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Research Prominence

A dangerous trend

Research from Queen’s University shows major traumatic injury increases risk of mental health disorders, including suicide.

A new study headed by Queen’s University researcher Dr. Chris Evans has revealed people who experience major injuries requiring hospitalization, such as those caused by car crashes and falls, have a much higher risk of being admitted to hospital for mental health disorders. Results showed that this group is at a higher risk of suicide as well.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), and supported by data from the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences Queen’s.

“Major trauma was associated with a 40 per cent increased rate of hospital admission for one or more mental health diagnoses,” says Dr. Evans (Emergency Medicine). “The most common mental health diagnoses were alcohol abuse, other drug abuse disorders, and major depressive disorders.”

According to Dr. Evans, there is a lack of evidence on the link between major injury and later mental health issues. This large study, based on more than 19,000 patients in Ontario, contributes to the literature on this important topic. The majority of participants who had experienced major trauma were male (70.7 per cent), lived in urban areas (82.6 per cent), and had accidental injuries (89 per cent) rather than intentional.

These factors along with low socioeconomic status, location, and surgical treatment for these injuries were associated with higher admissions for mental health issues. Researchers found that children and youth under 18 years of age had the largest increase in admissions for one or more mental health issues after injury. Suicide is also higher in people with major physical injury, with 70 suicides per 100,000 patients per year.

“Patients who suffer major injuries are at significant risk of increased admissions to hospital with mental health diagnoses in the years after their injury and also have high suicide rates during this period,” says Dr. Evans.

The authors urge that mental health supports should be offered to all trauma victims, with special attention to high-risk patients, including children and youth.

Queen’s University researcher Dallas Seitz (Psychiatry) was a co-author on the paper.

For more information visit the CMAJ website.

Research on the brain

Hand-held scanner shows promise for better approaches to brain bleeds in the elderly.

For frail and elderly individuals, brain bleeds caused by falling are a major health risk. For some, there’s also a risk of misdiagnosis, because the symptoms of a brain bleed (most commonly a subdural hematoma) can be mistaken for age-related conditions such as dementia, neurological disease or medication effects.

Currently, primary care doctors diagnose this traumatic head injury with a CT scan. But not all hospitals have this equipment, so patients must travel to larger health centres, making diagnosis, treatment, and followup difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. For elderly patients with dementia, this process can also be disorienting and frightening.

Dr. D.J. Cook
Queen's University's DJ Cook is testing a new tool that can detect brain bleeds. Photo credit - Kingston Health Sciences Centre

“Imagine if your family doctor or local clinic had a simple, fast way to identify and monitor this kind of injury,” says D.J. Cook, an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Queen’s University and a neurosurgeon at Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

Now Dr. Cook and a team at KHSC, Providence Care, and Queen’s University are working to make that happen. They’ve partnered with ArcheOptix, a Kingston medical device company, to test the capabilities of a hand-held scanner to rapidly detect bleeding in the brain.

“It’s a very simple, non-invasive imaging tool. You pass it over the head, and it can instantly detect brain bleeds within three centimeters of the surface,” says Dr. Cook.

The portable, radiation-free device helps doctors more quickly detect the presence and severity of bleeding, ensuring patients receive care more quickly. For some patients, it could also reduce the need for repeated CT imaging (and radiation exposure), which currently is a routine part of follow-up care, Dr. Cook says.

Approved for use by Health Canada earlier this year, the NIRD™ Hematoma Detector uses near-infrared spectroscopy to locate and image brain bleeds, and is currently being used in trials in the U.S.

“Our region has a disproportionate number of patients who are elderly and frail or living with other chronic conditions, I thought it would be relevant to conduct this research with the device right here in Kingston,” Dr. Cook says.

With funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, Dr. Cook is now leading two studies into brain bleeds in this population.

In the first study, titled Better Care Closer to Home, doctors will use the device to track two groups of elderly patients.

“Some have had surgery and require post-operative follow up, and others with smaller bleeds are simply being observed to see whether bleeding will increase or dissipate. Right now there is no way to do this except by CT scan,” Dr. Cook says.

