Gender a factor in stroke recovery, study finds

Women use more of their brains than men when it comes to driving a car, using a computer mouse or performing other visually guided actions, says a new study that suggests stroke victims should have different rehabilitation programs depending on their gender, reported Canadian Press. The article appeared in The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail and many other Canadian dailies, Web sites and broadcasts on April 12.

The way your brain "fires" in the split second before doing tasks that require eye-hand co-ordination differs for men and women, said Lauren Sergio, a York University professor and co-author of the study. The study found that for women, areas in both sides of the brain were active during eye-hand co-ordination experiments. That occurred for men only when they were planning their most complex task: moving a cursor on a screen in the opposite direction to the one expected, using a joystick.

The findings, published in February in the European Journal of Neuroscience, could have implications for the way stroke victims are rehabilitated, Sergio said. "If the stroke is only on one side of the brain, a woman may have rehabilitation options that the man may have more trouble with because the woman may be able to perform tasks using the other side of her brain, which is used to being fired up," she said.

‘Top 10’ high court rulings expanded Charter

A 1986 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that set a benchmark for balancing rights against government interests has been named the top Charter of Rights decision of the last quarter century by a panel of legal experts, wrote The Vancouver Sun April 12. The list was to be presented April 12 at a Toronto conference to mark the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights, which came into being on Apr. 17, 1982.

The list is a legalistic one and most decisions would be unrecognizable to the Canadian public, acknowledged panelist Jamie Cameron, a constitutional law professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. "I was looking for cases that to my mind had the greatest impact on the Charter’s interpretation," said Cameron.

  • Eight of the 10 top rulings were clustered in a period from 1985 to 1991, during which the Supreme Court of Canada first began to grapple with the Charter, wrote The Globe and Mail April 12. "Those early cases were just so dominant in our collective thinking about the Charter that they claimed pride of place on the list," said Cameron.

New canal report looks at green impact

The most recent study of a proposed hydroelectric generating station on Peterborough’s Otonabee River doesn’t change the concept – it provides more information, said Rob Macdonald, a member of the Trent Rapids board of directors and a professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, wrote the Peterborough Examiner April 12. "This is a renewable energy project that brings significant benefits to the community of Peterborough – both economic and social benefits – and, while there are inevitably some environmental impacts in terms of removal of trees, the project also brings environmental benefits," he said.

Peel educators share stories with parents

More than 1,200 parents were led on a fascinating journey of books, poems and words recently at the sixth annual Peel District School Board parent conference, wrote the Mississauga News April 11. Kathleen Gould Lundy, an instructor in York’s Faculty of Education and an author, was a keynote speaker at the conference, held in Brampton. Lundy talked about finding literacy and reading in unusual places. "Often, kids can decode pictures better than they can decode text, so we can start with picture books," said Lundy. She said other ways to introduce reading include poetry, jokes and riddles. Reading street signs and billboards are also effective methods, she added.

Canadians’ passion for points has changed the way we shop and travel

"Rewards points have become another form of currency," said Ashwan Joshi, professor of marketing at York’s Schulich School of Business in a story about the popular customer loyalty programs in the Toronto Star April 12. "Once people start collecting it becomes a habit – for some even a passion – and they start looking for merchants who offer points in programs they belong to." Joshi knows first-hand how collecting points can govern behaviour. "I collect Petro Points and there have been times I crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic to fill up at a Petro-Canada station so I would get my points, " he said.

  • "There is no doubt they changed the way we market goods and services and the way Canadians shop," said Joshi in a related story in the Star April 12. Joshi singles out "two seminal moments in the tremendous growth of loyalty programs": the introduction of the CIBC Aeroplan Gold Visa card in 1991, followed by the launch of the Air Miles program in 1992. "Before those dates, the only people with access to free flights were frequent flyers. After that, free flights suddenly became available to frequent spenders. Everything else flows from those two cards."

York-Sheridan program showcases grad talent

Graduating students in a unique design program are taking their talents to the Distillery District for a public showing of their works, wrote the Toronto Star April 12. The York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design – which produces many award-winning graphic designers, among others – focuses on history, research and theory in graphics, information and multimedia design. Students take courses at both schools, earning a bachelor of design. It is now in its eighth year. The students organize the show, which begins Sunday and runs to April 19 at the Fermenting Cellar.

