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Newsletter. Issue 2009-07. March 28, 2009

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Health & Wellness

Need 8 hours of shuteye? Even 6 can cut diabetes danger, study suggests
Thu Mar 12, 8:17 AM

People who sleep less than six hours a night are nearly five times more likely than longer sleepers to develop a blood-sugar condition that could lead to diabetes, new U.S. research suggests. Scientists at the University at Buffalo in New York found "short-sleeper" participants were at higher risk of developing impaired fasting glucose, which can precede Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, and appears most often in middle-aged adults, although adolescents and young adults are developing it at an alarming rate. Type 2 is the result of the body making too much insulin and not using it effectively, leading to insulin resistance. Insulin helps the body control blood sugar levels.

"This study supports growing evidence of the association of inadequate sleep with adverse health issues. Sleep should be assessed in the clinical setting as part of well-care visits throughout the life cycle," lead author and research assistant professor Lisa Rafalson said in a news release. The study was presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's 49th Annual Conference in Florida. It is not the first study to point to sleep as a culprit in diabetes.

Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center reported earlier this year that disrupting sleep damages the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels, potentially raising the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Out of an original group of 1,455 participants, the team identified 91 whose fasting blood glucose levels of less than 100 milligrams per deciliter during initial exams in 1996-2001 had risen to between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL at followup exams in 2003-2004. The 91 were then matched with 273 participants whose glucose levels were below 100 mg/dL during initial exams and at followup. Researchers also matched the groups according to gender, race/ethnicity and year of study enrolment.

After adjusting for age, body mass index, glucose and insulin concentrations, heart rate, high blood pressure, family history of diabetes and symptoms of depression, there was an increased risk of developing impaired fasting glucose among short-sleepers compared to the mid-sleepers those who slept six to eight hours a night during the work week.


Educating young people is expensive. Not educating them will cost more.

  • The cost of saving a dropout: between $10,000 and $20,000

  • The cost of doing nothing: $120,000 per dropout in lost earnings and additional costs for the government

MONTREAL, March 17 /CNW/ - On releasing the report of the Groupe d'action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires, L. Jacques Ménard, who chaired the action group, noted that the total cost of the proposed projects is estimated at between $140 million and $240 million, the difference being attributable to the dates on which the various measures could be implemented. "We estimate the economic cost of the 28,000 young Quebecers who drop out of high school each year to be $1.9 billion," said Mr. Ménard. "I think it's easy to see that investing in student retention is more advantageous from a cost-benefit standpoint."

A high school diploma or the equivalent benefits its holders in several ways. Graduates' average annual income is $40,000, as opposed to $25,000 for dropouts, or lost earnings on the order of $439,000 (undiscounted value) by the end of the dropout's working life. Dropouts are unemployed, on average, 2.1 times longer than graduates; their life expectancy is seven years shorter; and the risk they will have an encounter with the prison system during their lifetimes is 1.7 greater.

A low graduation rate also entails a significant cost for society. A cohort of dropouts (28,000 young people a year) represents lost earnings for the government on the order of $1.9 billion (present value), a figure that includes uncollected taxes (federal and provincial income and sales taxes) and the additional social expenditures generally associated with an average dropout during his or her life (employment insurance, social assistance, judicial and second generation costs). In addition, a high dropout rate deprives society of qualified workers. What is even more disturbing is that Quebec needs all its workers in order to take on the significant demographic challenge it will face in the years to come.

Mr. Ménard also mentioned that the conclusions of the Savoir pour pouvoir report are based on facts and verifiable data and make no value judgement regarding dropouts and graduates. "We all know people whose educational level is very low but who are model citizens and true assets to those around them and to their communities. But we also know that, in the future, knowledge recognized by a diploma will be a key condition to obtaining a well-paid job," concluded the chair of the action group.


Nothing minor about brain injury - New study shows thousands of Ontarians suffer brain injuries each year

Death of Natasha Richardson highlights how precious, fragile, the brain is

TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - The death of actress Natasha Richardson has thrown a spotlight on an often invisible injury - brain trauma. "This tragic loss is a terrible reminder to all of us that a brain injury, even a seemingly minor one, can have devastating consequences," says John Kumpf of the Ontario Alliance for Action on Brain Injury. Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability world wide. Traumatic brain injury is more common than breast cancer, HIV AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury combined. The leading causes of brain injury are falls, being struck by or against an object, or being in a motor vehicle crash.

Media reports indicate that Ms. Richardson took what seemed like a minor fall during a skiing lesson on a beginner slope in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. "As people watched this sad story unfold, they couldn't comprehend how a seemingly minor injury could have such tragic results," Kumpf noted. "But as people who work with brain injury survivors every day, we know that even what appears to be a harmless fall can cause lifelong impairments or death."