“Our neurosurgery catchment lies over an enormous geographical area, encompassing 14 emergency rooms, of which only six have 24-hour access to CT, so patients who need more specialized care have to travel to larger centres like Kingston or Belleville,” Dr. Cook says. “We want to see if this non-invasive test can be used by primary care physicians to track patients’ progress after a bleed, ultimately avoiding extra trips for patients.”

The study will target 50 patients and will deploy an imager in each of Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care, with three units floating among patient care offices in areas with follow-up imaging. 

The second study, funded by the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, and in collaboration with Dallas Seitz, Associate Professor and clinician scientist in Geriatric Psychiatry at Queen’s and Providence Care, will screen 30 patients with early and late-stage dementia, with a previous head injury from falling.  

“Over the last five years I’ve seen patients who were thought to have dementia but we later found out through a CT scan or a neurological deficit that they had chronic bleeds, and when we treat the bleed, some of these patients get better,” Dr. Cook says.

His vision is to have family doctors and health care providers in remote areas trained to use the tool, enabling them to do the imaging right in the office, and referring those with positive results for CT scans.

“It leads to more timely care, and gives patients the benefit of follow-up care closer to home,” he says.

The studies are underway and expected to be completed in the spring and summer of 2019.

Queen’s earns a top spot for research income growth

Queen’s research income and research intensity are on the rise, according to RE$EARCH Infosource rankings.

Grant Hall
At the centre of Queen's campus, Grant Hall features a building skin highlighting research at the university. (University Communications)

Queen’s University is first in research income growth (medical category) according to national research rankings, recently released by RE$EARCH Infosource, a research and development intelligence company.

In the 2017 fiscal year, the university’s sponsored research income grew to $207 million, an increase of 36.4 per cent from the previous year and enough to move Queen’s into the leading spot for growth in the medical category.

Queen’s also gained ground in terms of research intensity, which measures research income per full-time faculty member. The university placed fifth in Canada, up from 11th in 2016 and sixth in 2015. RE$EARCH Infosource also released its “Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities” ranking for 2018, which uses measures of research inputs, outputs and impact. This ranking saw Queen’s move from 14th to 11th nationally.

RE$EARCH Infosource rankings are highly visible in the R&D sector. Although standings may fluctuate from year-to-year, overall, we have remained within the top institutions nationwide. The positive results this year reinforce Queen’s prominence and success in research,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).

Research income – the total funds to support research received in the form of a grant, contribution or contract from all sources external to the institution
Research intensity – a calculation of total research income per full-time faculty member

Queen’s research is a catalyst for discovery, collaboration and tackling the world’s greatest challenges. The university is home to more than 40 Canada Research Chairs, a Canada 150 Research Chair, a Canada Excellence in Research Chair, and over 85 Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2018, the university celebrated the launch of the Arthur B. McDonald Astroparticle Physics Research Institute, made possible by a $63.7 million award from the Canada First Excellence Research Fund. Queen’s researchers are among the most eminent winners of national and international research awards, recognizing output and measured impact.

“A member of the U15, Queen’s has a history of garnering competitive external support and awards for research that shapes our knowledge and addresses societal challenges,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “As a mid-sized Canadian university, Queen’s continues to demonstrate its impressive strength in this space.”

Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities List 2018 ranks universities based on their total sponsored research income. This include all funds received in the form of a grant, contribution and contract from all sources external to the institution to support research.

For more information, visit the RE$EARCH Infosource website

RE$EARC Infosource - Queen's Ad
Queen’s promotional piece RE$EARCH Infosource supplement features “Unspooling Vermeer,” submitted by Stephanie Dickey (Art History and Art Conservation) as part of the 2018 Art of Research photo contest.


The Conversation: Soot-filled rivers show need for national wildfire strategy

[Soot-filled river]
Black water cascaded down Cameron Falls in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta after a 2018 wildfire denuded the landscape. (Photo by Kaleigh Watson)

During the record-breaking 2018 fire season, the typically clear waters of Cameron Falls in Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta flowed black. But it had nothing to do with the extensive fires that torched much of British Columbia and a small part of Waterton.

