Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Does It Cost Anything To Donate?

No, the donor's family doesn't pay, or receive payment, for organ and tissue donation. All costs related to donation are paid by local organ procurement programs or transplant centers through provincial health plans. Hospital expenses incurred before the donation of organs, and funeral expenses, remain the responsibility of the donor's family.
Organ transplants, especially kidney transplants, provide tremendous health care cost savings over other treatment alternatives. For example, kidney transplants cost approximately $20,000 plus $6,000 per year thereafter (for anti-rejection drugs), or $50,000 over a five-year period. Dialysis treatment costs about $50,000 per year per patient, roughly $250,000 over a five-year period.
Are we told what organs and tissues were used and to whom they were given?
Your local procurement agency sends letters to donor families telling them which organs were used, the age of the recipient(s) and, sometimes, a few basic details about the person(s). Recipients often write letters of thanks to the donor families. Names are kept confidential and are not given to the donor or recipient families.
Do all religions support organ donation?
Most religions throughout the world support organ and tissue donation as a humanitarian act. You should consider discussing such concerns with your own minister, priest, rabbi, religious advisor or hospital chaplain. For more information visit on the Internet.
Isn't it a bit insulting for hospital staff to ask for organ/tissue donations at such a time of tragedy and loss?
Organ transplants offer life or a better quality of life to other people. It gives the donor family the opportunity to help others during a time of sadness.
For more information on organ and tissue donation and how you can donate, visit on the Internet.

Keep The Bugs At Bay

With approximately 42,000 mosquitoes for every person in Ontario, most of us spend a great deal of our summers swatting away these pesky insects. Protecting yourself against mosquitoes will not only make your summer more enjoyable, it will help prevent you and your family from getting annoying and sometimes dangerous bug bites.
As a family physician, I recommend the following tips for a bug free summer.
Stay Scent-Free. Avoid using scented soaps, lotions and shampoos.
Gear Up. Cover your skin as completely as possible. This may be challenging by the beach, but when possible wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
Be Colour Conscious. Mosquitoes are attracted to blue, so avoid this colour and stick to neutral colours.
Use Repellent. Repellents containing DEET are most effective for areas with heavy mosquito or tick infestation.
Alternative Repellents. When applied frequently, citronella-based repellents can provide the same bug protection as products containing low concentrations of DEET. I recommend Natrapel®, which contains 10 percent citronella to ward off bugs for up to two hours.
Meal Time. Be alert to the time of day when certain insects are most active such as dawn and twilight.
Check Point. Upon returning indoors, check your children and yourself for bites.
Treatment. Sunburn and bite treatment products should be included in every outdoor adventurer's travel kit.
Dr. Brian Aw is a general practitioner specializing in travel medicine.
For more tips on bug bite prevention and product information visit:

Eight Tips For A Bug-Free Summer

With approximately 42,000 mosquitoes for every person in Ontario, most of us spend a great deal of our summers swatting away these pesky insects. Protecting yourself against mosquitoes will not only make your summer more enjoyable, it will help prevent you and your family from getting annoying and sometimes dangerous bug bites.
As a family physician, I recommend the following tips for a bug free summer.
Stay Scent-Free. Avoid using scented soaps, lotions and shampoos.
Gear Up. Cover your skin as completely as possible. This may be challenging by the beach, but when possible wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
Be Colour Conscious. Mosquitoes are attracted to blue, so avoid this colour and stick to neutral colours.
Use Repellent. Repellents containing DEET are most effective for areas with heavy mosquito or tick infestation.
Alternative Repellents. When applied frequently, citronella-based repellents can provide the same bug protection as products containing low concentrations of DEET. I recommend Natrapel®, which contains 10 percent citronella to ward off bugs for up to two hours.
Meal Time. Be alert to the time of day when certain insects are most active such as dawn and twilight.
Check Point. Upon returning indoors, check your children and yourself for bites.
Treatment. Sunburn and bite treatment products should be included in every outdoor adventurer's travel kit.
Dr. Brian Aw is a general practitioner specializing in travel medicine.
For more tips on bug bite prevention and product information visit:

Beat The Bugs. Use Repellent!

With approximately 42,000 mosquitoes for every person in Ontario, most of us spend a great deal of our summers swatting away these pesky insects. Protecting yourself against mosquitoes will not only make your summer more enjoyable, it will help prevent you and your family from getting annoying and sometimes dangerous bug bites.
As a family physician, I recommend that my patients take the following personal protection measures to prevent insect bites.
Stay Scent-Free. Avoid using scented soaps, lotions and shampoos.
Gear Up. Cover your skin as completely as possible. This may be challenging by the beach, but when possible wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
Be Colour Conscious. Mosquitoes are attracted to blue, so avoid this colour and stick to neutral colours.
Use Repellent. Repellents containing DEET are most effective for areas with heavy mosquito or tick infestation.
Alternative Repellents. When applied frequently, citronella-based repellents can provide the same bug protection as products containing low concentrations of DEET. I recommend Natrapel®, which contains 10 percent citronella to ward off bugs for up to two hours.
Meal Time. Be alert to the time of day when certain insects are most active such as dawn and twilight.
Check Point. Upon returning indoors, check your children and yourself for bites.
Treatment. Sunburn and bite treatment products should be included in every outdoor adventurer's travel kit.
Dr. Brian Aw is a general practitioner specializing in travel medicine.
For more tips on bug bite prevention and product information visit:
Editors: These articles are for use in Ontario only

Take Control Of Your Allergies

For some people, allergies are a seasonal condition, recurring for several weeks at the same time period each year. This condition is called seasonal allergic rhinitis. In the spring pollen levels rise as trees and flowers begin to bloom causing sneezing, runny nose, itchy watery eyes and nasal congestion. For others, these allergy symptoms are a daily nuisance that can occur throughout the year, a condition known as perennial allergic rhinitis.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a helpless victim to these seasonal or perennial allergic symptoms. Here are certain lifestyle changes recommended by the allergy experts at Claritin that can help you reduce your symptoms and control your allergy: (box text under Lifestyle Changes
Keep pets out of the bedroom or even outdoors if possible.
Replace your humidifier, vaccum cleaner and furnace filters often.
Wash bedding weekly, place zipped covers over matresses, box springs and pillows.
Remove dust collectors, such as carpeting, old drapes and overstuffed furniture.
Avoid cigarette smoking in the house.
Remove house plants that may be a source of mould and dust mites.
During pollen season, close the windows of your home in late afternoon and on hot, dry, windy days.
Schedule outdoor activities for late afternoon or evening when pollen release is at its lowest.
Non-sedating antihistamines can help you reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and let you perform normally. Make sure to look for the words "non-drowsy" on the package to ensure that it's a non-sedating medication.
Keep informed of pollen levels in your area when planning outdoor activities or to pre-treat your allergy by tuning in to the Claritin Pollen Forecast every 28 minutes past the hour on the Weather Network.
For more information on how to control allergies this season call 1-800-665-1507 or visit

The Impact Of Allergies In The Workplace

In the spring allergy sufferers try hard to make it through their work day as they deal with a variety of symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, and sniffles.
Their heads may feel clogged up and their symptoms may make it hard to think, not to mention the drowsiness they may be combating if they are taking sedating medication to deal with their allergies. An American study found that employees with allergies potentially cost companies more than $250 million annually in missed workdays and lost productivity.
Allergies can affect how a person works. However, many employees work in areas that aggravate their symptoms, an employer can do much to improve conditions. Some changes might include enclosing sources of dust and fume exposure, offering a cool room where employees can go for a break, rotating jobs for employees who are having trouble coping with their allergies or using appropriate protective equipment.
Allergies should not be taken lightly, as they can lead to more serious health concerns. Allergies can be life-threatening and lead to severe symptoms.
To complicate matters for employees and employers, some workers may even be debilitated by their medication, or may not take anything for fear of becoming drowsy. This fear may not be warranted, as there are now non-sedating allergy medications available that relieve symptoms and enable employees to perform to their maximum abilities.
Occupational health specialists say that the real problem with allergies and the workplace is that patients may not recognize the symptoms which can affect on the job performance. As well, employees with very severe symptoms may not even go to work leading to absenteeism or negative job performance. Effective non-drowsy allergy medications are available to treat employees' allergy symptoms and not affect their job performance.
It's crucial that the allergy sufferer examine the packaging carefully when choosing a form of treatment. Make sure they see the words "non-drowsy" on the box. Any other expression or word combination may be misleading. This label will ensure they are taking a non-sedating medication. For more information on how to control allergies this season call 1-800-665-1507 or visit or catch the Claritin pollen forecast on the Weather Network at 28 minutes after the hour.

