iPhone Headache Diary Study

Do you have headaches? If so, do you want to learn more about your headaches? You can now from anywhere in the world with a new iPhone application developed by a research team at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The app has a pain diary that allows you to conveniently track your headaches whenever they happen and provides helpful reports to help you to identify your headache patterns.

The study is entirely electronic, so you can participate no matter what country you are from. Follow this link if you would like participate in the research study to test out the application: http://crfh.ca/whi

Participants will be reimbursed with a $20.00 CAD gift card for their time.

Principal investigator:      Dr. Patrick McGrath
Coordinator:                       Dr. Anna Huguet
Contact:                               Wireless.Headache@gmail.com

Metro Vancouver Public Transit Users: Audio Stop Announcement Change

Rob Sleath, Chair of Advocates for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC) advises of upcoming changes in the audio transit stop announcement. Effective Monday, January 9, 2012, Coast Mountain Bus Company will replace the current Trolley Clang that sounds prior to announcing the next approaching stop with the audible words “Next Stop” followed by the location. Upon hearing this new announcement, some customers may be confused and assume the bell has been rung and the bus will be stopping at the next stop. Please note that such an announcement does not mean that the bus will necessarily stop at the announced stop unless a passenger rings the bell to indicate their desire to disembark at that particular stop.

The request to alter the trolley clang to a different alert tone was raised by a group of transit operators who found the trolley clang to be confusing and often mistaken for other audible/alert tones on-board public transit buses. Following a community survey to which many of you responded, the results were presented to TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company. In consultation with the Access Transit Users Advisory Committee, a compromise was reached to alter the announcements as mentioned above.

An 18 second sample of the new announcement is provided below to familiarize you with the impending change. Coast Mountain will endeavour to minimize the time gap between each word in the announcements so as to provide a smoother delivery.

Sample of new Transit “next stop” announcement

UBC Researchers: Potential New Therapy Approach for Hepatitis C

Open gateResearchers at the University of British Columbia have found a new way to block infection from the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the liver that could lead to new therapies for those affected by this and other infectious diseases.

More than 170 million people worldwide live with hepatitis C, the disease caused by chronic HCV infection. HCV affects the liver and is spread by blood-to-blood contact. There is currently no vaccine to prevent it and treatments are only moderately effective and can cause serious side effects.

“As HCV infects a person, it needs fat droplets in the liver to form new virus particles,” says François Jean, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Scientific Director of the Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER) at UBC. “In the process, it causes fat to accumulate in the liver and ultimately leads to chronic dysfunction of the organ.”

“HCV is constantly mutating, which makes it difficult to develop antiviral therapies that target the virus itself,” says Jean. “So we decided to take a new approach.”

Jean and his team developed an inhibitor that decreases the size of host fat droplets in liver cells and stops HCV from “taking residence,” multiplying and infecting other cells.

“Our approach would essentially block the lifecycle of the virus so that it cannot spread and cause further damage to the liver,” says Jean. The team’s method is detailed in the journal PLoS Pathogens, published online today.