The carbon came from the remnants of another wildfire that had raced 26 km — from one end of the park to the other — in less than eight hours the year before. Heavy rain from a violent thunderstorm in July 2018 flushed the ash, soot and blackened debris that lay on the forest floor into the Cameron River.

Waterton officials, concerned about the impact of the fire on drinking water and the river’s aquatic species, brought in University of Alberta forest hydrologist Uldis Silins to monitor water quality in the park over the coming years.

I was fortunate to spend some time in the field with Silins in Waterton and in the Castle Crown Wilderness, where the water quality has still not fully recovered from the 2003 Lost Creek fire in Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass.

What I learned from those trips and from several others that I recently made to fire-scarred watersheds in British Columbia, Alberta, California, Montana and elsewhere is that wildfire’s impact on water quality is just as sobering as its impact on public safety, air quality and the forest industry.

What we don’t know — and what we’re not prepared for — is frightening and underscores yet again the need for a multi-disciplinary national wildfire strategy that involves the federal government, the provinces and municipalities, universities, First Nations and the business community.

Charred watersheds

Fire often removes a lot of trees in a watershed. The soils in these denuded landscapes can bake in the hot, drought conditions that sometimes follow a fire as it did in Colorado in 2002 following the Hayman Fire, one of the biggest to burn in the state up until that time. Some spring-fed streams stop flowing, and the soils can become impenetrable to water.

Fire can vaporize chemicals in the trees and drive them into the soil. As they condense, they form an impervious layer just below the surface. Hydrophobic is the word that geologists use to describe such soils.

Without trees, vegetation and a stable soil structure to absorb the heavy rains that may follow a fire, tonnes of ash, debris, heavy metals, sediments and nutrients are flushed through the watershed.

Periodic flushes of this wildfire-generated material can overwhelm fish and aquatic life. It took a decade for the world-class South Platte trout fishery to recover from the effects of the 2002 Hayman fire in Colorado. It may be happening now to some salmon spawning streams in B.C.

These flushes of wildfire-generated carbon, sediment and nutrients can also overwhelm water treatment facilities.

That’s what happened in Fort McMurray following the 2016 Horse River fire. The town has spent more than $2.5 million dredging its raw and untreated water storage reservoirs to decrease the risks associated with post-fire algal blooms that are more likely after severe wildfire.

According to Monica Emelko, a University of Waterloo engineer who works with Silins on various fire-related research projects, including one related to Fort McMurray, these blooms have the potential to lead to service disruptions, especially if they produce toxins.

Water alert

It could have been a lot worse.

In the past 16 years, fires have denuded the landscapes around the watersheds serving Denver and Fort Collins, in Colorado, and Canberra and Melbourne, in Australia.

The 300,000 people living in Fort Collins were prohibited from drawing on their traditional water supply for more than three months. Denver spent US$26 million hiring 60 scientists and planting 175,000 trees to deal with its water problem. Canberra was forced to build a new water treatment plant.

This should be a wake-up call for the federal government, the provinces and municipalities, which are responsible for the quality of the water in national and provincial parks, towns and cities and on First Nations reserves.

Most of the country depends on water that is stored and filtered in forests. Some provinces, such as British Columbia, draw as much as 80 per cent of their water from forested watersheds. In many places, the quality of that water is already being degraded by drought, pollution, climate change, agriculture and urban development.

Groundwater may be keeping the surface water cool and clean in places where burned watersheds are now more exposed to the warming effects of the sun, such as in Lost Creek and, hopefully, in Waterton National Park. But we don’t know how long this may last, because we have not adequately mapped out, evaluated and diligently protected our underground aquifers. Instead, we’re selling groundwater at rock bottom prices to companies like Nestle.

Rivers under stress

Wildfire isn’t all bad for watersheds. It can add food to nutrient-deprived rivers and lakes, and transport the sediments that salmon and trout need to build their nests.

But the prospects of more fires burning bigger and more often is bound to further degrade water flowing in and out of our forests. Investing in water treatment facilities and training people to run them, as the federal government promises to in First Nations communities, is only part of the answer.

