Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saskatoon Health Region Grateful Patient Program

Saskatoon Health Region
Grateful Patient ProgramThe Grateful Patient Program provides an opportunity for individuals to recognize and thank health care professionals for quality care and contribute to innovative health care technology and equipment. Grateful Patients assist in providing care today while preparing for the future. Approximately 90 days after a patient is discharged from hospital, they may receive a letter from Saskatoon Health Region that includes a donation form for one of Saskatoon's hospital foundations. Grateful Patients can contact the hospital foundation of their choice to contribute to health care excellence in Saskatoon Health Region

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ron Stevens graduates at The Shaw Centre

Alfred Schmidt presents Ron Stevens with his red CARG shirt, during the February 24 graduation at The Shaw Centre

Friday, March 16, 2012

Free porridge cut accidents in obese workers at Olympics (UK)

Free porridge cut accidents in obese workers at Olympics (UK)The 80,000-seater stadium and the 2,818 flats built for the Olympic Village in Stratford, east London, were constructed by a workforce who lived on 'takeaways', according to Olympic chiefs. It was only during construction that bosses from the Olympics Delivery Authority (ODA) realised that a staggering number of the 12,000 builders working on the Olympic showpiece were living an 'unhealthy lifestyle' and that many were significantly overweight. Lawrence Waterman, head of health and safety for the ODA, revealed the statistics at a health and safety conference hosted by the Police Federation last week. He revealed statistics from an occupational health report which showed that 28 per cent of the 12,000 builders - that's 3,360 - at the Olympic Park were classed as 'obese'. The report also revealed that 41 per cent of the workforce - a staggering 4,920 - were overweight and that 3,500 - 29 per cent - had high blood pressure. He said that accidents were being caused by workers skipping breakfast after indulging in fatty takeaways the night before - leaving them 'desperate' for something to eat by lunchtime. The conference heard how accidents at the massive 500-acre site 'peaked' in the one-hour period before lunch as workers' minds were on what they were having for lunch rather than on the job in hand. Mr Waterman said that as soon as bosses at the ODA realised how unhealthy the workers were they started offering bowls of porridge for just £1 to workers so they got a 'healthy start to the day'. He stated in his report: "They (the workers) were coming into work for three hours suffering really low blood sugar. "We had canteens offering porridge for a £1 and accidents in the morning went down."

Anti-stroke drug approved by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (UK)

Pradaxa, which has been described as the "holy grail" of blood-thinning drugs, reduces the risk of a stroke in people with a heart contition called atrial fibrillation (AF). The drug has now been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for prescriptions on the NHS in England and Wales. Up to 1.2 million people in Britain have AF, where the heart's chambers fail to beat in rhythm, causing blood to pool and form clots. Eventually a clot can be dislodged by blood and washed along the arteries, before blocking a small blood vessel in the brain, causing a stroke. Boehringer Ingelheim, the drug maker, estimates 5,000 strokes could be prevented annually if people who were given the drug instead of the blood-thinning agent warafin, traditionally used as rat poison. A study of 18,000 people with atrial fibrillation (AF) found that taking 150mg of Pradaxa daily reduced the risk of stroke by between 30 and 39 per cent, caompared to those on warfarin, depending on the type of AF. The twice-daily pill does cost more than warfarin - about £2.50 daily compared to about £1 - and some local health authorities have expressed concern at the high potential cost

Walking cuts genetic effect of obesity

Walking briskly for an hour a day can help those with a genetic tendency toward obesity, U.S. researchers said. Study author Qibin Qi, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues said the study examined 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study - involving men working in the healthcare industry. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing body mass index, and calculated a genetic predisposition score based on 32 established BMI-predisposing genetic variants. "While previous studies have looked at how physical activity affects genetic predispositions, this is the first study that directly looked at the effect of the sedentary behavior of television watching on the BMI of individuals with a genetic predisposition to obesity," Qi said in a statement. "In our study, a brisk 1-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence toward obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television 4 hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent." The findings were presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism scientific sessions in San Diego

Men who love soda at higher risk for heart attack, say Harvard scientists (USA)

Men who love soda at higher risk for heart attack, say Harvard scientists (USA)Experts have some not-so-sweet news for men who drink sodas and sugary drinks. Downing just one sugary beverage a day can up your heart attack risk by 20%, according to research published by Harvard scientists in the journal Circulation. The more soda or noncarbonated fruity drinks, the higher your risk. Two servings ups your heart risk by 42%. Drink a soda with all three meals? Your risk increases by 69%. The team of Harvard researchers found a strong correlation between sugary drinks and heart attack risk that held up even after factoring in smoking, physical activity, alcohol, family history and BMI. Volunteers who kicked their soda and sweet-drink habits experienced lower blood pressure. While this study didn't take diet soda into account, recent studies have linked artificially sweetened drinks to increased stroke and heart attack risk. While this research focused on men, researchers say, sweet drinks aren't good for women either. It's a problem that can easily be solved if people just stopped sipping the high calorie beverages and paid more attention to what they're imbibing, according to lead study author, Lawrence de Koning, a research fellow in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "The first thing to do is to reduce the intake of sodas and then eventually eliminate them," he said

