Kudos for June 2012



Mark Tyndall in the news in regards to government cuts to refugee health care – The Ottawa Citizen, CBC radio Ontario today, CBC radio Ottawa Morning, CityNews, MetroCanada, rabble.com, The Province, Toronto Star.

John Bell quoted in the National Post, Business Standard, and other media regarding new research out of the UK which shows how a cancer-fighting virus can hide from the human immune system by travelling inside white blood cells. See Science Translational Medicine for details.

Mark Tyndall featured in an in-depth radio documentary about ‘AIDS and Canadian Law’ that aired on CBC’s Sunday Edition. They discuss whether it is appropriate that Canadian law requires anyone who tests positive for HIV to inform their sexual partners. Documentary entitled: ‘A Calculated Risk’.

Mike Sharma discussed how the establishment of the Champlain Regional Stroke Network (CRSN) has improved quality of stroke care within the Champlain region. See Health Matters Blog for details.

Carl van Walraven interviewed on CBC, CTV and Toronto Star about his readmission research. He found that 1 in 5 readmisisons are avoidable. “Hospitals need to be clear when giving discharge instructions and continue to work on preventive steps like hand-washing and giving antibiotics before surgery to prevent infections.” He was also interviewed by CBC TV news later in June about a CIHR report that found 1 in 12 acute-care patients were back in a hospital within a month of being discharged.

Al Forster featured in a press release entitled: “ The Ottawa Hospital supports clinical excellence and drives efficiencies with Datix.’ The hospital is using DatixWeb to manage clinical incidents and complaints and has increased adverse event reporting by 150% in 2 years. The Datix system links directly to data held in other parts of TOH, such as finance and HR, and creates a high value business tool that can measure performance and enable financial savings.

Jeff Turnbull published editorial on ‘mobile technology improves patient care’ in June 13th Ottawa Citizen. He notes that ‘connectivity is quality.’


The Ottawa Blood Disease Centre officially opened on May 31, 2012. This was a huge milestone for more than 30,000 Ottawa-area patients under the care of hematologists. OBDC is housed in the Centre for Practice-Changing Research building. Marc Rodger interviewed by media. He explained that before the OBDC the blood disease team was spread across 9 locations, 6 buildings, and 2 campuses.

The electronic Research Ethics Board (REB) application system is now active. The system is designed to improve efficiency and clarity, and reduce paperwork for all involved. All new REB applications must use this system.

University of Ottawa Journal of Medicine recently published a special edition on ‘Translational Medicine” which featured an interview with Dr. John Bell about his oncolytic virus research.

Lauralyn McIntyre is featured in June newsletter of the Council on Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO) regarding her research on stem cell therapy for septic shock. Dr. McIntyre is collaborating with Duncan Stewart and others to conduct the first clinical trial in the world using this kind of therapy.


Kevin Burns’ research is the first to show that kidney transplant patients, especially those with diabetes, have high levels of the ACE2 protein in their urine. This finding could provide an early way to detect damage occurring in the kidney and lead to earlier treatment. See PLoS One for details.

David Grimes has been involved with developing Canada’s first National Parkinson’s guidelines. Guidelines are designed to help family physicians and other healthcare professionals provide a consistent level of diagnosis and treatment for Parkinson’s Disease in Canada. See Can J Neurol Sci 2012; 39(4) supplement 4 for details.

Gary Garber published article in Vaccine which provides valuable insight into the reasons why health-care workers at TOH and around the world accepted or declined the H1N1 vaccine during the 2009-2010 influenza pandemic. This research could help with the development of more effective immunization campaigns in future.

Duncan Stewart presented the Sarrazin Award Lecture at the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences annual symposium. His talk was entitled: :”Towards Modern Therapeutics for Pulmonary Vascular Disease: Inspiration from New Mechanistic Insights.”

David Stewart interviewed by The Ottawa Citizen about The Ottawa Hospital’s plan to expand into ‘Cutting-edge Molecular Medicine”. Currently, of the 7,000 cancer patients who are treated annually at TOH, a high proportion receive testing for selective genes or chemical maker, especially if they have breast, lung, colorectal or gastrointestinal cancer. The proposed molecular diagnostics lab would build on existing capacity at CHEO which has a machine that can sequence whole genomes. “The vision for the future is that every cancer patient, when they have a tumour biopsy done at the time of diagnosis, will have their sample sent immediately for testing.” DNA sequencing would become a standard part of medical care. Paula Doering hopes that Ottawa can become a ‘ provincial centre of excellence for molecular diagnostics.’

