The Pulse: Oct. 5, 2022

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  • 13°C: Cloudy with 30% chance of showers. Wind becoming east 20 km/h gusting to 40 late in the morning. High 13. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • Blue/Green: The High Level Bridge will be lit blue and green for Registered Veterinary Technician Month. (details)

A smiling Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam on a city street

Course aims to better educate doctors about obesity

By Brett McKay

A new course spearheaded by the Edmonton-based Obesity Canada aims to help doctors and other healthcare professionals better understand what obesity is and how best to treat it.

The program, called Calibre (for Canadian Advanced Learning in Bariatric Care), was launched at the end of September by Obesity Canada, which is based at the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation at the University of Alberta. Its partners in the project are the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the European Association for the Study of Obesity.

"Healthcare practitioners in Canada and globally typically receive little to no education or training in obesity management, and so professional education is a core activity for Obesity Canada," said Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam, Calibre's course director.

Calibre provides knowledge and tools for clinicians in a streamlined way designed to build confidence in treating obesity in collaboration with their patients. Roughly half of the material is available in self-directed readings and video formats, with additional live online workshops to give participants the benefit of learning from peers and experts.

"While obesity is a chronic disease, it is not a heterogenous one — how it develops and how it can be successfully managed are not the same for everyone who lives with it," said Sockalingam, who is also a professor and vice-chair of education for the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

"Calibre reinforces the new definition of obesity, where excess or abnormal fat accumulation affects one's health; it's not about size, BMI, or a number on the scale, but about objective health measures. In other words, you don't have obesity just because you live in a larger body – it's only when weight affects health, such as having high blood pressure, diabetes, et cetera, that one can be diagnosed with obesity."

The program builds off of the Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) previously developed by Obesity Canada and Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons, with additional expertise from faculty to underpin practical advice for healthcare workers.

The CPGs grew out of the work of Dr. Arya Sharma, the past scientific director of Obesity Canada. He came up with what came to be known as the Edmonton Obesity Staging System as a way to get away from body-mass index to understand someone's health needs.

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Headlines: Oct. 5, 2022

By Kevin Holowack

  • The Edmonton Police Service enlisted an American DNA technology company called Parabon NanoLabs to generate a composite image of a suspect in a 2019 sexual assault based on DNA phenotyping, which purports to predict physical appearance and ancestry from DNA evidence. The image is of a young Black man, using a default age of 25 and a body mass index of 22. Police said they were "aware of the impact this release may have on a marginalized community," but chose to release the image because of "the need to advocate for a victim of a violent sexual assault and in consideration of the public safety interest." Such composites can "fix it in people's minds that this is what the person is supposed to look like," Doug King, a professor of justice studies at Mount Royal University, told Global News. "If the composite isn't all that accurate, you can run into the notion of racial profiling, particularly when the profile is a person of colour," he added.
  • Trial proceedings have begun for Const. Samuel Sanson of the Edmonton Police Service, who was charged with one count of sexual assault against another police officer. Sanson denies the allegation and has been suspended without pay since June 2019. The trial comes a week after the public learned that another EPS constable was terminated earlier this year after being charged with sexual assault against another officer, a charge that was withdrawn because the officer declined to testify.
  • Due to high demand, emergency veterinary clinics in Edmonton are telling owners they may need to wait to access emergency care for their pets. Dr. Dawn Abbott with Vet ER, one of three 24-hour emergency vet clinics in the city, said owners are waiting six to 12 hours on average, depending on the situation. She attributes the demand to the ongoing adoption boom that started with the pandemic and a shortage of veterinary services.
  • Four Edmonton projects were recognized by the 2022 Prairie Design Awards, a collaboration between architecture associations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The Capilano Library and the Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage won in the recent works category; the Paul Kane Park Redevelopment project won in landscape architecture; and CO*LAB won in small projects.
  • Over 100 people took part in a march for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) at MacEwan University on Oct. 4 as part of the school's sexual violence awareness week. Among them were family members of Angela Alexis from the Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation, who has been missing since August. Indigenous women and girls represent 28% of homicide victims in Canada despite making up only 4% of the population, according to Statistics Canada.
  • The University of Alberta released data on which buildings are at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. Variables include air change rate and the type of air system used, which assistant professor Lexuan Zhong said should be considered when determining risk.
  • The Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta launched its new Axford Impact Series on Oct. 3. The annual event's goal is to help business students apply their education to "real-world problems." This year, students gathered in the Butterdome to brainstorm ideas to revitalize downtown Edmonton.
  • Culture minister Ron Orr said Alberta has "engaged in some initial processes" to make a bid to host the 2030 Olympic Games, but the proposal won't be ready until the bidding process starts. In 2018, Calgarians voted 56.4% in a plebiscite against hosting the 2026 Winter Games.
Six men seated on stage with the forward/slash logo on a screen behind them

