All Posts Tagged With: "Health"
Now some students want to ban energy drinks.
Nothing, it seems, is safe anymore on university campuses. Many campuses have banned smoking in parts or all of campus. Some have banned bottled water.
But this week, things reached a new low.
Yes, students at St. FX are proposing a ban on energy drinks.
As part of a class project, a group of students at the Antigonish university want Red Bull and friends booted into the Strait of Canso because it is, they maintain, inconsistent with a healthy lifestyle.
Sadly, such a proposal is in keeping with the recent trend towards unbridled self-righteousness when it comes to health. We have long since moved past encouraging people to eat well and get plenty of exercise. Today, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is approached as though it were a moral issue. An unhealthy choice, it now seems, is not only potentially unwise — it must be stopped.
But energy drinks are not monsters. Not even the one actually called Monster. Sure, they contain caffeine, but a can of Rockstar — my personal favourite — contains around 80 mg of caffeine. According to this data provided by the Mayo Clinic, that’s considerably less than an ordinary cup of coffee, and just over half of what’s in a Starbucks Latte. And some may be loaded with sugar, but a lot of people like sugar. It’s really catching on. And, believe it or not, there are other goods in the world besides health. Pleasure is one. And so is freedom. And so is a boost of energy when your term paper is almost due.
Part of becoming an adult is learning that almost every activity requires a balancing of benefits against costs. The joys of a night with one’s drinking buddies must be weighed against the sickness and fatigue of the morning after. Even activities like running — often thought of as a quintessential part of a healthy lifestyle — have potential health risks in the form of joint injury and damage to the heart when done to excess. And avoiding excess, as in so many things, is the key to the healthy use of energy drinks, too.
In a free society, banning anything (even in a limited area like a university) should come as a last resort and be reserved for only the most serious of dangers. Deadly toxins. Guns. Powerful explosives. A can of Amp doesn’t qualify.
Professors clog up clinic with students who may not be ill
Jane Collins is a very dedicated campus nurse. So dedicated, in fact, that she offers her cell phone number to students at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax so she can advise them after hours. She picked up on the first ring when Maclean’s On Campus called to find out whether she’d really stopped writing sick notes for those who show up to the campus health clinic, as reported by CBC.
She hasn’t entirely but says that, after 19 years on the job, she’s fed up that professors still ask students to get excuse notes for missed midterms, which is often a waste of time. The registrar has twice asked deans to pass that message along to professors but it’s not getting through.
The surprising results of Canadian student sex surveys
When you see a sexual health study sponsored by a condom company you may be skeptical, especially when the headline is that 51 per cent of students who had sex last year didn’t use a condom. Half? Really? It sounds like a ploy by Trojan—which commissioned the survey of 1,500 undergraduates in partnership with the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada—to sell more rubbers. After all, this generation grew up with non-stop public health education on the risks of a sexually transmitted infections like HIV. Students couldn’t possibly be so careless, right?
Unfortunately, I’ve seen this number before. Canadian results from the National College Health Assessment, a survey filled out by 34,039 students at 32 Canadian schools earlier this year, also found that only half of students use condoms most or all of the times they have vaginal sex.
Participants have “very low” risk of disease
REGINA – The University of Regina says it has put hundreds of people at risk due to years of improper blood testing.
The university has issued a warning to more than 260 people who had “blood lactate level testing” done as part of kinesiology and health studies courses.
A nine-month audit found that between 2006 and 2012 an improper testing procedure was used on students during testing in second- and third-year exercise physiology classes, on volunteers participating in research projects, and with “fee for service” clients.
The head of the program, Dr. Harold Riemer, says the risk of blood-borne infections is very low, but the school doesn’t want to take any chances.
Aging population means jobs in nursing, medicine and more
From the Future of Jobs report
As an ecological field researcher with British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Sonya Powell had a dependable, though segmented, career. Seasonal contracts put her in the woods each summer, surveying tree life for $20 to $25 an hour; in the winters, she taught geography classes at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Gaps between jobs were her vacation time, she chuckles.
