The Health Innovation Roundup, sponsored by Health Cities, is written and published weekly by Taproot Edmonton to bring you the latest news and events in research, technology, companies and people changing health for the better in Edmonton.

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Here are some highlights from this week’s Health Innovation Roundup:


        • Two recent reports by the province’s privacy commissioner found that Telus Health ignored parts of Alberta’s Health Information Act (HIA) and Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) in launching its health-care app, Babylon, last year. “The commissioner found Telus collected more personal information than necessary from patients, including photos. She was also troubled that Telus used facial recognition technology without notifying the patient,” reported CBC News.
        • University of Alberta researchers have “isolated promising inhibitors that could be used to treat COVID-19 infections,” by using the Canadian Light Source, a national research facility at the University of Saskatchewan.
        • The U of A has acquired new $1.5-million laser equipment “capable of making microscopic cuts and welds” which completes its laser microfabrication suite at ST Innovations, the non-profit business arm of the U of A’s SMART (Sensory Motor Adaptive Rehabilitation Technology) Network. This will help students, researchers and others design, prototype and test devices in one place, and hopefully lead to more health innovations out of Western Canada.
        • The federal government announced two new regional development agencies for the Prairie provinces and British Columbia on Aug. 5, replacing the Western Economic Diversification Canada agency. Prairies Economic Development Canada, or PrairiesCan, will serve Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, while B.C. has Pacific Economic Development Canada, or PacifiCan.
        • U of A researchers Simon Palfreyman and Manisha Gupta are working together to develop biosensors embedded in bandages that could monitor diabetic foot wounds with the goal of preventing amputations. According to Folio, “more than a thousand Albertans a year lose their lower limbs to amputation due to complications from diabetic foot ulcers.”
        • U of A engineering professor Rafiq Ahmad worked with Tecnológico de Monterrey of Mexico to develop a mobile respirator which could help keep front-line workers safe from COVID-19. It’s not yet approved for medical use, but Ahmad said it could also be helpful for non-medical settings like classrooms or for essential workers.
        • U of A professor Matthew Macauley spoke with CBC Edmonton’s Radio Active about progress towards discovering a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
        • Pediatricians in Alberta are worried that the province’s plan to stop testing for COVID-19 will put children at risk as they return to school in the fall. “Over 1.5 million Albertans remain unvaccinated and over half a million children under 12 are still ineligible for the vaccine,” says a letter from the Alberta Medical Association’s (AMA) Section of Pediatrics to Premier Jason Kenney.
        • Braxia Scientific Corp.‘s CEO and chief medical and scientific officer received $918,000 in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)to “evaluate the effectiveness of intravenous ketamine, in combination with internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT), to rapidly reduce suicidality in persons with depression.” Recruitment for the study will also take place at the Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton.
        • Health Cities‘ Reg Joseph will join Futures Centre to discuss how lessons learned over the past year can help build more equitable health systems, as part of its live research project. Register for updates here.
        • Alberta Health Services (AHS) is offering no appointment, COVID-19 immunizations at three Edmonton clinics beginning this week. The locations are Edmonton West (17515 Stony Plain Road), Skyview Power Centre (13530 137 Ave), and South Park Site (#510 3803 Calgary Trail).


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