UBC's Mini-Med offers interaction with health research experts - InfoNews

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UBC's Mini-Med offers interaction with health research experts

October 22, 2013 - 3:46 PM

Series of four Tuesday-night expert lectures open to public

Space is still available for the upcoming UBC Mini-Med education series, which runs every Tuesday evening from October 29 to November 19 at the UBC Clinical Academic Campus at Kelowna General Hospital.

Mini-Med has been developed by UBC as an exciting health lecture series open to the community and designed to put you into a 21st  century classroom. The curriculum will explore topical medical issues from a scientific perspective that will help participants separate fact from fiction. No homework, no quizzes, but class participation is encouraged as students learn about important health discoveries from researchers at UBC's Okanagan campus.

The cost for the series is $49 plus tax for adults, and $25 plus tax for students. Online registration is required. Information about the series, including how to register online, is available on the Mini-Med website (minimed.ok.ubc.ca).
The four Tuesday evening topics for UBC Mini-Med 2013 are:

October 29, 2013: Concussion Repercussions
Presenter: Professor Paul van Donkelaar

Every day there seems to be another news story about a hockey or football player suffering a concussion. Although we are better at diagnosing when a concussion occurs, it is still remarkably challenging.

Determining when a player has sufficiently recovered from their injury so that they can return to play is even more daunting. Part of the problem is that the signs and symptoms of concussion are difficult to detect objectively.

Research at UBC Okanagan and other centres aims at developing more objective means of diagnosing and managing a concussion such that the return to play decision becomes more clear-cut for health care providers.

November 5, 2013: Run for Your Life (Exercise As Medicine)
Presenters: Dr. Charlotte Jones and Assistant Professor Jonathan Little

This presentation will review the background on benefits of exercise and then discuss the (dismal) Canadian physical activity statistics. Participants will then be updated on the benefits of a "menu" of both traditional and alternative strategies such as walking, high-intensity interval training (HIT), resistance exercise: there's something for everyone.

November 12, 2013: Fats -- the good, the bad and the ugly
Dietary Fats & Heart Disease: How Much Do We Really Know?
Presenter: Assistant Professor Sanjoy Ghosh

It has long been believed that saturated fats contained in dairy or animal meat are detrimental to cardiac health. As a 'heart-healthy' alternative, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), found in vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, and corn oils have been advocated.

Unfortunately, although the dietary intake of saturated fats have either decreased or remained unchanged globally, there has been a concurrent upsurge in chronic inflammatory diseases including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

This presentation will provide a balanced perspective on the history of dietary fat and heart disease, and trace the development of current research questions that attempt to reach a plausible answer to such an anomaly.

November 19, 2013: Genetics, Epigenetics and You
Understanding The Mechanisms Of Gene Expression & How They Relate To Medical Science
Presenters: Professor Joyce Boon, Associate Professor Mary Forrest, Associate Professor Blythe Nilson, and Instructor Richard Plunkett

Members of the Biology Department at the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus deliver an integrated lecture and discussion of the genetic basis of inheritance and how our knowledge of gene expression leads us to understand not only how some diseases originate, but also how they can be treated or even cured.

The evening starts with an introduction to the science of DNA: how it is organized, packaged, regulated and how its information directs function in our cells. Learn about classic examples of how mutations can result in disease, and what that knowledge has allowed us to do for those affected.

The class will then look the fascinating topic of epigenetics: how does your environment affect gene expression? This is not through mutation, but through modifications of DNA (that don’t change its sequence), or the way it is packaged that results in ‘silencing’ certain genes or changing their function.

These changes are heritable -- something that wasn’t understood until recently. The presenters will then bring together knowledge of how mutation and epigenetic changes can come together to cause complex disease states.

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