The effectiveness of orthosis as a treatment for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Orthosis is a non-invasive method of treatment for patients with scoliosis, in which prescribed individuals undergo correction of spinal misalignment with the support of a brace. For Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) specifically, which occurs in youth during critical stages of bone development, it is essential to improve the spine’s condition as much as possible before the body fully matures. Although orthosis does not aim to correct the misalignment, it has been proven that bracing will aid in slowing down the progression of deformity. However, a common concern is that the spinal curve will regress back to its original state upon removal of the brace at the end of the treatment period. The aim of this paper therefore is to determine the capabilities of orthosis as a standalone intervention for patients with AIS. A systematic review was performed by consulting the search engines of PubMed Google Scholar and JSTOR, as well as the databases of Medline and OVID. Clinical studies were limited to cohort trials published within the last twenty years which targeted populations of youth to determine the Cobb angle’s rate of progression, regression, and spinal curvature of these patients. When comparing orthosis treatment conditions to the absence of intervention in both short-term and long-term cases, it was evident that there are benefits to the corrective forces applied by the brace that outweigh potential drawbacks. Thus, orthosis has been found to significantly decrease the Cobb angle, making it an effective tool for spinal correction.

“Playing breathalyser roulette”: Taking a breath sample without reasonable suspicion and Charter implications

Various organizations and governments throughout Canada have attempted to reduce impaired driving through public awareness campaigns as well as governmental policy. In September 2018 the Government of Canada amended the Criminal Code of Canada [Code] using Bill C-46, increasing the powers of peace officers. Code Section 320.27(2) now allows peace officers to request a breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver without needing reasonable suspicion of impairment. The legislation is aimed at preventing drivers from playing “breathalyser roulette” (Solomon & Chamberlain, 2018, p. 5) and the perception that they can conceal their drinking successfully and thus will be unlikely to be required by a peace officer to take a breathalyser test to assess sobriety. Aspects of the legislation however, may be incompatible with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [Charter]. This paper analyses whether or not Code Section 320.27(2) is compatible with Section 8 of the Charter that protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure. As a future legal challenge is highly possible, this analysis was conducted to evaluate if the legislation is likely to be upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). It was determined after legal analysis that although Code Section 320.27(2) is likely not compatible with the Charter as it fails to pass the reasonableness standard as found in R v Bernshaw (1995), it will probably be upheld as a reasonable limit under Section 1 of the Charter after Oakes Test analysis, a legal test to evaluate whether legislation is a reasonable limit or unconstitutional. The legislation is as minimally impairing on Charter rights as possible and helps to achieve a pressing and substantial legislative objective. Oakes Test analysis however, would be impacted if the Government fails show compelling evidence in justifying why the infringements on Charter rights is necessary for public safety. This legislation, upheld as a reasonable limit, will allow peace officers to request breathalyser samples in more cases, which will hopefully further deter impaired driving.

Diatom analysis: Reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, and impact of modern research

The purpose of this paper is to review the theoretical and laboratory techniques which underpin diatom analysis and its ability to help determine death by drowning in a forensic context. Diatom analysis involves the recovery of diatoms (unicellular algae present in most natural bodies of water) which may be inhaled as part of a drowning medium (water) by an individual who has drowned prior to death. This literature review evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the diatom analysis technique in the forensic context and evaluates recent research to discern whether it can be considered a reliable and valid forensic technique today. It is important to establish clarity, as much of the original research conducted throughout the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s have conflicting conclusions regarding the validity and reliability of diatom analysis. This literature review will show that modern research techniques used as part of the diatom analysis method have been able to reduce false positive results, increased the ability to distinguish between true and false positives, and found ways to mitigate many of the weaknesses noted in earlier research. Although some weaknesses such as diatom introduction into bodies prior to death and some details surrounding false positive results remain outstanding concerns, it can be seen in the literature that, when combined with existing strengths like seasonal variability and environmental specificity, diatom analysis is a valuable forensic tool, whose reliability has been strengthened by modern research, and can be relied upon to establish a definitive diagnosis of death by drowning.

