Friday, February 24, 2006

Canadians headed towards cancer crisis

Canadians headed towards cancer crisis
Canada’s aging baby boomers and the country’s growing population is propelling Canada into a cancer crisis, according to Canadian Cancer Statistics 2005 released by the Canadian Cancer Society. “The number of new cancer cases in Canada is growing twice as fast as the population is growing,” says Heather Logan, Director, Cancer Control Policy, Canadian Cancer Society. “Cancer is already straining our healthcare system and it’s going to get worse as the number of new cancer cases increases as the baby boom generation ages”. From 2000 to 2004, the population grew about one per cent annually while the number of cancer cases grew by about two per cent per year. Logan adds that if current trends continue with the growing and aging population, it is expected that 5.7 million Canadians will develop cancer and 2.7 million people will die of the disease over the next 30 years. From

A new approach to Drug Education for Teens
Dr. Ron Clavier is a Toronto-based clinical psychologist with a background in neuroscience research. He is the author of the book, Teen Brain, Teen Mind: What Parents Need to Know to Survive the Adolescent Years, which was published by Key Porter Books (2005).
Dr. Clavier thinks that the research showing us how the teen brain grows is fascinating, but he’s concerned that it might be misused or misinterpreted. The teen brain is not abnormal or dysfunctional, even though it is changing and maturing. As distressing as these changes seem, they are a natural process that probably shouldn’t be interfered with.
He advises keeping teens informed about the sorts of things they’re likely to experience as they grow and mature, and what they can expect from their developing brain.
Clavier cautions that drug education is not about condemning a newer version of a drug (crystal meth is a very potent drug but it just a newer version of speed) but rather exploring drugs from a teen’s perspective and inspiring a well of feeling in the teen that will prompt educated and well-informed decisions.

Secondhand Smoke and Your Pet
According to AADAC (the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission), pets are at increased risk for second-hand smoke-related cancers. Recent studies show an increased risk for lung cancer in short-nosed dogs and nasal cancer in long-nosed dogs.
Health Spending
According to World Health Organization 2001 statistics, Canada’s total expenditure on health as an expenditure of GDP is 9.5%. This can be compared with 13.9% in the US and 7.6% in the UK. Canada ranks 30th on the WHO’s year 2000 report on the cost effectiveness of global healthcare.
From, a website for new medical professionals

Drunk Driving
Young Albertans are not responding to the campaigns against not drunk driving, a recent University of Alberta study would suggest. The study found that 16 percent of the province’s young people say their communities think drinking and driving is okay. The study found that 20 percent of people aged 18 to 29 never used designated drivers.
From Jodie Sinnema’s article entitled Young Albertans not listening to drinking and driving message in the Edmonton Journal entitled December 2, 2005

Tobacco addiction
33% to 50% of people who experiment with cigarettes become regular users.
70% to 90% of people who are regular users are addicted to nicotine.
Relapse rates for quitters are high: about 60% relapse in three months, and 75% in six months.
Relapse is the rule, not the exception, and must be viewed as part of the quitting process.
Withdrawal symptoms include depression, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, decreased heart rate, increased appetite, weight gain and craving for nicotine.

The Future of Nursing in Alberta's Capital Region
“Staffing has been a challenge and will continue to be a challenge for Capital Health and all health systems in the country, but tremendous efforts have been made in recent years and we continue to stay focused on recruitment for our future needs and retention,” says Capital Health President and CEO Sheila Weatherhill.
The nursing workforce in Capital Health is growing by more than six percent a year, supported by increases in local training programs that were planned in recent years with the Alberta government and post-secondary institutions. Recruitment is focused on local graduates, in keeping with Capital Health’s long term strategy of “training our own”.
Although retirements will gradually increase in the next few years, this will continue to be more than offset by new graduates and new recruits—currently over 31 percent of Capital Health nurses are under the age of 35 compared to the national average of 19 percent.
From Capital Health’s Report to the Community—Creating Healthier Communities (Edmonton Journal Sat. Jan. 14 2006)

MRI and CT scanners
“Nearly 817,000 MRI exams and close to 2.8 million CT scans were done in Canada in 2004-05. About 60 percent of them in Ontario and Quebec, the most populous provinces”.
There were 176 MRI machines in Canada as of Jan. 1, 2005, an increase of 35 percent from five years earlier. There were 361 scanners in the same period.
Internationally, Canada ranks near the bottom of the list of OECD member countries for its number of MRI and CT scanners.
From an article by Carly Weeks that was in the Edmonton Journal and that was featured in the Ottawa Citizen entitled Canadians Tax MRI facilities to the limit (Thurs. Feb. 9, 2006)

Fore more health information, sats and videos, go to MyHealthVideo

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Study find pollutants in Canadian blood samples

