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Archive for the ‘Medical News’ Category

Arthritis Quiz

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Arthritis Society of Canada has launched a new quiz to help raise awareness of arthritis in Canada.

Take the quiz here.

 

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Historically patients have been assessed using what is referred to as Body Mass Index (BMI) to assess their level of obesity.  Recently however a new scoring system has been developed in Edmonton, Alberta which will potentially help determine and prioritize which patients will receive weight loss surgery.  The system, called the Edmonton Obesity Staging System (EOSS) classifies patients based on different stages (0 to 4) as described below.

“Rather than BMI (a measure of weight), the Edmonton Obesity Staging System (EOSS) ranks severity of obesity based on clinical assessment of weight-related health problems, mental health and quality of life. We proposed that this system would provide a far better guide to clinical decision making than using BMI class alone.”

Stage 0: no apparent obesity-related risk factors (blood pressure, lipids, glucose, etc.), physical symptoms, psychopathology, functional limitations, or impairment of well-being

Stage 1: presence of obesity-related sub-clinical risk factors (elevated blood pressure, impaired fasting glucose, fatty liver, etc.), mild physical symptoms (dyspnea on moderate exertion, occasional aches and pains, etc.), mild psychopathology, mild functional limitations or mild impairment of well-being

Stage 2: presence of established obesity-related chronic disease like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, reflux disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, depression, anxiety disorder, moderate limitations in activities of daily living and/or well being.

Stage 3: established end-organ damage like myocardial infarction, diabetic complications, severe osteoarthritis, significant psychopathology, significant functional limitations and impairment of well-being

Stage 4: severe (end-stage?) disabilities from obesity-related chronic disease, severe disabling psychopathology, severe functional limitations and severe impairment of well-being

Thus, for e.g., a 24 year-old physically active female with a BMI of 32 with no measurable risk factors, functional limitations or self-esteem issues would have Class I, Stage 0 Obesity - benefits of treatment will be marginal or non-existent.

A 32 year-old male with BMI of 36 with hypertension and sleep apnea would have Class III, Stage 2 Obesity - definite indication for obesity treatment.

A 45 year-old female with BMI of 54 who is in a wheel chair because of severe gonarthritis with severe hypoventilaltion would have Class III, Stage 4 Obesity - will require aggressive obesity treatment unless deemed palliative.

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The Canadian Stroke Network – one of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence – is a unique collaborative effort that brings together researchers, students, government, industry and the non-profit sector. At present, the Network has more than 100 researchers at 24 universities across the country.

The Canadian Stroke Network, which began in 1999 with $4.7 million in seed funding from the federal government, is a not-for-profit corporation, governed by a Board of Directors and headquartered at the University of Ottawa.

The Network puts Canada at the forefront of stroke research through its multi-disciplinary research program, high-quality training for Canadian scientists and clinicians, and national and global partnerships.

The Canadian Stroke Network is dedicated to decreasing the physical, social and economic consequences of stroke on the individual and on society. In pursuit of this goal, it aims to:

  1. Promote research excellence
  2. Train researchers and practitioners
  3. Maximize health and economic benefits
  4. Build national consensus on stroke policy
  5. Create added value through partnerships
  6. Promote research excellence

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Alice’s Bucket List

If you haven’t heard about Alice’s Bucket List, you should have a look at her blog.  Alice is a 15 year old girl living in the United Kingdom who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  She is documenting her story on her blog which includes some of the items on her bucket list.  Alice writes:

I’m 15 and I have terminal cancer. I’ve created a bucket list because there are so many things I still want to do in my life … some are possible, some will remain a dream. My blog is to document this precious time with my family and friends, doing the things I want to do.

A bucket list is simply a list of the things you would like to do before you die.  Alice is obviously very brave and intelligent at the young age of 15 years old and she’s already knocked off a few items on the list.  Alice had the opportunity to meet Take That recently and we hope she can continue to do the things that make her happy.

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Dr. T. Jock Murray, professor emeritus at Dalhousie University, published an opinion piece in the Chronicle Herald discussing the controversial multiple sclerosis liberation therapy.

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) is a theory of Dr. Paolo Zamboni of Italy, who put forward some preliminary evidence that MS was related to obstruction in neck veins.

In conclusion, Dr. Murray expresses what many people likely feel about CCSVI in that they are hopeful it will be shown as a beneficial treatment.

We sincerely hope CCSVI will be shown to be beneficial for people with MS, but as with any therapy, a reasonable standard of evidence must be objectively presented before this treatment can be offered as patient treatment.

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There has been some controversy surrounding a relatively new surgical treatment for multiple sclerosis where the physician ‘unblocks’ veins in the neck.  The surgery treats a condition known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI).  It’s a relatively simple treatment and patients around the world have reported significant improvements in their quality of life after receiving this procedure.  The surgery is not available in Canada.