It’s time to connect the dots. There are 25 major watersheds in Canada. We know little about their flow, the fish and aquatic life that dwell in them because there is, as the World Wildlife Fund recently pointed out in a comprehensive report, no centralized or systematic method in place to monitor them.

What we do know about highly stressed rivers is that they are losing water too fast. The rivers in the South Saskatchewan watershed, for example, won’t have enough water in them by 2030 to supply the needs for more than half of the communities in the region without significant conservation measures. We are increasingly seeing the threat of serious water shortages in many other parts of the country.

How can bad could it get?

Sometime soon, we’re going to have another severe, cross-country drought like the one that started in 1999 and ended in 2004. I described the impacts in a report for the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

At the height of the drought, thirty-two massive dust storms swept across the prairies. Forest fires ignited at five times the ten-year average. Thousands of prairie ponds (or sloughs as they are called in the west) dried up, and tens of thousands of waterfowl were unable to find suitable wetlands in which to nest.

During the summer of 2001, irrigation districts in southern Alberta were literally put on rations. On average, they were allocated only 60 per cent of the water they traditionally received.

The 2001 and 2002 droughts dried up virtually every part of the country. Vancouver recorded its second-lowest amount of rainfall and snowfall since its earliest days of record-keeping in 1900, and Canada’s west coast hit a 101-year low. Atlantic Canada had its third-driest summer ever.

For the first time in a quarter century, farmers across Canada reported negative or zero net-farm incomes. Over 41,000 jobs were lost. The GDP took a $5.8 billion hit.

David Phillips, Canada’s most famous climatologist, described the drought as “un-Canadian,” because the weather that produced it was almost tropical.

When another drought like that settles in, there will be less water in our watersheds, more mountain pine beetle killed trees to burn and quite possibly more intense fires because there will be higher temperatures brought on by climate change.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) recently recognized the challenges that lay ahead when it announced funding for the “forWater Network,” which connects 24 researchers and nine universities across Canada to focus on technologies that will enhance water protections. What NSERC has not done thus far is make wildfire science a research priority.

There is a road map to the future that is slowly working its way through the bureaucratic process in the federal government. While it is short on details, the blueprint makes the business case for investing more in wildfire science.

The take-home message for the decision makers who will consider it, if it climbs far enough up the ladder, is that we are not prepared for the future of wildfire in this country. Unless something significant is done soon, we will see more evacuations, more denuded watersheds and more rivers running black.


Edward Struzik is a fellow at the Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, School of Policy Studies. He is the author of Firestorm, How Wildfire Will Shape Our FutureThe Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Queen’s chemist garners international honour

Cathleen Crudden becomes third Queen’s faculty member to win American Chemical Society award.

Cathleen Crudden headshot
Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry)  has been named the winner of the 2019 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in celebration of her outstanding achievements in the field of organic chemistry.

Cathleen Crudden, a professor and researcher in the Department of Chemistry, has been named the winner of the 2019 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in celebration of her outstanding achievements in the field of organic chemistry. This recognition of Dr. Crudden’s contributions is especially remarkable, as she is one of only a handful of Canadians to be chosen for this honour in the award’s 32-year history, and the third Queen’s faculty member to win after Andrew Evans in 2017 and Victor Snieckus in 2001.   

“I am grateful for the work from my lab to be recognized by the American Chemical Society with an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award,” says Dr. Crudden. “It is an honour to have your career recognized in this way, and I hope that it inspires my students at Queen’s and chemistry students across Canada to know that they can make an international impact in this exciting discipline.” 

Dr. Crudden is widely known for innovations in the development of organic chemistry approaches to the preparation of molecules of interest to the pharmaceutical industry. Specifically, her work on the preparation of “chiral” organic compounds using Suzuki-Miyaura cross–coupling chemistry has been lauded as inspirational and revolutionary by researchers in the field.  

In 2014, work from her research group in the field of carbon-based monolayers on metal surfaces garnered international recognition from diverse fields including chemistry, physics, biology, materials engineering and chemical engineering. The outcomes of this work have applications in the medical, automotive, and electronics industries. Experts described this work as “game changing,” “elegant” and “the new gold standard.” 