Safe Driving Tips For Allergy Sufferers

Did you know that some medications can cause drowsiness which could affect your ability to drive your vehicle safely?
In particular, sedating antihistamines commonly used in the treatment of allergy symptoms can cause drowsiness at the wheel. If a medication does not say non-drowsy on the box then it usually means it is sedating. An allergy medication that is sedating could do any of the following:
Decrease your ability to learn
Decrease your attention span
Provoke memory loss
Interfere with your coordination and the precision of your movements
And cause inexplicable mood swings
All of these symptoms not only affect your productivity, they also affect your safety and that of others. Just think
about how a sedating medication could impair your driving skills. Safe driving simultaneously requires attentiveness, excellent coordination, quick reflexes and good memory. A medication that is sedating could affect any of these requirements and could therefore affect your driving.
Not all allergy medications are created equal. There are non-sedating alternatives available like Claritin that will relieve the sneezing and itching of the nose, eyes and throat while letting you perform to the maximum of your abilities.
Here are some helpful safety tips from the allergy experts at Claritin that you can consider before you take the wheel:
Look for the words non-drowsy, or non-sedating on the package of your allergy medication. In other words, any other expression or word combination may be misleading. If you're not sure about what you're buying, ask your pharmacist to explain the different wording.
Avoid the misconception that certain stimulants like coffee will keep you alert over an extended time period. Coffee or other sources of caffeine are short-term stimulants only.
Avoid alcohol: even small amounts can affect your driving, especially if combined with certain medications.
For more information on how to control allergies this season call 1-800-665-1507 or visit

Allergies Can Now Be Diagnosed With A Simple Blood Test

Do you think you have allergies? Do you have dark circles under your eyes, itchy rashes, or feel like you have a cold? If you do, you are not alone. More than 9 million Canadians suffer from some form of allergy.
Allergic reactions can mimic cold and flu symptoms so it is easy for people to mistake one condition for the other. To determine if you have allergies your doctor will often use skin tests or a new blood test called UniCAP" allergy test.
What is the Difference Between a Skin Test and the New Blood Test?
For a skin test, the doctor uses a needle to prick the skin through a drop of a solution of each suspected allergen. If a raised welt (weal or hive) appears occurs then this indicates sensitivity to that allergen.
However, the skin test is not appropriate if you have an allergic skin disease and is not as effective in infants and in older people. The results may also be affected by medication.
In contrast, the UniCAP" allergy blood test is simple. It requires about small sample of blood (about one teaspoon). The test is performed in the lab by a medical technologist. The test can identify allergies to more than 500 different allergens and is not affected by medications.
"The new blood test offers Canadians an easy and less painful alternative to identifying allergic symptoms, " says Dr. Brian Sheridan, Vice President of Medical Affairs for MDS Laboratory Services. "MDS technologists are specifically trained to perform thousands of different types of laboratory tests including the serum test for allergies. This test is 90% accurate and seems to be particularly useful in identifying food allergens."
If you think you may allergies, talk to your doctor. For more information visit

What Is Hay Fever?

Well, it's not caused by hay, and it isn't a fever. In fact, " hay fever" is a complete misnomer. The term was first used by English doctors over a hundred years ago when they noticed that during the hay-cutting season, some people suffered sneezing fits, runny noses and itchy eyes.
The more accurate name for hay fever is seasonal allergic rhinitis. It's an allergic reaction that may cause a runny nose, red, itchy, watery eyes, pressure in the eyes, sore throat and headaches. Symptoms, in fact, which are deceptively similar to those of a cold.
There are two kinds of allergic rhinitis. The first is perennial allergic rhinitis and it affects people year round. Since the substances causing the allergy - house dust, animals, mould - are found inside, it strikes mostly in the winter, when we're indoors the most.
The second, seasonal allergic rhinitis, is fairly easy to recognize, because it occurs at the same time each year. Pollen seasons vary according to the different types of pollen and the geographical location. It's important to know your pollen season, because medications like antihistamines are most effective if you start taking them before your peak season starts. To find out more about pollen levels in your area check the Claritin Pollen Forecast every 28 minutes past the hour on the Weather Network.
Also, it's important to be able to function normally while you to treat your allergy symptoms. Make sure to read your medication package properly because not all antihistamines are non-sedating. More specifically, look for the words "non-drowsy" on the box. With a little information and proper medication you will be able to control your hay fever and continue your outdoor activities this spring and summer season.
For more information on seasonal allergies contact 1-800-665-1507 or visit or catch the Claritin Pollen Forecast on the Weather Network at 28 minutes after the hour.

New Drug Offers Hope to Cancer Patients

- A decade ago, research into angiogenesis-inhibiting compounds was still in a relative state of infancy. The principle itself was not new -- as far back as the early '70s, there was speculation that human cancer tumors could not grow beyond a few millimeters in diameter without obtaining their own blood supply. But opinion was still divided in the scientific community.
Angiogenesis itself is a natural and necessary physiological function, which refers to the process by which new blood vessels form and develop. In its pathological form, however, angiogenesis is also implicated in the progression of more than 20 different diseases, including cancer.
In order to grow, solid tumors need to be supplied by blood vessels that act as conduits for oxygen and nutrients. Once a vascular network has been generated around a tumor, cancerous cells can then invade the rest of the body, a process called metastasis. Angiogenesis inhibitors block the formation of new blood vessels, without which cancerous cells are starved and tumors cannot grow.
In recent years, the therapeutic potential of angiogenesis inhibitors has gained wide acceptance. Indeed, the scientific community now believes that more than 90 percent of all cancer cases are angiogenesis dependent. The industry spends nearly $4 billion annually in angiogenic research and more than 100 research organizations and companies are currently developing angiogenesis-blocking drugs.
Жterna Laboratories Inc. is at the forefront of this effort. In fact, it is one of the very few biotechnology companies in the world with an angiogenesis-blocker in Phase lll clinical development. Its proprietary compound, Neovastat, is currently the subject of Phase III trials in lung and kidney cancer and a Phase ll trial in multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.
Neovastat possesses multiple mechanisms of action that counteract the angiogenic process. Among competing products, this makes it unique. It has also shown an excellent safety profile in clinical trials. Further advantages of Neovastat are that it is orally administered, which makes it convenient for patients who must receive treatment on a long-term basis, and it may be taken in association with standard therapies such as chemotherapy.
Angiogenesis blockers are not a cure for cancer. They are a form of treatment -- in the same way that insulin is a treatment for diabetes -- that should allow patients to lead a more normal life, without suffering from the often debilitating side-effects that some treatments can produce.
Жterna's clinical trials strategy has targeted forms of cancer for which there is an urgent need for new therapies. Since 1996, Neovastat has been tested in more than 850 patients in North American and European countries. Currently, Neovastat is the subject of three clinical trials, targeting three forms of cancer. For multiple myeloma, the second most common form of blood cancer, the drug is in Phase II trials with 125 patients in the United States, Canada and Europe. This trial should be completed in early 2003. For progressive renal cell carcinoma, the drug is in Phase III trials with 302 patients in the United States, Canada and Europe, which should be completed in early 2003. For non-small cell lung cancer, Neovastat is in a Phase III trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute with 760 patients in the United States and Canada. This trial should be completed in 2005.
Once the clinical trials are complete, health authorities in various countries can then assess these results and make decisions on approval.

Eat Right, Work Out, Sleep Better

The Three Components of a Healthy Lifestyle
- In today's fast-paced world, moving at full speed isn't an option, it's a way of life. Finding the energy to keep up has led many Americans to improve their diets and increase their activity and exercise. Yet many people are missing the third vital component to a healthy lifestyle -- a good night's sleep.
"Committing to improving overall health requires ambition, focus and knowledge," says women's health researcher Joan Shaver, Ph.D., RN, professor and dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "We should think of a healthy lifestyle as a triangle, with the three points of proper nutrition, exercise and sleep. If we fail to fulfill any one of these points, we are missing the potential for optimum health."
Good nutrition and exercise
The requirements of eating a balanced diet will vary from individual to individual, but it is vital that all major food groups are included. Many of today's diets may help improve weight loss, but often leave the body begging for vitamins and other essential nutrients. Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, breads, and fibers will help to give the body more energy for exercise and taking on the events of a busy day.
"Getting in shape" means exercising at least three days a week for 30 minutes or more -- not necessarily all at once. Exercise doesn't have to be boring or rigorous -- it can be as simple and fun as a morning walk or an evening bike ride. In fact, yard work is considered a great workout and long summer days allow for plenty of time outside. Since exercise will raise the body's temperature and heart rate, be sure to complete exercise at least three hours before bedtime to allow the mind and body to wind down.
Better sleep
According to Dr. Shaver, several lifestyle factors must be considered to benefit from a better night's sleep. First, evaluate the sleep environment -- ensure that your room is cool, dim and quiet. Reserve the bedroom for sleep -- avoid bringing work to bed or watching television in the bedroom.
Next, allow enough time for sleep -- on average, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends eight hours for adults. But, in the 2002 NSF "Sleep in America" poll, 39 percent of respondents said they were sleeping less than seven hours at night on weekdays. And most only slept 7.5 hours on the weekends.
Finally, ensure that each sleep partner is comfortable by finding a mattress that meets individual needs. According to the NSF, 91 percent of people say their sleep surface is important in helping them get a deep, restful night's sleep. And 89 percent of those surveyed in 2002 agree that a better quality mattress provides a better night's sleep.
One alternative to traditional innerspring mattresses is The Sleep Number Bed by Select Comfort. It allows individuals to adjust the bed to their ideal level of personal comfort -- their Sleep Number. A Sleep Number is a number between zero and 100 that represents each individual's ideal setting for mattress firmness, comfort and support. With dual-adjustable air chambers, sleep partners can independently adjust the firmness on their side of the Sleep Number bed without disrupting their partner's desired comfort level.
Kevin Garnett, professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has recognized the importance of sleep on his overall performance as a professional athlete and has taken personal sleep comfort to a new level. In 2001, the 6-foot, 11-inch forward ordered a custom-made 9-foot by 9-foot, dual-adjustable Sleep Number bed from Select Comfort.
"The Sleep Number bed has helped me sleep through the night when my muscles ache after a hard workout," says Garnett. "With a regular mattress you have to adjust your body to the bed. The Sleep Number bed allows you to adjust the bed to your body."
In studies conducted at Stanford University and Duke University, participants fell asleep faster and experienced better quality, more restorative sleep on the Sleep Number bed than on a traditional innerspring mattress. Stanford University researchers also found that 87 percent of those who slept on the Sleep Number bed experienced a greater percentage of REM sleep with fewer disturbances. The Sleep Number bed also provides more proper spinal alignment and 93 percent of participants reported back pain relief.
For more information about these or other sleep facts, visit To find out more about the Sleep Number bed, call (800) 535-BEDS.

