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SFU ImageTech Lab opens up “best possible windows” into human brain function



Housed at Surrey Memorial Hospital, new lab promises to bring rapid innovations to medical imaging. A world-class clinical research facility SFU ImageTech Lab is being unveiled today by Simon Fraser University and Fraser Health.

The SFU lab is the first of its kind in Western Canada and will be a cornerstone in Surrey’s Health Technology District. The lab provides the critical combination of high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with high density magnetoencephalography (MEG) uniquely embedded within Surrey Memorial Hospital an emerging academic health sciences centre.

The lab will advance translational brain and body research and focus on advanced diagnostics and treatment monitoring in neurology and mental health, and many other healthcare areas. The facility representing many firsts brings together a partnership between SFU and Fraser Health, to ensure British Columbia continues to be globally competitive in advanced brain and body imaging.

The combination of a high field 3T whole-body MRI with a high-density 275-channel MEG provides state-of-the-art capabilities for “the best possible windows” into brain function. These sophisticated medical imaging tools will enable the region’s top health innovators to bring rapid advances in the treatment of devastating brain disorders and diseases, brain injury, brain tumours, epilepsy, autism, Down Syndrome, aging and dementia, depression, addictions, and mood disorders.

The lab is made possible with initial funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and B.C. Knowledge Development Fund, and from generous contributions from Philips Canada, CTF MEG and a number of other individuals and organizations.

Photo: Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, SFU Professor and Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation BC Leadership Chair in Multimodal Technology for Healthcare Innovations, at the new SFU ImageTech Lab, Western Canada’s first  lab with both a high field 3T MRI and high density 275-channel MEG machines to non-invasively monitor a person’s brain activities.

Some of the leaders from the Point of Care Health Technologies team and their collaborators who are active in the SFU ImageTech Lab:

  • Dr. Siamak Arzanpour – Professor, assistive and safety technologies
  • Dr. Bruce Bjornson – Neurology, BC Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. John Diggle – Neurologist, Surrey Memorial Hospital Neurology
  • Dr. Sam Doesburg – Assistant professor, Autism and developmental brain imaging
  • Dr. Martin Ester – Professor, computer science and machine learning
  • Dr. Faranak Farzan – Assistant professor, addictions and mental health
  • Dr. Fin Hodge – Radiologist, Surrey Memorial Hospital Radiology
  • Dr. Kirpal Kohli – Medical Physicist, BC Cancer Agency
  • Dr. Alex MacKay – Physics, UBC
  • Dr. Erin MacMillan – Research Associate, MRI Physics
  • Dr. George Medvedev – Neurologist, Fraser Health Neurology
  • Dr. Carlo Menon – Professor, rehabilitation and assistive technologies
  • Dr. Sylvain Moreno – Assistant professor, digital health and neuroscience
  • Dr. Ed Park – Professor, rehabilitation and assistive technologies
  • Dr. Stephen Robinovitch – Professor, aging and dementia technologies
  • Dr. Carolyn Sparrey – Associate professor, spinal cord injury and simulation
  • Dr. Andrew Sixsmith – Professor, technologies in aging and dementia
  • Dr. William Su – Radiology, Fraser Health Radiology
  • Dr. Vasily Vakorin – Research Associate, Neuroinformatics
  • MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technology that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to get detailed images of our body. It is widely used in neurology to provide high-resolution structural, functional and chemical images of the brain. It helps advance the ability to diagnose, monitor and guide treatments across a wide range of brain and body conditions.
  • MEG: Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a non-invasive brain imaging technology that allows for real-time mapping of brain activity by measuring very small magnetic field fluctuations generated by the brain’s electrical activity. The MEG allows researchers to directly measure brain activity as it happens and track the sources of this activity.It provides unparalleled insight into brain processing and dysfunction and is particularly accessible for children. The MEG can be applied in a clinical setting to study health conditions such as epilepsy, autism, Down Syndrome, traumatic brain injury as well as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and many other neurological and mental health conditions.
  • MRI-MEG COMBINED: Used together, the MRI-MEG technologies offer researchers unparalleled possibilities to “watch the brain in action” by visualizing and combining a range of different powerful measure of brain function and structure.

About Simon Fraser University:

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far.

Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

About Fraser Health:

Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health care services to more than 1.8 million people living in communities stretching from Burnaby to Hope. Our quality health care services range from acute care hospitals to community-based residential, home health, mental health and public health services. As one of Canada’s largest health authorities, Fraser Health employs more than 26,000 employees, 2,900 physicians and nearly 6,500 volunteers.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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How CBD Oil Is Being Used in the Vancouver Area and Lower Mainland BC



Since the legalization of cannabis and cannabis-derived products in Canada in 2018, products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a previously little-known compound that naturally occurs in the cannabis plant, have hit the mainstream in a big way.

