Get fit for prostate surgery

Daniel Santa Mina, a graduate student in health psychology in York’s Faculty of Health, is studying fitness and quality of life in radical prostatectomy patients, wrote the Toronto Star July 6, in its ongoing Deep Thoughts column on graduate research.

A prostatectomy is the surgical excision of the malignant prostate, said the Star. It’s the most effective way of treating prostate cancer, but men who opt for surgery often face post-operative complications such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction. It’s pretty clear that physical fitness has numerous positive side effects, but Santa Mina wants to know if it will help men with prostate cancer who undergo major surgery. Santa Mina hopes to find out which health factors can speed up a patient’s recovery, while lessening post-surgical pain and complications.

Santa Mina is a former volleyball player with his own personal training company. He also helps lead monthly nutrition and activity seminars at The Prostate Centre, Princess Margaret Hospital, so he knows a thing or two about the value of physical fitness. "Exercise can mediate more than how good you are at sports or how good you look in a bathing suit. There is a lot more to it in terms of benefits," he says.

Santa Mina wants to wrap up the study by September 2008 and then move on to a PhD in the same field, said the Star. His findings could help make a case to set up preoperative physical fitness programs for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, so patients can get fit before going under the knife.

Chatty men and women are both from Earth

Women aren’t chattier than men after all, say US psychologists who recorded 400 students of both genders over a seven-year period, wrote CanWest News Service July 6. One "nugget" in the study is that differences within one sex can be greater than those between men and women, observed Krista Scott-Dixon of York University’s School of Women’s Studies. This fact "rarely receives attention because we tend to prefer to look for between-gender differences as explanatory schema," she said. "Additionally, differences that are not found (i.e. men are from Earth, women are from Earth too) can be as important as the reverse, but again this doesn’t make for such exciting news so it’s rarely reported."

Annex playwright makes Fringe debut

As a freelance theatre reviewer, Alison Broverman (BA ’03) has spent the last four years on the outskirts of the Toronto Fringe Festival, wrote July 5. As a playwright and actor, she’ll be spending this year with a much better view – from the stage. The lifelong Annex resident and theatre graduate of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts will debut her first solo effort, the 2007 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest-winner Expiry Dating, at this year’s fest. "It’s terrifying and awesome," Broverman said of the whole experience. "I’m just so happy and excited to be on the inside of Fringe this year…and I was shocked and delighted to have won the contest."

On air

  • Irena Knezevic, a doctoral candidate in the York-Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture, spoke about her paper on big retailers and organic foods on Regina’s CKCK-TV July 5.
  • A study on golf and aging by Professor Joe Baker in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, was featured on CBC-TV’s "The National" July 5, and on CBC-TV Ottawa’s "News at Six".
  • Ashwin Joshi, marketing professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about the suitability of controversial race driver Paul Tracy as a spokesperson against street racing, on Global TV July 5.