TUNA Therapy Combats Benign Prostatic Hyperlasia

- With age, most men's prostates grow larger, resulting in irritating problems associated with urination. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition affecting the prostate. It is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate that restricts the flow of urine from the bladder. Millions of men worldwide are affected by BPH, but fewer than five percent are receiving treatment. Fifty percent of men older than 50 and 80 percent of men older than 80 have some symptoms of BPH. This condition is the most common non-cancerous form of cell growth in men. While there is no definitive cause of BPH, factors that contribute to the condition include aging, hormones and growth factors.
Though BPH is not life threatening, it can lead to a reduced quality of life, causing discomfort, inconvenience, sleep disruption and embarrassment. BPH was traditionally treated by a method called Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP). This involves inserting a scope into the urethra and removing a section of the obstructing prostate tissue. It involves surgical risks but remains a "standard."
Medication is also available to help treat BPH. Some relax the neck of the bladder while others shrink the prostate. These medications are effective, but not as effective as surgery. Within the past decade, a number of minimally invasive techniques have been developed to treat BPH. Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA) is one such technique that has fewer side effects than other minimally invasive laser or microwave treatments. The side effect profile also compares favorably to TURP.
With Medtronic TUNA Therapy, a catheter is inserted into the urethra and two small needles are deployed into the obstructing prostate tissue. The needles emit radio frequency (RF) energy directly and precisely into the prostate, causing thermal ablation of the obstructing tissue while protecting the urethra and adjacent structures from damage. This procedure is associated with few side effects and adverse events. Possible side effects from the TUNA procedure include obstruction, bleeding, pain/discomfort, urgency, frequency and urinary tract infection.
"TUNA offers men a much more attractive option to surgery when first-line medications fail," said Dr. Michael J. Naslund, associate professor of urology and director of the Maryland Prostate Center at the University of Maryland.
TUNA Therapy provides long-term relief of BPH symptoms in a single treatment. It is performed as an outpatient procedure in a urologist's office. It typically takes less than an hour to perform and most patients require local anesthesia. Most patients return to normal activities within 48 hours. TUNA Therapy is affordable and cost effective. It is covered by most private health plans and Medicare approved the procedure for in-office reimbursement on Jan. 1, 2000.
The procedure received marketing clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996 for the treatment of symptoms due to urinary outflow obstruction secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men older than 50 with prostate sizes between 20 and 50 cc. Since its introduction, more than 33,000 TUNA procedures have been performed worldwide.
"Even with medications, I was still living my life around where the nearest bathroom was located -- it was embarrassing and distressing," said David Schachnovsky, who underwent a TUNA procedure performed by Dr. Naslund. "I felt surgery was the only way I would get relief, so my doctor explained the available options. Now I'm back taking long walks on the beach with my wife. My life is normal again, which is a fantastic feeling."
The best protection against prostate problems is to have regular medical check-ups that include prostate exams. Symptoms of BPH include a frequent urge to urinate, difficulty urinating and the dribbling of urine.
Medtronic, Inc. (, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the world's leading medical technology company, providing lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease. More information about Medtronic Urology is available online at

Isoflavones Help Alleviate Menopausal Symptoms

However, Independent Study Finds That All Isoflavone Supplements are Not Created Equal
- As baby boomers age, large numbers of women are entering menopause. Doctors often prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause. However, more and more women prefer to try other therapies as an alternative to conventional HRT.
"Many women are turning to products containing phytoestrogens in an attempt to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, as well as slow the rate of bone loss and reduce cholesterol," said Lila Nachtigall, M.D., professor of OBGYN at the New York University School of Medicine, and director of the NYU Medical Center's Women's Wellness Center. "Phytoestrogens come from plants including soybeans and red clover. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen that resembles human estrogen. They may help offset the drop in estrogen and regulate its fluctuations that occur at menopause."
Because it is difficult for a woman who eats a typical American diet to consume enough isoflavones through food alone, many women turn to supplements to get to beneficial levels. According to the National Consumers League, women in the United States spend approximately $200 million per year on non-prescription dietary supplement therapies for menopausal symptoms.
Unfortunately, it can be almost impossible for consumers to know what they are getting in their supplements.
Recent studies show that many dietary supplements are mislabeled and have different amounts of active ingredients from what the manufacturer claims on the label. Unfortunately, according to a recent study, this practice holds true for some dietary supplements containing isoflavone-based ingredients. The results of an independent study, funded by the National Institute of Health, were reported in a recent peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Nutrition. To confirm that the manufacturers label claims were accurate the study analyzed the isoflavone content of known active phystoestrogens for 33 products sold in the U.S.
"It is evident that for a high proportion of these products, the consumer should have little confidence in what they are purchasing," say the authors of the study.
"These supplements are intended to provide phytoestrogen support to women," said Dr. Nachtigall.
However according to the study, just seven of 33 products were within 10 percent of their label claim and only one -- Promensil -- delivered the isoflavones in the readily bio-available form.
Women taking many of these products may be receiving phytoestrogens well below effective levels and possibly of no true benefit. "Our studies of a selection of commercially available over-the-counter phytoestrogen supplements show that there is a wide variation in composition and that no two supplements appear to be the same. This poses some difficulties for the consumer as to what supplement is 'best' to purchase," according to the study.
Promensil, manufactured by Australia-based Novogen, contains isoflavones derived from specially cultivated red clover. Promensil is standardized to deliver the claimed dose in every tablet. Products that are not standardized can vary significantly in the amount of active ingredient. Additionally Promensil provides four important dietary plant estrogens: formononetin, biochanin and the two contained in soy: genistein and daidzein.
The NIH-funded study also found that a number of the labels for the supplements promote soy content, and yet only a very small percentage of content appears to come from soy plants. A close review of the labels reveals that many contain isoflavones derived from kudzu (often identified by its Latin name, pueraaria lobata root extract). While there may be some soy isoflavones in these products, the major source of isoflavones is likely kudzu, the pest plant seen strangling natural vegetation in the Southern United States.
Consumers need to be informed to ensure they are making wise health decisions, including the safe and effective use of dietary supplements. Promensil can be purchased in the dietary supplement section of pharmacies and health food stores nationwide. For more information on Promensil, call (877) 4-1-Promensil (417-7663).

Diabetic Eye Disease Can Cause Blindness, Gives No Early Warning Signs

Annual Eye Exams Crucial to Early Detection and Treatment
- Loss of eyesight in people with diabetes is a national health problem. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than those without diabetes, and diabetic eye disease can cause as many as 25,000 new cases of blindness every year, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI), one of the Federal government's National Institutes of Health.
Nearly half of the nation's estimated 16 million people with diabetes will develop some degree of diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of diabetic eye disease, and the leading cause of blindness in American adults. Diabetic retinopathy damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye.
The disease does not have any early warning symptoms such as pain, and vision may not change until the disease becomes severe. "This is one of the most frightening things about diabetic eye disease," says Dr. Paul Sieving, director of NEI. "People with diabetic eye disease do not realize that their eyesight is slowly deteriorating."
The only way to diagnose diabetic eye disease in its early stages is with a dilated eye exam. Using eye drops to enlarge the patient's pupils, a dilated eye exam allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of the eye to check for signs of the disease. People with diabetes need to make annual dilated eye exams a priority. Ignoring the importance of an annual eye exam could lead to trouble later on, when diabetes begins to affect a person's eyesight.
Vision lost from diabetes cannot be restored. Yet in about 90 percent of those who would otherwise become blind, the early detection of diabetic eye disease, combined with laser surgery when needed, and appropriate follow-up, has helped preserve vision. Laser surgery can shrink the abnormal blood vessels caused by diabetic retinopathy.
Sieving notes that "the longer a person has diabetes, the more likely it is that person will develop diabetic retinopathy. However, studies have shown that people with diabetes who keep their blood sugar levels as normal as possible slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy and lessen the need for laser surgery. This may also help reduce other complications from the disease, such as kidney disease, stroke and nerve damage."
Individuals with diabetes are also at risk for other eye diseases. Studies show that they are twice as likely to get a cataract as a person who does not have the disease, and that cataracts develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes. Glaucoma may also become a problem. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma as other adults. And, as with diabetic retinopathy, the longer someone has had diabetes, the greater the risk of getting glaucoma.
Much research is being done to learn more about diabetic eye disease. For instance, the National Eye Institute is supporting a number of research studies in the laboratory and with patients to learn what causes diabetic retinopathy and how it can be better treated. This research should provide better ways to detect and treat diabetic eye disease and prevent blindness in more people with diabetes.
A free brochure, "Don't Lose Sight of Diabetic Eye Disease," is available by writing to Diabetic Eye Disease, 2020 Vision Place, Bethesda, MD 20892-3655. NEI's Web site, provides additional information about diabetic retinopathy.

