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Research related to improvement of health and wellbeing through building research and knowledge provincially, nationally and internationally especially for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in areas of unique provincial need and opportunity.

Key research areas include genetics research that addresses both the need and opportunity presented by the founder population characteristics of the province (genealogy, community and population health, ethics and health policy development, as well as specific bio-molecular research and clinical care innovation); health services and health policy research as well as research related to special medical, nursing and other health professional education that respond to the province’s aging, rural, northern and aboriginal populations and distinctive workforces; research related to efficient and accessible health care systems, and effective public health programs and policies and healthy and safe work places; biomedical sciences ranging from cellular and molecular processes to animal and cell modeling that respond to the province’s high incidence of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease; multi-national clinical trials of drug and device interventions; health promotion, public health, health policy, disease prevention and chronic disease management; and healthy aging.

 


Researcher makes significant progress in prostate cancer research

Dr. Ken Kao and his team at Memorial University have made an important discovery that could lead to better detection and treatment methods for those diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The two-year research project is funded in part through the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC), a provincial Crown corporation.

“Our province continues to be a place where life science researchers like Dr. Kao can find the support they need to test and develop their research,” said Keith Hutchings, minister, Research & Development Corporation. “Although we have a long way to go towards finding a cure for prostate cancer, it should not be understated that an important discovery in the fight against this disease was made right here in Newfoundland and Labrador.” See More...

Diet high in processed meat associated with poor survival from colorectal cancer

Research on colorectal cancer and dietary patterns shows that a diet high in processed meats is associated with worsened disease-free survival. The research was carried out by an interdisciplinary research team at Memorial University and the University of Toronto.

Dr. Peter Wang, professor of epidemiology in the Faculty of Medicine, is the principal investigator of this study with graduate students Yun Zhu and Hao Wu, master’s students and recipients of fellowships from the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research.

The paper, titled Dietary Patterns and Colorectal Cancer and Survival, was published recently in BMJ Open.

“Dietary patterns are associated with colorectal cancer, but little is known about their roles on survival after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer,” explained Dr. Wang. See More...

Researcher hopes to make health impact in India with omega-3

A biochemistry researcher at Memorial is hoping to make a long-term impact on the health and economic well-being of India.

For the past 25 years Sukhinder Kaur Cheema has been looking into the impact of diet on heart disease, diabetes and obesity with a focus on omega-3 fatty acids. In recent years, Dr. Cheema has been researching the impacts of maternal nutrition and has shown how a mother’s diet during pregnancy and lactation can affect the health of the child in later years.

“Our recent data using animal models is very exciting because it has shown that a mother’s diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood lipid levels in her child, thereby indicating that it can reduce the risk of heart disease,” she said. “My PhD student Kayode Balogun also found smaller fat cells in these offspring and a higher accumulation of DHA in the brain, which is linked to cognitive function, IQ and memory.”  See More...

Genetic discovery for a rare disease in Newfoundland

The genetic cause of a rare disease reported only in patients originating from Newfoundland has been identified by researchers in Montreal, based on collaboration with researchers and clinicians at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine.

This condition, hereditary spastic ataxia, is characterized by lower-limb spasticity (or stiffness) and ataxia (lack of co-ordination), the latter leading to speech and swallowing problems, and eye movement abnormalities. The disease is not deadly, but people start developing gait problems between 10 to 20 years of age and have to use the assistance of a cane in their 30s. In the most severe cases, people with this disease go on in their 50s to use other mobility devices such as a wheelchair. See More...

Study shows birth by C-section may increase diabetes risk in children

Results of a study conducted by researchers in the Faculty of Medicine and the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI) indicate that delivery by caesarean section is associated with childhood onset of Type 1 diabetes in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dr. Leigh Anne Newhook, pediatrics, teamed up with NLCHI researchers Jennifer Phillips, Nicole Gill, Kohkan Sikdar and Sharon Penney with the Janeway Pediatric Research Unit to conduct this study, which was supported by a $30,000 Cox Award in 2009 from the Medical Research Endowment Fund (MRF). The results were recently published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.  

Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest rates of Type 1 diabetes worldwide. Dr. Newhook said findings of this study indicate that birth by caesarean section was a significant risk factor for later development of childhood Type 1 diabetes. She said theories of why method of birth may be important include the role of early colonization of bacteria in the baby’s gut acquired during the birthing process and early development of the immune system. See More...

Funding for research on macular degeneration

Drs. Robert Gendron and Hélène Paradis, professors in the Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, head up one of seven Canadian research teams that will receive new funding from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Canada’s largest funder of vision research.

The researchers will receive $210,000 over three years to study the underlying causes of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the changes in protein production in the aging eye which cause blood vessels to leak fluid in people diagnosed with this condition. By understanding the underlying causes of wet AMD, this team hopes to facilitate the design of treatments which could prevent or reverse the disease. See More...

National aging study launches recruitment in Newfoundland and Labrador

As the province with the highest proportion of seniors in Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador will play a key role in a new national study of aging getting underway at Memorial University.

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) will follow 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 for at least 20 years. The national study, which has a research site at Memorial, will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives as they age.

“We are inviting 4,200 people in Newfoundland to join the study and contribute their time to helping us understand the factors that shape healthy aging,” said Dr. Gerry Mugford, lead investigator of the CLSA in Newfoundland and Labrador and an associate professor with Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine in the Discipline of Medicine and Discipline of Psychiatry.

“With the generous help of Newfoundlanders, CLSA researchers will be able to answer critical questions on aging, which will translate into improvements in health and quality of life.” See More...