A new research report by Dr. Angela Colantonio for the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation shows that there were 17,482 emergency room visits and/or hospitalizations for traumatic brain injury in Ontario in 2006. In addition, there were over 19,000 hospitalizations and/or emergency room visits due to brain injury from non-traumatic causes. Non-traumatic brain injuries can include vascular problems including aneurysm and malformations, brain tumors, infections such as meningitis, loss of oxygen and other medical complications.

Approximately 3,600 hospitalizations ended in death. "These are new and staggering numbers - and we know they're not even capturing the whole picture," says Dr. Angela Colantonio, the lead investigator for the study. She explains that the study does not include injured people seen by family physicians without a visit to hospital, or people who died before receiving hospital care. "Research also indicates data from administrative data sources used in our study may not record all brain injuries" says Dr. Colantonio. While a vast majority of Ontarians will survive a brain injury, they often lose their lives in other ways.

"You can lose the person you used to be: Your memory, your identity, your job, your friends and loved ones - all because of a brain injury," says Kumpf. ABI often results in a complex combination of cognitive, psychosocial, behavioral and physical problems. Even people who sustain "mild" injuries can have long term consequences. And yet, ABI survivors are largely invisible to the general public. "Ontario's health care system does a great job in the immediate aftermath of injury. But once they're released from hospitals and rehab facilities, ABI survivors are often left on their own," says Kumpf. "But with no comprehensive long term system in place, many ABI survivors fall through the cracks."

About Brain Injury: An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is damage to the brain that occurs after birth as a result of a traumatic or non-traumatic event (not congenital or degenerative). An acquired brain injury that is the result of a traumatic event, such as a blow to the head, is called a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI.

ABOUT OAABI: The Ontario Alliance for Action on Brain Injury (OAABI) was created by Ontario's experts in brain injury. The Alliance seeks to create public awareness of ABI and to partner with government in the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy to support brain injury survivors and their families in the community.

For further information: or to arrange an interview, contact: Rachel Sa, , (416) 777-0368


Free safety check-in services for seniors
Thursday March 19 2009 | By Ashley Goodfellow
The Brampton Guardian

BRAMPTON - A new program launched by Telecare Distress Centre aims to give peace of mind to seniors and their families. TeleCheck, a program funded by the Central West LHIN and operating as an extension of Telecare Distress Centre, provides free safety check-in services to seniors aged 55 or over in the community.

"It's for anyone in the community who is living alone, with family or a caregiver," explains TDC executive director Vanita Varma. "Because even when seniors live with family, they are often alone during the day."

Staff and volunteers with TeleCheck provide daily or regular phone calls to clients, and provide emotional support, medication reminders, information on current local events and details on community resources. Since launching in the program in October 2008, 61 seniors have registered for the program and the response, says Varma, has been extremely positive.

"They are always thanking us for taking care of them and are grateful there is a system in place to look out for them," she said.

Some need daily reminders to take medication at a specific time, while others just need someone to talk to; the initiative is designed to meet specific and individual needs. "Emotional support is a huge part of the program. Seniors want someone to talk to, especially if there is grief and bereavement if they've recently lost a partner," said Varma, who adds it is confidential and non-judgemental.

Family members are also welcome to put the program in motion for their senior-aged loved ones, she added. As well, the TeleCheck service is provided in English, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish and Portuguese.

To register yourself or your loved ones for this free program, contact TeleCheck at 416-646-8450 or e-mail .


Don't Just Retire Live It, Love It!
Book:A Personal Planning Guide To Enhance Life After Work

Author: Richard Atkinson|

On Line Price $16.46
From the Publisher

?Don?t Just Retire ? Live It, Love It!? is for people between the ages of 45 to 65 who want a happy and stimulating retirement and for those already retired, looking to add a little sizzle to their ?golden years?. ?Don?t Just Retire ? Live It, Love It!? delves into much more than just the money required for retirement. It outlines some of the challenges and questions pre-retirees have and provides insight and direction, without taking away from individual decision-making. The true-life stories ?

?Don?t Just Retire ? Live It, Love It!? is for people between the ages of 45 to 65 who want a happy and stimulating retirement and for those already retired, looking to add a little sizzle to their ?golden years?.

?Don?t Just Retire ? Live It, Love It!? delves into much more than just the money required for retirement. It outlines some of the challenges and questions pre-retirees have and provides insight and direction, without taking away from individual decision-making. The true-life stories and self-completing exercises are designed to assist a pre-and newly retired person with the planning process.

The book includes the importance of a positive attitude, finding and using a mentor, deciding where to live, how to build a balanced leisure, health and wellbeing strategy, effective time management, the best time of year to retire, steps for enriching relationships, caring for aging parents, how to have fun, sex and the older person, living retirement to its fullest and much more.

About the Author
Richard Atkinson, President of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. Known for his practical, interactive and results oriented workshops, Richard has helped people throughout North America plan for a successful and fulfilling retirement. With over 35 years experience as a human resources management specialist, Richard has worked as both an internal and external HR consultant in the manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, health and social services sectors.

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