Each week Taproot gathers the latest on research, technology, companies and people changing health and healthcare for the better in Edmonton.

If you have a suggestion for a future edition of the roundup, send it to hello@taprootedmonton.ca for consideration.

Here are some highlights from this week’s Health Innovation Roundup:

Local headlines

  • Crowdfunding campaigns for unproven therapies are rarely given negative coverage in the media, states research out of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta published in the online journal PLOS ONE.
    • The analysis of two years worth of English-language media in Canada and the U.S. found that coverage of crowdfunding was largely either positive (43.75 per cent) or neutral (47.92 per cent) and was rarely negative (4.76 per cent).
    • “Even when the article stated that the treatment was either ineffective, unproven or unregulated, most noted where a contribution could be made,” the authors noted.
    • “The lack of cautionary coverage of medical crowdfunding contrasts sharply with its coverage in the academic literature, which includes more discussion of various ethical concerns and inequities. This consistently positive media portrayal may impact the public perception of the risks and benefits of crowdfunding and, for better or worse, further legitimize it as a source of funding for medical care.”
  • Construction on the Edmonton $590-million “superlab” is officially halted. The lab, which would take over diagnostic testing once complete in 2022, was being built on the University of Alberta south campus.
  • The Government of Alberta and Canada Excellence Research Chairs program are each putting $10 million over the next seven years to fund research led by Lara Mahal at GlycoNet, the pan-Canadian network that studies how sugars are linked to health and disease.
  • Research out of the University of Alberta confirms too much screen time can lead to behaviour problems in preschoolers.
  • Mayor Don Iveson tried out Umay Care’s thermal meditation device while at SingularityU.
  • One of the featured presenters at SingularityU on Tuesday was 13-year-old Tilly Lockey who travelled from the UK to demonstrate the 3D-printed bio-mechanical hands she uses. “I just want people to know that technology is getting better and better and these prosthetics are available for anyone who needs them,” Lockey said.


  • The Canadian Care Centre Open House will include tours of of the new medical centre on April 24 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 110, 6925 Gateway Blvd NW.
  • Artists and scientists will come together for a symposium for Dyscorpia: Future Intersections of the Body and Technology on April 27 at the Enterprise Square Gallery. The exhibition runs until May 12.
  • The annual Walk to Cure Huntington Disease takes place on May 4 with registration at 1 p.m. and the walk starting at 2 p.m. at Rundle Park.
  • The John Cameron Changing Lives Foundation will host the fundraising music and speaking event CRESCENDO at the Winspear Centre on May 4 at 7 p.m. TSN sports personality Michael Landsberg and performers with Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree will take the stage in support Addiction and Mental Health Access 24/7.
  • The Canadian Cytometry and Microscopy Association will host its next conference at the University of Alberta on June 17 and 18.
  • The lunches with leaders speakers series will bring Josh Blair, Group President and Chief Corporate Officer with TELUS, to speak about Health Innovation on Sept. 10 at the Sutton Place Hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $59 for Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Members and $69 plus GST for the general public.

You’ll have to travel for:

  • The T4M Start-up World trade show for medical technology innovators will be held in Stuttgart, Germany on May 7 to 9.
  • Abstract submissions for eHealth 2019 have closed, but there is room at the conference for delegates. The conference runs from May 26 to 29 at the Beanfield Centre in Toronto, ON.
  • Inventure$ 2019, an “un-conference” for entrepreneurs and startups to connect with investors, will be held in Calgary from June 7 to 9.

Beyond Edmonton 

  • Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor visited the University of Victoria to meet with researchers who are developing drug-checking technology as part of the strategy to curb the number of deaths from the opioid crisis.

The Health Innovation Roundup, sponsored by Health City, is a weekly email newsletter written and published by Taproot Edmonton.

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