“Dr. Crudden has been ahead of her time in two distinct areas – stereospecific sp3–sp2 cross-couplings and the use of N-heterocyclic carbenes for surface modification. She has just the right combination of deep understanding of chemical reactivity and appreciation for challenging problems in broader areas of science,” says Jeff Bode, a professor of organic chemistry and head of the Bode Research Group at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. “Nowadays, many groups work on sp3–sp2 cross-couplings, and it was early work from Cathy that really convinced the field that this could be a viable approach to the construction of challenging carbon–carbon bonds.” 

Dr. Crudden has published over 100 papers, many of which have appeared in the highest impact journals in the field, and has won many awards for her innovation and the practical contributions to her field. She is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, holds the R.U. Lemieux Award from the Chemical Institute of Canada, and the Carol Tyler Award from the International Precious Metals Institute.  Previously, she has been a Killam Research Fellow, has won the Clara Benson Award, and an NSERC Accelerator Award, among many others. She has also performed leadership roles within Queen’s and nationally, as Principal Investigator of CFI Innovation Fund grants and NSERC CREATE grants, and served as President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry and Chair of the Manufacturing and Strategic Grant panel at NSERC. She is currently the Chair of the NSERC-Chemistry Liaison Committee, which brings a voice of the national chemistry community to the attention of the federal STEM granting agency.  

“Dr. Crudden’s research has pushed the boundaries of organic chemistry, garnering the attention of academics and industry professionals across the globe,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Queen's Vice-Principal (Research). “My sincere congratulations to her on winning this prestigious honour.” 

Learn more about the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards.

Queen’s Prison Law Clinic’s Supreme Court appearance a ‘return to roots’

[Paul Quick, QPLC]
 Paul Quick (Law’09), is a staff lawyer at the Queen's Prison Law Clinic who serves as its litigation counsel. (University Communications)

A decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to grant the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic (QPLC) leave to intervene in two appeals this fall is being hailed as an important step forward for the clinic in its efforts to advance prisoner rights.

In many ways, it’s “a return to the QPLC’s roots,” says Paul Quick (Law’09), a staff lawyer at the clinic who serves as its litigation counsel. “The clinic has been representing prisoners and advancing prisoners’ rights in the courts and before tribunals for over 40 years, and that gives us an important perspective and particular expertise in these issues.”

The clinic has sharpened its focus on applications for judicial review to Federal Court since Quick joined the QPLC staff in 2016. He says doing so was a “natural starting point” for building the QPLC’s litigation capacity and expertise.

Having thus far achieved exemplary success in these efforts, the clinic is ramping up its activities, taking on a wider variety of prisoners’ rights issues and placing greater emphasis on human rights and constitutional issues and remedies, as well as appellate-level interventions. It was with those goals in mind that Quick and faculty advisor Lisa Kerr reached out to top-notch external counsel who agreed to assist the clinic pro bono in seeking leave to intervene at the Supreme Court in Chinna v Canada and in the hearing of three related cases, known as “the standard-of-review trilogy.” 

Both matters deal with fundamental questions that promise to have long-term effects on Canadian law. The former – to be heard on Nov. 14 – involves the scope of the constitutional right of access to habeas corpus, while standard-of-review trilogy – to be heard over three days in early December – concerns the framework for the substantive review of administrative decisions by the courts. 

Pro-bono counsel will represent the QPLC at the hearings. 

Nader Hasan of Stockwoods LLP will be lead counsel representing QPLC with Quick in the Chinna matter, while Brendan Van Niejenhuis, also of Stockwoods LLP, will represent QPLC in the standard-of-review trilogy. Quick notes that the clinic is “very grateful for their excellent work in both cases.”

The QPLC is instructing counsel on the arguments to be made, and students have conducted extensive research to support the development of those instructions and the proposed legal arguments.

“This exciting SCC litigation is being assisted by QPLC’s Advanced Prison Law pilot course,” says QPLC Director Kathryn Ferreira( Law’01). “In Law 419, four upper-year students with a required clinical background gain intensive experience assisting with court litigation matters and in helping to develop the legal strategy and evidentiary records for potential test cases.”

