Blame it on your brain: Salt and hypertension

Research and Discovery

An international research team led by scientists at McGill has found that excessive salt intake “reprograms” the brain, interfering with a natural safety mechanism that normally prevents the body’s arterial blood pressure from rising. While the link between salt and hypertension is well known, scientists until now haven’t understood how high salt intake increased blood pressure.

Is it possible to reset our biological clocks?


Imagine being able to easily get over all of the discomfort and problems of jet lag or night-shift work. Science is not quite there, but recent work by researchers from McGill and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute has opened new therapeutic avenues for improving the synchronization of the body’s different biological clocks.

The secret of empathy

Research and Discovery

The ability to express empathy – the capacity to share and feel another’s emotions – is limited by the stress of being around strangers, according to a new study led by psychology professor Jeffrey Mogil.

Music cuts across cultures

Research and Discovery

Whether you are a Pygmy in the Congolese rainforest or a hipster in downtown Montreal, certain aspects of music will touch you in exactly the same ways. Researchers have found that although the groups felt quite differently about whether specific pieces of music made them feel good or bad, their subjective and physiological responses to how exciting or calming they found the music to be appeared to be universal.

You can maintain a healthy weight and still eat, drink and be merry during the holidays


The holiday season is a great time for getting together with friends and indulging in bigger and more elaborate meals. But overdoing it isn’t wise, either; there’s no sense in ending up with Santa’s waistline. That’s why Patricia Urrico, a nutritionist at the Jewish General Hospital, has some tips for enjoying the celebrations and avoiding the post-New Year’s weight-gain blues.

Spreading the holiday cheer 3,000 cookies at a time

What's Cookin'

On Dec. 23, Oliver de Volpi, McGill’s Executive Chef, will be up to his elbows in flour as he and his team of volunteers from the McGill community (including students who can’t make it home for the holidays), prepare a giant batch of cookies to put a smile on the faces of Montreal’s less fortunate. The 3,000 cookies, including gingerbread and shortbread, will be donated to the Old Brewery Mission, along with other food items from McGill kitchens.

Parasites and the evolution of primate culture

Research and Discovery

Learning from others and innovation have undoubtedly helped advance civilization. But these behaviours can carry costs as well as benefits. And a new study by an international team of evolutionary biologists sheds light on how one particular cost – increased exposure to parasites – may affect cultural evolution in non-human primates.

Obesity may shorten life expectancy up to eight years

Research and Discovery

‘Tis the season to indulge. However, restraint may be best according to a new study led by investigators at McGill and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. Their findings show that overweight and obese individuals have the potential to decrease life expectancy by up to eight years.

Chris Ragan on ‘ecofiscal’ policies for Canada


Economics Prof. Christopher Ragan made headlines across the country last month with the launch of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, an independent group of 12 policy-savvy economists determined to promote fiscal changes that will benefit both the economy and the environment. Ragan came up with the idea for the commission and will serve as its chair. He sat down with the Reporter in his Leacock Building office to explain what he hopes it will accomplish over the next few years.

McGill welcomes new federal research fund


McGill has welcomed the official launch of a federally supported research fund. The $1.5 billion Canada First Research Excellence Fund, which was initially announced in the 2014 federal budget, will be governed by a Steering Committee comprised of the presidents of the three federal granting agencies and the deputy ministers of Health and Industry Canada.