Stopping Sleepless Nights: What You Need to Know about Restless Legs Syndrome, a Common but Unrecognized Condition

- "Creepy-crawly," "prickly," "tingling," and "twitching" ... These are the words typically used to describe one of the most common but relatively unknown sleep disorders in the United States: Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly 12 million Americans have RLS, and even though it's slowly becoming more recognized, many researchers believe RLS is misdiagnosed or never diagnosed at all, since many people feel their symptoms will not be taken seriously or cannot be treated. To address the continuing need for public education, the RLS Foundation, an organization committed to providing information and assisting RLS patients in finding a doctor or support group, is funding new research and sponsoring educational initiatives.
"My mother, my sister and I had these awful sensations. We couldn't sleep or sit still on long car rides. It was difficult for my father, our doctors and even my wife, to understand," said Bob Waterman, chairman of the RLS Foundation's board of directors. "We were relieved to finally discover we had a real illness; it had a name; it could be treated."
The classic symptom of RLS is uncomfortable sensations in the legs that worsen at night or when the legs have not moved for an extended period of time. The only way to relieve this feeling is by moving the legs, making a good night's sleep or any activities that restrict movement, such as long drives, plane trips, or going to movies or sporting events, very difficult.
"People suffering from RLS not only see their quality of life diminish, but they may be unaware they have a real disorder that can be diagnosed and treated," said John Winkelman, M.D., Ph.D., sleep specialist at Harvard Medical School and member of the RLS Foundation's medical advisory board. "Physicians also need to be aware of RLS so they can properly diagnose patients and prescribe the most appropriate medication when necessary."
Among the primary symptoms of RLS are:
Compelling or irresistible urge to move the affected limbs (most often the legs);
Uncomfortable (creepy-crawly) sensations deep in the limbs;
The urge to move and the uncomfortable sensations are relieved with movement of the affected limbs;
Symptoms are worse in the evening and at night, especially when the individual is at rest.
Associated features of RLS include:
Periodic leg movements (PLM), characterized by a repetitive jerking of the leg, either during sleep or when awake;
Sleep disturbance and fatigue;
Family history;
Absence of other conditions known to cause RLS symptoms, such as iron deficiency and pregnancy.
"By educating yourself, you develop a greater understanding of the condition and can have a more productive discussion with your doctor," said Waterman. "The recognition of RLS symptoms by you and your doctor will lead to a quicker diagnosis and treatment."
The RLS Foundation recently held its first national meeting to share new research among doctors and patients. The foundation has also established Sept. 23, the birth date of RLS discoverer Dr. Karl Ekbom, as the annual International RLS Awareness Day.
While new research is being conducted, there are many effective treatments for RLS currently available. In mild cases, simple lifestyle changes such as taking baths, having massages, doing yoga and other relaxation exercises, and eliminating caffeine and alcohol may improve symptoms. In severe cases, various classes of medication, including dopaminergic agents, sedatives, anti-convulsants and pain relievers, have relieved RLS symptoms. However, all of the classes of drugs have varying benefits and side effects, so patients must discuss which medication is most appropriate for them with their doctors.
For more information about RLS or to find a local support group, please call the RLS Foundation's toll free number at (877) 463-6757 or visit the foundation's Web site at

Remain Active with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Yoga Guide

- More and more people are performing the age-old practice of Yoga. Yoga can stretch you, it can relax you and now it may help people with arthritis. According to the American Yoga Association (AYA), Yoga may help people with arthritis deal with pain and stiffness, improve range of motion and increase strength for daily activities.
One of the most common forms of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which affects approximately two million Americans, of which more than 75 percent are women. RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks healthy tissue lining the joints, leading to pain, deformity and disability that may be permanent. Now available is a first-of-its kind online Yoga guide specifically for people with RA, developed by the AYA, in collaboration with the Arthritis Foundation and support from
For thousands of years people have used Yoga to build flexibility and strength, improve concentration, relieve stress and increase energy. Today the benefits of Yoga may extend to people with RA. According to a pilot study published in the British Journal of Rheumatology, people with RA who participated in a Yoga program over a three-month period experienced greater handgrip strength compared to those who did not practice Yoga.
"People with RA may benefit from low-impact exercises like Yoga to help improve overall health and fitness without further damaging or hurting the joints," said Dr. Cheryl Lambing, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California Los Angeles. "Physical activity may optimize both physical and mental health and plays a vital role in disease management."
The unique Yoga guide, Remain Active with RA, encompasses traditional Yoga poses including range-of-motion, muscle strengthening, and endurance exercises - the three major forms of exercise typically prescribed for people with RA. Each exercise contains detailed photographs and instructions indicating the proper way to perform each movement, with variation of exercises based on disease severity. It is important for people with RA to speak to their physician before embarking on any new exercise program.
"With my rheumatoid arthritis, I never thought I would be able to do an exercise like Yoga," said Lynn McKenzie-Collins, Ph.D. "I am now reassured that there is a Yoga guide tailored for people with my disease that may help my pain and stiffness."
The Remain Active with RA Yoga Guide is offered free exclusively at and can be accessed when visitors to the site register. RAacademy is a disease web site, sponsored by Aventis Pharmaceuticals that provides RA-related news and information to people with the disease and their families. In addition to the Yoga guide, the site features self-care tools and tips for living with RA.

Why Become A Donor?

Young or old, rich or poor, any one of us might one day get the chance to save or enhance someone's life by becoming an organ or tissue donor.
Your gift might give one of the thousands of Canadians desperately waiting for transplants a second chance-the chance to be healthy again and to enjoy all of life's simple pleasures.
Your gift could also help partially console your family at a time of terrible loss; it might provide them with some sense that their loved one's death was not in vain. It is a great way to preserve their memory and give their untimely death some meaning.
Donated organs come from a number of sources:
Those who donate an organ-usually a kidney or part of a liver-while still living a healthy life (living organ donation).
Those who have suffered tragic, often sudden "brain death," but whose vital organs are maintained artificially by a ventilator (cadaveric organ donation).
Those who have died from causes other than primary "brain death" (tissue donation).
Living donation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to close the gap between the number of people on transplant waiting lists and the number of available organs. Cadaveric donation is, however, still the most common source of organs for transplants. Organs from non-breathing cadaveric sources are not currently used.
For more information on organ and tissue donation and how you can donate, visit on the Internet.

Who Can Donate Organs And Tissues?

Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor. Typically, organ donors are healthy people who have suffered an irreversible brain injury (most often due to a motor vehicle accident), or a brain hemorrhage resulting in brain death. The health of the donor and his organs and tissues, not his or her age, is what the transplant surgeon considers. The organs and tissues used for transplantation cannot have sustained any damage at the time of death. Brain death means that the brain is no longer functioning and can never recover, but vital organs and tissues can be supported artificially for a limited time and saved for possible transplantation.
Tissues don't require the same special conditions as organs to survive, so tissue donation is possible even after the heart and lungs have stopped working.
Why decide to be an organ and tissue donor?
Donors tell us that their primary motivation for deciding to become an organ or tissue donor is to help someone else. One donor can save or improve the lives of many other people if a variety of different organs and tissues are used. What better way is there to preserve the memory of a loved one who has died prematurely?
Which organs and tissues can be donated?
Organs that can be donated include the kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach and bowel. These organs can be used alone or in combination (heart/
lung, liver/kidney, or pancreas/kidney). Transplantation is performed as quickly as possible after brain death, preferably within eight hours for the liver and pancreas, four hours for the heart, and two hours for the combined heart/lung.
Tissues require less blood supply than organs and are therefore more easily preserved, frozen and stored for future use. Corneas, bone, skin, heart valves and veins are among the tissues that can be stored for months, and even, in some cases, for years.
For more information on organ and tissue donation and how you can donate, visit on the Internet.

When Does The Donation Process Begin?

The surgery can begin after two doctors, not involved in the transplantation procedure, have declared the patient to be brain-dead. If and when the family agrees to donate the organs and tissues of their loved ones, the transplantation team arrives to harvest them.
If I have registered my consent for organ donation, will everything be done to save my life if I'm severely injured?
Absolutely. Organ donation is, first and foremost, about saving lives. Potential organ donors must be declared brain dead by two impartial doctors who work separately from the transplant team. Transplant doctors are not involved with the patient until lifesaving attempts have failed, brain death has been declared, and consent for organ donation has been confirmed.
A person is brain dead when all the functions of the brain stop working. Less than 1% of all deaths in Canada result in the potential for organ donation.
What is the success rate for transplantation of organs?
Success rates for transplants vary depending on the organ, but in general 85-95% of transplants are successful one year after surgery.
For more information on organ and tissue donation and how you can donate, visit on the Internet.