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Red meat increases death, cancer and heart risk, says study

Red meat increases death, cancer and heart risk, says studyA diet high in red meat can shorten life expectancy, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School. The study of more than 120,000 people suggested red meat increased the risk of death from cancer and heart problems. Substituting red meat with fish, chicken or nuts lowered the risks, the authors said. The British Heart Foundation said red meat could still be eaten as part of a balanced diet. The researchers analysed data from 37,698 men between 1986 and 2008 and 83,644 women between 1980 and 2008. They said adding an extra portion of unprocessed red meat to someone's daily diet would increase the risk of death by 13%, of fatal cardiovascular disease by 18% and of cancer mortality by 10%. The figures for processed meat were higher, 20% for overall mortality, 21% for death from heart problems and 16% for cancer mortality

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ivabradine, the lifesaving £1.40 heart pill, gets European approval

New data on ivabradine suggested it could cut death rates by up to 39 per cent, while experts said it could prevent between 5,000 and 10,000 deaths a year. The drug was also found to reduce the need for patients to be treated in hospital for heart failure, which affects about 900,000 people in Britain, by 30 per cent. The drug has been approved by European regulators but has yet to be assessed for widespread use on the NHS. It costs £1.40 a day and is already prescribed for patients in this country with angina. Data published today suggested ivabradine, also known as Procoralan, could reduce the risk of death from heart failure by 39 per cent. It could reduce the risk of death from all types of cardiovascular disease by 17 per cent and the risk of death from all causes by 17 per cent. In addition, the drug, which slows down the heart rate, was found to cut the risk of heart failure patients requiring treatment by 30 per cent. The study involved 6,505 people in 37 countries, including Britain.

Heart disease drug 'combats racism'

Volunteers given the beta-blocker, used to treat chest pains and lower heart rates, scored lower on a standard psychological test of "implicit" racist attitudes. They appeared to be less racially prejudiced at a subconscious level than another group treated with a "dummy" placebo pill. Scientists believe the discovery can be explained by the fact that racism is fundamentally founded on fear. Propranolol acts both on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions such as heart rate, and the part of the brain involved in fear and emotional responses. The drug is also used to treat anxiety and panic. Experimental psychologist Dr Sylvia Terbeck, from Oxford University, who led the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, said: "Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias

Sitting a lot raises women's diabetes risk (UK)

Women who sit for long periods daily are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes, but a similar link wasn't found in men, British researchers say. Dr. Thomas Yates of University of Leicester found women who were sedentary for most of the day are at greater risk of exhibiting the early metabolic defects that act as a precursor to developing type 2 diabetes than people who tend to sit less. The team assessed more than 500 men and women of the age of 40 or more about the amount of time spent sitting over the course of a week, helped out by tests on the level of specific chemicals in their bloodstream that are linked to diabetes and metabolic dysfunction. The study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the women who spent the longest time sitting had higher levels of insulin, as well as higher amounts of C-reactive protein and chemicals released by fatty tissue in the abdomen, leptin and interleukin 6. The researchers said they could not pinpoint why there was a gender difference. "This study provides important new evidence that higher levels of sitting time have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men and that this effect is seen regardless of how much exercise is undertaken," Yates said in a statement. "This suggests that women who meet the national recommendations of 30 minutes of exercise a day may still be compromising their health if they are seated for the rest of the day."

Lifetime of healthy choices pays off later (USA)

Lifetime of healthy choices pays off later (USA)Young adults who don't drink heavily, avoid tobacco, eat healthy, exercise and stay lean lower their risk of heart failure in middle-age, U.S. researchers say. First author Kiang Liu, a professor at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said the majority of people who maintained a healthy lifestyle in their 20s remain in the low-risk category in their middle-age years. The study published in the journal Circulation found when the participants' average age was 24, nearly 44 percent had a low cardiovascular disease risk profile, but 20 years later, just 24.5 percent fell into that category. In addition, 60 percent of those who maintained all five healthy lifestyles reached middle age with a low cardiovascular risk profile, compared with fewer than 5 percent who followed none of the healthy lifestyles. "The problem is few adults can maintain ideal cardiovascular health factors as they age," Liu said in a statement. "Many middle-age adults develop unhealthy diets, gain weight and aren't as physically active. Such lifestyles, of course, lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and elevated cardiovascular risk."

