Frontlines

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Frontlines

Sauna bathing as therapy

A good sweat can help stave off heart disease, stroke and even dementia, according to researchers from the University of Eastern Finland. After tracking more than 2,300 men for longer than two decades, it was found that participants who took four sauna sessions a week over a two-month period had a 63 per cent decrease in deaths from heart attacks and stroke and a 66 per cent reduction in cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers also noticed improvements in blood pressure, blood flow and heart function with what they called “passive heat therapy.”
Source: University of Eastern Finland

More drugs, more hospital visits?

The risk of having a hospital visit climbs with each additional medication prescribed, according to a new study from the University of Toronto. With the average senior taking seven different drugs each year, the study suggests a second look at some drugs which are inappropriate under specialist guidelines. “We’ve found a red warning belt. It’s become excessive,” says Dr Cara Tannenbaum,
a professor of Geriatrics at the University of Montreal and co-director of The Canadian Deprescribing Network.
Source: The Canadian Deprescribing Network

An artificial pancreas

Researchers at Cambridge University have built an artificial pancreas with a sensor that can automatically test blood sugar levels and add insulin when needed unlike other devices that can perform only one function or the other.
Source: University of Cambridge

Self-driving tech for wheelchairs

Autonomous and affordable wheelchair technology that could be retrofitted to any existing electric wheelchair has been developed by Canadian firm Cyberworks Robotics, in collaboration with the University of Toronto and Université de Sherbrooke. The navigational system uses inexpensive RGB-D sensors and automatically charts courses to avoid objects, travel smoothly through open doors, and perform other typical functions that usually require user input for mobility devices. Cyberworks is working actively to make the new tech commercially available and claims the product they’ve developed will have a total cost of between $300 to $700.
Source: Cyberworks Robotics

Can dogs smell prostate cancer?

Evidently so… and with near-perfect accuracy, suggests Dr. Claire Guest, co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, a charity based in Buckinghamshire, UK. A 2015 study had two German Shepherds sniff urine samples of 900 men, 360 of whom had prostate cancer. With a 98 per cent success ratio, the test dogs were able to detect which samples contained prostate cancer specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Source: Humanitas Clinical and Research Centre

Book lovers live longer

Surprisingly, research by Yale University has found that bookworms live nearly two years longer than those who do not read. The study, published in Social Science and Medicine, reported that “Book readers experienced a 20 per cent reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow-up compared to non-book readers.” It seems like a book a day might keep the doctor away.
Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

Spotlight on…

mindyourmind impacts systems change by increasing the capacity of young people to reach out, get help and give help. It’s a space where technology, wellness, engagement and research-informed innovation meet. Based in London, Ontario, mindyourmind facilitators use a design studio model with young people aged 14-29 to co-create tools and innovative resources to build capacity and resilience. Young people work directly with content experts and designers to brainstorm, create and develop projects to promote wellness, reduce the stigma around mental health, and increase access to both professional and peer-based community supports. There’s even a “smoothie” video to explain how the group’s engagement approach works and its impact on the mental wellbeing of Canadian youth.

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