Vitamin Q & A

Q: My teenage daughter does not like milk and I'm afraid she isn't getting enough calcium. What can she do to ensure that she is getting enough?
A: Building strong bone mass through adequate calcium intake is imperative for women during their teenage years. It's during this time that bones are building density and growing in length. Calcium with vitamin D can lower the risk of developing osteoporosis. If your daughter doesn't like to drink milk, there are other alternatives. Suggest foods made from low-fat dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt. Other foods rich in calcium are fortified orange juice, rice and soymilk, salmon with bones, tofu, lentils, nuts, beans and some greens such as kale, bok choy and broccoli. It's recommended that teens get 1,300 mg of calcium every day with 400 IU of vitamin D to aid calcium absorption. Teens should consider taking a daily calcium supplement to maintain adequate calcium intake. For convenience, Caltrate Plus® Chewables are now available.

Take Control Of Your Hormones Without Medication

It's long been known that estrogen has a major impact on women's hormonal health. As women age, their estrogen levels become depleted and many women begin taking hormone replacement therapy to help boost their estrogen level and keep their hormones balanced.
Without enough estrogen to keep hormone levels in tact, many women suffer mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain, lack of sleep, poor skin quality - even hair loss, fragile bones and loss of lean muscle mass during menopause. The loss of estrogen in post-menopausal women is so severe that the average 55-year-old man has more estrogen than a woman of the same age, according to Sam Graci, nutritional researcher and author of the new book - The Food Connection: The Right Food at the Right Time.
However, taking medication to replace depleted estrogen is not appropriate for all women and there is continuing debate about whether it is linked to cancer - particularly breast cancer.
Yet medication is not the only option. Many women don't realize that food helps control how much estrogen the body will produce and just how well it will keep hormones balanced. Adding more leafy green salads and colourful fruits to the diet, which contain phytonutrients and antioxidants, will help promote good hormonal health and reduce symptoms of menopause including mood swings.
Women also produce a small - yet important - amount of testosterone, which is essential to healthy hormones. Not only does it help keep muscles and bones
strong, it's essential to keeping women emotionally fit. Testosterone typically starts declining in women after age 35. To help boost testosterone levels, add more soy products such as soy beans and the nutritional supplement greens+™, which contains a healthy dose of soy lecithin.
For more information about greens+, call 1-877-500-7888, or visit the web site at

Support For Organ Donation High: Survey

Canadians overwhelmingly support the idea of organ donation. A 2001 survey by the Environics Research Group of more than 1,516 Canadians revealed that 96% of Canadians support the idea of organ and tissue donation. They also have a fairly good knowledge of the official way to express their intention to donate with their provinces and territories.
A total of 46% of Canadians have signed their cards or registered their intentions to be a donor with their province or territory. However, 45% remain uncommitted. Only 9% say they have decided not to donate.
89% of those who have signed up (46%) have also discussed their wishes with their families. The challenge facing Canada is to get the 45% who remain uncommitted to take the decision, sign up and then tell their families. It is a life-saving, life-improving decision… and it could be your last.
For more information on organ and tissue donation and how you can donate, visit on the Internet.

Summer Safety Week-Hiking Hazards: First Aid For Sprains

The great outdoors-a winding trail stretching deep into the forest, offering hikers a glimpse of nature in its prime. The solitude is broken by the call of a distant bird flying high overhead. You turn to look up and are momentarily blinded by the sun. You stumble and catch your foot on a root. Down you tumble with a sharp pain erupting in your ankle.
Joint injuries are a common occurrence for outdoor enthusiasts. Even with precautions, an injury can result in fractures, dislocations or sprains. St. John Ambulance, Canada's leader in safety-oriented™ first aid training and products, advises that first aid knowledge can reduce suffering and the risk of further injury.
Bones at a joint are held together with tough bands called ligaments. When ligaments stretch and tear, it's called a sprain. A first-degree sprain is least severe, with the ligament merely stretched. A second-degree sprain involves some tearing of the ligament while a third degree sprain is when the ligament is completely torn.
Most sprains benefit from Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation-RICE.
Rest: Stop the activity and do not use the injured joint.
Ice: Apply cold to the injured area, but not directly to the skin.
Compression: Use a bandage to compress the injury to limit swelling.
Elevation: Raise the injured joint to relieve pressure and promote blood flow.
Knowing what to do in an emergency can help reduce suffering and prevent further injury. St. John Ambulance has been helping Canadians learn essential lifesaving first aid skills for more than a century. With custom, modular programs and state-of-the-art training techniques, St. John Ambulance is Canada's leader in training. For more information on courses in your area, contact the branch nearest you or check us out on the web at

Safe Boating Week - Boater Checklist: Don't Leave Shore Without It

Fresh breezes, sunshine and sparkling water - an ideal combination for summer pleasure boating. Don't let disaster darken your outing.
Canada's leading provider of first aid training and safety products, St. John Ambulance, says take precautions to avoid tragedy. Keep this boater checklist handy and refer to it before you leave shore every time.
Does your boat meet all safety regulations?
Is your boat seaworthy and capable of handling the prevailing water conditions?
Do you have an approved lifejacket for every member of your party?
Do you have safety flares and a waterproof lighter?
Do you have two buoyant towlines?
Do you have an anchor?
Do you have a sound-emitting device, such as a horn or whistle?
Do you have paddles or oars?
Do you have tools to perform minor mechanical repairs?
Do you have a first aid kit?
Do you have a fire extinguisher?
Do you have sufficient fuel?
Have you checked for fuel system leaks or fumes?
Do you have water and nourishment?
Do you have protection from the elements - sun, wind or rain?
Boating is nothing to fool with
Many people think operating a boat requires merely knowing how to run the motor and steer. That's far from the case. Should your boat capsize or if you fall overboard, don't panic. Never attempt to swim to shore unless you are positive you can easily make it.
Hang on to the boat and wait for help. If you are in the water for an extended period, be wary of the signs of hypothermia, which can be present even in warm water conditions. As the body cools it becomes susceptible to shivering, slurred speech, and drowsiness - all warning signs of hypothermia. The condition is severe when shivering stops. Unconsciousness and stopped breathing could follow. This is a dangerous, life-threatening condition that requires immediate first aid.
Here's what to do when a hypothermic casualty is in the water:
Tell the casualty not to take off any clothing - clothing helps keep heat in.
Tell the casualty to move as little as possible - movement causes more heat loss.
When removing the casualty from the water, keep them horizontal and handle them gently as rough movement could upset heart rhythm.
St. John has training programs and first aid products to give you what you need. Contact the St. John Ambulance branch nearest you or visit our website at

Safe Boating Week-Don't Get 'Hooked' On Fishing

There's nothing like a fresh catch of fish to spice up a summer outdoor adventure. As with most outdoor activities, fishing can pose a threat to health and safety. Take care that you don't get hooked on more than just the sport.
St. John Ambulance, Canada's leader in safety-oriented™ first aid training and products, suggests you keep this information handy for every fishing trip.
First Aid for embedded fish hook
Wash your hands to reduce risk of infection.
Expose the injured area and inspect the wound, without touching it.
Gently place clean dressings around the object.
Place bulky dressings around the object to keep it from moving. This will apply pressure to the wound but not the object.
Secure the bulky dressings in place with a narrow bandage; taking extra care to ensure that pressure is not exerted on the embedded object.
Elevate the injured part, if injuries permit. Check circulation below the injury before and after bandaging. You may have to loosen the bandage slightly to restore circulation.
Get medical help to remove the object. Do not attempt this yourself as you may cause further damage.
Knowing what to do in an emergency is your best defence. St. John Ambulance is the name you can trust for quality first aid training and products. For more information, contact the St. John Ambulance branch nearest you or check us out on the Internet at

Three Simple Steps To Becoming An Organ And Tissue Donor

Step 1: Decide to become a potential donor.
Decide to become a potential organ or tissue donor no matter how old or
young you are. There are documented cases of a 90-year-old liver donor and a 102-year-old corneal donor.
Get the facts on organ and tissue donation and tell your family why being a donor is so important to you.
Assure your family that this discussion will make it easier for them to carry out your wishes in the future at a time when they may be overcome with emotion.
Step 2: Register or sign up to become a donor.
In Canada, the procedure to register consent for organ and tissue donation varies from province to province. Some provinces use Donor Cards or Driver's Licences, some use Health Card stickers, several have computerized Organ Donor Registries.
Step 3: Tell your family your wishes.
Tell them why being a donor is so important to you. Discuss your decision with you family.
Step 4: Ask your family to support your decision.
If you die suddenly from a severe brain injury, your family may be approached about organ donation. In most provinces, doctors will not collect organs and tissues without the permission of the donor's family-regardless of whether or not your desire to donate was properly registered. This is why discussing your decision with your family is such an important part of the process.
Find out how your family members feel about donating their organs so that if you ever have to make a decision on their behalf you'll be better prepared to do so. You can send an electronic postcard to your family. Simply visit tissue/ecard/index.html
For more information on organ and tissue donation and how you can donate, visit on the Internet.

