Health Monitor


A new report out of England ranks Canada 13th out of 14 countries when it comes to introducing cancer drugs that have been launched within the last five years.

The report, entitled “Extent and Causes of International Variations in Drug Usage,” was requested to ensure doctors in England were providing adequate care for their patients.

The study only confirms what the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada (CACC) has been saying for years, Dr. Khong Khoo, CACC’s vice-president said in a statement. “Our citizens do not have reasonable, timely access to the newest, most effective cancer drugs.”

Without access to newer drugs, the report contends that patients end up bouncing from one ineffective treatment to another when newer drugs can actually achieve the desired outcome. Patients in Canada who want access to drugs not yet available in the country are faced with astronomic costs for drugs that are not covered either by the provinces or by insurance providers.

“During cancer treatment a person needs to focus on their health. It is not a time for a patient to worry about how they are going to pay for the drugs,” said Aaron Levo, acting director of the Canadian Cancer Society. “This is simply unacceptable.”

Only New Zealand finished worse than Canada in the rankings with England placed 12th. France, Austria and the United States rounded out the top three spots.

Ninety per cent of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease have what researchers refer to as a signature of three specific biomarkers in their cerebrospinal fluid, according to the newest issue of the Archives of Neurology.

The same signature was also found in one-third of older adults with normal cognitive function, researchers said. The markers are three different kinds of proteins. Because the start of the disease has been speculated to begin as early as 10 years before any symptoms emerge, researchers said it is difficult to say these proteins are true indicators of disease onset.

Researchers at a Belgian university examined data from more than 400 patients, with half displaying mild cognitive impairment and one-quarter diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The researchers first examined concentrations of the three proteins without knowing the health status of the participant. Once signatures associated with having Alzheimer’s or being healthy, the patients were examined. Ninety percent of those with Alzheimer’s had the signature associated with the disease.

The researchers stated that the fact one-third of patients with no cognitive impairment showed the signature is proof that Alzheimer’s might be detectable even earlier than thought and that more study is needed.

The bigger the belly, the greater chance of dying in nine years. It’s as simple as that, according to the latest issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

The massive study on the correlation of waist-size and mortality is the latest on top of a pile of research that found that waist size can be linked to higher blood pressure, insulin resistance, Type II diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.

The American Cancer Society used a sample pool of 48,500 men and 56,343 women aged 50 or older, each of whom had filled out an earlier questionnaire. Deaths and cause of death were recorded until 2006, during which time 9,315 men and 5,332 women died.

Overall, researchers found that men with waists 120 centimetres in circumference and women with a measurement of 110 centimetres were twice as likely to die during the study period. The researchers also took each person’s body mass index (BMI) into account and found that even individuals with a normal BMI with very large waists were at higher risk of dying. This was even truer when it came to women with a large waist, a finding researchers found perplexing.

The authors suggested it was time to start using abdominal size as a factor in evaluating obese patients’ health instead of relying on someone’s BMI.

Women who are ovulating are more likely to buy sexier clothing compared to women who are not ovulating, a new study out of the University of Minnesota found.

Using evolutionary thinking, the researchers wondered if women who were actively fertile were more likely to “dress to impress” the opposite sex and “outdo attractive rival women.”

The study, which will be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, had women who were ovulating look at pictures of attractive women who lived locally, unattractive women who lived locally and attractive women who lived more than 1,000 miles away. They were then asked to pick out some items of clothing and accessories they would likely buy for themselves. Ovulating women who saw pictures of local, attractive women chose sexier items than those who saw other pictures. Non-ovulating women did not respond in the same fashion.


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St. Albert Gazette

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