Today, everywhere you go in the Greater Vancouver Area and across Canada, it’s easy to find CBD oil and other cannabis products. With a quick search, users can find several lists of shops in Vancouver that sell CBD oil, the big cities in each province of course have the most selection. That said, you can still find CBD products in Surrey of course.

CBD products are made using CBD oil, an extract from the cannabis plant which can be consumed orally as well as infused into other products. The potential health benefits of CBD oil are said to be wide-ranging, with many claiming the substance as an effective treatment for a variation of chronic auto-immune and anxiety-related conditions.

Read on for some of the most common uses for CBD oil in and around Vancouver, Canada.


One of the most common uses for CBD is in the treatment of chronic pain. The compound is thought to work by interacting with a cell-signalling system found in the human body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for maintaining an equilibrium in a wide range of bodily functions, one of which is pain response.

Research has shown that sufferers of conditions related to chronic pain such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and neuropathic conditions have obtained significant relief from their pain symptoms by taking high doses of CBD. This discovery has been welcomed by an increasing number of chronic pain sufferers who are opting for CBD due to the fact that it has very few unpleasant side-effects when compared with other pharmaceutical pain medicine.


Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting a high proportion of the population at one time or another. If you suffer from an anxiety-related disorder, you will know that it can be extremely debilitating and have a highly negative impact on your quality of life. In CBD, however, we may have stumbled on an effective natural treatment for reducing anxiety and its symptoms.

Although research into the capacity of CBD to reduce anxiety in humans is still very much in its infancy, the early signs are extremely promising. Several studies have shown that it can reduce anxiety responses to stressors in rodents. These findings will come as no surprise to residents of the Greater Vancouver Area who have been using CBD to alleviate symptoms of anxiety for years and swear by its effectiveness.


CBD has gained significant publicity for its use in the treatment of epilepsy. Medicines containing the cannabinoid have been approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of two severe forms of child-onset epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This came after research showed that CBD may be able to dramatically reduce the frequency of the debilitating seizures that characterize the disorders.

More research needs to be done into the potential of CBD for use in the treatment of other forms of epilepsy. However, many sufferers of the other forms of the disease have begun to report favorable outcomes that have improved their daily lives.

Neurological Diseases

Another set of conditions that may be treatable with CBD are degenerative neurological diseases. CBD is thought to interact with the CB1 receptors located in the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems. Scientists are currently researching whether stimulating these receptors can play a role in both preventing the onset and treating the symptoms of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.

While more research needs to be done, the potential of CBD to treat neurological diseases in a holistic and natural way has excited many people who had previously thought that their conditions were untreatable.

Skin Conditions

Since CBD reacts with the immune system to help reduce inflammation, it may be an effective treatment for sufferers of chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. There is some evidence to say that applying CBD oil topically can eliminate the redness and soreness that commonly accompany these disorders.

CBD is also being used by sufferers of acne due to its antioxidant properties. It is thought to help to diminish the amount of sebum produced by the skin, an effect which helps clear away pimples. Taken orally, CBD may also help to prevent future outbreaks.

Go back five or ten years and it is more than likely that ninety-nine percent of people in the Surrey and Greater Vancouver Area would have never heard of CBD before. This has all changed in the last few years, of course, as CBD has gained traction as a treatment for an ever-growing array of health issues.

With new research coming out all the time attesting to the therapeutic and curative properties of the so-called ‘wonder drug’, we may only now be scratching the surface of CBD’s potential uses.

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Think Global, Act Local



How small actions and ‘conscious-consumerism’ can make a huge
difference in our local communities in the covid-19 era

Social-distancing, self-isolating, “wash your hands”, zooming, lockdown, quarantining, the ‘rona’… just some of the latest catch phrases and new verbiage of 2020. It’s true, the new decade didn’t get off to the ‘fresh start’ we were all expecting or hoping for, but it’s been a big bang nonetheless.

We by no means can see the finish line or the light at the end of the tunnel any time soon in this constant state of unknowns, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start reflecting now on what our lives post covid-19 era look like. In fact, we can start reflecting on how this life-changing experience can impact our day-to-day decisions at this very moment.

In self-isolating solo for nearly 3 months, I have taken the chance to heavily reflect on the consumer decisions I make in my daily life, and how such decisions impact the local economy, environment, and my overall well-being too.

When you are ‘stuck’ at home, you have a lot of time to reflect and think about your surroundings – and for me, that directly translated to my buying habits, and also the concept of “consumption” as a whole. Marie Kondo suggests only keeping things that ‘spark joy,’ whereas other renowned minimalists such as Joshua Becker suggest only keeping what is essential.

