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Newsletter. Issue 2008-23. November 08, 2008
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Health & Wellness

Diabetes And Heart Disease: A Deadly Partnership

Campaign targets baby-boomers to reverse the trend

TORONTO, Nov. 3 /CNW/ - This November, the Canadian Diabetes Association wants you to know that small lifestyle changes can make a big difference. The fact is, today only one in five people living with diabetes will survive heart disease. It is essential that Canadians living with and at risk of diabetes improve their chances of survival by making healthy lifestyle choices everyday.

Currently 2.4 million Canadians are affected by diabetes. By 2010 that number will rise to more than 3 million. In addition, more than 6 million Canadians are living with prediabetes, which increases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Many people have undiagnosed diabetes for years but don't know it. Studies have shown that, on average, people have type 2 diabetes for up to 7 years before diagnosis. During this time, high blood glucose levels can cause serious complications, including heart disease. "Most Canadians aren't aware that heart disease is a serious complication of diabetes," said Ellen Malcolmson, President and CEO, Canadian Diabetes Association. "The good news is that we can all do better. In fact, Canadians can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by over 50 per cent by getting active, losing weight and eating right."

Whether you are someone living with diabetes, or one of the millions of Canadians age 40 and over and at risk, visit getserious.ca to learn how you can reverse the trend. The site includes a questionnaire that will tell you your current cardiovascular age and level of risk, and offers prevention and management tips. We can all do better. This November, learn how you can reverse the trend at getserious.ca.

The Canadian Diabetes Association works in communities across the country to promote the health of Canadians and eliminate diabetes through our strong nationwide network of volunteers, employees, healthcare professionals, researchers, partners and supporters. In the struggle against this global epidemic, our expertise is recognized around the world. The Canadian Diabetes Association: setting the world standard. To learn more, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).


Let ?Flat Belly Diet? help you loose weight
October 29th, 2008
By Bupha Ravirot

A new diet book ?Flat Belly Diet? says best way to loose weight is eating on a diet, targeting belly fat specifically. Liz Vaccariello and, Cynthia Sass, the authors are the editor from health magazine ?Prevention?, said that this kind of diet involves consuming monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs.

Regaring the book, MUFAs is plant-based fats found in some of the world?s most delicious foods. Studies found the fats strengthen heart health and protect against chronic disease. There are 2 processes involving in the diet. First stage takes four days and is designed to help eliminate belly bloat and get dieters ready for the next stage. The second part involves eating four 400-calorie meals per day which contain foods rich in MUFAs along with ongoing motivation.

The book includes food groups categories, sample recipes for breakfast lunch and dinner, optional fitness plan is also included and guidance from the authors. Users can also go for website flatbellydiet.com which comes along with the book which helps users to customize their own plans for diet. Support community and offering daily menus, recipes, videos, shopping lists are all included in the website.

Some MUFA oils are found in fry food such as canola oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, peanut oil, pesto sauce, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and walnut oil.
The book sells for $25.95 from publisher Rodale Books.


Knowing Multiple Languages 'Protects Brain Against Ageing'

Washington (PTI): Here's an advice for parents!

Pester your kid to learn at least two to three languages, (including Konkani !) for a new study says that it could be beneficial for the toddler's mental health later in life. An international team, led by researchers at Tel Aviv University, has carried out the study and found that knowing multiple languages protects the children's brain against the effects of ageing in old age.

According to the researchers, a person who speaks more languages is likely to be more clear-minded at an older age -- in effect, "exercising" his or her brain more than those who are monolingual. And, this is because languages create new links in the brain, contributing to this strengthening effect.

Lead researcher Dr Gitit Kave said: "There is no sure-fire recipe for avoiding the pitfalls of mental ageing. But using a second or third language may help prolong the good years." The researchers have based their findings on a survey taken in 1989 on people between the ages of 75 and 95.

Each person was asked how many languages he or she knew, what his or her mother tongue was, and which language he or she spoke best. The researchers compared bilingual speakers to tri and multilingual speakers.