That was before the global economic downturn led to the collapse of the forestry sector. In the summer of 2009, Powell couldn’t find her usual contracts. Remembering the health problems of the isolated communities she had passed through in the summers, she enrolled in an accelerated 20-month nursing program at UBC designed for students in their second careers. It paid off: She landed not one, but two nursing jobs when she graduated.
Advice from a woman who couldn’t find help on campus
I dropped out of McGill University because of depression. It was the type that begins as a barely perceptible malaise but quickly penetrates your mind and renders you nearly unable to speak, think, or even walk. Perhaps the most common misunderstanding of depression is that it’s simply an overarching sadness permeating your positive thoughts. In its most serious form, the illness may actually leave you unable to feel anything—comfort or happiness, fear or rage. It wasn’t until I’d reached this level that I finally decided to take time off from my routine and accept help. If you find any aspect of this story relatable, I hope that you seek help immediately.
I vividly remember the first (and last) time I used McGill Mental Health Services. My parents had been asking me to get in touch with someone for months. I’d always responded to these requests by saying no, I wouldn’t see anyone because I was “fine” and “therapists are for people who need attention.” But after two years of growing increasingly despondent, I knew I had to do something. So I temporarily abandoned my mask of confidence and called.
Kevin Kwasny blames coaches
WINNIPEG – Two years after he says he was hit in the head during a university football game, Kevin Kwasny is still working to regain his mobility and is suing over a decision to send him back onto the field.
The former defensive end alleges in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that team coaches for Bishop’s University in Quebec kept him in the game when he was already dizzy from a hit.
“He complained about his head being sore and that he got hit very hard … and they just told him to get back in there a couple of plays later and keep on going,” Kwasny’s father, Greg, said Tuesday.
Kevin Kwasny, who is now 23, was taken to hospital during halftime in a Canadian Interuniversity Sport football game between the Bishop’s University Gaiters and the Concordia Stingers on Sept. 10, 2011. He had suffered bleeding on the brain and was in critical condition.
HPV can cause cancer
British Columbia is expanding its HPV vaccination program in an attempt to reduce young women’s chances of getting cervical cancer.
The human papillomavirus is sexually transmitted, kills one Canadian woman every day on average and statistics show that three out of four sexually active women will get HPV at some point in their lives.
B.C. is thought to be the first province to expand its program, offering a free vaccine to women up to 26 years old.
Dr. Monika Naus, medical director of the immunization service at the BC Centre for Disease Control, said while the vaccine prevents about 70 per cent of all cervical cancers, it’s 100-per-cent effective in stopping those cancers.
University means big changes to romantic relationships
Nearly a third of university students (32 per cent) who filled out the biggest-ever survey of health on Canadian campuses earlier this year agreed that their intimate relationships had been traumatic or very difficult to handle, tying it with sleep problems as the third most common worry after academics (57 per cent) and finances (37 per cent).
That’s not surprising considering that when a person moves away to school and leaves a partner behind, he or she will see far less of that partner and far more of other interesting people.
“The main reason students will tell us they end their relationships is because they weren’t able to spend enough time together,” says York University psychologist Jennifer A. Connolly, who researches young love. “Relationships often benefit from stability,” she adds. “Established ways to spend time and have fun together make the relationship easy. If that’s disrupted there may be disruptions to the relationship as well.”
Nearly half of sexually active girls did not use a condom
Language barriers may be putting the sexual health of some new Canadian teens at risk, says a study that suggests sex education must be tailored to the needs of immigrant adolescents.
The study by the University of British Columbia School of Nursing involved 4,500 East Asian students in Grades 7 to 12.
It found the vast majority of students were not sexually active because of cultural reasons, but of the 12 per cent who were having sex, one in four used alcohol or drugs before a relationship while nearly half of girls did not use a condom.
Researcher Yuko Homma said about half the study group of Chinese, Korean and Japanese adolescents were new to Canada and spoke a language other than English at home.
She said the teens’ parents likely would not have had any formal sexual health education themselves because some cultures shy away from such topics.
