Volume 94, Issue 73

Thursday, February 1, 2001


Presidential candidates meet the USC

London joins hands for India relief

Fundraisers only $100 million away

By-law violation verdict postponed


Experience puts Morgan ahead

Planet Me


Western medical prof receives national award

Western professor Wayne Weston, is the latest recipient of the Canadian Association for Medical Education Award for Distinguished Education. He called the award a great honour, especially because it came from a national institution.

Weston is a professor in the department of family medicine, faculty of medicine and dentistry, as well as an actively practicing family doctor. He won the award partly for his work in developing a 100-hour graduate course delivered by distance education, a rapidly expanding form of post-secondary education, he said.

A proponent of distance education, Weston said he feels these programs add value to the graduate medical education offered at Western. "When done right, the learning process is more labour intensive for both students and professors," he said.

–Tait Simpson

Local residents may soon clock more digits

Londoners may be following Toronto's example in the not-so-distant future and have to dial 10 digits to make a local phone call.

"There's been a proliferation in the use of faxes, modems, cell phones and pagers, all of which need their own numbers," said Glenn Pilley, projects manager with the Canadian Numbering Administrative Consortium. He added the proliferation of telecommunications devices has led to certain area codes being completely filled.

Pilley said within five years all the available phone numbers in the 519 area may be used up, noting plans are being considered to rectify the problem.

One option is to split the area into two different area codes so half of the area will retain the current 519 area code, while the other half will be given a new area code, he said. Another option, which is being implemented in Toronto, is to split a current area code, with each half receiving a new code, he added.

The major problem with such changes would be the need for people to reprogram telephone auto-dialers, modems, faxes, burglar alarms and other technologies which use automatic dialing to dial the additional area codes for local calls, Pilley said.

–Adam Booth

Using bacteria to fight bacteria

Bacteria might not be as bad as you think.

Jeffrey Howard and Gregor Reid, Western professors and researchers in the department of pediatrics, recently discovered that a bacteria known as Lactobillus Fermentum can potentially be used to manage surgical and wound infections.

Howard said he and Reid, along with researchers in the department of medicine, treated wounds on rats during surgery with live Lactobillus. He said the subjects were protected from developing Staphylococcus Aureus, a dangerous pathogen that is the major cause of hospital-acquired infections.

The results of the treatment were very unusual, Howard said. "Lactobillus has been used mainly in the gastrointestinal tract," he noted. "This technology has never been applied to other uses."

Howard said he is optimistic about the possible benefits of the research. "We are about to test not only in preventative models, but also in treatment," he added.

He said ethical approval is still needed, as well as human trials. "If [the research] holds up, it has the potential to be very big."

–Allison LaVoie

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