Parachute is a national charitable organization that aims to bring attention to the issue of preventable injury and help Canadians reduce their risk of injury. Preventable injuries kill more young people than all other causes combined, and are responsible for 35 per cent of all injury hospitalizations for seniors. Parachute’s goals are to actively share leading practices and policy models that have proven success in reducing injuries, and to develop an evidence-based framework for injury prevention that serves as a guide for federal, provincial, territorial and local policy-makers. For more information, call 1-888-537-7777.
Water: The secret weapon against osteoarthritis
Cartilage is made mostly of water, so does water hold a clue as to how cartilage breaks down and osteoarthritis develops? Trying to answer this question is Dr. Peter Kannu at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, who is spending three years studying “aquaporins”—water channels that open and close, regulating the water entering and leaving cells. Dr. Kannu and his team are hoping that by examining the role water channels might play, they will be able to prevent or reduce the impact of osteoarthritis.
High risk, high reward
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has big plans and $50 million. The not-for-profit organization is investing that money into a research institute for neurodegenerative diseases. In the trustees’ words, the Foundation will fund “high risk, high reward” projects in order to accelerate breakthroughs in treatments for diseases of aging of the brain. More information at westonfoundation.org and on twitter @WestonBrain
Bionic eye helps the blind to see
A new device promises to return some sight to those with degenerative eye disease. The Argus II is a retinal implant for those with retinitis pigmentosa. The user’s retina is implanted with a tiny electrode that receives images detected by a visual processing unit. The information is collected by the optic nerve through electrical stimulation and passed to the brain’s visual cortex. Second Sight, the company behind the device, has also begun working on the Argus III, which will use 240 electrodes compared with the current 60; this will potentially allow patients to see enough detail to recognize faces. The company’s challenge: Keeping it tiny!
Can coffee beat Parkinson’s disease?
The popular morning pick-me-up has been recognized for its role in reducing the risk of Parkinson’s disease. New research, unveiled on World Parkinson’s Day, suggests that the risk of developing the disease might actually be lowered (most noticeably in men) in those who regularly drink coffee each day.
Is arthritis linked to a parent’s addictions?
Recent research from the University of Toronto indicates there might be a strong link between a parental drug or alcohol addiction and their adult child’s development of arthritis. Professors Esme Fuller-Thomson and Sandra Rotman have found that, even adjusting for various factors, a child has a 30 per cent higher chance of developing arthritis later in life if his or her parents are addicts.
Sharpshooting cancer drugs
A new generation of drugs are taking aim at an enzyme called PLK4, which plays a role in cell division. One hundred researchers in Canada, the USA and China have developed a drug for women’s cancers known as CFI-400945, at a cost so far of $40 million (raised by 10 years of fundraising walks to end women’s cancers, plus private and corporate donors). Dr. Tak Mak of the Princess Margaret in Toronto says that animal tests in ovarian cancer have produced significant results.
Findings published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine show that disability is linked to a higher risk of being obese and having chronic illnesses. In addition, people with disabilities related to mobility are twice as likely to be prescribed medication for hypertension, and have more issues with cholesterol and diabetes. Why? The researchers’ conclusions: People with disabilities are underserved by health providers to manage their weight. Statistics show that 42 per cent of those with mobility issues are obese. Source: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston