CANADIAN NEWS

FUNDING FOR AGING RESEARCH

The Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation announced on April 3 the launch of its Knowledge Mobilization Partnership Program, KMP2. This program is designed to help clinicians, managers, researchers, and academia drive adoption of best and next practices across stakeholder groups in the aging and brain health sector, nationally or across a province. In total, up to $1 million in funding will be available through KMP2. The projects may encompass activities that will create actual products methodologies and evaluate the effectiveness of knowledge mobilization activities and outcomes for end users.

MAJOR DRUG POLICY CONFERENCE TO SET AGENDA FOR REFORM

In April, 120 drug policy leaders from across Canada, the Americas and Europe convened in Ottawa for Canada’s Drug Futures Forum to look at the future of Canada’s domestic and international illicit drug policies. Working collaboratively, participants from across the country including representatives from public health, law enforcement, justice, as well as drug users, developed a set of recommendations during their two days and that were shared with governments across Canada.

WHALE BREATH REVEALS BACTERIA THREAT

Droplets and exhaled breath caught from the blowholes of endangered southern resident killer whales along the Pacific coast are providing scientists with insights into whale health and revealing bacteria and fungi that may be a threat to the mammals. Over the course of one decade in the 1990s, their numbers dropped from about 108 animals to about 70. This latest effort gives scientists a baseline to compare how the health of whales changes over time, especially when there is evidence of disease.

UBC INVENTION USES BACTERIA TO PURIFY WATER

A University of British Columbia-developed system that uses bacteria to turn non-potable water into drinking water was tested in April prior to being installed in remote communities in Canada and beyond.

The system consists of tanks of fibre membranes that catch and hold contaminants such as dirt, organic particles, bacteria and viruses – while letting water filter through. A community of beneficial bacteria, or biofilm, functions as the second line of defence, working in concert to break down pollutants.

“Membrane treatment can remove over 99.99 per cent of contaminants, making them ideal for making drinking water,” says project lead Pierre Bérubé, a UBC civil engineering professor who developed the system with support from the federally funded Canada-India research organizationIC-IMPACTS.

Bérubé states that the system is the first to use gravity to scour and remove captured contaminants, which otherwise accumulate and clog the membrane. The biofilm also helps by essentially eating away at the captured contaminants. The opening and closing of a few valves every 24 hours in order to “lift” the water and let gravity and biology help remove contaminants. This helps with significant savings in time and money over the lifetime of the system.

Access to clean drinking water is a constant challenge for millions of people around the world. The goal is to provide a model for low-cost, effective water treatment for communities, and to help locals as they build, operate and even expand their water treatment plants.
West Vancouver was chosen for pilot testing because of its proximity, but the eventual goal is to install similar systems for communities where clean drinking water is hard to come by.

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