Radio Western Morning News

NEWSCAST - Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Greg Bowman

CAMPUS:

  • A new Western University study has discovered that left-handed and right-handed people process numbers the same way despite using different hands.
  • For their study supported by BrainsCAN, Western researchers Celia Goffin, Moriah Sokolowski, Michael Slipenkyj and Daniel Ansari compared the brain activity of both left-handed and right-handed participants during a task involving numbers.
  • With only 10 per cent of the world’s population identified as left-handed, previous studies typically relied on right-handed participants to learn how the brain processes numbers. For this study, however, researchers focused on left-handers to determine if they learned to use a different area of their brain to process numbers.
  • Researchers thought that right-handers use the left side of their brain and vice versa for left handers, but that was surprisingly not the case.
  • The brain’s ability to understand that a number represents a quantity is processed in a specific region of the brain known as the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). When a person is viewing numbers, the left IPS becomes activated. Understanding why it’s activated on the left side of the brain, as opposed to the right or a combination of both, is an area that researchers are still investigating.
  • For the study, Goffin used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare brain activation of right- and left-handed participants while they observed numbers. They found that even though lefties and righties will take different physical approaches to writing the numbers with their dominant hands, the symbolic concept of numbers was the same for both parties. 
  • “It’s a big question in our field of how the brain is able to take arbitrary symbols and assign meaning to them in the form of numbers,” Goffin said. “If we understand this better, it could eventually help in developing interventions for children who have difficulties forming these representations of numbers.”
  • One of the big questions in the researchers’ field is how the brain is able to take arbitrary symbols and assign a numerical value to them. They are hoping the results of this study may be able to help children who struggle with the concept of numbers. 
  • This study is the first registered report by Ansari’s team; the full paper will be published in the journal Cortex later this year.

LOCAL:

  • A nuisance party bylaw — approved by city council Tuesday night after months of debate and legal tweaks — comes with the threat of a bill for anyone hosting, creating or encouraging a dangerous party that’s deemed a nuisance.
  • It’s city hall’s contribution to tempering the out-of-control “fake homecoming” celebrations, with the goal of scaling back some of the tens of thousands of dollars in police, bylaw and other emergency services that taxpayers have been forced to absorb for the unsanctioned event near Western.
  • Counselor Phil Squire, whose ward represents the university,  said the timing of the final approval of the nuisance party bylaw was “fitting,” given the expected return of Western and Fanshawe College students over the Labour Day weekend.
  • He added an “extraordinary amount of work” has been put into strategies to stem the tide of wild partying.
  • The university’s board of governors approved expanding the student code of conduct to cover off-campus behaviour in rare and serious cases. University brass committed to applying penalties for up to expulsion.
  • Last year, the Broughdale bash, also known as FoCo, drew 20,000 people — sending 57 to hospital — and came with a $200,000 tab for emergency services.
  • The nuisance party bylaw won’t target landlords, however, an initial goal of the rule that some hoped would put pressure on absentee owners.
  • Still, he was “heartened” by the commitment shown by an association of landlords in London that had initially opposed the bylaw.
  • When the bylaw was first proposed, Mayor Ed Holder warned ominously London would have “blood on all of our hands” unless something was done to curb FoCo antics.
  • After council’s decision Tuesday, Holder said the bylaw goes “right to the source, and that makes sense.”

SPORTS:

  • With fall coming all too fast, that means that Western Mustangs fall sports are going to be starting up this week.
  • The men’s and women’s soccer teams will be travelling to Sault Ste. Marie this weekend for a doubleheader against the Algoma Thunderbirds to kick off the 2019 OUA season.
  • For the men’s team, Head Coach Martin Painter took over the squad last year for his first season as head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams. He led them to an OUA bronze medal, which was their first provincial medal since 2010. 
  • The Mustangs will play their first home game of the season on September 6th when they host the Laurier Golden Hawks at Mustang Field. 

WEATHER:

  • High of 24 degrees today with mostly clear skies.
  • Down to 12 overnight with mostly clear skies.
  • Similar conditions tomorrow, high of 24 with mostly sunny skies.
  • Then more of the same on Friday, high of 23 with mostly clear skies as well to round out the final week of August.