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Nearly one million Canadians projected to have dementia by 2030, new report

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Nearly one million people in Canada are expected to have dementia by 2030, an increase of more than 65 per cent from 2020, according to the projections of a new report from the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

And unless measures are taken to reduce the risks and delay the onset of the condition, close to 1.4 billion caregiving hours – the equivalent of more than 690,000 full-time jobs – will be required annually to support the 1.7 million Canadians who will have dementia by 2050, the report, published Tuesday, said.


Number of people living with dementia and the number of new cases of dementia per year in Canada, 2020 to 2050

In thousands

New dementia cases

All dementia cases

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: ALZHEIMER

SOCIETY OF CANADA

Number of people living with dementia and the number of new cases of dementia per year in Canada, 2020 to 2050

In thousands

New dementia cases

All dementia cases

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: ALZHEIMER

SOCIETY OF CANADA

Number of people living with dementia and the number of new cases of dementia per year in Canada, 2020 to 2050

In thousands

New dementia cases

All dementia cases

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: ALZHEIMER SOCIETY OF CANADA

If not much changes to the current trends, the number of people with dementia and the number of people caring for them “is going to be enormous,” said Saskia Sivananthan, chief research officer at the Alzheimer Society of Canada. But this amount of growth is not inevitable, she said. By investing in addressing modifiable risk factors that improve brain health, “as a government and as a country, we can start changing and shifting some of those numbers down.”

The report, titled Navigating the Path Forward for Dementia in Canada, is the first of a series from the organization’s Landmark Study, which uses computer modelling and demographic data from Statistics Canada to forecast the impact of dementia on the country over the next 30 years. Two additional reports, examining the social and economic effects of dementia, will be published in the coming months, the Alzheimer Society of Canada said.

In 2020, an estimated 597,300 people had some form of dementia in Canada, with an incidence rate of 348 new cases diagnosed a day, the report released on Tuesday showed. Common forms of dementia include Alzheimer’s dementia, a later stage of Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia, which occurs from a lack of blood flow to the brain.

There were 350,000 unpaid caregivers for people with dementia, which includes family members, friends and neighbours, in 2020. They provided an average of 26 hours of care each week, totalling 470 million hours of care a year.

Based on current trends, the report said by 2050 both the number of people with dementia and the number of caregivers will nearly triple.

The projections did not account for any potential impact of COVID-19, said Joshua Armstrong, a scientist with the Alzheimer Society of Canada who authored the report. He explained there is a lack of data about how the stresses associated with the pandemic or the virus itself may affect these estimates.

The report, however, showed that improving efforts to reduce the risks and delay the onset of dementia could result in up to millions of fewer cases. If everyone delayed getting dementia by one year, there would be nearly 500,000 fewer new cases by 2050, the projections showed. If everyone delayed getting dementia by 10 years, there would be more than four million fewer new cases by 2050.

Certain risk factors, such as age and genetics, are not modifiable, but the report pointed to various risk factors that are, including lack of education, hearing loss, social isolation, physical inactivity and air pollution. It provided a list of measures people can take, such as being physically and socially active, getting six to eight hours of quality sleep a night, avoiding excessive alcohol use, seeking treatment for depression, avoiding head injuries and using hearing aids, if needed.

Dr. Armstrong emphasized the need for communities, public-health agencies and other governmental organizations to help individuals.

“They’re only modifiable if people have the support and resources to modify them,” he said.

Dr. Sivananthan added it’s important to try to reduce multiple risk factors, since a range of small changes can have a cumulative effect.

The report offered recommendations aimed at organizations, health systems and various levels of government. One is for the federal government to cost out and fully fund the national dementia strategy, a road map that Ottawa released in 2019. Its recommendations for provincial and territorial governments include improving education for all ages and helping workplaces provide flexible support to caregivers.

Roger Wong, a clinical professor in geriatric medicine at the University of British Columbia, said he hopes the report would spur more support for the care of individuals with dementia.

Dr. Wong, who was not involved in the study but chairs the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s research and knowledge committee, also expressed a desire for policy makers to promote research and public education about the issue.

“Now that we know, we have to do something about it,” he said.

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Feds lift border vaccine requirements, mandatory masks on planes and trains

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OTTAWA — Federal ministers say all COVID-19 border restrictions will be removed as of Saturday, including mandatory vaccination, testing and quarantine of international travellers, as well as the requirement for masks on planes and trains.

The cabinet order maintaining COVID-19 border measures will not be renewed when it expires on Sept. 30.

But Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is once again warning that pandemic restrictions could be reinstated if they are needed.