Nutrition And Mental Function

Eating well and getting the vitamins and minerals we need over the course of our lives is important for overall good health. It may also help preserve memory and cognition in the golden years.
There is growing evidence to suggest that good nutrition plays a role in preventing or possibly reversing cognitive decline. One recent study found that healthy people in their late 60s were able to boost their mental capabilities by taking nutritional supplements.
Certain B vitamins, such as niacin, contribute to the formation of proteins that are needed for memory. As well, antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, and selenium may play a role in enhancing mental ability and protecting against dementia and diseases like Alzheimer's.
Because our understanding and means of dealing with cognitive decline is limited, prevention is key. Eating a well-balanced, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is important for good health and may slow brain aging. Seniors in particular are more susceptible to changes in their bodies that result in reductions in vitamin and mineral levels. Taking a well-balanced multivitamin supplement like Centrum Select® on a daily basis can provide good nutritional insurance.

New Therapies Bring Hope And Quality-Of-Life To MS Patients

One of the most devastating pieces of news a younger person can be given is that they have an incurable, progressive disease. Sadly, this happens every day to an average of three Canadians between the ages of 20 and 40 when they are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In fact, Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. More than 50,000 Canadians suffer from this disabling disease of the nervous system.
Multiple Sclerosis means "many scars" and occurs when a person's own immune system damages myelin, the insulation that surrounds and protects nerve fibres. While MS is not fatal for the majority of people who have it, it can cause loss of balance, problems with movement, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, vision difficulty and eventually paralysis. The good news is that with new therapies and the improvement of treatments, people with MS can lead full and healthy lives.
In a recent "real world" study on MS treatments, patients reported enjoying an improved quality-of-life by adhering to specific therapeutic treatments. For example, those treated with a once-a-week therapy called Avonex® (interferon beta-1a) were more than twice as likely to adhere to their therapy than patients on other more frequently taken MS drugs.
"There has been an ongoing debate in the neurology community as to whether weekly or more frequent treatments are better from a clinical standpoint, but what is important to keep in mind is that no drug will work in the real world if patients fail to comply with their treatment regimen," says Dr. Jean-Pierre H. Cфtй, an MS Specialist in Montrйal.
The study showed only 18 per cent of Avonex® patients reported ever missing an injection versus 45 per cent of non-Avonex® patients. In addition, almost three times as many Avonex® patients said they never experienced injection site reactions like itchiness, pain or redness; and, they reported feeling initial flu-like symptoms much less frequently (3.65 times per month) than patients on other interferon therapies (9.02 times).
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has proclaimed May MS Awareness Month and on Mother's Day weekend (May 10 - 12), thousands of volunteers will sell carnations to the Canadian public to raise funds and awareness for this devastating disease.

Finding Hope Among Shattered Dreams

At the promising young age of 28, Melanie Jasmin was a talented and energetic woman with a hopeful future. The Montreal lawyer happily spent her days concentrating on her career, nurturing her personal relationships and practicing dance with an amateur dance troupe. Life was ideal.
Then, on a normal workday in February 1998, Melanie began to feel dizzy. Assuming she was overtired, she figured she had to slow down. Within 48 hours, she began to experience double vision and after a couple of days, she went to a doctor.
Within a week she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a debilitating disease of the central nervous system. Melanie was shattered.
"You can't imagine how this diagnosis changed everything," says Melanie. "I thought my life had no meaning anymore."
After carefully considering her options, Melanie began to pick up the pieces. She was determined to face the diagnosis with strength, intelligence and a positive attitude. She wanted to find a treatment that was both effective and that would ensure her quality-of-life. Melanie chose Avonex® (interferon beta-1a), which is taken only once-a-week where other MS treatments require injections daily or every other day.
"Because Avonex® is injected into the muscle, I don't get unsightly injection site reactions, which is important for
my self confidence and when I'm performing," said Melanie. "And with a once-a-week treatment, I never forget to take it and I only feel tired for about a day after the injection. That means I have the energy to keep up with my work, my family and my dancing."
Melanie took a few months off from dancing after her diagnosis but she has returned to her normal life and considers herself to be 98 per cent as well as she was before the attack. She believes that taking care of herself, staying optimistic and being diligent about her treatments are the best way to face the disease.
"The one thing MS has taught me is to appreciate everything I have - family, friends, work. Life is a gift and I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity," she says.

A Devastating Diagnosis Builds Strength

Nowhere is this familiar refrain truer than in the grueling arena of competitive bodybuilding - a highly specialized form of training in which muscles and physical stamina are regularly pushed to the extreme. So it didn't seem unusual when Brent Felstead, a competitive bodybuilder, began experiencing numbness and weakness following his training sessions.
In 1997, Brent was a 31-year-old husband and father of one son. The busy electronics engineering technologist and amateur bodybuilder from Kanata, Ontario never thought he might have a disabling disease of the central nervous system. After all, he was accustomed to dealing with training injuries, aches and pains.
It wasn't until two years later, when his symptoms became too distinct to ignore, that he went to a doctor. In a matter of weeks, he had gone from a mild limp, to losing all mobility in his right leg and numbness spreading to most of the right side of his body. In October 1999, following an MRI scan, Brent Felstead was diagnosed with MS.
"I live with multiple sclerosis every day, and my goal is for the disease to affect my life as little as possible," said Brent Felstead.
Because Brent was determined to carry on with his family, work and bodybuilding, he selected a treatment that was both effective and that would ensure his quality-of-life. Brent chose Avonex® (interferon beta -1a), which is only taken once-a-week, where other treatments require injections daily or every other day. In addition to the once-a-week convenience, a recent Environics study showed MS patients taking Avonex® had much fewer injection site reactions or initial flu-like symptoms.
"Because Avonex® is injected into the muscle, I don't get unsightly reactions, which is important for my appearance in competitions," said Brent. "And with a once-a-week treatment, I never forget to take it and I only experience tiredness for about a day after the injection. That means I have the energy to keep up with my work, be an active dad and continue to train effectively."

Lab Tests - What Can They Tell You About Your Health?

It's one of the most common phrases you hear from your doctor:
"I just want to run a few tests." Laboratory tests are among the most important aspects of modern health care. The College of American Pathologists estimates that "laboratory services drive more than 70 percent of clinical decisions from diagnosis through therapy and prognosis."
Lab tests are carried out to measure or detect substances in a person's body. These tests are important and are used by doctors to make informed decisions about your health and the appropriate treatment required. For some conditions, there is just no substitute for a laboratory test.
Kidney Transplants:
Laboratory tests help accurately diagnose kidney failure.
Lab tests are used to find a kidney match for transplant.
Ongoing testing ensures the patient stays healthy and their new kidney continues to function properly.
Lab tests, such as the Myriad genetic tests, identify genetic predisposition to breast, ovarian and colon cancers.
The final diagnosis of virtually all cancers is made using a laboratory test.
Lab tests monitor treatment of many cancers such as leukemias, prostate and cervical cancers.
Lab tests confirm your pregnancy and monitor the ongoing health of mother and baby.
Triple markers or amniocentesis tests tell you if the baby is OK.
Paternity tests can identify the baby's father.
Have you ever wondered who actually performs those tests?
There are a variety of skilled laboratory professionals who, as a patient, you may never see face-to-face. However, these individuals play a very important role in your healthcare.
"Every day, medical technologists and technicians perform thousands of different types of laboratory tests on patient samples such as - cells, tissues, blood, urine, spinal fluid, DNA, etc. These tests influence the majority of health care decisions," says Dr Brian Sheridan, Vice-President of Medical Affairs, of MDS Laboratory Services. "Tests performed in our laboratory are essential to the early detection and effective management of disease, which ultimately leads to Canadians living healthier and longer lives."
Medical technology professionals are the third largest group of health care professionals after nurses and doctors. Working behind the scenes, medical technologists play a key role in ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment of your specific condition or disease.
For more information visit

How Do I Become An Organ Donor?

In some provinces you must register with an Organ Donor Registry, in others you can indicate consent on your Health Card or Driver's License. For details on the province or territory in which you live, visit www.healthcanada.
ca/organandtissue on the Internet.
Does my signature on a donor registration card or consent form guarantee that my organs will be used for transplantation?
No, your signature symbolises your willingness to donate. However, except in British Columbia, the ultimate decision rests with your family. Without the consent of your loved ones, doctors will not harvest your organs or tissues. So, it's important to make sure your family is aware of your intention to be an organ donor so that they can support your decision.
Is there an age limit for organ donation?
No, there is no age limit for organ donation. In fact, everyone, regardless of age, should consider being a potential donor. The oldest liver donor on record was 92. Corneas from a 102 year-old woman gave sight to someone else. The quality of the organ rather than its chronological age determines whether it can be transplanted.
Can I designate specific organs for donation?
Yes. In most provinces you have the choice of donating all organs and tissues or only specific ones. Again, it is important that you share the details of your decision with your family.
Can I designate who should receive my organs?
No, not unless you have a close blood relative in immediate need. Normally, your gift of organs and tissues is equally available to all potential recipients. Decisions are made on the basis of suitability and length of time on the list.
For more information on organ and tissue donation and how you can donate, visit on the Internet.

