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Saturday Morning Coffee & Health News

industry news Oct 27, 2016

The news (yay CBC!) was just full of great content for health-minded folks this week. In fact, I had a running list to get back to review this weekend. So I thought I would share it (and some of my thoughts) with you as I reviewed it over my morning coffee... here goes...

Health Minister Jane Philpott announces new food labelling, marketing regulations

My short notes:

  • Health Canada will be updating Canada's food guide. Yay! This is sooo necessary.
  • New food labels are in the works... The food labels will finally be easier and clearer to read, and they will call out sugar by one name, rather than hiding it behind confusing and chemical names.
  • There will be tighter regs on food labels about sugar, salt, and trans fats, including putting them on the front of the label. She expects this will force industry to re-formulate products to hit targets we've been asking for.
  • Marketing and advertising to kids is about to get an overhaul. The idea is to reduce the direct marketing of unhealthy foods to their susceptible young minds. Practically, I think this means less cartoons on cereal boxes... but we'll have to wait and see how this turns out.

The Nature Of Things: The Brain's Way Of Healing

My short notes:

  • Renowned psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Norman Doidge (a Canadian!) has written a best-seller The Brain That Changes Itself, and his new book The Brain's Way Of Healing. This episode of The Nature of Things looks at some of his findings.
  • He shows/explains the benefits of new non-invasive (!) tech that is helping people heal and restore their neural function. He addresses tough conditions like concussion injuries, parkinsons, and autism in the video. The results are DRAMATIC. (That probably also why it makes a great TV episode!) I'm personally curious to read his new book to see if there is any potential to help prevent/treat cognitive dementia...
  • One of those technologies includes the low intensity laser therapy we use at Avalon Laser Health. I've been starting to learn more about the use of the light from the laser to help more than just muscoskeletal injuries... I'm still learning, but boy is it interesting!
  • Bottom Line: Totally worth the 45 minute watch if you have any family members with any brain health concerns.

Quirks and Quarks - how HIV came to North America and the first bionic hands

My short notes:

  • It's dorky... but I love epidemiology. How the family tree of the HIV virus stacks up captivates me. Turns out we can trace HIV viral relatives go back over 100 years ago circulating in animals. In the 60's it jumped to humans. And in the early 70s it spread to NYC. It wasn't until a decade later in the 80s we "discovered" the virus. It took 20 years for us to identify it.
  • Prosthetic hands... is the first bionic hand now actually possible? I'm not sure, but the sci-fi kid inside me is definitely grinning. I'm imagining a new comic book super hero. In reality, it means that we may have a new way of bringing normal life back to amputees. It's certainly not ready for general market, but we have 3 people who are using prosthetics of this kind and sensing things that are the next best thing to the original limb. Exciting!

Berkeley Tries Out Soda Tax, Great Results

My short notes:

  • ​In 2014, 76% of voters in Berkeley, CA decided to charge a penny per ounce on soda pop. They were motivated to address the rising rates of diabetes and obesity. The soda industry (of course) fought it, but didn't win. So the tax went ahead.
  • Researchers jumped on it...
  • Turns out 1 year after the tax was enacted, there was roughly 20-25% drop in consumption of soda pop and sugary beverages. No health awareness campaign I know of has been able to touch those kind of numbers on a public scale. Moreover, they noted that water consumption increased by 63%. Nice work Berkeley!
  • Why is it we couldn't do this in NL when we were looking for money for the government again? There was no working model? lol. That's funny...

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