Research up close

Research up close

Research up close

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Species disappearance much faster than thought: research, UNESCO chair, July 2, 2014


Alarming research from Duke University: plant and animal species are becoming extinct 1,000 times faster than when humans first started living on earth.

In describing the research, published May 29 in the journal Science, lead author and biologist Stuart Pimm told Associated Press: “We are on the verge of the sixth extinction. Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions.”

Pimm’s findings are not a surprise to Brock biologist Liette Vasseur, Canada’s newly appointed UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability. Vasseur is also chair of a group called Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“For a long time, the IUCN has been recording its ‘red list’ of species that are endangered - the list is getting longer and longer,” she says. “These are only the species that we know and are officially listed.

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Animals are not ours to manipulate: sociologist
May 7, 2014


Brock sociologist John Sorenson edited the recently launched book Critical Animal Studies: Thinking the Unthinkable. The book is a collection of 20 essays exploring the relationship between humans and animals by scholars in the fields of sociology, philosophy, biology, literature and cultural studies as well as from animal rights activists. The Brock News sat down with Sorenson to talk about his book and broader themes of human-animal relationships.

Q: What is the overarching message of your book?

Sorenson: It’s a book about animal rights, broadly speaking, and the idea that we should take non-human animals seriously. We must recognize that animals are not simply objects that we can use as we wish or manipulate, but, rather, they have their own interests, intrinsic value, cultures and families. We should respect that and treat them with justice as well as compassion.

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Parasites contributing to growing global cancer rates
February 6, 2014


The news coming out of the World Health Organization (WHO) this week is bleak: cancer around the globe is growing “at an alarming pace.” The bulk of this - at least 60 per cent - is occurring in low-income countries.

The common contributors to cancer are well known: smoking; unhealthy diet; a sedentary lifestyle; stress. But … parasites?

“It’s been estimated that up to 20 per cent of all cancers are caused by infectious agents, including some parasites,” says Brock University medical microbiologist Ana Sanchez.

Bacterial and viral infections such as Hepatitis B and C, H. pylory and others have been identified as contributing factors in such cancers as lymphoma, sarcoma, liver cancer and cervical cancer.

In the case of parasites, Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis (liver flukes) are linked to an increased risk of developing cancer of the bile ducts, while infection with Schistosoma haematobium has been linked to bladder cancer.

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