$2.5M grant aimed at making Web accessible

A project to help universities provide more consistent and accessible Web services to users, including foreign students as well as those with disabilities, has received a $2.5 million donation from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, an American philanthropic body, reported the Toronto Star April 12. The collaborative project, which includes York University and many other post-secondary schools around the world, will help develop, build and distribute components that increase Web access and raise awareness in academic Web culture about the importance of good graphic design. It would ultimately guide an organization’s site builders to incorporate standard website components that can easily be adapted to users of different ability, language or access preference.

Condie sisters selected to compete in China

Courtney and Shannon Condie can keep each other company when they represent Canada at the upcoming World Taekwondo Championships in China, wrote the Mississauga News April 11. The Condies are among nine Ontario athletes on the 16-member Canadian team that will attend a training camp in Tianjin from May 4-15, before competing in Beijing May 16-24.

Shannon, in her second year at York University studying kinesiology and English, seemed more excited about being joined by her sister than making the team for a fifth straight time. "I am very proud of my sister," said Shannon. "We have been hoping and dreaming about representing Canada as teammates for years. This is an accomplishment for both of us. Most times I travel with the team and no family, but this time, I get the best of both worlds. We are looking forward to motivating each other along with the rest of our teammates."

Glendon student revives the infamous ‘banana dance’

When she was just a little girl, her mother would sit her down in front of videos such as Imitation of Life, To Sir With Love, any movie with Dorothy Dandridge in it, and films that featured Josephine Baker, wrote the Toronto Star April 12. "I’ve known about Josephine Baker since I was six," says Monique Moses, dancer, dramatist and choreographer. The 24-year-old theatre student at York has a lot of balls in the air, but she has her eye firmly fixed on the themes of the stories she’s beginning to tell.

Tonight [April 12], as a participant in rock.paper.sistahz festival 6, Moses will present a dance work, Que Sera, and give a reading from the text of a one-woman show, The Banana Dance, in the theatre at Toronto’s Palmerston Library. The title refers of course to Baker’s famous 1926 appearance at the Folies Bergère, performing in nothing but a string of bananas tied around her waist.

Right after her graduating play was performed in 2006, Moses was back in London and wanted to get into the annual Fridge theatre festival. So she turned to Josephine Baker, whom she’d researched for a paper in a French course at Glendon. "She was a symbol of beauty and she was an adored entertainer but she was riding those stereotypes of being a heathen and being so sexual," says Moses. "In the end, she expresses guilt: ‘Did I do wrong to my daughter’s daughters by leaving that stance – the banana dance?’"

Alumna runs the distance

It’s early to bed and early to rise for South Cramahe Public School Grade 2 teacher and York alumna Michele Sheehy (BA ‘88), wrote Ontario’s Colborne Chronicle April 12. When she’s not planning for her class, she’s probably doing the roadwork needed to prepare for another marathon run. At York University she was varsity material. Among the highlights was an Ontario championship and games against Canadian national team player, Cassie Campbell, and others.

Georgian/York nursing program gets top marks from students

While Georgian College officials say their recent College Ontario rankings are a good recruitment tool, students say there were other factors that drew them to the Barrie college, wrote the Barrie Examiner April 12. Georgian’s course structure attracted Tara Gaik, 23, to the Atkinson Collaborative Program in Nursing offered by the college and York’s Faculty of Health. "I came to the college because I do two years here and then two years at (York) university," the Oakville native said. "I like the switch, personally, and it’s the only school that offers that."

On air

  • Ontario NDP Leader Howard Hampton told CBC Radio news April 11 he would cancel the Spadina subway extension to York Region though York’s Keele campus if he were elected premier in October’s provincial election.
  • Dr. Joel Lexchin, professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health, spoke about the HPV vaccine on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” April 11.
  • Political scientist Robert Drummond, dean of York’s Faculty of Arts, spoke about Belinda Stronach’s leaving politics on AM640 (Toronto) April 11.