40% of opioid prescriptions in Ontario still above new national guidelines, report finds

Opioid prescribing practices in Ontario are becoming safer, but many patients with existing prescriptions before the introduction of the new guidelines are still receiving higher doses of the painkiller, report finds. Researchers also found that patients from lower socioeconomic groups are still overrepresented among those seeking treatment for opioid addiction and dying of an opioid-related […]

Obesity rising in least walkable Ontario neighborhoods

Obesity rates are rising in neighbourhoods in Southern Ontario with low walkability ratings, while in highly walkable neighbourhoods obesity rates remain steady. There was also a fall in the rate of new diabetes cases in the more walkable neighbourhoods, according to the results of a new study. The study examined patterns of obesity, diabetes, and […]

Image by Matthias Müller via Flickr CC2.0

High death rate among previously incarcerated Canadians

Individuals who have been incarcerated have an overall shorter life expectancy than the average Canadian, as well as a far greater likelihood of dying due to an overdose. Authors of a new Canadian study believe the consistently high death rate, both while in custody and after release, suggests this is not simply a result of […]

People with disease-causing mutations who remain mysteriously healthy

Researchers have identified 13 people who appear to be healthy, despite carrying genetic mutations associated with severe childhood disease. Researchers identified these individuals after performing genomic analysis on more than half a million people. The team believes their study provides a first step toward pinpointing genetic variants that may protect against childhood diseases currently thought to […]

Prenatal sex selection?

Indian-born women who already have two daughters are significantly more likely to have a son after moving to Canada, which the researchers and the author of an accompanying commentary believe shows “prenatal sex selection is likely present among first-generation immigrants to Canada from India and provide strong evidence that suggests induced abortions are being used […]

Liang Bua, a limestone cave on the Indonesian island of Flores. (Image credit: Liang Bua Team)

Revising the age of the Hobbit

A new paper suggests that “hobbits” or Homo floresiensis (nicknamed the hobbit for its physical stature) lived longer ago than previously thought, and that they may not have encountered modern humans. Researchers used new chronological and stratigraphic information from the Liang Bua cave in Indonesia to make this claim. Previous dates suggested floresiensis used the […]

Learning from the naked mole rat

When most mammals, including humans, are in a low-oxygen environment they begin to hyperventilate to increase their oxygen uptake. However this is an energetically costly way to increase oxygen levels in the body. The naked mole rat is unique from other mammals; when it is exposed to hypoxia (low oxygen levels) it does not begin […]

The next miracle cure – exercise

Physical activity and specific exercises have been shown to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of many chronic health conditions such as knee osteoarthritis, low back pain, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However a new review shows these exercises are being under-prescribed by physicians. The authors suggest this is due to a lack of […]

A skeleton of an early Neandertal ancestor from Sima de los Huesos, a unique cave site in Northern Spain. (Image credit: Javier Trueba, MADRID SCIENTIFIC FILMS)

Filling in the family tree: The Sima de los Huesos hominins

Hominins found in the Sima de los Huesos (“pit of bones”) in northern Spain are more closely related to Denisovans than Neanderthals, according to genetic analysis. Until now it has been unclear how the 28 individuals were related to other hominins living during the Late Pleistocene. Analyzing the mitochondrial DNA lead the authors to conclude […]

Poor health in prisons

Canadians in jails and prisons are more likely to have mental health or substance abuse issues compared to the general population, according to a review of the available evidence. Additionally Canadians in jail or prison are more likely to attempt suicide. More than half of the individuals incarcerated in federal or provincial prisons and jails […]

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