This professor is troubled by a lack of resilience
A new report about the state of health among Canadian university students has prompted the usual hand-wringing in the media. The Montreal Gazette, for instance, calls the findings “troubling” and “grim” and notes that many university students feel overwhelmed, anxious, and in some cases, suicidal.
Even without seeing the report, one might be skeptical of such reactions. After all, take any large survey of people and you are going to find some who are having a rough go of it. And given that university students tend to be younger, experiencing big life transitions, and under pressure to perform at a high level, a certain number of cracks in the foundation are to be expected.
But when I looked at the statistics for myself, I too was troubled. Just not for the reasons that everyone else is. I was struck not by how many students are having difficulty, but, rather, by how many of them are not.
Analyzing the biggest-ever Canadian student health survey
The results of the biggest-ever survey of Canadian post-secondary student health show that most students are stressed, anxious and drink alcohol, but they’re not having nearly as much sex or doing as many drugs as one might expect.
Those are the conclusions that jump out from the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services report released today. A total of 34,039 students from 32 schools filled out the National College Health Assessment II Spring 2013, which is the basis of the report. The response rate was an impressive 20 per cent.
Drinking is students’ most common vice. In the previous 30 days, 71 per cent of students reported drinking alcohol at least once.
However, the vast majority avoided other drugs: only 12 per cent smoked a cigarette, 16 per cent used marijuana and 11 per cent consumed other drugs. That was despite eight in 10 students “perceiving” that the “typical student” at their school had used marijuana and cigarettes.
UBC-O student died after taking pills
The popular birth-control pills Yaz and Yasmin have been linked to the deaths of at least 23 Canadian women —the youngest just age 14, Health Canada documents say.
The deaths are among about 600 adverse reactions reported among women taking the contraceptives between 2007 and Feb. 28 of this year, Health Canada confirmed Tuesday.
Doctors and pharmacists who submitted the reports to the Canada Vigilance Program said Yaz and Yasmin are suspected in the 23 deaths. The reports say most of the women died suddenly after developing blood clots, a known risk with the pills.
Since 2007, Health Canada said the program has received reports of adverse reactions among 333 women taking Yasmin and 267 women prescribed Yaz.
Addition to Vancouver campus a North American first
The University of British Columbia has unveiled the first campus skatepark in North America. “Key park features include an open snake-run bowl, a cantilevered quarterpipe, an angled slappy bank, and stair set, complete with handrail and ledge,” says the press release. The addition to the Vancouver campus gives new meaning to the words ‘hitting the books,’ since it’s built on a stack of metal and concrete tomes engraved with words from Vincent van Gogh. There’s also a gnarly sustainable stormwater management system to hydrate nearby plants. Click below for a closer look.
Young drinkers show worrisome cellular changes
You already know that binge drinking is bad for your brain and perhaps your reputation (if you’re prone to beer goggles), but here’s another reason to abstain. A new study shows immediate changes in blood circulation among binge drinkers aged 18 to 25 that resemble what older people with cardiovascular diseases experience, suggesting an increased risk of heart attacks or strokes later in life. U.S. researchers looked at two groups of healthy nonsmoking college students with mostly similar backgrounds. One group had a history of binge drinking (five or more standard drinks in the space of two hours) and the other group shunned alcohol altogether. The binge drinkers had impaired function in the endothelium and smooth muscle cells, which are needed for proper blood flow. The study is to be published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
To really reduce drinking, hit students where it hurts
The City of Ottawa has decided to tackle binge drinking among young adults, but I think their campaign is unlikely to be effective.
Indeed, drinking is a problem in the city. Binge drinking rose by nine per cent between 2000 and 2011 and causes 110 deaths and 970 hospitalizations per year among Ottawa adults, according to Ottawa Public Health. Three quarters of young adult males reported binge drinking, defined as more than five drinks in one sitting.
All this isn’t surprising. During frosh week, for example, drinking culture is celebrated among a fresh crop of students. University of Ottawa student organizers send willing first-years to Hull, Quebec where the drinking age is 18 and they can toast their new found freedom. While there are also non-drinking frosh events, turnout is low.