The theory behind the development of this surgery has been that the blocked neck veins are the cause of multiple sclerosis.  However, a new study released in the journal Neurology is calling that theory into question.  The information is still being considered but it may be that CCSVI is more the result of the disease or a contributing factor to getting multiple sclerosis than the root cause.

CBC News reports:

“These findings indicate that CCSVI does not have a primary role in causing MS,” said Zivadinov, who has worked with Zamboni.

Zamboni proposed that multiple sclerosis may be linked with vascular problems, and that using angioplasty, or ballooning, to open blocked neck veins can help treat MS symptoms by changing blood flow patterns.

“An increased prevalence in progressive as compared with relapsing disease leaves open the possibility that CCSVI may be playing a contributory role in, or be a consequence of, the disease, or may be age-related,” Dr. Robert Fox of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, wrote in a journal editorial accompanying the study.

As more studies and information become available, the picture will become clearer as to what is going on with the disease.

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This is an incredible and touching story about one family’s struggle and eventual success with their brilliant autistic child, Carly.

Follow Carly’s story by following her blog or on Twitter: @CarlysVoice

Medscape.com describes autism as:

Autism is a condition that manifests in early childhood and is characterized by qualitative abnormalities in social interactions, marked aberrant communication skills, and restricted repetitive and stereotyped behaviors.

Most individuals with autism also manifest mental retardation, typically moderate mental retardation with intelligence quotients (IQs) of 35-50 (approximate numbers). Although often difficult to evaluate with intelligence tests, three fourths of children with autism function in the mentally retarded range. Generally, the lower the IQ, the greater the likelihood of autism. However, the low functioning level hinders assessment for key characteristics of autism in individuals with profound mental retardation and IQs below approximately 20. A small portion of those with autism never develop spoken language. Thus, diagnostic instruments for autism may give spurious results in children with profound mental retardation.

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World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the founding of WHO.Each year, the Organization selects a key health issue, and encourages people from all ages and all backgrounds to hold events that highlight the signifi cance of this issue for good health and well-being. World Health Day provides a unique opportunity for communities from across the world to come together for one day to promote actions that can improve our health.

On World Health Day 2011,  the World Health Organization (WHO) will issue a call for action to halt the spread of antimicrobial resistance by introducing a  s ix-point pol i cy package for all countries to combat antimicrobial resistance.

WHO will call on everyone: policy-makers and planners,the public and patients,practitioners and prescribers,pharmacists and dispensers,the pharmaceutical industry.

For more information, go to:  www.who.int/world-health-day/2011 © World Health Organization 2011.

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Last week the Minister of Health announced a new registry for patients who have multiple sclerosis.

It is hoped that the new monitoring system will offer an improved understanding of disease patterns and use of treatments across Canada so health-care providers will be better able to deliver care.

The monitoring system will also track patients who travel out of country for a controversial vein-clearing technique pioneered by Italian researcher Dr. Paolo Zamboni, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada said.

The information collected might also be useful for determining the success of CCSVI treatments many patients are receiving outside of Canada, especially considering Dr. Zamboni’s recent warning to be cautious with CCSVI.

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We posted before about the dangers of exposure to radiation based on the recent events surrounding Japan’s nuclear power plants and now there are reports of patients seeking out potassium iodide tablets from their pharmacies.

Health Canada has posted a Question and Answer section on their website discussing the use of potassium iodide and The Toronto Star has an article stating that Health Canada is urging patients not to stockpile potassium iodide unnecessarily. [Note: highlights added to quote]

Q: If (potassium iodide is) available in pharmacies, is a prescription needed?

A: Potassium iodide is available from pharmacies without a prescription. However, authorities such as British Columbia’s senior Medical Officer have advised pharmacies not to sell potassium iodide to consumers who are worried about the effects of the radiation release in Japan as there is no evidence that it is necessary. Furthermore, there is a chance that people could harm themselves by taking it when they don’t need to. Inappropriate sales and stockpiling are also creating shortages that could adversely affect those consumers who have a real medical need for potassium iodide.

It is important to note that pharmacies in Nova Scotia have also been advised not to sell potassium iodide to patients who are worried about the effects of the radiation release in Japan.  If you are traveling to Japan or have a legitimate requirement for potassium iodide please consult with your health care provider

There are at least four pharmacies in Nova Scotia who provide potassium iodide tablets:

Bedford Pharmasave at The Ravines – 407-4373

Cochrane’s Pharmasave, Wolfville – 542-3624

Medicine Shoppe #172, New Glasgow – 752-0002

Medicine Shoppe #283, Halifax -  444-7702

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