Now psychologically, the jump from hoarder status to professional minimalist is not for the faint of heart, so while you are mentally preparing for such ‘all or nothing’ commitment, I suggest you look at the root of the issue – consumption. We all consume – food, clothes, etc. this is true – but how we consume is something completely within our hands, and can assist us in minimizing and maintaining a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle overall.

Conscious consumption should be the number one catch phrase resulting from this seismic shift in the world, no doubt.

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this past April highlighted the theme of “Climate Action,” and it truly couldn’t have come at a better time – when the world literally stopped still. With this in mind, I chose to make some commitments for the year ahead.

These included: supporting local, small businesses to decrease emissions from international transport of products; choosing and consuming national food products whenever possible – preferably from local, organic producers; and finally, buying less clothing and being a conscious consumer with supporting local brands with sustainable fabrics and manufacturing techniques.

When you make a purchase, can you answer the following questions?

  • Where is this product coming from? And how far does it require to travel to get to you?
  • Where is it produced? By whom was it produced?
  • Can I buy the equivalent from a local small business or brand?

Even with the increase of delivery services or online purchases in the current reality we are living in (avoiding unnecessary face-to-face contact in taking precautions or ‘doing the right thing’) , there are ways for us to ensure that we are looking to support small businesses first and foremost. Take the time to research, make the effort to spread the word, and your communities and those around you reap the rewards!

Considering all of the aforementioned, this upcoming Sunday (and every Sunday following that), I challenge you to take to your social media accounts and participate in a new initiative which highlights your favourite local “small” businesses, and encourages those in your network to do the same.

On “Support Small Business Sundays” I highlight one local business that I am passionate about (and want to promote) while sharing their story, contact info, etc. and bringing light to those who are making a difference in my community.

Just don’t forget to use the hashtags #SSBS and #supportlocal so that we can build off of each other’s enthusiasm! You can even extend a challenge by tagging three of your friends/family in your post to encourage them to do the same and carry on the momentum!

Keep in mind that a little bit of reflection and research can go a long way for supporting local and being mindful of the environmental impacts of our buying habits as well. Let’s do our part in helping others in our communities and national economies during these challenging times, and we will leave the ‘rona’ season behind as stronger, more united, and aligned communities.

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TELUS Health expands digital home health monitoring to virtually support B.C. patients with or at risk of COVID-19



Home Health Monitoring technology enables health providers to virtually observe British Columbians who are at home while reducing exposure to the virus

Vancouver – Today, TELUS Health announced the expansion of its Home Health Monitoring (HHM) solution so that nurses and other healthcare providers in British Columbia can digitally monitor more patients remotely while they recover from COVID-19 Launched in partnership with the B.C.

Ministry of Health and local health authorities, this digital health dashboard enables healthcare providers to track the symptoms and provide medical help for more patients as they recover outside of hospitals in the comfort of their own homes.

“As we face the immense challenge of COVID-19, TELUS Health is committed to working alongside BC’s healthcare leaders to expand the use of technology solutions like Home Health Monitoring to support more British Columbians while recovering at home,” said Darren Entwistle, president and CEO, TELUS.

“By enabling clinicians to remotely observe the vitals of patients with COVID-19, as well as those who are vulnerable to the virus, and provide necessary interventions early, we can reduce exposure and also help to alleviate the pressure in hospital emergency rooms and clinics.”

Easily accessible through a mobile device, the program sends daily prompts to the patient to report their biometrics such as temperature, physical symptoms and overall health condition. This provides crucial information on the status of a patient’s health to their clinicians who are regularly and remotely monitoring their well-being through a digital dashboard.

HHM allows healthcare providers to view information for multiple patients simultaneously, enabling them to more effectively manage the vitals of a larger number of patients so they can quickly identify those patients in need of urgent care. Depending on the escalation of their symptoms, some patients may be advised to contact their doctor, or visit their nearest hospital emergency room, while others with improving symptoms may be told to continue recovering and isolating at home.

“Home monitoring is a significant part of our response to the ongoing pandemic. We are grateful for the technology and partnership with TELUS Health enabling our efforts,” said Lisa Saffarek, Clinical Director Virtual Care and Home Health Monitoring lead at Island Health. “With the Home Health Monitoring solution, we are able to stay connected with our patients, provide symptom support and ensure our patients who are quarantined or isolated at home are provided with safe and effective care. The monitoring solution has also improved clinical capacity for our Public Health team, the front line of our pandemic response.”