Open Medicine published a commentary (June 19th) by Alan Forster and Carl van Walraven examining the use of current indicators to measure quality in healthcare. The paper describes conditions at TOH, where there is a serious need to measure quality and performance and limitations which must be overcome.

Curtis Cooper and Erin Kelly are conducting research on better treatment for bipolar patients who also suffer from hepatitis C. Patients with this combination of illnesses are commonly not considered for antiviral treatment for fear that the mood disorder will be exacerbated. Dr. Cooper’s study found that these patients with proper selection and monitoring can complete antiviral treatment with comparable outcomes to non-bipolar patients. See European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology for details.

Ray Saginur presented before the Senate’s Social Affairs, Science & Technology Standing Committee as part of their study on prescription pharmaceuticals. He explained that fostering clinical trials in Canada requires a national research ethics accreditation system so that the US would recognize Canadian standards. For details see the proceedings from the May 30th meeting.

Division of Cardiology had busy month for publications (May 2012):

  • Beauchesne, LM et al. Structure and process measures of quality of care in adult congenital heart disease patients: a pan-Canadian study. Int J Cardiol 2012;157(1):70-74.
  • Krum H et al. A novel algorithm for individualized cardiac resynchronization therapy: Rationale and design of the adaptive cardiac resynchronization therapy trial. Am Heart J 2012;163(5): 747-52.
  • Mielniczuk LM & Beanlands R. Does imaging-guided selection of patients with ischemic heart failure for high risk revascularization improve identification of those with highest clinical benefit?: Circulation (Cardiovascular Imaging) 2012; 5(2):262-70.
  • Roberts R et al. Genetics of coronary artery disease in the 21st century. Clin Cardiol 2012; PMID22588700.
  • Simard T et al. Transbrachial insertion of an intra-aortic balloon pump for high-risk percutaneous coronary intervention. Clin Res Cardiol PMID22552835.
  • Toeg HD et al. Aortic valve cusp shearing and migration into the left main coronary artery during transcatheter aortic valve implantation. Can J Cardiol 2012; PMID22608355.
  • Voight BF et al. Plasma HDL cholesterol and risk of myocardial infarction: a mendelian randomization study. Lancet PMID22607825.

David Picketts and his team have discovered that mice lacking a gene called Snf21 have brains that are 35% larger than normal. This research could lead to new approaches to stimulate brain regeneration and may provide insight into developmental disorders, such as autism and Rett syndrome. Details in Developmental Cell.

Michael Rudnicki has shown that two very similar proteins, Pax3 and Pax7, can play quite distinct roles in muscle development and regeneration. Research was published in Developmental Cell.

Dar Dowlatshahi’s research on the effect of cholesterol-lowering agents, statins, on the outcome and severity of bleeding strokes shows that statins may provide some protective benefit and discontinuing their use after a stroke may be harmful. See details in Stroke.


Jim Walker received the AMO Ottawa Physician of the Year Award in recognition of his demonstrated excellence across clinical, advocacy and professional roles and for outstanding service to the community both as a physician and as a public-spirited citizen.

Bob Roberts and Lyall Higginson both received prestigious CCS awards.

  • Bob Roberts – CCS Research Achievement Award
  • Lyall Higginson – CCS Lifetime Achievement Award

Jeff Turnbull was honoured with the United Way Ottawa’s Community Builder of the Year award for co-founding the Ottawa Inner City Health project.

The Research Advisory Committee announced winners from the 2012 May competition. Those receiving awards from this competition were:

  • Dr. N. Spitale Division of Respirology Research Fellowship (2 yrs) Area: Cardiovascular consequences of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Dr. D. Blacquiere Division of Neurology Research Fellowship (1 yr) Area: Acute Stroke Management and Stroke Prevention
  • Dr. A. Chatterjee Division of Gastroenterology Developmental Team Grant Title: Establishment of the Ottawa Pancreatic Cancer Research Group (OPCRG)
  • Dr. M. Rodger Division of Hematology Developmental Research Grant Title: PEAS Correlation Study (Pulmonary Embolism Ambulatory Oxygen Saturation Correlation Study)

World-renowned researcher, Dr. Peter Liu, has been appointed as Scientific Director at The University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He will lead the Institute’s research endeavours.

Samantha Halman was 2012 recipient of Department of Medicine’s Medical Education Research bursary award. The award supports Clinical Scholars in the Department of Medicine who have an academic focus in Medical Education.


Jeremy Grimshaw has received a $200,000 Knowledge to Action grant from CIHR. Dr. Grimshaw will be working to maximize the use of Rx for Change, an online database of evidence summaries concerning best practices for prescribing and using medicines.

Paul Albert and Mario Tiberi each received $75,000 to study how brain cells use dopamine to communicate from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation.