Categories: National News

Health Monitor

Health Canada wants every Canadian who has ever had a questionable health or safety experience with a commercial product to report it to both the agency and the manufacturer, no matter when it was.

The statement comes on the heels of a national poll that found approximately one-third of Canadians have purchased products that were found unsafe.

“While it is the responsibility of industry to ensure that the consumer products they manufacture, import, sell or advertise in Canada are compliant with the Hazardous Products Act and its regulations, consumers have an important role to play as well,” the agency said in a press release.

More information means a faster, more thorough response to complaints of unsafe products and their subsequent recall from the market, as well as being able to inform the public of their risks sooner and how best to repair or dispose of them.

Incident report forms are available at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/reportproduct that can be used to alert Health Canada of any concerns. Consumers can stay up to date with email blasts of product recalls by registering for Consumer Product Safety News at www.hc-sc.gc.ca. The website also contains a Consumer Product Recalls Database that lists all recall items. Alternatively users can download a desktop widget at www.hc-sc.gc.ca or follow Health Canada on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthcanada.

Health Canada has released updated guidelines about how much synthetic caffeine can be added to non-cola soft drinks.

After “an extensive review of all available science,” the public health agency has determined that synthetic caffeine in non-cola soft drinks cannot contain concentrations of more than 150 parts per million (ppm). The concentration is still lower than the 200-ppm authorized under the Food and Drug Regulations for cola beverages. The existing prohibitions banning the addition of synthetic caffeine to all other foods remain in place. The new guidelines are similar to existing standards in the United States and Europe.

Producers will be able to start using caffeine in non-cola soft drinks immediately through an Interim Marketing Authorization (IMA) while regulatory changes are being drafted.

Health Canada called on manufacturers to go above and beyond what is required in labelling their products and declare the presence of caffeine on the front of a product package identifying the newly caffeinated beverage formulas instead of simply labelling caffeine as an ingredient or food additive. The agency said such a move would help educate consumers as to which products now contain caffeine that did not previously.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) isn’t just embarrassing for men — it can also be an early predictor of death and cardiovascular outcomes, according to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

No previous study has ever examined ED as a predictor of death, but a team of German researchers took on the issue and found that men who have both cardiovascular disease and ED, when compared to men who did not have ED, were twice as likely to die from all causes and 1.6 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and heart failure. Specifically:

• they were 1.9 times more like to die from cardiovascular disease;

• twice as likely to die from a heart attack;

• 1.2 times more likely to be hospitalized for heart failure; and,

• 1.1 times more likely to have a stroke.

The research also found that while appropriate medication can help in high-risk individuals, it did not influence the course or development of ED.

The study included 1,519 men from 13 countries. Those with ED were categorized as having mild, mild-to-moderate, moderate or severe cases. Questionnaires were distributed asking about their ED at the time of initial visit, two years later or after five years.

Researchers found those with ED were older and had a high prevalence of hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and lower urinary tract surgery than those who did not have ED. Deaths from all causes occurred in 11.3 per cent of men with ED, compared to 5.6 per cent of men without. Cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke and heart failure hospitalization occurred in 16.2 per cent of ED patients compared to 10.3 per cent of patients with mild or no ED.

Michael Böhm, lead author, said both men and doctors need to be more attentive when confronted with ED as most men simply go see their family doctor or a urologist to get medication when the disease first develops.

“The medication works and the patient doesn’t show up anymore. These men are being treated for the ED, but no the underlying cardiovascular disease. A whole segment of men is being placed at risk.”

Standard X-rays are often inconclusive when it comes to diagnosing hip and pelvic fractures in emergency departments, according to the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

A study performed at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. had 92 patients go through both X-rays and an MRI to have pelvic and hip pain evaluated. Thirteen patients who had normal X-rays were found to have 23 fractures that showed up in the MRI.

Additionally 11 patients with abnormal X-rays were found in the MRI to have no fractures at all while 15 patients with abnormal X-ray findings had 12 additional pelvic fractures identified in the MRI that were not found in the X-ray.

“Use of MRI in patients with a strong clinical suspicion of traumatic injury but unimpressive X-rays has a substantial advantage in the detection of pelvic and hip fractures, helping to steer patients to appropriate medical and surgical therapy,” wrote study author Dr. Charles Spritzer.

St. Albert Gazette: The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.