Canadians are walking around with a cocktail of harmful toxic chemicals in their bodies, says a new report from an environmental watchdog group.
The report, entitled Toxic Nation: A Report on Pollution in Canadians finds that, no matter where Canadians live, how old they are or what they do for a living, they are contaminated with measurable levels of chemicals that can cause cancer, disrupt hormones, affect reproduction, cause respiratory problems or impair neurological development.
The study was commissioned by Environmental Defence. It examined blood and urine samples taken from 11 people from across the country to examine the range of pollutants found in Canadians' bodies.
Researchers looked for the presence of 88 chemicals, including heavy metals, PCBs, PBDEs (which are used as flame retardants), organochlorine pesticides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
The tests found 60 of the 88 chemicals in the 11 volunteers, including 18 heavy metals, five PBDEs, 14 PCBs, one perfluorinated chemical, 10 organochlorine pesticides, five organophosphate insecticide metabolites and seven VOCs.
On average, 44 chemicals were detected in each volunteer.
"The message to Canadians is: it doesn't matter where you live, how old you are, it doesn't matter how clean living you are or if you eat organic food, or if you get a lot of exercise. MORE...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fall and Winter Health Tips

Getting anxious to hit the slopes, grab those snowshoes or find the biggest tobogganing hill in the neighborhood? Outdoor enthusiasts are gearing up for a great winter season full of activity. The first snowfall doesn’t happen soon enough for these winter fans. In fact, some of you may even have been working out to ensure you’re in tip top shape for these winter sports activities.
According to chiropractor Dr. Roger Jones, ”If you’re looking forward to getting the most out of your winter activities, you may want to take note of some basics and advice that can ensure you make the most out of winter.” The combination of stiff muscles and cold weather can be a recipe for soreness or injury. Preparation for an outdoor winter activity, including conditioning the
areas of the body that are most vulnerable, will help avoid this potential for negative response.
Start with some light aerobic activity (jogging, biking, fast walking) for about 7-10 minutes. Then followthese tips to help you get into shape for the winter season:
• Skiing - do 10 to 15 squats. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your
feet. Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet. Stand up straight again.
Ensure that you do not completely straighten your legs during squats and only squat down to a
comfortable distance.
• Skating - do several lunges. Take a moderately advanced step with one foot. Make sure your
knee is just over your toes. Let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your
shoulders in position over your hips. Repeat the process with your other foot.
• Sledding/tobogganing - Do standing back bends to relieve strain in your lower back caused by
repetitive bouncing over the snow. Place your hands in the small of your back and slowly arch
backwards. Repeat five times.
“Don't forget to do cool-down stretching after winter sports to prevent stiffness in your muscles”, states
Dr. Jones. “If after any of these activities, you are sore, apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20
minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours. Repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or
Winter sports not your thing? Even if all the warming up and cooling down you’re doing this year is
walking back and forth from the mall to your car, or snow shoveling, it’s equally important to be aware of
how your body adapts to the winter climate and holiday activity.
Did you know that holiday shopping can be just as big a strain on your back and neck as some outdoor
winter activities? The load you carry each time you head out to the mall in search of gifts can amount to
15 pounds or more each shopping trip. The combination of a handbag and shopping bags can
significantly impact the curvature of your spine. After a day of carting around a huge load, it’s no wonder
your back aches!
How about that handbag? Have you noticed that no matter how big or small your handbag or briefcase
is it seems to always be at maximum capacity? Day after day that stylish accessory or carry case for
work is putting a significant strain on your back, neck and shoulders which can lead to some pretty
serious pain and even disability.
Is Your Body Tuned Up for the Winter Season?
Here are some tips to avoid back and neck strain during your holiday shopping:
• Avoid slinging large bags or a backpack over one shoulder. Evenly balance the weight you
carry in each arm or place your smaller bags in a backpack and carry with both shoulder
straps on your back.
• Once you feel you have too heavy a load of bags, drop them off at your car (ensure they are
out of sight) and return for more shopping. Most malls have a parcel drop off that you can
use to unload heavy parcels as well. This gives your back, hands, neck and shoulders – not
to mention your feet – a well deserved break.
• Put all your gift bags into a cart and push them around to avoid the strain altogether. If you’re
shopping with your wee ones – use the bottom basket of the stroller to load bags into.
• Remember to take frequent breaks and put your bags down on a regular basis.
• Wear good walking shoes with lots of support – your feet and back will thank you.
• After a long day of shopping, remember to stretch your back, neck and shoulders. After all –
you’ve just done a workout!
To assess your risk for neck, back or shoulder strain, take the “What’s Your Risk for Back Pain” quiz on
our website at Or, consult a chiropractor about your general health and preparing
your body for winter activities. Chiropractors are specialists in back and neck disorders and are
specifically trained to diagnose and correct improper functioning of the spine.
For more winter health tips or to find a chiropractor in your area, visit

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Watch your back this winter

Snow shoveling, along with slips and falls are the top causes of winter back pain say back specialists. Heavy snowfalls and frigid temperatures bring about a number of winter hazards. Slips, falls, strained and sore muscles could be on the rise this winter as the snow piles up and ice coats our drive and walkways.
"Every winter, Alberta chiropractors see an increase in back injuries due to improper lifting when shoveling snow,” said Dr. Les Shaw, President of the College of Chiropractors of Alberta. Improper shoveling techniques can be anything from bending at the waist instead of at the knees, to throwing snow instead of pushing it. When you combine improper lifting with the weight of one shovelful of snow (three to five kilograms) the result can be a serious problem for both adults and children who help them.
Back problems often surface in patients during the winter, especially those who are unaccustomed to participating in challenging physical activity on a regular basis," said Dr. Shaw. "Activities requiring exertion, such as winter sports or pushing a stranded car, can lead to back injuries. However, snow shoveling, slips and falls are still the top reasons patients present with back and muscle pain in the winter."

