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Melanoma Skin Cancer
Fastest-growing in Canada
Canadians are spending more time soaking up the sun
without adequate protection, a new report from the
Canadian Cancer Society says.
Melanoma skin cancer is the fastest-rising of all the cancers
in Canada and is also the most preventable. It accounts for
about 3% of all new cancer cases. The report says that 6,500
new cases of malignant melanoma and 76,100 cases of
non-melanoma skin cancers are expected to be diagnosed
in 2014.
Two national surveys in the past 20 years showed that the
number of adults who spent two or more hours in the sun
on a summer day increased between 1996 and 2006, but
that there was no corresponding increase in the use of sun
protection. Fewer Canadians reported wearing protective
clothing and hats in 2006, compared to a decade earlier.
“It’s important to draw attention to the rising incidence
and death rates for skin cancer so that we can look at
ways to be more effective in tackling this important public
health problem,” Prithwish De, an epidemiologist with the
Canadian Cancer Society, said in a press release.
A Memory Aid for Seniors:
Humour and laughter may help combat memory loss in the
elderly, a new study suggests.
Previous research has found that the stress hormone cortisol
can harm memory and learning ability in older adults. This
new study examined whether mirth might reduce the
damage caused by cortisol.
Researchers showed a 20-minute humorous video to
a group of healthy seniors and a group of seniors with
diabetes. These groups were compared with a group of
seniors who didn’t see the video.
The two groups who watched the funny video showed
significant decreases in cortisol levels and greater
improvement on memory tests, compared to the group who
didn’t see the video. The diabetes group showed the largest
decrease in cortisol levels, while the healthy group exhibited
the greatest improvement on memory tests.
According to one of the study’s authors, humour reduces
detrimental stress hormones – such as cortisol – that
decrease memory (brain cells), lower blood pressure and
increase blood flow and mood state. The act of laughter – or
simply enjoying some humour – increases the release of
endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which provides a
sense of pleasure and reward.
The study did not prove that humour offsets memory loss; it
only found an association between the two.
A Walk a Day Keeps Disability at Bay
Daily walks can help older adults remain mobile and
improve their quality of life, a new study reveals.
Reduced mobility is a risk factor for illness, disability and
The study, published in the May 27 issue of the
of the American Medical Association
, included more than
1,600 inactive adults, aged 70 to 89, who were at risk of
losing their mobility, defined as the ability to walk without
Participants were split into two groups. One group walked
for 20 minutes a day, while the other group received
educational material about healthy aging.
After more than two years, the seniors in the walking
group had an 18 per cent lower risk of major mobility
disability, meaning that they were more capable of
walking without assistance for about a quarter-mile.
Wrong in 9 out of 10 Medical Articles
Wikipedia is the most popular online reference tool, but
new research shows that it’s not the best source for health
information because it contained incorrect information in
nine out of 10 articles.
University of North Carolina researchers compared
information about 10 disorders from a peer-reviewed
article to the information contained in the Wikipedia
The entries were about the 10 most expensive medical
conditions: coronary artery disease, lung cancer, major
depressive disorder, osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, back
pain, hyperlipidemia and concussions.
There was “statistically significant discordance” between
nine of the 10 selectedWikipedia entries and the
assertions in the peer-reviewed article.
Information written in both forums about concussions was
found to be consistent.
“Our findings reinforce the idea that physicians and
medical students who currently use Wikipedia as a medical
reference should be discouraged from doing so because of
the potential for errors,” the researchers said.