Historical perspectives on neurodevelopmental disorders: the merging of us and them

Attitudes towards neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) have transformed and fluctuated throughout history, often reflecting the societal culture of the time. Although individuals with NDDs are presently more valued than they have ever been, there are historic and current perspectives and events which have propelled the study of NDDs in both positive and negative directions. The notion of disability originated in Antiquity, where infants with “physical deformities” were deemed unworthy of societal membership. Despite later community inclusion in the Middle Ages, disability was perceived to result from demonic possession or punishment. Subsequently, individuals with NDDs were placed in institutions designed for physical and social isolation. The Enlightenment marked the first positive shift in attitudes and treatment towards those with disabilities, as proponents advocated for the removal of inhumane institutional conditions. The humane movement, moreover, contrasted the long-held belief that individuals with disabilities were “inferior” and “dumb” by illustrating that children with NDDs were capable of learning and worthy of education. The Industrial Revolution reversed these progressive ideas by associating disability with inefficiency. Further, during World War II (WWII), the eugenics movement propagated the belief that NDDs blemished a strong nation, which inculcated widespread support for the forced sterilization and mass murder of individuals with NDDs. Global legislation was instated post-war to protect the rights of those with NDDs. These progressive ideas, originating from the humane movement, fostered the many educational methodologies and opportunities now available for children with NDDs. Though current perspectives towards NDDs have vastly improved, there is greater confusion regarding the moral implications of advancing research in biotechnology for genetic engineering and testing. While benefits exist, there is a potential for the emergence of a modern eugenics movement in the 21st century. The obscurity of this dilemma poses serious moral questions that must be considered within the historical context of perspectives on NDDs.

Nanomedicine: the use of nanoparticles to treat acute traumatic spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are difficult to treat without using traditional invasive methods that are not always precise or efficient. Traditional methods used to treat SCIs often involve targeting a broad area in close proximity to the specific locality of the injury as opposed to direct targeting. Recent studies suggest the use of nanoparticles can be a viable way to treat SCIs. Nanoparticles are nanotechnological devices that operate on a nanometre (1x 10-9m) scale, varying in dimension from 1-100nm. They can be designed to target an assigned area with a high degree of specificity, thus ensuring that the affected area is treated with maximum proficiency. This article will explore the properties of silica nanoparticles, polymer nanoparticles, and chondroitinase ABC-(chABC)-releasing nanoparticles to determine whether they present a non-invasive alternative treatment for acute traumatic spinal cord injuries (tSCIs). A review of the literature suggests that the use of multifunctional silica-polymer nanoparticles can plausibly treat SCIs by maximizing the beneficial characteristics of both materials. Silica nanoparticles have a zero-order drug-releasing property which provides efficacious targeting, and when combined with polyethylene glycol (PEG) this polymer increases aqueous stability and retention of the nanoparticle, which protects the loaded drug when it crosses the blood-brain barrier to target the SCI. In addition, chABC-releasing nanoparticles show promising results in treating SCIs due to their ability to remove glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and promote nerve regeneration, potentially decreasing the healing time of SCIs. Overall, the application of nanoparticles provides a potential non-invasive treatment method for SCIs in mice models. However, further research needs to be done to explore the potential medical applications of nanoparticles regarding human SCIs.

Body dysmorphic disorder and face processing

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental disorder where an individual becomes so fixated on an exaggerated flaw in their image that it interferes with their daily lives. Current research shows that patients with BDD have deficits in visually processing faces and bodies, such that they rely on local (detail-oriented) processing. By contrast, the typical person processes faces as a whole using global (holistic) processing. This reliance on local processing may be a mechanism through which patients with BDD focus on minute flaws in their appearance, exacerbating their symptomatology. Furthermore, patients with BDD are more likely to incorrectly perceive others’ facial expressions as being negative, further contributing to their emotional symptoms. Well-known treatments for BDD, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy, are effective, but do not target the patient’s visual processing deficits. Targeting the visual processing deficits could help alleviate the symptoms of BDD and decrease the chances of relapse. Future research should target BDD’s distressing symptoms and visual processing deficits, creating a better treatment program.

