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AI predicts treatment effectiveness

With the goal of replacing some randomized trials with modelling, Finnish researchers hope to open up significant new avenues in medical research. In a newly published study to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for obstructive sleep apnea, the researchers used modelling to compare different treatments and identify patients who will benefit. Researchers think that this method can also be applied in other areas of medicine. Findings were reported in Healthcare Informatics Research.

3D printers may revolutionize pill making

Researchers in the UK and pharmaceutical companies worldwide are exploring 3D printing of pills. It seems unlikely in the medium term, but there could be interesting low-volume or custom opportunities.

Current technology allows for the production of up to 1.6 million tablets an hour, according to experts, so 3D printing – with a capacity of only tens of thousands a day – is not yet ready for mass production. However, one major advantage of the technology is the possibility of redistributed manufacturing and design. You could design a tablet in the UK, for example, and print it in California. Consider being able to access hospitals in war zones or areas hit by extreme weather incidents, or designing polypills that are customized with combination fixed-dose formulations.

Napping on the job

Beyond the obvious benefits of rest and relaxation, Chinese researchers have found that naps can also improve cognitive performance, reaction times, visuospatial attention, mood and memory. The ideal nap time? No more than an hour, after lunch.

Who will care for Canada’s caregivers?

Time is not on our side. So says Benjamin Tal, managing director and chief economist at CIBC. Today’s direct and indirect costs of caregiving are close to $33 billion a year. And statistics show that the weight of caregiving for seniors will only intensify in the coming years. In a piece for The Globe and Mail published in February, Tal acknowledged both the disproportionate brunt of costs borne by family members—particularly women—and the serious out-of-pocket expenses that are just the tip of the iceberg. Tal also suggested that the biggest potential area of damage is the amount of time taken up by caregiving work—the average now sits at 450 working hours a year, or roughly eight hours a week. In a call for a better and more coordinated approach to caregiving, he suggests both adequate subsidized training for caregivers and providing better government support beyond tax credits, which only benefit higher-income earners.

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Food guide falls short

For those who are frail or living with a chronic illness, it has been suggested that the most recent version of Canada’s Food Guide is not quite juicy enough. According to Dr. Heather Keller from the Schlegel–UW Research Institute for Aging, the guide misses the mark for those who are infirm or frail and perhaps need it most.

Dr. Keller says she is hopeful that more detailed information will soon become available on how the guide can be adapted to vulnerable populations, including older adults and those in health care facilities.

A call for inclusion

No matter what community you are a member of or working with, people with disabilities are going to be a part of it. Valuing the expertise of individuals with disabilities is key to building a successful and accessible workplace. Experts remind us to hire consultants and retain employees living with disabilities, as well as to review marketing materials and event plans for inclusivity.

Spotlight on…

DeafBlind Ontario Services

DeafBlind Ontario Services believes that, with a helping hand and supportive touch, individuals who are deafblind can increase their independence on their own terms. The organization strives to help those who are deafblind to improve their quality of life through specialized services that assist individuals in developing the ability to express their needs, communicate effectively and build the life skills needed to thrive.

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