The top 10 ‘news you can use’ stories of 2018

From fitness and food to travel and health, U of A experts weighed in with a year’s worth of solid advice.


1. Everything you need to know about weight training

For anyone daunted by the prospect of weightlifting, health-trend skeptic Timothy Caulfield and kinesiologist and strength coach Loren Chiu offered advice so simple and straightforward, it was like something you’ll rarely get in the gym—a breath of fresh air.

2. Crossing the border this summer? Know that guards can search your electronic devices

Privacy law expert Steven Penney issued a travel advisory many Canadians may not have been aware of—border officials can screen your electronic gadgets at whim, and there won’t be much you can do about it until customs laws catch up with technology.

3. 3 tips on how to tell an edible mushroom from a poisonous one

Ecologist Michael Schultz, who has sampled more than 80 edible mushroom species in Alberta and lived to tell the tale, offered three pointers to help you steer clear of the 20 poisonous varieties you may come across in the Prairies.

4. How to get a good night’s sleep

This story, featuring tips from sleep expert Cary Brown, was a sight for sore eyes for the roughly half of Canadians who report having trouble falling or staying asleep.

5. U of A dermatologist discusses whether sunscreen causes cancer, and provides sun safety tips

Dermatologist Robert Gniadecki tackled four of the biggest doubts people have about sunscreen with evidence-based advice and sensible alternatives for skeptics who prefer not to use it.

6. How to minimize the lingering smell on your workout clothes

Textile scientist Rachel McQueen put a variety of fabrics to the smell test so you don’t have to, and came up with six tips to help you prevent perma-stink from ruining your favourite workout wear.

7. Can I still use prescription drugs after they expire?

Mostly yes but it depends on the drug, said pharmacist and professor Jill Hall, who also answered five other common questions about antibiotics, alcohol interactions, cold and flu remedies, and more.

8. Are you guilty of obesity shaming?

Obesity expert Ximena Ramos Salas posed five questions you can ask yourself to check your beliefs, assumptions and possible unconscious biases about people living with obesity.

9. How to support someone with dementia—and feel better yourself

End-of-life care expert Wendy Duggleby offered sage advice on how to connect with someone who has dementia, how to understand their responses and why you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself in the process.

10. Why a standing desk is no fix for sitting too much at work

Ergonomics expert Linda Miller put the lie to the notion that a standing desk will make you less sedentary and offered six tips for maintaining good posture if you have a standing desk.