Analysing the results, they found the more languages a person spoke, the better his or her cognitive state was. In fact, a person's level of education was also strongly associated with cognitive state but the number of languages contributed to the prediction of cognitive fitness beyond the effect of education alone.

"We found that more languages were most significantly correlated with cognitive state in those people who had no education at all," Dr Kave said.

The study has been published in the 'Psychology and Ageing' journal.


Health Canada Comments on Study Relating to the Safety of Aspartame

Health Canada scientists have reviewed the published data from a recent research study of aspartame. The European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Science published results of their study in the European Journal of Oncology in June, 2005 and in Environmental Health Perspectives on November 17, 2005.

Health Canada scientists concluded that the reported findings did not indicate a need to change the existing restrictions on use of aspartame already outlined in the Food and Drug Regulations. Health Canada also requested the complete set of raw data from the Foundation to permit a comprehensive analysis. These data were received on April 10, 2006, and are currently being analyzed.

In the meantime, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was requested by the European Commission to review the study. On May 5, 2006, EFSA released the report of its Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food. The Panel concluded "on the basis of all the evidence currently available, that there is no need to further review the safety of aspartame nor to revise the previously established Acceptable Daily Intake."

This conclusion supports Health Canada's initial assessment of this study. Nonetheless, Health Canada will continue with its comprehensive analysis of the raw data recently received.

Aspartame is a non-nutritive sweetener first approved for use in foods and as a table top sweetener in Canada in 1981. Health Canada scientists evaluated an extensive array of toxicological tests in laboratory animals, and more recently, a large number of clinical studies in humans. Aspartame is also currently permitted for use as a sweetener in food in many countries and its safety has been carefully examined by health authorities and international expert groups around the world.

The overwhelming body of scientific evidence continues to support the safety of this sweetener, when used according to the provisions of the Food and Drug Regulations. However, as is the case whenever new information concerning the safety of a product arises, this new data will be carefully reviewed. Should any conclusive evidence be found linking the consumption of aspartame to adverse health effects, Health Canada will take appropriate action.

Bureau of Chemical Safety
Food Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch
Health Canada

See also: Artificial Sweeteners


Artery Hardening Worse Among Immigrants: Study
Mon Oct 27, 12:00 PM

The longer immigrants stay in Canada, the worse their cardiovascular health and risk of premature death becomes, say researchers who suspect the stress of settling down could be part of the problem.

At the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto on Monday, Prof. Scott Lear, a kinesiologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver presented his research on atherosclerosis - or narrowing of the arteries that is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke - in a group of 618 Chinese, South Asia and Europeans, 460 of whom were born outside of Canada.

When Lear and his colleagues used ultrasound in a well-established method to measure the thickness of each participant's carotid artery - the vessel in the neck often used for finding a pulse - they found that as time in Canada increased, the immigrants' risk of atherosclerosis surpassed that of people of the same ethnic background who were born in Canada.

"We don't want people to think 'Come to Canada and die,' " said Lear. "But there is something going on. Immigrants are very healthy when they first come to Canada, but as their time here increases, so does their cardiovascular risk."

Immigrants start out healthy since they must pass a medical screening as part of the immigration process. But the deterioration held true after accounting for other risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as age, gender, family history and hypertension, the researchers said. The health of immigrants worsened with each decade of stay in Canada.

Lear speculated that stress of coming to a new country, finding a place to stay and earn a reliable income, as well as language and cultural barriers, may explain why the health of new immigrants deteriorates.

"While setting in Canada, don't forget about your health," said Dr. Chi-Ming Chow, a spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and a cardiologist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. "Without your health, you can't take care of your family."

Chow, who immigrated to Canada with his family before studying medicine, said the results highlight what he sees in his practice, where patients may be learning English as a working language.

Newcomers are going through a vulnerable period in their lives, and may be so busy that they don't eat nutritious meals and turn to fast food, have less time to exercise, and skip out on having physicals or blood pressure checks, Chow said.


Scotiabank study confirms Canadians Seek More Information on the Tax Free Savings Account

- Scotiabank has the financial advisors and online tools to provide Canadians with information they need

TORONTO, Nov. 6 /CNW/ - A study recently conducted for Scotiabank has found that 61 per cent of Canadians are interested in learning more about the new Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) aimed at creating new opportunities for adult Canadians to save and invest for their futures. Of respondents currently without a TFSA account, 40 per cent said they are interested in opening an account prior to January 2009.

