Health

Image: Dr. Cecil Fox
Health Science

Calgary Student Wins National Science Prize For Cancer Therapy Research

A high school student from Calgary has won the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada competition for his research into an experimental cancer therapy.

Arjun Nair, 16, is a grade 11 student at Webber Academy. His winning experiment involved photothermal therapy (PTT), which is used to treat cancer.

With PTT, a patient is injected with gold nanoparticles. A nanoparticle is a microscopic particle of a substance, less than one-millionth the size of a grain of sand.

The gold nanoparticles collect in the patient’s cancerous tumours. When the tumours are bathed with laser light, the nanoparticles heat up and kill the cancer cells.

Health

Toronto Kids Need More Exercise

Ninety-nine percent of children living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) don’t get enough exercise, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Toronto and Dalhousie University tracked the physical activity of 856 grade five and six students in the GTA for one week.

The students wore accelerometers – tiny devices that are similar to pedometers, but which measure all types of motion – for about 16 and a half hours a day.

The information recorded by the devices showed that, on average, boys got about 35 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. Girls got about 24 minutes of activity per day.

Experts* recommend that children aged five to 17 should get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day.

Image: NASA
Health

Eating Like They Do In The Mediterranean Is Good For Your Heart

Eat like they do in the Mediterranean and you’ll live to a ripe, old age. Or at least a little longer than you might otherwise have done.

A new study has found that people who eat a Mediterranean diet are less likely to suffer heart-related problems like a heart attack or a stroke.

The Mediterranean region comprises the 18 countries, plus Portugal, that border the Mediterranean Sea. It includes Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Egypt, Israel and Turkey.

People there eat lots of extra-virgin olive oil and nuts as well as fruit, fish, chicken, wine, beans and salads. They tend not to eat a lot of baked goods or pastries.

Image: JKCarl
Health

McDonald’s Answers Canadians’ Questions

Have you ever wondered exactly what’s in a McDonald’s hamburger?

Or why the food at McDonald’s doesn’t look the same in the advertising as it does in the store?

Or whether McDonald’s food is good for you?

If so, you’re not alone.

McDonald’s has a website that posts questions answered by Canadians—and answers from McDonald’s staff.

Over the years the restaurant chain has taken a lot of heat for its food which tends to be fast, cheap and not necessarily always good for you.

However, it is everywhere. There’s hardly a city in North America—or the world—in which you can’t find a McDonald’s restaurant.

Health News

New York City Bans Extra-Large Pop

Last fall, New York City banned the sale of extra-large servings of pop and other sugary drinks in restaurants and movie theatres.

They did it to help fight the problem of obesity in the city.

The ban, which is set to begin on March 12, 2013, was proposed by New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and approved by the New York City Board of Health in September 2012.

Under the new rule, businesses that have food-service licences – such as restaurants, theatres, delis, fast-food places, hot dog stands and sports stadiums – would not be allowed to sell pop in containers larger than 16 ounces.

People would still be able to buy supersized drinks at convenience stores, vending machines and some newsstands.

Proposed food label from OMA
Health News

Ontario Doctors Call For Strong Action To Help Children Maintain A Healthy Weight

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) wants the government to put higher taxes on junk food.

Doctors say that higher costs would make it harder for children to buy junk food.

They also want high fat and sugary foods that have little nutritional value, to have more information and even warnings on the packaging.

And they want less junk food advertising, especially targeting children.

These are just three strong actions doctors say will help children eat less junk food, keep their weight at a healthy level and live a longer life.

The Ontario Medical Association said that over the years strong actions like extra taxes and scary pictures on cigarette packages have helped to reduce smoking from 50 per cent, in the 1960s, to as low as 20 per cent in Canada today.

Doctors say this kind of action can help in the same way with junk food.

Medicine
Health News

Pharmacists In Ontario To Have An Increased Role

When you’re sick, you go to the doctor.

She may give you a prescription for some medicine—for example, eye drops.

If you live in Ontario, you’d then go to a drug store and give that prescription to the pharmacist, who would “fill your prescription” – in other words, make up the eye drops and sell them to you.

As it is now, if you run out of your prescription eye drops and need more you would likely have to go back to your doctor to get another prescription.

This week the Ontario government announced a new plan that gives the pharmacist an expanded role in healthcare.

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Health News

McDonald’s Posting Calorie Counts In U.S. Restaurants

A typical, active kid should probably eat about 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day to stay healthy. (The exact number depends on a person’s gender, age and daily exercise level.)

But let’s say, 1,900.

Now let’s say that kid decides to buy her lunch at McDonald’s; maybe have a Big Mac and large fries.

Starting this week in the U.S., McDonald’s restaurants will show the calorie counts of each of their menu items—right up on the big menu board at the front of the restaurant.

Underpass Park
Health Kids News

Gloomy Underpass Transformed Into Awesome Kids’ Park

An “underpass” is a road or a tunnel that goes beneath another road. Toronto has some dark and gloomy underpasses.

Dark and gloomy, that is, until this summer.

That’s when an organization called Waterfront Toronto built something incredible.

Where there used to be garbage and weeds, there is now a fun playground with a safe, rubbery floor, a skateboard and scooter park and a basketball court.

There are also swings, climbers, a teeter-totter and benches for people to relax on.

Underpass Park covers 2.5 acres underneath three on- and off-ramps that lead to the DVP in East Toronto.

Before the park was built, Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford said he wasn’t sure the space could be transformed.

But when he came to open the park on Aug. 2, he loved it.

Mike Holmes
Health Kids News

Mike Holmes To Help Rebuild High Park Children’s Castle

The people who are rebuilding the High Park castle are getting some high-profile help.

Mike Holmes is a celebrity contractor. A contractor is someone who is skilled at the kinds of jobs needed to build or renovate homes. Contractors hire and oversee all of the work—for instance, electrical, plumbing, carpentry and design work.

Holmes became famous for his motto, “make it right.” On his TV show, he rescues homeowners from renovations that have gone wrong and he brings in workers who fix the house properly and “make it right.”

Holmes also does a lot of charity work. On one of his TV shows, he helps people in New Orleans whose houses were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Now he’s lending a hand to help rebuild the children’s play castle in the High Park neighbourhood of Toronto, Ont. Much of the wooden structure was destroyed by a fire last March.