Chiropractors are experts in the area of back, muscle and joint disorders. As education and preparedness are the keys to avoiding or correcting these and other health problems, the College of Chiropractors of Alberta offers the following preventative tips:

1. Warm up. Before beginning any snow removal or strenuous winter activity, warm-up for five to ten minutes to get the joints moving and increase blood circulation. A good warm-up should include stretches for the back, shoulders, arms and legs. This will ensure that your body is ready for action.
2. Don’t let the snow pile up. Removing small amounts of snow on a frequent basis is less strenuous in the long run.
3. Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight push-style shovel. If you use a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first so snow won’t stick.
4. Push - don’t throw. Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it as much as possible. If you have to throw, avoid twisting and turning – position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.
5. Bend your knees. Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.
6. Watch the ice. Course sand, ice salt, ice melter, or even kitty litter can help to give your walk and drive ways more traction, reducing the chance of a slip or fall.
7. Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
8. Take a break. If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest or back pain.

Remember to “lift right, shovel light.” If you experience back pain related to winter activities, consult a chiropractor. For more information about chiropractic or to find a chiropractor near you, visit the College’s website at More health videos and health information are available at

Monday, September 05, 2005

Ageing in our communties. "Who can we depend on?"

The CLC Society announced today the launching of its next Public Forum Ageing in our communities. "Who can we depend on?" The trend toward community vs. institutional care is well estabished. More and more people are opting to stay at home, maintain an active life-style, denying retirement and the ailments of ageing. They expect their families and their community to be prepared...and to help them live out their years with dignity. But is the support there? Is it dependable?

The Seniors Forum on September 29th at the Arden Theatre in St. Albert in "free for all" and will feature a dynamic moderator, response panel and audience participation for revealing the reality of ageing in Alberta. The Forum will engage the audience in a lively exchange of views in the search for issues and RESOLUTIONS.

The evening will feature - the good, bad and the ugly...who is listenning?

About the Interactive Menu Planner

The interactive menu planner is designed to guide daily food and meal choices based on one day's calorie allowance. It may be used in advance to plan a meal, or at the end of a day to add up total calories, as well as fat, and carbohydrates consumed.
To Use the Menu Planner
Choose your total number of calories for the day, and then choose a meal. For each meal you are provided options of food choices according to the foods groups included in the American Dietetic Association (ADA) exchange list. Once you select a specific food item, you will also need to choose the number of servings consumed. The servings are based on the ADA exchange list. For example, if you consumed 3 oz. lean beef, you would enter 3 servings.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Exercise and Diet - Body-wide benefits

Studies that have followed the health of large groups of people for many years, as well as short-term studies of the physiologic effects of exercise, all point in the same direction: A sedentary (inactive) lifestyle increases the chances of becoming overweight and developing a number of chronic diseases. Exercise or regular physical activity helps many of the body's systems function better and keeps a host of diseases at bay. According to the US Surgeon General's report, Physical Activity and Health (1), regular physical activity:
improves your chances of living longer and living healthier
helps protect you from developing heart disease or its precursors, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
helps protect you from developing certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer
helps prevent or control type 2 diabetes (what was once called adult-onset diabetes) MORE...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Gerontechnology": the cutting edge of eldercare

• You have a chronic, life-threatening condition. The undershirt you wear monitors your heart rate, EKG, respiration and temperature, then alerts your doctor if there's a problem. This means you're able to continue living independently at home.
• An assisted-living facility combines pets, plants and live-in caregivers with residents who have advanced Alzheimer's. Rather than lock the doors to prevent residents from wandering away, the facility allows them to move around freely, thanks to tiny sensors that track each resident's movements. Residents' families monitor what's happening via their home computers, even from thousands of miles away.
• An 89-year-old woman with Alzheimer's lives at home for years beyond the norm because of a friendly voice that reminds her to brush her teeth (and how, if necessary), put her slip on before her dress, and take the frying pan off the stove if she forgets. Thus her 93-year-old husband is spared much of the exhaustion and health problems that are common when caring for a demented spouse.
Sound far-fetched? The reality is that these ideas — and many others — already exist or are on the drawing boards, spinning out of the laboratories and imaginations of a new kind of inventor — what one source calls "gerontechnologists" — whose purpose is to unleash the power of ubiquitous computing and turn high-tech research into new ways to care for frail older adults.
It comes in the nick of time. MORE…