The Advanced Prison Law pilot course is unique in Canada. “It’s the QPLC’s hope that it will become a regular offering,” Quick says.

The inaugural class includes four students. David Reznikov (Law’19), who’s one of them, lauds the small class size. 

“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to work closely with a staff lawyer who serves as a mentor while you’re gaining hands-on legal experience, appearing before panels and tribunals, and interacting with inmate clients, many of whom wouldn’t otherwise receive legal counsel,” says Reznikov. “I chose Queen’s Law because of its strong clinical programs, and I haven’t been disappointed. There’s no question that being involved with QPLC has been the highlight of my Queen’s Law experience. And these two Supreme Court appeals are excellent examples of the meaningful impact the clinic is having.”

*This article was first published on the Faculty of Law website

The Conversation: Why we think businesses are out to get us

Research shows that people often take a dim view of businesses, interpreting many different actions as an attempt to take advantage of consumers.

Downtown buildings
Research shows that people often take a dim view of businesses, interpreting many different actions as an attempt to take advantage of consumers. (Photo by Samson Creative/Unsplash)

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, made headlines in the U.K. recently for his speech at the Trades Union Congress conference in Manchester, England.

His remarks were forcefully pro-union and strongly disapproving of corporations, the profit motive and the wealthy.

He singled out Amazon for not paying their fair share of taxes in the U.K. and the gig economy as a “reincarnation of an ancient evil.”

To the archbishop, capitalism, with its pursuit of profit and inequality of outcomes, is inherently immoral.

Other religious leaders have, over the years, made similar points. In 2015, Pope Francis denounced capitalism and the pursuit of money and, in 2008, the then-archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrote an article for a British magazine criticizing capitalism in the wake of the financial crisis.

Such negative views of business and profit are hardly uncommon.

A recent article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology documented widespread anti-profit beliefs.

In my research with some of my graduate students, I have found that people often take a dim view of businesses, interpreting many different actions —such as a small price increase or a product recommendation — as an attempt to take advantage of consumers.

Viewed as conscious entities

But what underlies these views? Why is business and the pursuit of profit so maligned?

We think the answer lies, in part, in how people view firms and the resulting inferences they draw from the attempts of these firms to make a profit. To the first point, people seem to view companies as conscious entities — as living, breathing organisms with thoughts, feelings, intentions and motives.

Research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners has found that patterns of neural responses when considering other people’s mental states (the parts of the brain involved in “theory of mind”) are indistinguishable from the pattern of responses when considering the behaviour of organizations.

What this means is that people are likely to attribute distinctly human motives to business actions that are the product of entirely different processes.

In addition to viewing companies as people, consumers often view their transactions with firms as zero-sum — like sharing a pie, where more for one person means less for the other. This means that when companies are perceived to be making a profit, that profit is viewed as coming at the expense of customers.

Distrust of profitable firms

This is where profiting becomes problematic. Because we mentally view firms as people, this is seen as a wilful act — a deliberate attempt to take advantage of customers — and it violates an important norm of interpersonal conduct, a moral norm even, that forbids benefiting at another’s expense.

We have found that a wide range of actions by businesses appears to be interpreted in this light: price increases, discounts for other people, product recommendations and even advertisements.

Even when people don’t buy goods or services from a company, and therefore no profit is made, perceptions that a firm tried to profit lead to negative responses.

Even sales clerks are suspect

In one extreme example, we found that even when a salesperson recommended the cheaper of two alternatives, customers still assumed it was to benefit at their expense.

Our research has not yet investigated how firms can mitigate such reactions or whether they even can. If our results are anything to go by, some readers may think that these are legitimate reactions that should not be curtailed.

However, we would point out that a purchase is a consumer decision. No company is forcing consumers to buy their products against their will.

What’s more, businesses bear the burden of the risk in offering products for consumers’ consideration; the products that they make available to us are often a tremendous source of value in our lives; and, ultimately, the only reason companies develop and offer such products is to make a profit. Otherwise, what would be the point of going into business?The Conversation


Laurence Ashworth is an associate professor in marketing at the Smith School of Business.