‘Post-truth’ politics: A threat to American democracy?

On Tuesday, 8 November 2016, the people of the United States elected Donald Trump as their 45th President amidst accusations by both the Republican and Democratic parties of frequent and outright lies communicated to the public through campaign speeches, social media, and news agencies (Hahl et al., 2018). Four years later, the lack of trust in political messaging has increased across the globe to the point where it seems misinformation, ‘fake news’, and ‘alternative facts’ dominating the public narrative have now become the norm (OII, 2019; Vosoughi et al., 2018). Many scholars, news agencies, and world leaders claim that we are living in a ‘post-truth’ political world (Alcorn, 2014; Fish, 2016; Macron, 2018: Parmer, 2012; Peters, 2018; Suiter, 2016).

Judges’ views on offences against under-aged sex workers: a Canadian perspective

The objective of this research is to investigate Canadian criminal judges’ views on offences related to procuring, seeking, or controlling under-aged sex workers, and factors influencing sentence severity. A qualitative analysis was conducted on sentencing court reports in Canada obtained through the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) database. Twelve sentencing court reports that fit the criteria of inclusion were selected as samples. Data analysis and coding procedures were guided by theories put forth by Amirault and Beauregard (2014), and Kingsnorth, MacIntosh, and Wentworth (1999), in combination with a grounded theory approach. Results revealed that mitigating and aggravating factors, and existing provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada were the main factors influencing judges’ decisions on sentence severity. Furthermore, judges viewed these offences as inherently wrong, and attributed culpability entirely on the offender by referring to under-aged sex workers as vulnerable victims, and chastising offenders by referring to their behaviours as selfish and disgusting. Implications in relation to current societal views on sex-workers were discussed, and strategies for future research were suggested.

Literature review and mapping analysis of the economic factors contributing to Universal Healthcare Coverage in Brazil, Russia, India, and China

The objective of this study was to determine the economic factors and characteristics of universal healthcare development among Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). A policy review was used to achieve this objective. This review established a comparative criterion of the key factors and characteristics of universal healthcare coverage development. Further, a comparison of three countries with established universal healthcare coverage, comprising of tax-based and social insurance models, was undertaken against BRIC healthcare systems. The decided upon factors and characteristics of developing and BRIC countries were used to inform and understand the development of process of universal healthcare coverage. The analysis found that continual economic growth and investment into the healthcare coverage are essential to successful universal healthcare coverage implementation and expansion. Understanding the models of healthcare systems along with the key economic factors and characteristics provides important context and understanding into the processes and mechanisms that drive successful universal healthcare coverage in developing countries. The factors and characteristics presented in this study provide a preliminary framework for understanding the conditions that contribute to universal healthcare coverage. This framework can be used as a template for a critical comparison and analysis that can be applied to all high, middle- and low-income countries in their effort to establish universal healthcare coverage.

Sea-questration: the effects of marine iron fertilization on phytoplankton carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean

The scarcity of iron in marine environments, particularly in the Southern Ocean, provides ideal experimental grounds for large-scale iron fertilization. The Iron Hypothesis, proposed in the 1980s, sparked a series of in-situ fertilization experiments in the HNLC waters of the Southern Ocean aiming to prove that the addition of Fe(II) to iron-deficient phytoplankton populations would enhance photosynthetic processes to the point where they could serve as a viable method of mitigating anthropogenic carbon emissions through the acceleration of oceanic carbon sequestration. By examining the mechanisms behind iron fertilization, as well as contributions to the field and the gaps in knowledge pertaining to three major iron fertilization experiments – SOIREE, SOFeX, and LOHAFEX – this review will provide a comprehensive overview of the past, present, and future of iron fertilization.