like both large bodies and hairy legs, but prefer large bodies. Inflatable […]

SMCC Heads Up | September 18, 2018

Parasitic plants | Sexy flies | Chimp flu | SMCC Heads Up Embargoed and recently published research with a Canadian focus, curated by SMCC for science journalists. Read more>

Song Sparrow (Image by Becky Matsubara via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Mini-video cameras offer peek at hard-to-observe bird behavior

The Auk: Ornithological Advances Published September 12, 2018 (News release from the American Ornithological Society) Video data of more than 200 grassland bird nests in Alberta, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin show that when and why baby birds decide to leave the nest is more complex than anyone guessed. The more siblings in a nest, the […]

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