This article was originally published on The Conversation, which provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen's researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Successful trifecta

Three Queen’s University academics earn honours for their work.

A trio of Queen's researchers are being recognized for their contributions following the recent announcements that Jacalyn Duffin will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, J. Curtis Nickel received the Mostafa Elhilali Award from the Societé Internationale d’Urologie, and Anne Ellis earned the F. Estelle Simons research award from the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“Having three of our leading researchers earn some of the highest awards in their respective fields is a testament to the level of research excellence at this institution,” says Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. “Seeing accomplishments like this from our colleagues makes us all stand a bit taller. I offer my congratulations to Drs. Duffin, Nickel and Ellis for their successes.”

Dr. Duffin’s research has addressed a wide array of topics, sources, places, and time periods: diagnostic technology, rural practice, drug development, disease concepts, health policy, and religious healing, including an exploration of medical miracles in the Vatican archives.

Dr. Curtis Nickel

A haematologist, historian and former Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine at Queen’s, Dr. Duffin has assured that thousands of physicians and nurses appreciate the broader cultural and social contexts of their professions arguing that the humanities, notably history, form part of balanced, effective training. Her textbook, History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction is read by students and lay audiences throughout the world. It presents encapsulated histories of medical specialties, featuring the cultural and social factors involved in their development.

“People who win awards have very kind and generous friends,” says Dr. Duffin. “It’s a huge honour for me personally, but it is much more significant for its implicit recognition of the importance of history in clinical practice and social policy.”

Dr. Nickel’s research covers inflammatory, benign prostate (BPH), and pain diseases (prostatitis and interstitial cystitis) of the urinary tract.  He has over 550 publications, is on the editorial board of eight urology journals (current editor of Urology Update Series), has been invited to present in over 35 universities in the United States and Canada and at meetings or events in over 45 countries worldwide. He presently holds the title of Tier One Canada Research Chair in Urology.

“Most of the credit for the impact we have made in the field of chronic urologic pain was because of the commitment and involvement of the thousands of men and women suffering chronic urogenital pain who agreed to participate in our many studies and clinical trials, says Dr. Nickel (Urology). “They taught us how to improve our treatment and, in my opinion, are the real heroes in our ongoing commitment to improve the life of patients diagnosed with this previously neglected chronic medical problem."

Dr. Anne Ellis

Dr. Ellis is the chair of the Division of Allergy and Immunology in the Department of Medicine and the director of the Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU). The EEU is a unique research facility located in the Kingston Health Sciences Centre that is capable of studying 150 patients at one time. Her main area of research is allergic rhinitis as well as umbilical cord blood predictors of future allergies in newborns.

Dr. Ellis also runs regular Allergy & Immunology Clinics out of the Hotel Dieu Hospital, providing clinical assessments of allergic rhinitis (hayfever), asthma, food allergy & anaphylaxis, drug allergy, stinging insect allergy, urticaria (hives) and eczema in addition to immunodeficiency and other immune disorders.

"It is truly an honour to have been given this award,” says Dr. Ellis. “Dr. Simons is well known as one of the top researchers in the field of allergy and immunology, particularly with regards to anaphylaxis and its management, as well as antihistamine research. It was wonderful to be recognized for my own contributions to the allergy field, with my personal research interests and publications reflecting the pathophysiology and advancements in treatments for allergic rhinitis, the developmental origins of allergy and asthma in early childhood, and other areas of research include anaphylaxis and peanut allergy.”

Queen’s receives $4M for new Lyme disease research network

New network will generate knowledge for prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of the tick-borne illness.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Government of Canada announced a $4 million investment in a new multidisciplinary research network that will bring together scientists, clinicians, and patients to address gaps in the approach to prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease, on Monday, Oct. 15.

