Monday, July 19, 2010

Keep First Nation pandemic plans current: feds

CBC News, 19 July, 2010

First Nations leaders are welcoming the federal government's move to ensure pandemic flu plans are up to date, but they also want Ottawa to broaden its interest in health-care planning.

This summer, the federal government is hiring people to make sure influenza pandemic plans in First Nations communities stay current.

Last year's H1N1 outbreak hit some aboriginal communities particularly hard. A large number of body bags were sent to a reserve in northern Manitoba, and there were debates over who should pay for hand sanitizer and masks.

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Solution for smoking could be in the genes

Health Zone, 19 July, 2010

It started with a pack of Players stolen from her dad, who bought cigarettes by the carton to save money. Sasha Manoli knew where he kept them — in a kitchen cupboard. She snatched a pack on the day she decided to smoke. She was 14.

After meeting her friend, the teenagers went to Laurentide Park, which lies besides the Don Valley Pkwy. near York Mills Rd. It was winter. They went over to a pine tree and lay down under it in the snow. Manoli lit one cigarette and “half-smoked,” barely inhaling.

“I really remember the smell and the taste, but I can't describe it,” she said. “But there was something very distinct.”

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Avastin fails to slow breast cancer: FDA

CBC News, 16 July, 2010

Federal health scientists said Friday that followup studies of a Roche breast cancer drug show it failed to slow tumour growth or extend patient lives, opening the door for a potential withdrawal in that indication.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Roche's blockbuster Avastin in 2008 based on early-stage trials showing it shrank tumours caused by breast cancer. The decision was controversial because drugs for cancer patients who have never been treated before must usually show evidence they extend lives.

Avastin's so-called "accelerated approval" was based on the condition that later studies would show a survival benefit.

But in briefing documents posted online, FDA reviewers said two followup studies recently submitted by Roche failed to show that Avastin significantly extended lives compared to chemotherapy alone.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Your address could make you fat

Health Zone, 15 July, 2010

You want to lose weight? Live near a supermarket — but far away from restaurants.

In a recent study, researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo looked at women’s body mass index in relation to their neighbourhoods’ food amenities.

They found that women who lived near a supermarket tended to have a lower body mass index, meaning they were less likely to be obese, than those closer to a convenience store. Most convenience stores don’t offer healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables or whole-grain products.

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Toronto landfill threatening health of SW Ont. First Nation, chief says

CBC news, 14 July, 2010

MUNSEE-DELAWARE NATION, Ont. - A southwestern Ontario First Nation says a landfill used by the City of Toronto is threatening the community's water supply.

Toronto purchased the Green Lane landfill near St. Thomas, Ont., in April 2007.

Chief Patrick Waddilove says the accelerated use of the landfill is negatively impacting the health of Munsee-Delaware Nation residents, who use untreated well water.

There are three First Nations located in the area _ Oneida Nation of the Thames, Chippewas of the Thames and Munsee-Delaware Nation.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

MS patients fight for access to new 'Zamboni' treatment

Health Zone, 9 July, 2010

A month after Italian vascular surgeon Dr. Paolo Zamboni’s controversial report on treating multiple sclerosis made headlines in November 2009, an elated Jamie Chalmers went to his neurologist and handed him a stack of print-outs on the new findings.

Without so much as a glance, the neurologist tossed the papers in the garbage. He told Chalmers it was nothing but junk science.

“I was devastated,” said Chalmers, a 40-year-old Guelph motor coach driver diagnosed with MS two years ago. He is now looking for a new neurologist. “How can a doctor not be interested in what his patient wants?”

The same scenario, pitting hope against science, is being played out in neurologists’ offices across the country as people diagnosed with the debilitating disease demand the so-called “liberation treatment” and wary neurologists tell them to forget about it.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Mental Health Care for Kids 'Fractured'

Health Zone, 9 July, 2010

The mental health care system for children is “fractured” and needs better oversight, say critics after a Toronto Star investigation found a psychiatric centre was locking up kids who didn’t belong there.

“The role of oversight is not taken as seriously as I think it should be,” Irwin Elman, Ontario’s Children and Youth Advocate, told the Star.

Elman’s comments came after the Star revealed that the provincially funded Youthdale Treatment Centre admitted children to its secure treatment unit even though they did not have a mental disorder. Within the last two years, the Child and Family Services Review Board ordered released nearly half of the children who appealed their placements in the centre’s secure unit.

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Depression may raise risk of dementia, study shows

Health Zone, 5 July, 2010

People who struggle with prolonged bouts of depression may face nearly twice the risk of developing dementia, according to a study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, the most long-term study of its kind.

“We need to pay more attention to depression and understand that it can have serious, long-term effects,” says Jane Saczynski, author of the research to be published Tuesday in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Activity no fix for fat kids: study

CBC news, 7 July, 2010

Physical activity is not the solution to childhood obesity, a British study suggests.

The study of 202 children over three years concluded that excess weight reduces activity, but activity does not affect weight.

"Physical inactivity appears to be the result of fatness rather than its cause. This reverse causality may explain why attempts to tackle childhood obesity by promoting physical activity have been largely unsuccessful," an abstract of the study said.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Aboriginal babies more likely to die: study

Access to urban health care doesn't lower mortality rates

Last Updated: Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Canadian Press

An extensive study of infant mortality in Manitoba has shown that the death rate for aboriginal babies is more than twice the Canadian average and doesn't improve no matter how close their mothers live to sophisticated health-care facilities.

Although infant mortality among non-aboriginals declined with proximity to cities, the rate remained stubbornly high for First Nations women, says a new report published in the Journal of Rural Health.

"First Nations infants do not seem to have similarly benefited from the better health-care facilities in urban centres," the report says.

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