Photo Credit: CBC

Talking about health : RCI’s recent reports on medical breakthroughs in Canada

You want to know more about the latest medical breakthroughs and studies in Canada? Read our recent articles on health and research.

Over half of doctors have symptoms of burn-out: survey

By Lynn DesjardinsMonday 28 August, 2017

A recent survey suggests that 54 per cent of Canadian doctors have symptoms of burn-out and it’s a problem that physicians themselves don’t like to talk about. This was a topic much discussed at the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association which represents more than 80,000 doctors… more

Mainly standing at work is bad for your heart: study

By Lynn Desjardins, Friday 25 August, 2017

There have been several studies recently that suggest sitting for too long is bad for your health, but a new one says standing could be even worse. People who work more than four or five hours a day standing have a higher risk of heart disease than those who sit and those who move around have the least riskmore

A new step towards beating the Zika virus

By Marc Montgomery, Tuesday 22 August, 2017

Evidence of Zika bearing mosquitos has been detected in many countries around the world. The disease first gained attention when detected in Brazil in 2015.
© James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Associated Press)

With some 70 countries now reporting evidence of mosquito-borne Zika, the disease has now become a world-wide concern. Current detection technology for the virus is limited in reliability and costly.  Researchers at Western University in Ontario have developed a faster, easier method that can also detect the presence of Zika long after initial symptoms and current detection becomes unreliable… more

A major survey of northern Indigenous health begins

By Lynn Desjardins, Monday 21 August, 2017

A Canadian research ship will enable a vast survey of the health of Inuit people living in 14 remote communities in Nunavik, a region of Arctic and sub-Arctic land in the province of Quebec. The results will help determine future needs for health services and prevention strategies. Because it is so remote, this region is often excluded from general health surveys… more

Problems identifying smells may predict Alzheimer’s: study

By Lynn Desjardins, Saturday 19 August, 2017

A new study out of McGill University suggests that testing someone’s ability to identify smells could reveal the presence of Alzheimer’s disease long before symptoms appear. This is important because early detection of dementia could eventually allow for early treatment to delay the onset of symptoms like memory loss. There is no such treatment yet but researchers are working hard to find one. more

Can smartphones track Parkinson’s better than doctors?

By Lynn Desjardins, Friday 11 August, 2017

© Massachusetts General Hospital

Researchers are studying the feasibility and accuracy of having patients use their smartphones to track the progression of their Parkinson’s disease and the effect of medication they are taking to slow it down. Parkinson’s is a degenerative brain disease that causes symptoms like tremors, loss of muscle control, depression, and cognitive impairmentmore

Stroke survivor’s risk lasts longer than was thought: study

By Lynn DesjardinsTuesday 25 July, 2017

© CBC

People who survive a stroke or mini-stroke in Canada are usually followed for about 90 days but new research suggests they are at elevated risk for at least five years... more

A first in Canada: major advance for patients with severe heart problems

By Marc MontgomeryMonday 17 July, 2017

Dr Essabag and the team involved in the first implantation of this new heart device.
Dr Essabag and the surgical team involved in the first implantation of this new heart device. © Patiricia Vasquez- MUHC

For those undergoing treatment for heart failure there’s a new advantage in health care treatment. A patient in Montreal has undergone the first operation in Canada in conjunction with a new technology for a Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (CRT-D). This new CRT-D device is the first which permits its use in conjunction with the valuable diagnostic tool of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)… more

Artificial sweeteners don’t help, may harm, suggests study

By Lynn DesjardinsMonday 17 July, 2017

© Jenny Kane/AP Photo

Artificial sweeteners may be associated with increased weight and a higher incidence of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Researchers analysed 37 studies involving more than 400,000 people who use artificial sweetenersmore

Delays in emergency surgery increase risk of death: study

By Lynn DesjardinsSaturday 15 July, 2017

Les chirurgiens à l'oeuvre
© Shutterstock

Cartilage is the pad that allows smooth joint operation and keeps bones separated from rubbing against each other. But cartilage doesn’t really repair itself very well at all and when damage happens, there’s been mitigated success in surgery to correct it. A new process has great promise and is about to begin clinical trials in several locations including London Ontario… more

A few drops of blood lead to a breakthrough in immunology

By Marc MontgomeryThursday 6 July, 2017

The image shows the FOXP3 protein (in yellow) in the nucleus of an activated human T lymphocyte cell from peripheral blood. Technique used: Confocal microscopy-flow cytometer
©  Ciriaco Piccirillo, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

A newly born child, just weeks old, had a severe auto-immune condition that could not be treated and which led irrevocably to his death. With just a few drops of the child’s blood, researchers led by a team in McGill University and the Research Institute-McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in Montreal, have painstakingly discovered the cause in a subset of so-called T-cells, and have created a solution that has major disease treatment implications… more

How long is the potential life expectancy of humans?