Many Queen’s researchers will be part of the research network, including:
Adrian Baranchuk (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences)
Rob Brison (Emergency Medicine)
Robert Calautti (Biology)
DongMei Chen (Geography & Planning)
Troy Day (Mathematics & Statistics)
Rylan Egan (Health Sciences)
Gerald Evans (Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Pathology & Molecular Medicine)
Katrina Gee (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences)
Michael Green (Family Medicine)
Ana Johnson (Cancer Research Institute, Public Health Sciences)
Kirk Leifso (Pediatrics)
Anna Majury (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Environmental Studies)
Bob McGraw (Emergency Medicine)
David Messenger (Emergency Medicine)
Lois Shepherd (Cancer Research Institute)
Prameet Sheth (Pathology & Molecular Medicine)
Marco Sivilotti (Emergency Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular Sciences)
Shakeel Virk (Pathology & Molecular Medicine)
Evan Wilson (Medicine)

Led by Queen’s University Professor of Emergency and Family Medicine Kieran Moore, the Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease’s multi-pronged mandate seeks to make a national impact on health outcomes, practice, programs and policy related to Lyme disease. Lyme disease is becoming more prevalent each year, due in part to climate change.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Queen's University
Kieran Moore, Queen's University

“We would like to thank the Government of Canada and CIHR for the opportunity to advance the science of Lyme disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment,” says Dr. Moore, who is also the Medical Officer of Health with Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health. “Our network, based at Queen’s University, will collaborate with patients and our many academic and government partners to protect the health of Canadians from coast to coast. We will provide the national capacity to have a coordinated, integrated, and multidisciplinary response to the emerging infectious disease threat of Lyme disease.”

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria transmitted to people through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Symptoms of Lyme disease can vary from person to person, but most people experience an expanding red rash at the sight of the tick bite, fever, chills and flu-like symptoms while others may have more serious symptoms, such as heart, joint and neurological disorders.

“With the incidence of Lyme disease on the rise in Canada, Dr. Moore and his team will be uniquely positioned to respond to the research gaps related to Lyme disease in Canada,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s.

This federal government’s investment, through CIHR, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, is part of a concerted commitment to support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease also builds on Canada’s ongoing efforts to tackle the illness through surveillance, research, sharing of best practices, laboratory diagnostics and testing, prevention education, and public education and awareness.

“The Government of Canada is proud to support a research network that focuses on collaboration between Lyme disease stakeholders from across the country to improve patient outcomes and access to care,” says Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health for the Government of Canada. “We understand that Lyme disease is emerging in many parts of the country, due in part to climate change, and we are committed to minimizing the public health risk associated with this disease.”

Learn more about Canada’s federal framework for Lyme disease and the CIHR.

A royal honour

Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Richard Reznick receives honorary fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has been recognized with a major honour from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

[Dr. Richard Reznick RSCE]
Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's, received an honorary fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons of England on Wednesday, Oct. 10 in Liverpool. (Supplied photo)

At a ceremony in Liverpool on Wednesday, Oct. 10, Dr. Reznick was awarded an honorary fellowship. Reserved for surgeons and other distinguished medical practitioners, it is the highest honour the organization can confer.

“I have had a relationship with the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the British surgical community for 25 years, learning from each other, and sharing many common ideas about a joint vision of what modern surgical training looks like.” Dr. Reznick says. “It is an honour to be recognized by such a highly respected institution as an honorary fellow.”

His work with his colleagues in Britain centers around promoting an acceleration of the training needed to become a specialist; both here in Canada and in Britain. Britain sits at the long end of the time it takes to move through medical school, residency and postgraduate training to become a specialist compared to other countries. Much of Dr. Reznick’s work has been to streamline training where appropriate. 

“I sometimes worry that when I show up to speak at meetings in the UK, that they’ll be throwing rotten tomatoes at me. But they don’t,” Dr. Reznick says. “They embrace the fact that there may be a new way to accomplish training in their country, and that accelerated training may have advantages.”

Dr. Reznick was first appointed Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s in 2010 and was reappointed for a second five-year term in 2016. During his time as dean, Queen’s School of Medicine has embraced new models of teaching and training through the implementation of Competency-Based Medical Education across all of its residency programs.

Dr. Reznick, one of North America’s pre-eminent surgical educators, is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Surgeons, and in 2011, he was awarded honorary fellowships from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.


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