Continue reading City of Ottawa to promote ‘culture of moderation’
McMaster researchers inspired by Google Maps
Researchers have taken a page out of Google’s book to develop an advanced scope that may enable doctors to look deeper into the colon and with more precision to better detect signs of cancer.
The scope would not only allow doctors performing a colonoscopy to get the standard forward-looking view, but would also capture images of the sides of the large bowel, similar to the way Google Street View provides a 360-degree picture of a road and its buildings.
“Unlike conventional colonoscopy, which only looks straight ahead, this new method can be likened to Google Street View, giving us a panoramic view of the colon and helping us identify the exact locations of suspicious growths or lesions,” says Dr. Qiyin Fang, Canada Research Chair in Biophotonics at McMaster University.
The device is armed with a near-infrared light camera that takes thousands of pictures and uses blood vessels as landmarks to create a map of the colon.
What students are talking about today (March 14th)
1. Here’s a reminder of how student governments in the United States have much different concerns than our own. The student congress of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recently changed the rules to make it harder for campus gun clubs to use student money to buy ammunition, reports Mother Jones. Following high-profile mass shootings on campuses, a number of states have passed laws preventing concealed guns on campus. More controversially, others, like Colorado and Utah, have laws that require colleges to allow concealed weapons.
2. Student newspapers across Canada, from The Argosy at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick to The Meliorist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta are publishing odes to St. Patrick, whose holiday for Irish Canadians and those who drink too much is coming up on Sunday. Meanwhile, Western University, in the town that hosted the famous St. Patty’s Day Riot last March, is offering some tips. Some are no brainers, like, have a plan of how you’ll get home (transit? taxi?) and don’t leave drinks unattended. More interesting are the reminders from Campus Police that keg parties are illegal, that drinking underage can lead to $125 tickets and that London’s new Nuisance Party Bylaw means rowdy hosts can face $500 fines. The lesson? Go to someone else’s party.
Radiation linked to skin cancer
The governing Liberals in Ontario are expected to introduce legislation today to ban people under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.
A source tells The Canadian Press that Health Minister Deb Matthews will table a bill banning the sale of tanning services to minors to protect them from skin cancer.
NDP health critic France Gelinas says she offered the Liberals the bill to move it through the legislature more quickly.
Gelinas says she’s willing to work with anybody who will make sure that young people are protected, and Premier Kathleen Wynne says she’s “keen” to work with Gelinas on the issue.
Gelinas, who started lobbying for a ban in 2008, also wants warning signs posted near tanning beds.
The Ontario Medical Association, which has been calling for a ban since 2010, welcomes the pending legislation.
“The evidence has been unequivocal over the last several years that tanning bed radiation is linked to skin cancer,” said Dr. Samir Gupta, chairman of OMA’s dermatology section.
Northern and Atlantic Canadians most likely to tip the scale
Obesity rates are at an all-time high, especially in certain parts of the country, say researchers, who have “mapped” the changes to illustrate how Canadians’ waistlines have expanded over time.
Overall, at least one-quarter of Canadian adults have a body mass index of 30 or greater that puts them in the obese category, concludes a study that provides a comprehensive look at rates across the country, complete with “obesity maps.”
“Our analysis shows that more Canadians are obese than ever before — on average, between one-fourth and one-third of Canadians are obese, depending on the region,” said principal author Carolyn Gotay of the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.
The Atlantic provinces and the two territories — Nunavut and the Northwest Territories — had the highest obesity rates between 2000 and 2011, with more than 30 per cent of the population in these regions estimated to be obese.
British Columbia had the lowest overall rates, but obesity still increased from less than 20 per cent to almost 25 per cent in that province. In Quebec, the rate stayed at about 24 per cent.
Gotay said mapping regional rates provides more than a decade of easy-to-use visual snapshots that should help researchers, policy makers and the public identify where investments are especially needed to fight the obesity epidemic.