Health & Wellness
TORONTO — With the possibly prolonged shutdown of Canada’s nuclear reactor at Chalk River, many hospitals and private clinics are facing a shortage of radioactive isotopes for medical imaging.
But what will that mean for Canadian patients? And just what the heck is a medical isotope anyway?
One might imagine the substance as a tiny green glob that glows in the dark, but the reality is far less dramatic.
TORONTO — More than 18,000 children a year are treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by the use and misuse of common household items like bunk beds, televisions, fridge magnets and backyard swings, according to a new report.
“There are certain stories that I’ve heard 100 times,” said Dr. Angelo Mikrogianakis, an ER doctor at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
OTTAWA—Clinics are paying two-three times more for medical isotopes after a supplier abruptly hiked its prices this month—just before the Chalk River reactor shut down and caused an isotope shortage.
Doctors fear the higher costs may force some clinics to delay tests used to detect cancer and heart ailments, lay off staff, or even close.
Lantheus Medical Imaging, a Massachusetts-based company that supplies clinics with “generators” used in medical imaging, notified its customers last week of the price increase.
WASHINGTON—The salt content in restaurant and packaged foods probably is the single-most harmful ingredient in the food supply, a new study suggests.
The U.S. Centers for Science in the Public Interest said the high sodium content of the American diet causes tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths every year.
Restaurants should cut back and give consumers the freedom to decide for themselves how much salt they want, executive director Michael Jacobson said.
OTTAWA—Canada’s chief public health officer says the country has seen the worst of the swine ’flu—for now.
Dr. David Butler-Jones said yesterday it appears that spread of the virus is waning.
“It looks at this point like we’re over the worst of it in Canada for this season,” he noted.
“But, again, I’m going to hedge my bets on that because we’re watching very closely and it’s still within the incubation period of previous cases, so you could see a second spike,” he warned.
OTTAWA—NDP leader Jack Layton is headed to Washington to try lending Barack Obama a hand in his fight for health-care reform.
Layton has gone to considerable lengths in the past to imitate Obama’s cheerful campaign speeches, shirt-and-tie combinations, and photo-op backdrops, and now will urge Americans to imitate Canada.
Layton will tout the merits of universal health care during a three-day trip in June, where he’ll deliver a public speech and meet with Democrats in the White House, in Congress, and from party headquarters.
BRADFORD, Ont.—No one expected baby Kaylee Vitelli to live—not her doctors at the world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and certainly not her parents.
And yet the critically-ill girl, who was removed from life support last month with the intention of having her heart transplanted into another ailing child, arrived home yesterday to be cared for by her family instead of medical staff.
WASHINGTON — Provocative new research suggests that a common virus might play a role in high blood pressure.
The work, by Harvard scientists, so far is only in mice — and the usually symptomless infection is so widespread that proving an effect in people will be tough.
Still, it’s the latest clue that infections may somehow affect a number of the factors that lead to heart disease, from stiffening arteries to obesity.
Ginger, long used as a folk remedy for soothing tummyaches, helped tame one of the most dreaded side effects of cancer treatment — nausea from chemotherapy, the first large study to test the herb for this has found.
People who started taking ginger capsules several days before a chemo infusion had fewer and less severe bouts of nausea afterward than others who were given dummy capsules, the federally funded study found.
“We were slightly beside ourselves” to see how much it helped, said study leader Julie Ryan of the University of Rochester in New York.
WINNIPEG—Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory is reviewing its security measures after vials containing safe traces of the Ebola gene allegedly were swiped by a scientist four months ago.
Officials at the lab became aware last week that the 22 vials were missing when U.S. authorities arrested the former employee at the Manitoba-North Dakota border.
The vials, according to court documents, were in a glove, wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in a plastic bag with electrical wires.
They were found in the trunk of the scientist’s car.