"It's encouraging that so many Canadians have already indicated that they are interested in opening an account and getting more information to make the right decisions," said Gillian Riley, Managing Director and Head of Retail Deposits, Scotiabank. "We were very pleased to be the first Canadian financial institution to offer the TFSA because we believe that it is a powerful means to help Canadians reach their savings priorities.

"Information is vital for Canadians to understand the benefits of the TFSA and how they can incorporate it into their financial plan," added Ms. Riley. "As part of our efforts to inform and educate Canadians we have trained our advisors to be prepared to answer questions and provide solutions around the account. We have also developed an online TFSA calculator that, by asking a few simple questions, can determine how much money an individual can save using the TFSA."

In September, Scotiabank became the first major bank to launch a TFSA account as well as the TFSA Customer Information Centre an online information centre to give Canadians the advice, information and tools they need to make an informed decision about how the account can work within their financial portfolio.

The TFSA Customer Information Centre, located at www.scotiabank.com/taxfreesavings, provides details on the features and benefits of the TFSA and offers advice on how the TFSA can be used to meet specific customer needs. Customers can compare the TFSA to an RRSP and use the TFSA calculator to estimate their tax savings. Customers can also see how their tax savings can translate into more money saved over time. Customers can also open an account online at the TFSA Customer Information Centre.

"The TFSA will give Canadians an opportunity to save money and have it grow tax-sheltered like an RRSP with the flexibility of a savings account," said Ms. Riley. "This account will be a great tool, not to replace other traditional investments but to enhance the earning power of their portfolio. Our advisors are well-versed on the account and can identify the range of benefits to customers at any life stage and for individual needs and goals. "No matter what stage of life they are in or what their financial goals are Canadians 18 and over can benefit from the advantages the TFSA offers," concludes Ms. Riley.

Starting January 2nd, 2009, Canadians will be able to save $5,000 in a TFSA each year. All investment income earned inside the TFSA (capital gains, interest, dividends) are tax free for life. Unused contribution room is carried forward indefinitely and amounts withdrawn top up future contribution room. The account can be opened at age 18 and be kept for a lifetime. The TFSA will offer the flexibility of a short-term savings vehicle with a longer-term investment plan, all in one.


Scientists Develop Cancer Fighting Tomato
By Michael Kahn
Yahoo! Canada News
Sun Oct 26, 6:50 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - A purple tomato genetically engineered to contain nutrients more commonly seen in dark berries helped prevent cancer in mice, British researchers said on Sunday. The finding, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, bolsters the idea that plants can be genetically modified to make people healthier.

Cancer-prone mice fed the modified fruit lived significantly longer than animals fed a standard diet with and without regular tomatoes, Cathie Martin and colleagues at the government-funded John Innes Center in Britain reported.

"The effect was much bigger than we had expected," said Martin, a plant biologist.

The study focused on anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant found in berries such as blackberries and blackcurrants that have been shown to lower risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases. While an easy health boost, many people do not eat enough of these fruits, the researchers said.

Using genes that help color the snapdragon flower, the researchers discovered they could get the tomatoes to make anthocyanins -- turning the tomato purple in the process. Mice genetically engineered to develop cancer lived an average of 182 days when they were fed the purple tomatoes, compared to 142 days for animals on the standard diet.

"It is enormously encouraging to believe that by changing diet, or specific components in the diet, you can improve health in animals and possibly humans," Martin said in a telephone interview.

The researchers cautioned that trials in humans are a long way off and the next step is to investigate how the antioxidants actually affect the tumors to promote better health. But the findings do bolster research suggesting that people can significantly improve their health by making simple changes to the daily diet, other researchers said.

"It's exciting to see new techniques that could potentially make healthy foods even better for us," said Dr. Lara Bennett, science information officer at Cancer Research UK. "But it's too early to say whether anthocyanins obtained through diet could help to reduce the risk of cancer."

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