When Lifestyle Changes Are Not Enough: High Cholesterol May Not Be Your Fault

High cholesterol affects more than 10 million Canadians and is a modifiable risk factor for heart disease, the number one killer of Canadians. If you have recently been told that you have high cholesterol, you may have been very surprised. High cholesterol has no symptoms and anyone can develop it regardless of age, weight, gender, race or ethnic background.
It is important to understand that only 20 per cent of your cholesterol comes from the food you eat. The remaining 80 per cent is manufactured in the body by your liver. However, even though you may be eating well and exercising regularly, you may still have elevated cholesterol levels. Do not be discouraged. Sometimes lifestyle changes alone are not enough and your doctor may recommend medication to reduce your high cholesterol.
Treatment Options

The most commonly prescribed medications to lower cholesterol levels are statins, which work by restricting the liver's production of cholesterol. Statins can significantly lower LDL-cholesterol, raise HDL-cholesterol, and some even lower blood triglyceride levels, another element in determining your total cholesterol level.
When you take cholesterol-lowering medication, you still need to reduce dietary intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, and exercise on a daily basis. It is essential that you take your medication as recommended. Even when your cholesterol levels are reduced, do not stop taking your medication without discussing it first with your physician.
For more information about cholesterol, heart disease, and treatment options, please speak to your physician or visit or call toll-free 1-877-4LOW-LDL (1-877-456-9535).
- News Canada
Lifestyle changes:

What Are My Treatment Options?
My condition, as determined by my doctor
Recommended Treatment
I have higher than normal "bad" cholesterol but low to moderate risk
As a first step, your doctor may suggest diet and lifestyle changes. After three to six months, if your cholesterol remains elevated above target, your doctor may prescribe medication.
I have a high risk of heart disease
Medication will be considered along with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
I have a very high risk or known heart disease or diabetes
Medication, along with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, will play an important role in your cholesterol management.

Hamburger Safety Tips

Here are some hamburger food safety tips from Health Canada:
Wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water before and after handling any raw meat.
Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator. If you must thaw food quickly, keep the food in its original wrapping and place in a container of cold water. Change the water every half hour to ensure the water remains cold. If raw meat comes in contact with sinks and kitchen surfaces, remember to wash them immediately.
You can also thaw meat in the microwave by using the "defrost" setting if the food is to be cooked immediately.
Marinate meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Discard the marinade after use because it contains raw juices, which may harbour bacteria. If you want to use the marinade as a dip or sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding it to the raw meat.
Do not allow cooked food to come in contact with raw meat. Use separate cutting boards and utensils or wash items thoroughly between uses.
Ground beef must be cooked to an internal temperature of 71° C (160° F). Using an instant-read food thermometer is crucial. In fact, research results indicate that some ground beef may prematurely brown before a safe internal temperature has been reached. The colour of meat alone is not considered a reliable indicator of ground beef safety. If eating out, order your hamburger cooked well done.
Keep hot foods hot at 60° C (140° F) or higher and cold foods cold at 4° C (40° F) or lower.
Do not keep cooked food unrefrigerated or unfrozen for more than two hours.
For more information on food safety, visit the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education Web site at

Hot Summer Safety Tips

Summer's here and with it comes beach days, relaxation, family trips and special safety concerns. According to Susan Brunt, a Toronto based family physician, safety starts in your home, which may play host to many types of illness-causing germs and odor-producing bacteria.
"Most people don't realize that germs don't go on vacation during the summer months. If anything, people need to be even more vigilant about maintaining a clean, healthy home and taking basic summer safety precautions," says Dr. Brunt.
Dr. Brunt offers simple safety tips to play it safe this season.
Kill unwelcome guests: bacteria. More people become ill from food-borne bacteria during the summer season than at any other time of the year. One way of getting sick is through cross contamination - or the accidental spread of germs from food to food or from surfaces to food. Your hands can also spread bacteria to less obvious places, like the refrigerator, door handles, sink faucets and more. Help protect your family from food-borne illness by using an EPA-registered product such as LYSOL® Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner to kill bacteria like E.Coli and Salmonella that cause food-borne illness.
Protect children from excessive exposure to the sun, and especially between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. when the sun's rays are strongest. Use sunscreen or sun block with an SPF of 15 or higher. When applying sunscreen or sunblock, pay special attention to exposed parts such as the face, neck, shoulders, back and tops of feet.
Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water. Whether at work, camp, or on the go it's important to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
The road to safe traveling requires simple precautions. When it's family vacation time, pack the car with a first-aid kit, non-perishable snacks and water. And for those long road trips, keep a disinfectant product like LYSOL® Sanitizing Wipes on hand. They're a convenient way to wipe away germs that lurk on frequently touched surfaces. They're also handy for food spills and in rest-stop bathrooms
For additional tips on summer safety, call for a free copy of the "Summer Safety - Put Your Family on the Road to a Safe and Healthy Summer" brochure at 1-800-99-LYSOL.

Food Safety Begins In The Home

More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food, and Health Canada estimates that every year approximately two million Canadians suffer from illness caused by foodborne bacteria. While the majority of these cases are mild, Health Canada reports that 2 to 3 percent of all cases will lead to chronic health problems and as many as 30 will die from complications due to food poisoning.
Susan Brunt, a Toronto based family physician and LYSOL spokesperson, reminds us that food safety starts in the home and offers helpful hints on how to keep your home healthy this summer: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and waterCheck expiration dates on all foodBring food home from the supermarket promptly to refrigerate or freezeThaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave-not on the counterUse separate cutting boards for raw meats and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination-the accidental spread of germs from food to food or from surface to foodDisinfect food preparation surfaces with LYSOL® Sanitizing Wipes. They offer a convenient way to prevent cross-contamination in your kitchen and around the grill areaChill and refrigerate leftovers immediately and use within 2-3 days. Date leftovers to make sure you use them before they spoil
Dr. Brunt also reminds us that the most severe cases of food poisoning tend to occur in the very old, the very young, and those with weak immune systems.
For additional information on how to make your home safe this summer, call for a free copy of the "Summer Safety-Put Your Family on the Road to a Safe and Healthy Summer" brochure at 1-800-99-LYSOL.

Don't Let Foodborne Illness Spoil Your Summer Fun

With the warm days of summer upon us, most of us are eager to spend time outside barbequing and picnicking with family and friends. Although outdoor summer meals can be great fun, the heat and humidity of the season can facilitate the spoilage of foods and the proliferation of harmful bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella, which can often lead to food poisoning.
According to Toronto based family physician Susan Brunt, when enjoying meals outside remember these helpful tips to make sure foodborne illness doesn't spoil your summertime fun:
Start with your hands: To avoid the spread of germs, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling and preparing foods
Heat things up: Use an instant-read thermometer to check if food is thoroughly cooked. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, you should cook meat to at least these internal temperatures: whole chicken and parts- 82єC-85єC; turkey pieces-77єC; beef roast and steaks-63єC; pork chops and ribs-70єC; ground meats-71єC. Also make sure to insert the thermometer in the thickest parts of the meat and in several places to ensure that it is cooked throughout
Don't forget to rinse: Bacteria that cause food poisoning aren't just limited to meat products. Before enjoying summer's bounty, such as cantaloupes, peaches, and tomatoes, make sure you thoroughly wash all produce. This includes fruits and veggies with rinds you don't eat
Keep cold foods cold and hot food hot: Chill and refrigerate leftovers immediately and make sure that hot foods remain hot
Wipe away the germs: Use a disinfectant such as LYSOL® Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner to prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen and around the grill area.
Cross-contamination is the accidental spread of germs from food to surfaces, like cutting boards and counters, or to other foods that are not cooked, like salads and breads.
Keep meats and vegetables separate: To avoid cross-contamination, when the juices from raw chicken or meats are left on a cutting board or plate, use a separate one for vegetables and fruits.
For additional information on how to avoid foodborne illness, call for a free copy of the "Summer Safety-Put Your Family First on the Road to a Safe and Healthy Summer" brochure at 1-800-99-LYSOL.

Use Food Thermometer When Cooking Ground Beef

According to Health Canada, colour is not a reliable indicator that ground beef has been cooked to the temperature necessary to destroy harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7. The only way to be sure a hamburger patty is cooked properly and safely is to use an instant-read food thermometer.
Studies show that the colour of cooked ground beef patties can vary considerably. At 71°C (160°F) a safely cooked patty may look brown, pink or some variation of brown or pink. The bottom line is that if you cook your burger to 71°C (160°F) and check it with an instant-read food thermometer, you can enjoy a safe, juicy burger.
To quickly and easily check the temperature of the burgers, just remove the patties from the heat source when they are almost done and insert an instant-read food thermometer sideways into the centre of the thickest burger. If the temperature registers at least 71єC (160єF), the burger is done, if not, continue cooking until a minimum temperature of 71єC (160єF) is reached.
Health Canada also suggests that consumers do not eat hamburger patties that are pink or red in the middle, unless a food thermometer has been used to verify the proper temperature has been achieved. This is especially important for people most at risk for foodborne illness since E. coli O157:H7, a bacteria that can be present in ground beef, can lead to serious illness or even death. Those most at risk include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people whose immune systems have been weakened by cancer, kidney disease and other chronic illnesses.
For more information on food safety, visit the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education Web site at

Foodborne Illness: Did You Know?