By Marc MontgomeryTuesday 4 July, 2017

Jeanne Calment, pictured in 1995 when she was 120 years old, holds the Guinness World Record for living the longest. She died in 1997 at age 122. A study last year said there was a biological limit of about 115 years for humans, a new study says it’s probably older.
© Jean-Paul Pelisser/Reuters

They are called “supercentarians”, those who live to be over 100 years old. They’re few and far between, but a new study says potentially more people could live well beyond 100… more

Potentially huge breakthrough in treating infections

By Marc MontgomeryThursday 22 June, 2017

Fungal biofilm formation The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (in red) produces a sticky sugar molecule (in green) in order to make its biofilm. It covers the fungus and allows it to stick to surfaces and tissues, making it difficult to remove and treat patients. Scientists from the Research Institute of the MUHC and SickKids have developed a new innovative technique aimed at destroying biofilms. Technique used: confocal fluorescent microscopy
© Brendan Snarr, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

Canadian researchers have made what holds promise as an enormous advance in fighting infections. Teams in Toronto (Sick Kids Hospital/U of T)  and Montreal combined their skills to develop a way to break through microbial defences, their “biofilm” which has long been a major hurdle in successful treatment of infections… more

Doctors establish pregnancy info website

By Lynn DesjardinsThursday 22 June, 2017

People around the world can now access a new website about pregnancy established by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). The society has for years published information for its doctor members but an email prompted its director to decide to make information available to everyone... more

1 in 2 Canadians will get cancer: report

By Levon SevuntsTuesday 20 June, 2017

Dr. Edward Sickles MD (R) and Larisa Gurilnik RT look at films of breast x-rays at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center August 18, 2005 in San Francisco, California.
© GI/Justin Sullivan

Almost every second Canadian is expected to be diagnosed with cancer during his or her lifetime, and one in four Canadians will die from the disease, according to a new report by the Canadian Cancer Societymore

Study shows brisk walk may ease a form of dementia

By Lynn DesjardinsSaturday 17 June, 2017

A brisk walk appears to improve brain function in people who have cognitive impairment related to diseased blood vessels, according to a recent study. So-called vascular cognitive impairment is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease... more

Campaign seeks to force drug makers to reveal benefits to doctors

By Lynn DesjardinsWednesday 14 June, 2017

Canada’s opiate crisis has given new impetus to efforts to oblige pharmaceutical companies to report all benefits they confer on doctors... more

Uneven help for stroke victims: report

By Lynn DesjardinsFriday 9 June, 2017

© Heart and Stroke Foundation

The latest report from Heart & Stroke Foundation found “extensive gaps in recovery support and services for Canadians who experience stroke at any age.”… more

Investigation finds a big hike in youth demand for mental health care

By Lynn DesjardinsSaturday 3 June, 2017

A joint investigation by the Toronto Star newspaper and the Ryerson School of journalism has found “an unprecedented demand for mental health services among young people.”more

Early detection of possible dementia: simply walking and talking at the same time

By Marc MontgomeryMonday 29 May, 2017

Study participant Roy Bratty, 82, demonstrates the walking and talking gait test with Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso,a Lawson scientist, geriatrician at St. Joseph’s Health Care London, and associate professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.
© Lawson Health Research Institute

It’s a simple test, but it turns out that it’s also a fairly effective one. Patients with mild-cognitive disorder are being asked to walk a short distance while performing a very simple mental task such as naming various animals… more

Summer sun and skin cancer

By Marc MontgomeryThursday 18 May, 2017

An uneven border and varied colours are some of the hallmarks of melanoma.
© The Canadian Press

It’s getting much warmer in the northern hemisphere as hot summer-like weather begins. People are shedding sweaters and long-sleeve shirts for lighter attire and are exposing more skin to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation rays. (UVR). Two studies have now shown that the rate of skin cancer, melanoma, continues to rise among Canadians... more

Artificial intelligence may help diagnose tuberculosis in Canada’s remote communities

By Levon SevuntsWednesday 17 May, 2017

Researchers are training artificial intelligence models to identify tuberculosis (TB) on chest X-rays, which may help screening and evaluation efforts in TB-prevalent areas with limited access to radiologists, according to a new study.
© Radiological Society of North America

Artificial intelligence systems that have been trained to identify tuberculosis on chest X-rays could help combat the potentially deadly disease in remote areas, particularly in Canada’s northern communities that suffer from high prevalence of TB and have limited access to qualified radiologists, according to a new study... more

Climate change exacerbates mental health problems in Labrador’s Inuit communities

By Levon SevuntsMonday 15 May, 2017

Ashlee Cunsolo, director of the Labrador Institute of Memorial University, presented her research at the World Health Summit in Montreal on May 9, 2017.
Ashlee Cunsolo, director of the Labrador Institute of Memorial University, presented her research at the World Health Summit in Montreal on May 9, 2017. © Lino Cipresso

Climate change is causing tremendous pain and distress in Inuit communities in northern Labrador, compounding already complex mental health issues caused by the intergenerational trauma of colonization, forced relocation and the legacy of residential schools, according to new Canadian research... more

How to improve Canada’s vaccination rate

By Lynn DesjardinsSaturday 13 May, 2017

Some 19 percent of Canadians still think there is a link between vaccinations and autism, though this has been disproven.
Some 19 percent of Canadians still think there is a link between vaccinations and autism, though this has been disproven. © CBC

Recent outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough suggest not enough Canadian children are getting all of their vaccinations and something should be done about it. The estimate is that about 85 per cent of children are fully immunized when that number should be more like 90-95 per centmore

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