Monthly Archives: February, 2016

Guide offers advice for writing about trans people


Two Toronto agencies have prepared a guide to help journalists write correctly and respectfully about transgender and gender-diverse people.

The 519, a Toronto LGBT community centre, and Rainbow Health Ontario, a provincewide Toronto-based programme designed to improve access to  services for and to promote the health of Ontario’s LGBT communities, released the guide last month.

The seven-page document, downloadable here as a PDF, provides appropriate and, just as helpful, inappropriate language. The guide’s stated intention is to help journalists write accurately and respectfully, while not confusing readers. Continue reading →

Colour your world

From the Oregon Health & Science University's colouring book

From the Oregon Health & Science University’s colouring book

Since 2013, colouring books for adults have grown into the “hottest trend in publishing.” And now the archives of major universities and museums around the world have got in on the act.

“#Color Our Collections 2016” is a week-long celebration (ending today, 5 February) of historical illustrations and images from the world’s leading archives. Continue reading →

Joan Hollobon – unstoppable!

guestsLast Friday (29 January), a few friends and former colleagues joined Joan Hollobon for a celebration of her 96th birthday.

Joan retired in 1986 after 25 years as the Globe and Mail‘s medical reporter. Post-retirement, she continued as a contributing editor of the then-Addiction Research Foundation’s Journal, and continued working with the Canadian Science Writers Association, of which she was a founding member. (The organization presented her with its first lifetime achievement award in 2010.)

Joan was a mentor to many, and in particular, a role model for me in my 35-year (and counting) medical reporting career.

Her memory has dimmed somewhat but she remains vitally interested in Canadian healthcare and politics, and had a great time at the party as these pictures attest.~TM


Zika, microcephaly link called “surprising”

In this transmission electron micrograph of Zika virus, the arrow indicates a single virus particle. Courtesy: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In this transmission electron micrograph of Zika virus, the arrow indicates a single virus particle. Courtesy: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zika virus is a flavivirus, as are yellow fever, dengue and West Nile viruses. But none of those other viruses are known to cause microcephaly, which makes the Zika-microcephaly link “surprising,” according to Dr. Hugh Pennington.

Dr. Pennington, an emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, made that observation in a recent London Review of Books blog post.

“Diseases caused by the other flaviviruses have been intensively studied for many years without microcephaly turning up as a complication,” he wrote. “It hasn’t been clearly evident in Zika virus outbreaks elsewhere in the world. But flaviviruses mutate in real time. The classic example is West Nile virus. Isolated at the Rockefeller Yellow Fever labs in Uganda in 1937, like Zika it remained quiet for years. Then in the mid-1990s it got nastier, causing severe brain disease with epidemics in North Africa and Southern Europe. It took off in New York in 1999, and spread rapidly across the continent.” Continue reading →

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