In Brief

A giant beaver tale of extinction

Giant Chart

About 10,000 years ago, giant beavers roamed the North American continent, along with now-extinct woolly mammoths and mastodons. Now, for the first time, a study led by Western researcher and alumna Tessa Plint, BA’12, MSc’17, has uncovered a possible reason the giant beaver also went extinct at the end of the last Ice Age: its vanishing food source. The research shows these enormous rodents, weighing as much as 100 kilograms, ate submerged aquatic plants but did not eat wood – a distinct (and perhaps deadly) divergence from its dentally endowed descendant.

The study attracted international media coverage, including The Daily Mail, PBS News, The New York Post and Smithsonian magazine.

New post-surgery protocol cuts opioid prescriptions in half


Deaths from opioid overdoses have become one of the most common 
injury-related deaths in North America, home to the highest per capita rate of opioid prescription in the world. Recognizing the role opioid prescribing plays in the national opioid crisis, a team of researchers at Western and Lawson Health Research Institute has developed a new clinical protocol called STOP Narcotics. The Standardization of Outpatient Procedure (STOP) protocol includes patient and health-care provider education and emphasizes non-opioid pain control. Results show providers were able to reduce the overall amount of opioids prescribed after general surgery by 50 per cent while still adequately treating a patient’s post-operative pain.

Report advocates for adoptive parent leave


An Argument in Favour of EI Attachment Benefits, a new report led by Philosophy and Women’s Studies & Feminist Research professor Carolyn McLeod, makes the case that Canada should offer the same paid leave to adoptive parents – 15 weeks at a rate of 55 per cent of average weekly earnings – as received by women after giving birth. While the report highlights the needs of adoptive parents to bond with their children, its main intent is to draw attention to children’s need to attach to their new families.

Smoke-free campus

Cigarette Butt

As of July 1, Western became smoke-free, a milestone marking the final step in a three-phrase, 18-month plan to create a healthier, cleaner campus. The first step created a 10-metre smoke-free space around all buildings, while step two limited smoking to designated areas. Western continues to offer supports to campus community smokers looking to quit.

Making an IMPAKT


Unique in North America, Western’s new Imaging Pathogens of Knowledge Translation (ImPaKT) facility officially opened in July. The facility houses a cutting-edge suite of imaging equipment within a high-level containment environment allowing researchers unprecedented ability to investigate infectious pathogens like HIV,
Staph A and Zika Virus.