Snake venom may provide heart treatment (USA)

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., was awarded a $2.5 million grant to study the use of a snake-venom peptide as a heart attack treatment. Dr. Fernando Martin, a research fellow in the Cardiorenal Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, said the researchers seek to further understand the potential of a novel, engineered guanylyl cyclase activator - cenderitide - to reduce the level of cardiac and renal injury following a myocardial infarction, or heart attack. Researchers will try to determine whether the therapy could help prevent deterioration of cardiac and renal function following a heart attack, and potentially reduce further heart failure in the future in treated patients. Mayo Clinic researchers invented cenderitide to activate two subtypes of guanylyl cyclase receptors, which uniquely differentiates cenderitide from other guanylyl cyclase stimulating peptides. Cenderitide, a designer peptide derived from the venom of the green mamba snake, may aid in the preservation of cardiac and renal function following serious cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and acute decompensated heart failure. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association

Stomach drug may have cardiac risk (Canada)

On March 9, 2012 Health Canada warned that domperidone maleatea, a drug usually prescribed to fight stomach and intestinal problems, could have serious risks to cardiac health. Domperidone is also used to prevent symptoms such as nausea and vomiting caused by some drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease. Health Canada noted that recent studies show that the risk of abnormal heart beats and cardiac arrest may be higher in patients taking domperidone at doses greater than 30 mg a day, or in patients over 60. The agency advises domperidone be used at the lowest possible dose. The statement says that anyone taking domperidone who experiences any symptoms of abnormal heart rhythms such as heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting or seizures, should stop taking it and get medical attention right away

North Dakota company woos Manitobans for echocardiograms

North Dakota company woos Manitobans for echocardiogramsA North Dakota company is wooing Manitobans nervous about their health to cross the border for quick screening tests they might wait weeks or months for in Canada. But the head of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's cardiac sciences program warns people considering heading south might be wasting their money. Simple Tests That May Save Your Life! shouts the headline of a flyer inserted into the Free Press earlier this week by North Dakota-based Mobile Life Screening. An echocardiogram (ECHO), which uses sound waves to create a picture of your heart, was advertised for $399. A "complete wellness package" that includes the ECHO and several other tests was priced at $498. Long waits for diagnostic tests, such as echocardiograms, have been an ongoing issue in Manitoba. Last year, the wait for non-urgent patients was 44 weeks. That has since been cut to 22 weeks. Yet, the lure of a quick test is hard for some Manitobans to pass up. But Dr. Alan Menkis, medical director of the WRHA's cardiac sciences program, pictured right,says an echocardiogram is a wasteful way to screen the general population for potential heart problems. "Unless there's an indication that there's a problem, or an indication that you have to look for a problem, using an ECHO as a screening test is really a waste," he said in an interview

Friday, March 9, 2012

Breaks to get up and move good for health: Study

Taking a break to walk every 20 minutes instead of staying seated for hours helps reduce the body's levels of glucose and insulin after eating, according to a study - the latest to highlight the hazards of long periods of inactivity. Though the results, published in the journal Diabetes Care, don't show whether these reductions have any lasting health benefits, experiencing large glucose and insulin spikes after a meal is tied to a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. "When we sit our muscles are in a state of disuse and they're not contracting and helping our body to regulate many of the body's metabolic processes," said David Dunstan, a professor at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Dunstan and his colleagues have reported previously that people who watch more than four hours of TV a day are likely to have an earlier death. With this study, they experimented with how prolonged sitting could affect responses to food. After a meal, glucose levels in the blood go up, followed by a rise in insulin, which helps cells use blood sugar for energy or store it. Then, levels in the bloodstream start to go down. In people with type 2 diabetes, this process falls out of whack usually because the body no longer responds to insulin properly. After a meal, blood sugar and insulin levels spike and remain high

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chronic diseases are taking a toll on Canadians

Canada ranks 10th in population health among 17 countries in The Conference Board of Canada's 2012 Health report card. Chronic diseases are exacting a toll on the country; in addition to affecting the health of Canadians, these diseases strain the resources of the health care system. Compared to its international peers, Canada gets relatively poor "C" grades on mortality rates due to cancer, diabetes, and musculoskeletal system diseases. If Canada earned an "A" grade on these three indicators, it would move up to 4th place overall in the How Canada Performs Health report card. "Canada is facing a growing burden from chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. This burden is expected to increase due to an aging population and rising rates of obesity," said Gabriela Prada, Director, Health, Innovation, Policy and Evaluation. "The future health of Canadians depends not only on the quality of the health care system, but also on education about chronic disease risk factors and increased emphasis on prevention." The Health report card assesses the overall health status of Canadians against that of citizens in 16 other industrialized countries on 11 indicators. Canada receives a "B" grade overall. Canada earns "A" grades on three health indicators: self-reported health status; mortality due to circulatory diseases (primarily heart disease and stroke); and premature mortality