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Memorial University leads the charge in various research fields

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- Belle DeMont

Atlantic Canada is a hub for innovative and exciting research and we want to share it with you! Each month, we will be highlighting some of the weird and wonderful research happening at the region’s 16 universities. From biology and climate change, to psychology, culture, and the human condition, you never know what you might discover. So join us on a brief exploration each month, and open your eyes to the amazing work being done right here in Atlantic Canada.

Innovative work coming out of Memorial University (MUN)

The spotlight is on Newfoundland and Labrador this month for their innovative work in the field of Canadian health care. Memorial University’s Dr. Debbie Kelly has partnered with SaferMedsNL to raise awareness of safe and effective medication use, while a separate team from MUN including researchers Dr. Sheila Garland and Kathryn Dalton, explore ways to help former cancer patients sleep better.

Raising awareness for the long term

According to a piece by Heather Laura Clarke, people in Newfoundland and Labrador take more potentially harmful medications than anywhere else in the country. This is one of the reasons Dr. Debbie Kelley has partnered with Dr. Justin Turner of SaferMedsNL to raise awareness and encourage a more open dialogue between health-care professionals and patients about the prolonged use of various medications.

The partnership, also supported by the Canadian Deprescribing Network and the provincial government, urges medication users to talk to their health-care professionals about what they’re taking and when they should cease usage. “It’s about ensuring people are taking the right medicines for them at the time they need them, and stopping them when they are no longer required, ideally before problems begin,” explains Dr. Kelley.

The goal of the public awareness campaign is to reduce the use of potentially harmful medications in Newfoundland and Labrador by 20 per cent by 2021.

Improving the quality of sleep after chemo

Researchers at Memorial University have undertaken the largest study of its kind, focusing on sleeplessness and memory in the post-treatment phase for cancer survivors and those in remission. Dr. Sheila Garland and Research Co-ordinator Kathryn Dalton are part of the team conducting the study which is looking for 162 participants in total.

Dr. Garland explains sleep is a big problem following chemo, but recovering patients are also often plagued by “chemo brain” which results in forgetfulness or confusion. “By treating their insomnia – getting them to sleep better – we’re interested in whether that can actually improve their ability to pay attention, concentrate and remember things,” says Dr. Garland.

Throughout the study, cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia will be provided to participants for free, both in person and through an online element for those outside of Newfoundland and Labrador. Those looking to be considered can reach out via email at sleeplab@mun.ca

Honourable mention pull-out section

In Other News: NSCAD University’s Dr. Aoife MacNamara and Professor Gary Markle explain how art school prepares students for an ever-changing workforce through creative thinking, collaboration, and social perceptiveness.


Learn more: EDUCATION: Learning with our hands – how art school prepares us for the future economy

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