Climate Change, Extreme Heat and Health | SMCC Backgrounder

  There is no denying it and no doubt about it: our planet is warming and climate change is well underway, around the world and right here in Canada. And extreme heat events are one of the consequences. Periods of extreme heat are uncomfortable, but they can also exacerbate existing health conditions, such as asthma, and […]

Palliative care viewed as a stigma, despite improving quality of life

Canadians with cancer and their caregivers, associate “palliative care” with impending death, and consequently are not taking advantage of the benefits  early palliative care can bring to a patients’ quality of life, according to the authors of a new study. Originally, in the 1960s, palliative care referred to end-of-life care, mainly for cancer patients. The […]

New research on the Zika virus

  Further evidence is linking the Zika virus to fetal brain damage and now to serious neurological disease in adults. In the first paper researchers performed brain scans on 23 babies born to mothers thought to be infected with Zika. The scans revealed a majority of the babies had severe brain malformation and scar-like lesions […]

Restoring movement to a quadriplegic patient

Researchers have successfully restored some movement to the fingers, hand, and wrist of a quadriplegic patient by using recorded signals from his motor cortex, allowing him to perform daily living activities such as pouring from a bottle and stirring the contents. Systems that work by translating neural activity into signals for robotic devices, such as […]

Successfully creating insulin-producing beta cells in the lab

Researchers have created insulin-producing cells in a petri dish for the first time, moving closer to finding a potential cure for diabetes. The researchers discovered a switch that makes it “possible to produce a functional human beta cell that’s responding almost as well as the natural thing,” according to Ronald Evans, senior author and a […]

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 […]

Call to use more fiber in fiber research studies

Eating more fiber may help restore diversity in our gut microbes, according to researchers at the University of Alberta. In a commentary the researchers advocate for strategically increasing dietary fiber intake to close the “fiber gap” most Westerners have in their diet. They pointed to evidence showing a more diverse microbial population benefits not only […]

Celebrate the International Year of the Pulse every day and who know’s what you’ll lose

  Eating just one serving of beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils a day could help contribute to a modest weight loss, according to a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Researchers founding eating 130 grams (or ¾ of a cup) of the food group known as pulses each day led to just over half a pound of […]

Tracking RNA in real time

By modifying the CRISPR-Cas9 system, typically used for genetic editing, researchers are able to visually track the movement of RNA in living cells. The researchers believe this could be used to study disease-related RNA processes. Many diseases are related to errors in RNA and RNA transcription, such as different cancers and autism. In the future […]

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 […]

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 […]

Strengthening the link between Zika and microcephaly

Evidence supporting the link between the Zika virus and microcephaly has been found in a retrospective study of the outbreak in French Polynesia between October, 2013 and April, 2014. Researchers examined medical records to find cases of microcephaly between September, 2013 and July, 2015. They found eight cases of microcephaly during this time, seven of […]

Improving the cellular backpack

Medicine can be delivered to specific parts of the body by fitting it inside a “backpack” and attaching it to white blood cells. This targeted drug delivery means other tissues of the body aren’t affected, and side effects are limited.  Original research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society on March 17, 2015.

Screening for lung cancer – New Canadian guidelines

New lung cancer screening guidelines have been released by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. The guidelines take into account the latest evidence and aim to balance the benefits of early detection against the harms caused by overdiagnosis and invasive testing. The new guidelines recommend annual CT scans for adults aged 55-74 years […]

Improving cataracts outcome using stem cells

A new study is showing that preserving the stem cells within the eye might be a more effective way to treat cataracts, at least in children. Researchers surgically removed the damaged lens using a new technique that allowed them to preserve the lens epithelial stem cells. The minimally invasive surgery facilitated functional lens regeneration in […]

Meat -­ The great evolutionary kickstarter

It was the addition of meat into the human diet, along with tool use, that could have contributed to our ancient ancestors’ improved speech and the ability to regulate body temperature, researchers suggest. In the past the cooking of food was thought to drive the changes in tooth size and facial features of our ancestors. […]

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