Home Health Monitoring by TELUS Health has been in use in B.C, since 2013 to remotely monitor thousands of patients in the province living with chronic conditions such as heart failure, diabetes and respiratory diseases. The TELUS Home Health Monitoring system is aligned with the Canadian Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 protocols for the monitoring of patients recovering from COVID-19 outside of hospitals.

“The B.C. Ministry of Health has partnered with TELUS since 2013 to implement and evolve a provincial remote patient monitoring service for patients with chronic conditions,” said Corrie Barclay, Assistant Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Management and Information Technology with the B.C. Ministry of Health.

“Our investment has enabled us to act quickly to monitor our patients in isolation while also providing them with peace of mind, knowing that they are being monitored daily by their healthcare teams. As well, our clinicians are given the assurance that we are keeping track of our vulnerable citizens.”

As healthcare professionals risk their lives every day, TELUS Health is working hard to provide the technology solutions needed to keep them safe. Building off of this successful initiative in B.C., discussions with other provincial health ministries are underway to provide HHM technology to even more Canadians during these unprecedented times.

About TELUS Health and Payment Solutions

TELUS Health is a leader in digital health technology solutions such as home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, virtual care, benefits and pharmacy management as well as personal emergency response services. TELUS Health is leveraging the power of technology to improve access to care and revolutionize the flow of health information to create better outcomes for Canadians while facilitating collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied healthcare professionals, insurers, employers and citizens.

TELUS Payment Solutions complements our health solutions by delivering secure, industry-compliant payment and lending solutions that connect lenders, payors, insurers, extended health care providers and financial institutions to their customers across Canada.

For more information please visit: and

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City of Surrey online videos boost mental and physical health for all ages



The popular at-home classes and activities have been viewed over 15,000 times

While recreation centres and libraries across Surrey are closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, city staff have found a way to connect with residents online to ensure physical and mental health exercises are available for families at home during the pandemic.

“We have called on our residents to physically distance to limit the spread of COVID-19, and I want to personally recognize our community for rising to this challenge,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “While we all follow the measures put in place, it is important that we continue to connect with each other. The videos we have launched ensure Surrey families have access to physical and mental exercises at home, and I’m pleased they have been so well received over the past 4 weeks.”

Led by certified instructors, the free fitness classes offer a range of exercises that do not require professional equipment, including yoga and body sculpt. For seniors, light stretching and low impact classes are available.

Surrey Libraries is offering virtual story times and singalongs for children to enjoy from home, featuring familiar librarians across the City. The popular Treehouse Storytime at Redwood Forrest is also available online, so families can connect with nature and enjoy craft making, puppets and songs. Parks staff take children on an educational walk through the forest, offering virtual ways to connect with nature from home.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to take care of our physical and mental well-being,” added Mayor McCallum. “In the coming weeks we will continue to add more videos for residents, and I invite you to check back often to make full use of the recreational, cultural and library services available.”

City of Surrey online classes can be found here.

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Emergency Response Centre opens at North Surrey Recreation Centre to support those experiencing homelessness



To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, BC Housing, City of Surrey and Fraser Health have established a temporary Emergency Response Centre at Surrey’s previously decommissioned North Surrey Recreation Centre (NSRC).

The NSRC Emergency Response Centre will provide up to 110 safe spaces in the recreation centre, separated amongst the facility’s two rinks. The Centre will be referral-only which will prioritize the support of people living on the streets, in shelters, or for people coming out of acute care who do not have a safe place to self-isolate if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

“By utilizing the decommissioned North Surrey Recreation Centre, we are providing our most vulnerable population with the most essential protective measure against COVID-19, which is the ability to physical distance,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “We will continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus within our community, and today’s establishment of the NSRC Emergency Response Centre is a crucial shift in our efforts. We thank BC Housing and Fraser Health for their collaboration and contributions in making this vital project possible.”

“It’s important for people who are street-entrenched or living in shelters to have a safe place to self-isolate and to physically distance. Combatting COVID-19 requires each person and community to work together and we’re proud to partner with BC Housing and the City of Surrey to ensure this vulnerable population has access to the support and care they need,” said Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee

Referrals will be managed by Fraser Health to ensure those most at risk with the highest care needs are prioritized. This proactive approach will also help reduce capacity in nearby shelters in order to support physical distancing efforts.

BC Housing has appointed Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) to operate and manage the centre, which will be staffed 24/7. Fraser Health staff will be onsite daily, supporting SUMS and providing ongoing health guidance.

BC Housing, with the support of City of Surrey, is continuing to explore opportunities to partner with local hotels to support frontline staff who are unable to go home during the COVID-19 outbreak, or for those who are unable to self-isolate due to living on the streets or in shelters.

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