UWaterloo installs therapy lights to combat SAD
Retraction Watch Q&A with the editor of The Journal of Alternative
Facts, a satirical Twitter account, on Jan. 31.
Our editorial board consists of the greatest
minds of American scientific thinking,
primarily politicians. They are indeed the
greatest. Terrific. Tremendous.
they look like average adjustable desk lights,
but the sturdy white lamps that have appeared
at the University of Waterloo are covert
weapons against seasonal affective disorder,
or SAD. Linked to a lack of sunlight, SAD
symptoms, like difficulty concentrating,
hopelessness and a loss of energy, can last
from fall to summer. Basking in bright light
(about 10,000 lux, or 100 times the strength
of regular indoor lighting) can help by
triggering areas of the brain that produce
dopamine and serotonin, and regulate the
body’s 24-hour clock.
Robin Mazumder, a PhD student in
cognitive neuroscience, requested the lamps
after leading a similar project in Edmonton.
Three years ago, he collaborated with the
Edmonton Public Library to install therapy
lamps for public use in their downtown
location. The idea caught on at libraries
around the country, including at the
University of Alberta.
The lamps aren’t a replacement for
natural light, but they can make a difference
– and not just on the individual sufferer, Mr.
Mazumder notes. “Using [a therapy light] in a
public space, you’re saying, ‘I might be feeling
depressed.’ Destigmatizing mental illness is
inherent in the project because it’s a public
display, it’s normalizing.” – natalie samson
UBC’s memorial to goalie and
med student Laura Taylor.
UBC retires jersey of student
athlete who died by suicide
at a home game at the University of British
Columbia in January, the women’s hockey
team retired the jersey of goalie Laura Taylor,
number 29, who died by suicide last April.
Ms. Taylor joined the UBC Thunderbirds as
a practice goalie in 2015 while she pursued
a degree in medicine. She had previously
played with the University of Saskatchewan
Huskies. Days before turning 34, Ms. Taylor
took her own life.
Ms. Taylor’s death shocked her team-
mates and head coach Graham Thomas,
The team planned a tribute to their former
team member to honour her contributions
to the Thunderbirds, and to raise awareness
about mental illness and the complexity of
suicide. “It was something that we just knew
we wanted to do and then the department got
behind it right away,” says Mr. Thomas.
More than 800 people attended the
event, which included remarks from Ms.
Taylor’s family, a mental health expert and
UBC president Santa Ono, who has spoken openly about his struggles with mental
health. “I think that was the night that we
switched our grief into fulfilling a legacy,”
says Stephanie Schaupmeyer, a member of
the Thunderbirds team. Ms. Schaupmeyer
says that one of Ms. Taylor’s jerseys was
given to her family and the other will be
placed in UBC Thunderbirds’ alumni room.
“We have a lot of mementos over those 100
years of UBC history and I think Laura is a
part of that.”
UBC’s school of medicine has established a scholarship in Ms. Taylor’s name
and a new initiative was implemented to help
UBC athletes. “It’s an early alert system that
they introduced. If anyone notices anything
[in their teammates] there’s an online way
to report that and talk about it,” Mr. Thomas
says, adding that athlete training will include
mental health information and resources.
– raphaela nehme
“That was the night that
we switched our grief
into fulfilling a legacy.”