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Longevity

Fighting the good fight: Sara Part 2

“We’ve got something,” I said to Spriggs. I pulled back and filed in behind the vehicle. I grabbed the police radio, got a hold of the telecoms operator and requested a check on his Ontario licence plate. Within fifteen to twenty seconds, our telecommunications operator Eric Simms was on the other end. “Cst. Roy, are you 10-12?”  he asked. He was asking if there were any unauthorized listeners. “Negative,” I responded. Are you alone?” Simms asked. “No, Spriggs is with me,” I responded. Then telecoms operator Eric Simms advised me of a hit on the vehicle that we were following. He said the car was registered to a Marc Habib Eghbal and that there was an international fugitive arrest warrant out on Eghbal for kidnapping. He advised us to be on the lookout for a six-year-old child by the name of Sara Brin. Then I hear Simms giving me the

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Longevity

Fighting the Good Fight: The Memoir of Patrick Guy Roy

This is the first in a series of stories about retired RCMP officer Patrick Guy Roy who is slowly slipping into Alzheimer’s.  I still remember walking past the house where a gang of boys stood waiting to taunt me. There was no way around them if I wanted to get to my cousin’s house. I would stiffen inside, my heart would pound, and I’d keep my head and eyes firmly fixed on the ground. My pace would quicken almost to a run as I listened to their jeers. I was seven years old. Every time I approached their house, the churning would start in my gut, and I would feel ashamed of my fear. I wanted to cry and run home, but I didn’t. I’d hold my breath, grit my teeth, lower my gaze and hurry past. The taunting went on for what felt like years. It was always the

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Health

Dementia research and what we’re learning

Dementia, such as Alzheimers, is of top concern for Canadians as they age and for their parents, especially those in their 50’s and dealing with aging parents. A recent study by Baycrest a teaching hospital in Toronto, found Canadians are unsure about available resources for them and their parents and find it difficult to get the right information. The study also found that less than one in five people are confident about their knowledge in preventing dementia. One in four Canadians over 45 don’t know when to start taking steps to prevent dementia and only 16% of study respondents indicated having any type of plan ion place to deal with it. “Almost 80 per cent of our long-term care residents are living with dementia. Through Baycrest’s ground-breaking research and innovations, compassionate care and renowned educational programs, we are striving to take critical steps forward in paving the way towards a

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Mind

Mental Health and Artificial Intelligence

It seems Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding uses across every aspect of life these days. And it is. Now, AI is being applied to mental health across all ages. In Canada, by age 40, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 50% of people will have had a mental illness. Depression affects 5% of the population and around 4.6% of Canadians suffer from an anxiety disorder. The pandemic hasn’t helped. One of the challenges of the pandemic was being able to connect with a psychiatrist or psychologist as well. Many people rely on their employer-based benefits or bear the personal cost of private services. Canadians spend an estimated $950 million a year on psychologists in private practice. About 30% of this is paid out-of-pocket while the remainder is paid through employment-based private health insurance plans. Now, some technology companies are seeing some degree of success using AI to help

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Health

Aging, brain health and omega-3

We know omega-3 oils can help with inflammation and joint health. Research suggests it may also help our brains as we age. As we age, omega-3 can play a key role in joint and muscle health, but it can also help with brain cognition and diseases such as dementia and Alzheimers. Since 2005, research has been increasing and we’re understanding more of the benefits it may bring. While more studies are needed, those that have been done indicate increased amounts of omega-3 can help reduce inflammation in the brain, which can lead to depression and dementia as we age.  Other research is pointing to omega-3 playing a role in helping children with ADHD as well as adult sufferers in combination with their medications. We note that omega-3 does not cure or offer an alternative treatment to pharmaceuticals, it is a supplementary treatment that can be included in ongoing care of

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Fitness

Scientists: Swimming Fights Ageing

Swimming can be relaxing, especially in a lake or the ocean on a hut summer day. Turns out, it does a lot to boost your brain. But scientists are still figuring out why. Scientists have figured out that aerobic exercise like yoga, running, cycling and swimming can reduce the effects of ageing significantly and help younger people with immune system strength and fighting dementia in later years. Now, new research is finding that swimming may be the best anti-ageing exercise of them all. In their research they’ve shown that regular swimming can improve memory, cognitive function, immune system response and even one’s mood. There’s evidence too that swimming may help repair stress damage and build new neural connections in the brain. Why is Swimming so Good For the Brain? Scientists haven’t figured out the whole answer to this mystery yet, but they’re finding more and more evidence that it does

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Health

The controversy over the new Alzheimer’s drug

Just last week, the FDA approved a new drug for treating Alzheimer’s in the United States, Aduhelm. It is not approved in Canada yet, but there’s a storm of controversy over whether it is even effective at all, or at least in the ways intended. This week three scientists on the FDA’s independent neurological drug advisory panel resigned however, stating that the clinical trial data was flimsy at best with one scientist telling the New York Times, “This might be the worst approval decision that the FDA has made that I can remember,” Dr. Aaron Kesselheim. The independent panel had voted to reject the drug with ten “no” votes and one “uncertain” vote. The FDA doesn’t have to listen to the panel, they’re there for a secondary opinion only. Actual regulation of drugs and medical devices is made in-house by FDA scientists. The claim by the manufacturer is that the

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Health

Can some drugs delay ageing?

Research into pharmaceuticals that can extend life is ramping up. Some existing drugs are proving interesting. In late 2014, a group of world renowned scientists in the study of ageing gathered in Toledo, Spain to discuss this very topic and they’re out to prove it can work. We’re not talking about those fictional stories of dialing back the clock to your twenties, coupled with all that learned wisdom that we’d like to do. This is research into putting on the brakes or at least slowing down the effects of ageing. The focus is mostly around age-related diseases and conditions. Drugs that can delay ageing or stop some diseases from progressing or even starting, could add many healthy years to a person’s life. That has social and economic benefits, including reducing the burden on health care and enabling people to live more productive lives longer. One such hot drug is the

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Mind

Train your brain

Neuroplasticity is the key to a creative and productive life. How flexible is the brain? How readily can it adapt as a person develops and experiences new environments? How does it deal with aging and the stresses and strains of daily life? It turns out that the brain is a dynamic structure that is flexible and subject to change. This quality is called neuroplasticity. While growth depends on age and other conditions, grooming and growing a brain is the project of a lifetime. Neurons (nerve cells) and glial cells (support cells of neurons) transform through a process called neurogenesis. These cells increase their number and connections throughout your life depending on the stimulation of your environment. The old model of the brain as a piece of clay that is mouldable is replaced by an image of the brain as a living matrix with neurons moving trying to make connections with

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