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April 17, 2014

Factor present in gestational, type 2 diabetes could provide new treatment options
New research reveals that both pregnant women with diabetes and with type 2 diabetics have high levels of a fat metabolite that impairs pancreatic cells from secreting insulin. The findings, which are published in the April 1 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism, suggest that blocking the effects of this fat metabolite may help prevent and treat diabetes. The research was supported in part by CIHR.

April 8, 2014

Food Insecurity presents a serious and growing challenge in Canada’s northern and remote Aboriginal communities, finds Expert Panel
A new expert panel report on food security in Northern Canada, has found that food insecurity among northern Aboriginal peoples requires urgent attention in order to mitigate impacts on health and well-being. Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, addresses the diversity of experience that northern First Nations, Inuit, and Métis households and communities have with food insecurity.

Aboriginal households across Canada experience food insecurity at a rate more than double that of non-Aboriginal households (27% vs. 12%, respectively). Recent data indicate that Canadian households with children have a higher prevalence of food insecurity than households without children. The research was supported in part by CIHR.

February 20, 2014

New tool identifies high-risk lung patients: Ottawa COPD Risk Scale
Less than thirty days after their release from the hospital, one third of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) find themselves in the emergency department. This disease, usually caused by smoking, is especially prevalent in seniors. Emergency physicians have difficulty deciding which patients with COPD are severe enough to be admitted and which ones are safe to be sent home.

A new Ottawa COPD Risk Scale tool has been created by Dr. Ian Stiell and colleagues that will give emergency physicians an easier and standardized way to identify high-risk lung patients that should be or remain hospitalized. This 10 point scale will help both patients and health care systems.

January 23, 2014

Researchers discover how heart arrhythmia occurs
Researchers at the University of Calgary and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta have discovered the fundamental biology of calcium waves in relation to heart arrhythmias.

Heart arrhythmias cause the heart to beat irregularly, resulting in symptoms such as dizziness and fainting, or in severe cases, sudden arrhythmic death. While many factors contribute to the development of arrhythmias, including genetics, scientists know that a common mechanism of cardiac arrhythmias is calcium overload in the heart. The underlying mechanism of these calcium-triggered arrhythmias has remained a mystery for decades.

The findings published this month in Nature Medicine outline the discovery of this fundamental physiological process that researchers hope will one day help design molecularly tailored medications that correct the pathophysiology. The research was supported in part by CIHR.

January 16, 2014

Special supplement: The Health of Official Language Minority Populations
In Canada, official language communities living in minority situation represent approximately two million citizens who are scattered over the entire country. In spite of the equal constitutional status of both official languages in Canada, Francophones living in Anglophone provinces and Anglophones living in Quebec are confronted with systemic barriers preventing them from accessing resources and services in their preferred official language. Supported by an Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) grant from CIHR, researchers explored the environmental, cultural and structural factors that influence health disparities among Francophone minorities. They published their results as a special supplement in the Canadian Journal of Public Health: “The Health of Official Language Minority Populations”.