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:


        • PulseMedica and True Angle Medical have been named as finalists for Falling Walls 2021 in the Venture competition. The conference takes place in Berlin from Nov. 7-9.
        • Lenica Research Group has created a new virtual reality tool to strengthen the brain and improve mental performance. The Peak Cognition training app is “like squats for your brain,” CEO and founder of Lenica Simba Nyazika told CTV News.
        • New U of A research has recently won first place in the Canadian STEM Fellowship Big Data Challenge. The project addressed the spread of COVID-19 misinformation by creating an AI tool that is able to rate the trustworthiness of websites.
        • Alberta Health Services is hosting i4 virtual conference on Nov. 3 and 4, which will include a pitch competition called Launchpad. The competition supports innovative ideas around mental health, community health and health equity. The application deadline is Sept. 29.
        • U of A researcher Kumaradevan Punithakumar is leading a project to develop a new system to “improve the way heart conditions are diagnosed” through the use of artificial intelligence and robotics.
        • U of A researchers Lisa Hartling and Shannon Scott are looking into new tools to provide childhood health research to parents from diverse cultural backgrounds. Scott and Hartling have already created 23 tools to share evidence-based research on a variety of health topics and are now looking into how to reach more populations.
        • The number of syphilis cases in Alberta is reaching its highest levels, reports CBC News. Almost half of the cases are in the Edmonton area.
        • Members from the Edmonton harm reduction group Boots on the Ground are volunteering to hand out naloxone kits and safe drug supplies to the city’s homeless to help reverse overdoses in Edmonton. The Alberta Avenue Business Association (AABA) is also partnering with a local pharmacy to provide free naloxone kits and training to businesses to be able to recognize the symptoms of an overdose, reports Postmedia.
        • According to Alberta Health Services, the Orthopedic Surgery Centre at the Royal Alexandra Hospital has temporarily closed four operating rooms for 72 hours due to unexpected lack of physician coverage for post-surgical care,” AHS said in a tweet on Aug. 16.
        • Edmonton Public Schools will make masks mandatory for all students in kindergarten up to Grade 12. However, students at Edmonton Catholic Schools will only have to wear masks in common areas, not in the classroom. On Aug. 13, the province released its back-to-school plan, which left the decision up to school boards. AHS “won’t tell schools when a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and that schools aware of positive cases don’t have to tell AHS.”
        • According to a new study on the impacts of COVID-19 on ethnocultural communities, “existing inequities intensify the effect of the disease on community members living in vulnerable conditions.” The study found that health workers play a key role in bridging between people and the health and social care systems.


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