Economic summit a 'first step' toward bringing Edmonton region together

By Mack Male

About 1,000 people came together for the inaugural forward/slash economic summit on Sept. 28, to unite around a shared vision for the economic future of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

Hosted by Edmonton Global, the event highlighted achievements and opportunities in hydrogen, food and agriculture, life sciences, AI and technology, and global logistics.

It also provided a chance for Edmonton Global to seek realignment following a year in which several elected officials throughout the region have questioned the value of the organization.

Coun. Sheena Hughes of St. Albert proposed in December 2021 that her city withdraw as a shareholder, following in the footsteps of Bon Accord, Parkland County, and Morinville, which had previously provided notice of their intention to withdraw. That motion from Hughes failed 5-2, however. Parkland County later reversed course and agreed to stay on as a shareholder, in a 6-1 vote on July 12. And last month Morinville town council also decided to remain involved in a tight 4-3 vote. Bon Accord did follow through on its decision to withdraw.

The summit was organized by the 14 municipalities involved in Edmonton Global and more than 40 organizations from across the region that agreed to support the initiative.

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A newspaper clipping featuring a series of short items under the headline Edmonton in Brief

A moment in history: Oct. 5, 1914

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1914, the City of Edmonton was under a court order to clean up its act when it came to dumping sewage into the North Saskatchewan River.

The injunction had been handed down by a justice that January and meant, according to the city's lawyer, that Edmonton would have to halt building any new sewer connections that put additional waste into the river. It also gave the city two years "to construct a proper disposal plant," according to a short item published in an Edmonton newspaper. The story indicates that both the province and the city tried to get the injunction softened, to no avail.

Edmonton did have a water treatment plant — it had been built in 1903 in Rossdale, right beside the city's power plant. However, when it was built, the city's population was about 7,000 people (and not all of them were connected to the sewer system.) A decade later, the city had grown tenfold. So the little 1903 plant presumably had trouble keeping up.

Population wasn't the only issue. By the 1910s, citizens expected better water service, including bathtubs and indoor toilets, although they had to pay extra for the water for those amenities, to the tune of $8 a year. As a result, a new pump house was built sometime in 1913 or 1914, relieving some of the pressure from so many people relieving themselves.

The city's population growth slowed significantly in the interwar period, and it wasn't until 1941 that a new water treatment plant was built at Rossdale to provide for the city, both to increase capacity and take advantage of new technology.

In 1956, the city opened its first secondary treatment plant at Gold Bar. While primary water treatment uses settling tanks to separate solids, secondary treatment uses filtration and other methods to further purify the water. It was designed to handle about 250,000 people when it was first opened. Now, after decades of upgrades and expansion, it handles water treatment for about 900,000. The E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant was built in 1978 in southwest Edmonton and saw renovations in 2008.

The science behind water treatment continues to advance; Edmonton's plants now use various methods to clean the water — everything from activated carbon to chemicals to filtration. In 2002, Edmonton became the first major Canadian city to use UV-ray sterilization to destroy bacteria in its water. Upgrades at the Gold Bar plant in 2018 allowed it to turn some of the waste removed from water into agricultural fertilizer. And in August, EPCOR announced plans to continue with a delayed project to add orthophosphate to the city's water early next year to prevent old pipes from leeching lead into the system.

This is based on a clipping found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse — follow @VintageEdmonton for daily ephemera via Twitter.