Commentary

As misleading medical claims spread faster than truth, governments need to step up to protect the public, argues health-trend skeptic Timothy Caulfield.

09
January
2019

Alternative medicine is big business. One estimate suggests that by 2025, the global market will be worth nearly US$200 billion. That’s a lot of money for an industry that, to put it kindly, is built on a less-than-solid evidentiary foundation.

If people want to spend their money on unproven treatments, they should—within reasonable limits—have that right. But one would hope that decisions about these products and procedures are well informed and based on accurate information. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate the real science from the nonsense.

This is the era of misinformation, a time when lies and fear-mongering spread faster and farther than the truth. When search-engine results about health queries (or anything, really) can’t be relied upon. When trust in conventional health-care providers...

Headlines

16
January
2019

COMMENTARY || Historical lawsuit affirms Indigenous laws on par with Canada’s

Superior Court of Ontario decision informed by Anishinaabe principles could signal long-needed correction in treaty relations, says U of A legal scholar.

There is a tired joke, a standard for Indigenous peoples on the Prairies, regarding the five dollar bill. The bill is sometimes referred to as “treaty money,” and a chuckle is shared when it is
21
December
2018

The top 10 expert comment stories of 2018

Free trade, pipelines, wildfires and the “Laurel or Yanny” debate figured prominently as U of A experts weighed in on the issues this year.

1. COMMENTARY || Should Canada give up on NAFTA? Yes. Five months before Canada signed on to the overhauled free-trade pact in November, political economist Gordon Laxer argued that walking away
12
December
2018

COMMENTARY || New parks bolster Alberta’s conservation leadership

Proposed provincial park in Bighorn Country a significant step toward protecting wildlife, water and land for generations to come, says U of A ecologist.

Alberta is taking welcome steps to conserve the vibrant lands and clean waters that make this province a haven for wildlife and humans alike. The government’s newly announced proposal to establish
11
December
2018

COMMENTARY || Statistics demonstrate importance of sexual education for school-aged children

As more teens are engaging in sexual activity, appropriate sexual education can help decrease the negative impacts of risky sexual behaviour, argues U of A political scientist.

Last week, the students of a class I teach engaged in a discussion on the topic of sex and sexuality within school systems. Few other topics are as controversial and ideologically loaded, as recent
07
December
2018

COMMENTARY || The sports psychology behind 'grit'

The passion and perseverance we celebrate in movie heroes and athletes can also sustain us through adversity in life, says U of A educational psychologist.

Grit has multiple meanings, including grainy and abrasive. That’s the prevailing hockey definition, typically referencing “playing with an edge.” But in psychological terms, grit means something
29
November
2018

COMMENTARY || Russia playing with fire in Ukraine

Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels has repercussions that could ripple far beyond Ukraine, argues U of A historian.

Russia’s violent seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels sailing to Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov is but the latest instance of the Kremlin’s brazen aggression directed toward its neighbour and
26
November
2018

COMMENTARY || Holiday detoxes sell more snake oil than science

There is no solid science to support the idea that we need to detox our bodies in the way the purveyors of detoxification suggest, says health trend debunker Timothy Caulfield.

Almost every day, our local newspaper runs an advertisement for a product that will, allegedly, help you detoxify your liver, which, apparently, we all need to do. It is a full-page ad. It has
08
November
2018

COMMENTARY || How do we balance rights in cases of medically assisted dying?

Canadian constitutional law offers a way to settle the seemingly intractable battle of rights over medically assisted dying in faith-based health facilities, say U of A legal scholars.

A disturbing story featuring the clash of health-care ethics and the rights of faith-based health-care facilities recently came to light. We tend to think of such episodes unfolding in courtrooms,
08
November
2018

COMMENTARY || What my hate mail reveals about growing public distrust

U of A health law expert Timothy Caulfield and colleague Alessandro Marcon examined hate mail to find the common themes that emerged. Here’s what they found.

If you write about controversial stuff, you are bound to get a bit of hate mail. I get hate mail. Some of it is comprehensive (“I have yet to agree with any argument you have made about anything”).
05
November
2018

COMMENTARY || Cutting kids from the team shouldn't end their desire to play

Getting cut is hard on young athletes, but there are things coaches can do to help them stick with sports.

As researchers and educators, we know first-hand the positive impact that participation in sports can have on child development. We are also acutely aware that many children and youth do not have the
30
October
2018

COMMENTARY || No end in sight for conflict in Ukraine

Strife over Ukraine’s Donbas region remains the single most intractable political problem in contemporary Europe, says U of A historian.

It’s been four and a half years since tensions between Ukraine and Russia erupted. Despite an uneasy truce negotiated two years later that remains in place, there is no sign the underlying causes of