Although most recover completely from it, some people who get food poisoning (foodborne illness) may develop long-term health problems as a result. Illnesses such as chronic arthritis, and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which leads to kidney failure, affect not only those afflicted, but also society and the economy at large. Health Canada estimates that the costs associated with these illnesses exceeds $1 billion per year.
One way to avoid foodborne disease is to exercise care when grilling those hamburger patties on the barbecue this summer. Cook to temperature not to colour. According to recent studies, visual clues such as clear running juice or brown coloured centres are not always reliable. Health Canada recommends cooking ground beef to 71°C (160°F), and testing with a food thermometer. When patties are almost done, remove from heat and insert an instant-read food thermometer sideways into the centre of the thickest burger. If the temperature registers at least 71°C (160°F), the burger is done, if not, continue cooking until a minimum temperature of 71°C (160°F) is reached. At this temperature E. coli (the bacteria that may be present in ground beef) is killed and the patties are considered safe to eat. For more information on food safety, visit the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education Web site at

Food Safety Tips For Barbecuing

When barbecuing, use the following tips from Health Canada to safely prepare, cook, serve and store ground beef:
Before cooking
Wash hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, with warm water and soap, before and after handling raw meat.
Clean and sanitize all utensils and work surfaces with soap and water after preparing each food item and before you move on to the next food. For added protection, sanitize utensils and counter surfaces with a mild bleach solution of 5 ml (1 tsp) bleach to 750 mL (3 cups) of water.
Use different utensils for raw and cooked meat or thoroughly wash them between uses. This includes flipping spatulas, tongs, food thermometers, plates, trays, etc.
Ensure the gas barbecue is pre-heated before starting to cook. If using a charcoal barbecue, use enough charcoal and make sure it is glowing red before starting to cook.
Keep raw meat away from cooked meat; do not use the same plate to carry burgers to and from the barbecue. Keep salads and perishable foods in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them. If food is being stored in a cooler, pack the cooler with ice or freezer packs. Keep lid closed as much as possible, store cooler in shade and away from birds and animals.
During cooking
Use a food thermometer to ensure that the hamburger has reached a safe internal temperature. All ground beef products should be cooked to 71°C (160°F). Insert a probe-type instant-read thermometer through the side of the beef patty until the tip reaches the centre. Fork -style thermometers can be inserted through the top into the centre of the patty.
Reduce the heat of the gas barbecue or raise the height of the charcoal grill if food starts to burn during cooking, but ensure that correct internal temperature is still met. Remember that colour is not an indicator that the patty is safe to eat.
After cooking
Keep serving bowls covered.
Put cooked food on a clean plate.
Eat food as soon as it is ready.
Clean and sanitize all utensils and work surfaces.
Store leftovers within 2 hours in separate shallow, covered containers in the refrigerator and eat within 3 days. Reheat leftovers to 74°C (165°F), using a food thermometer to check the temperature.
For more information on food safety, visit the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education Web site at

Hot Enough For You? Only The Thermometer Knows

When it comes to preparing ground beef, it's not easy to tell if it's properly cooked. Many people guess that their burgers are done when they're brown. However, ground beef can turn brown before disease-causing bacteria, such as E. coli O157:H7, are killed.
Canada's food is among the safest in the world, but bacteria are everywhere, including in ground beef. If food isn't handled safely, harmful bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels and make you sick. According to Health Canada, using a food thermometer is the best way to ensure that food has reached a temperature high enough to destroy harmful bacteria. Thanks to new technologies, food thermometers are now easier than ever to use, even in thin foods like hamburgers.
Food thermometers are available in lots of different shapes and sizes -disposables, pop-ups, digitals, dials-even in the tips of barbecue forks! However, not all types are appropriate for testing beef patties. Use a suitable temperature measuring device, such as a single-use temperature indicator, an instant-read fork-style thermometer, or an instant-read digital thermometer inserted in the centre of the beef patty to measure its internal temperature. For a tasty, safely-cooked burger, the internal temperature must be 71°C (160°F).
For more information on food safety, visit the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education Web site at

Brown Burgers May Look Done, But Are They?

According to Health Canada, summer chefs who cook ground beef burgers on gas grills could have a food safety problem if they rely solely on colour-rather than an instant-read food thermometer-to determine if their patties are adequately cooked. For example, sometimes previously frozen beef burgers may turn brown in the middle before they reach a temperature high enough to kill harmful E. coli bacteria.
That's why it's so important to always use an instant-read food thermometer when cooking hamburgers to check that the burgers reach 71° C (160° F). At this temperature,
E. coli is killed and the hamburgers are considered safe to eat. For more information on food safety, visit the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education Web site at

Take Folic Acid Before Getting Pregnant

Mississauga mother Susan Walsh gives a bottle of multivitamins containing folic acid to the bride-to-be at every wedding shower she attends. This is her way of ensuring that all women take folic acid before getting pregnant, in order to help reduce their risk of having a baby with a birth defect.
In 1996, Susan's son Jacob was born with a mild case of spina bifida. He underwent surgery at 10 weeks, but he still has regular neurological appointments at the Hospital for Sick Children to ensure he stays healthy.
While Susan feels fortunate that Jake was mildly affected by this birth defect, as a parent she can't help but feel responsible for his well-being.
"When I found out that I might have been able to prevent Jacob's birth defect simply by taking a multivitamin everyday, I was shocked," says Susan. "My pregnancy was planned. I quit drinking, smoking and even quit drinking diet cola - one of the hardest vices to give up. I would have taken a multivitamin too, if I'd known how important it was."
It is recommended that all women of childbearing age eat a healthy, well-balanced diet including foods high in folate like asparagus, broccoli, orange juice, lentils and peanut butter. However, even the best food choices will not supply all of the folic acid required. To ensure that a woman is getting enough folic acid to help her reduce the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect, she should take a daily multivitamin containing a minimum of 0.4mg folic acid.
However, women who are at higher risk of having a pregnancy affected by neural tube defects require a higher dosage of folic acid and should consult with their physicians.
Derryn Gill, Chair of the Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario, and mother of a child with spina bifida and hydrocephalus knew about folic acid 22 years ago when she first planned on getting pregnant. She was ahead of her time… probably because her sister was a pharmacist. She diligently took her multivitamin and had a healthy baby boy. She continued to take these pills through her second pregnancy however, her second child was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
"I asked myself, 'Why me? What went wrong?'," says Derryn. "There weren't any answers 19 years ago, but the research since then has shown that even though 0.4mg of folic acid is enough to reduce the incidence of spina bifida by as much as 70% for most mothers, women at high risk need to take ten times as much."
Women who are at higher risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect include: those with a family history of neural tube defects, those taking anti-seizure drugs, those of Celtic, Northern Chinese, Cree or Sikh heritage, and those with insulin-dependent diabetes, to name a few. Women that fall into these categories need to take an increased dose of folic acid.
However, Derryn didn't know about these risk factors and, when she found out about them, she didn't feel they applied to her. That is, until her uncle did some family tree research and found that both Derryn and her husband were of Celtic heritage and both had relatives in England with spina bifida.
While Susan Walsh wishes she had heard about folic acid before getting pregnant, Derryn Gill knew about it, and wishes she had known more. They both hope that by spreading the word to other women, they can give them the gift of knowledge that they would have valued years ago. Visit today.
Editors: These articles are for use in Ontario only

Folic Acid Necessary For Preventing Neural Tube Defects

With June being National Spina Bifida Awareness Month, it's a great opportunity for Canadians to become educated on the importance of folic acid for healthy infants. In Canada, it is estimated that four out of every 1,000 children born will have a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. Spina bifida occurs when the lower end of the neural tube fails to close resulting in abnormal growth in the spinal cord and backbone. Most infants born with this condition survive, although the degree of disability differs. Since many pregnancies are unplanned, physicians recommend that all women of childbearing age should take a daily multivitamin containing a minimum of 0.4 milligrams of folic acid to reduce the risk of spina bifida and other birth defects.
The following tips may help women get enough folic acid and prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects:
1. Eat a fortified breakfast cereal that contains folic acid;
2. Eat foods that are high in folic acid, such as dark green leafy vegetables, bananas, nuts and asparagus. Also, eat foods that are fortified with folic acid, such as certain breads, rice or pasta;
3. Take a daily multivitamin supplement, such as Centrum Forte® that contains 0.6 milligrams of folic acid.

Facts About Organ And Tissue Transplants

There is a chronic shortage of most organs needed for transplant in Canada. More than 3,500 Canadians are currently awaiting organ transplants.
In Canada, up to 30 per cent of people in need of a solid organ transplant die on the waiting list.
Only one per cent of all deaths in Canada, in any year, are suitable for possible organ donation.
Demand for transplants is increasing while the number of organ donors remains unchanged.
The spread of Hepatitis-C will increase the need for liver transplants five-fold by 2008. Up to 30 per cent of Hepatitis-C cases damage the liver seriously enough to prove fatal.
Survival rates of transplant patients continue to improve and a majority of recipients live healthy and productive lives.
Transplants are cost-effective. For those with kidney disease, the average cost of dialysis treatment is $50,000 a year. By comparison, the one-time cost of a kidney transplant in BC is approximately $20,000, with an additional yearly cost of about $6,000 for anti-rejection medications.
For more information on organ and tissue donation and how you can donate, visit on the Internet.