“We have learned over the last (two-and-a-half) years the type of measures that can work,” Duclos said Monday.

“We will therefore leave open all possible options when it comes to protecting the health and safety of Canadians.”

The changes mean foreign nationals will no longer require an approved series of vaccinations to enter the country.

In addition, Canada-bound travellers will no longer be subject to random COVID-19 tests, and unvaccinated Canadians will not need to isolate when they return to the country.

Cruise passengers will not have to do pre-board tests or prove they have been vaccinated.

And people who enter the country after Saturday will not need to monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

The five federal ministers making the announcement said the changes are informed by science and epidemiology, adding that modelling indicates the peak of the latest wave of the disease has “largely passed.”

But they did face questions about whether the move is at least partially politically motivated as the Liberals contend with the newly elected Opposition leader, Pierre Poilievre.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is still strongly recommending that people wear masks, particularly in crowded environments such as planes and trains.

“The science is clear: wearing a mask is clearly a means of personal protection that is extremely effective,” said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief health officer.

“I hope Canadians will make an enlightened decision about this.”

Duclos said the negative attitudes of some passengers have made things very difficult for airlines and crews to enforce the mask mandate in recent months, and cited that as a factor in the decision.

“The transmission of the variants of COVID are domestic-based, for the most part, and therefore, this is what we should stress: masking is highly recommended … but it is not something that can be, in a sense, forced.”

That is a change in messaging from earlier in the summer, when the government and public health officials insisted that maintaining measures at the border was necessary to track and prevent the introduction of new variants.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said there have been 38 million entries at the border in 2022 so far, more than double the number in all of last year. “We want to keep that momentum going.”

The controversial ArriveCan app will no longer be mandatory when the order expires.

“Going forward, use of ArriveCan will be optional, allowing travellers who so choose to submit their customs declaration in advance at major airports,” Mendicino said.

So far that option is available at international airports in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but that will be expanded to include Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax and Billy Bishop airport in Toronto.

In addition, the Canada Border Services Agency is looking at adding features to ArriveCan to be able to provide information such as border wait times.

The changes do not remove the quarantine or testing requirements for people who enter Canada before Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Using artificial sweeteners may raise the risk of heart disease, study shows – Prestige Online Malaysia

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‘Debilitating’ heart palpitations could be sign of Long Covid – do you have the condition? – Express

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Heart palpitations can be a sign of several different problems – both mental and physical. Often, they’re caused by stress and anxiety. But over the course of the last few years, Long Covid has reportedly caused palpitations. A recent study has explored why this might happen.

Long Covid is when people suffer ongoing symptoms of Covid, 12 weeks after infection.

Some people with the condition have struggled with heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, or feeling faint.

Researchers, observing their patients, have concluded that these symptoms could be caused by problems with the autonomic nervous system – the part of your nervous system that monitors automatic activities such as heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.

Doctors and nurses at Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College London believe that the “debilitating” palpitations and other symptoms were caused by “orthostatic intolerance syndrome”.

READ MORE: Princess Beatrice’s ongoing difficulty with ‘muddled’ thoughts swirling in her head

Orthostatic intolerance syndromes are when moving from a sitting or lying position to an upright position causes a low blood pressure in your arteries.

The British Heart Foundation explains: “When a healthy person stands up, some of the blood in the body will flow downwards with the pull of gravity.

“The body responds to prevent blood pressure falling – blood vessels narrow and there is a slight increase in heart rate.

“But in people with orthostatic problems, these automatic changes don’t happen.

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“Moving to an upright position causes a drop in the blood supply to the heart and brain and a fast heart rate as the body tries to compensate.”

For people that struggle with these issues with moving to an upright position, the study by Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College London made recommendations.

It suggested: “Non-upright exercise such as cycling on a recumbent exercise bike and swimming are encouraged.”

It added: “The patient should be advised on rising cautiously from a lying or seated position and avoiding exacerbating factors such as prolonged standing, warm environments, and dehydration.”

READ MORE: Princess Beatrice’s ongoing difficulty with ‘muddled’ thoughts swirling in her head

Shingles, memory loss, tinnitus, itchy skin, and tremors were among the more abnormal symptoms experienced.

Some studies have suggested that long Covid is an autoimmune disease, similar to Parkinson’s disease. An autoimmune disease is when the body’s immune system attacks itself.

The body cannot tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells so causes the body to attack healthy cells.

According to one small study from 2021, 44 percent of long Covid patients involved had high levels of a type of antibody connected with other autoimmune diseases and lupus.

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