REGINA — Randall Robins sighed with relief after her three-year-old daughter received her first COVID-19 shot.
“It was good,” Khloe Robinssaid to her mom before looking at stickers a nurse had just given her: a Scooby-Doo on her arm, a gold star on her shirt and a “well done” sticker over her heart.
The biggest one was on her left arm, just below a bandage where the needle went in: “I got my COVID-19 vaccine!”
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, so it feels good to give her some protection finally,” her mother said Friday.
“We’ll feel more comfortable trying to live a normal life again now that she’s vaccinated. We can just relax a little bit.”
Khloe was one of the first in Saskatchewan to receive Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine for children ages six months to five years. The doses are one-quarter the size of those approved for adults.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said it has received 13,000 doses. As of Friday morning, 1,036 appointments for those shots were booked.
Last week, Health Canada authorized the use of Spikevax for young children, making it the first authorized vaccine for that age group.
Saskatchewan is offering the vaccine for young children through walk-in clinics, like the one Robins attended in Regina, and through booked appointments.
“There’s been a significant number of our very youngest population in the province that have been unable to access vaccines until now,” Julie Kryzanowski, Saskatchewan’s deputy chief medical health officer, said earlier this week.
“Fortunately, the majority of children with COVID-19 have milder or asymptomatic disease, but some children — even those previously healthy — can get severe disease and require hospitalizations.”
While serious illness among children is rare, the The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has said the number of children hospitalized for COVID-19 shot up dramatically as the Omicron variant spread rampantly last winter.
The average monthly rate of young children hospitalized because of COVID-19 was 15.9 per 100,000 children under five in the first three months of 2022, up from 1.4 per 100,000 in the first two years of the pandemic.
Other provinces have also announced their rollout plans for the shots for young kids, with many to start next week. Parents in Manitoba can begin booking appointments Monday and in Ontario they start on Thursday.
Megan Robins-Stewart, a sister-in-law of Randall Robins, attended the same Regina clinic Friday.
She said for the entire pandemic she’s been worried about her daughter Isabella, who was born just months after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic two years ago.
“It’s been a little bit terrifying … because I do run a daycare as well, so we have to be super diligent with being safe with COVID,” Robins-Stewart said.
Isabella received her first dose, and her mother said they plan to be back in eight weeks to complete her vaccine series.
“She’s a tough cookie,” Robins-Stewart said of her daughter.
She said her entire family has now had a COVID-19 vaccine, which gives her peace of mind. It has eased her concerns around a planned family vacation to British Columbia and being around relatives who are immunocompromised.
“Everyone needs to do their part in society to get protected, and protect the little ones that don’t have a voice,” Robins-Stewart said, encouraging hesitant parents to speak to health-care professionals about the vaccine for kids.
“Get your research from the right people. Don’t go to Google.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2022.
Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press
Artificial sweeteners tied to increased heart risk, new study finds – The Globe and Mail
Artificial sweeteners are added to thousands of foods and beverages – soft drinks, yogurts, pancake syrups, jams, baked goods, frozen desserts, chewing gum, candy – to help us satisfy our sweet tooth with fewer (or zero) calories and no added sugar.
But the effect of artificial sweeteners on body weight and health has long been debated.
Short-term randomized controlled trials have mostly shown that, when substituted for sugar-sweetened beverages, artificially-sweetened drinks help prevent weight gain.
Findings from numerous observational studies, however, suggest that over the long-term, a regular intake of these substances can have harmful effects on cardiometabolic health including increased waist circumference, elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance and inflammation.
Now, new research published in The British Medical Journal adds to growing evidence that a high intake of artificial sweeteners may harm cardiovascular health.
The latest findings
For the study, researchers examined the link between artificial sweetener intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in 103,388 participants enrolled in the NutriNet-Santé study, an ongoing nutrition and health study conducted among adults living in France.
Participants, who were followed for close to a decade, provided three days’ worth of 24-hour diet records, which included brand names of products, at the start of the study and every six months thereafter. The researchers calculated participants’ intakes of total artificial sweeteners (from foods, beverages and tabletop sweeteners), as well as intakes of different types of artificial sweeteners.
Diet soft drinks accounted for half (53 per cent) of artificial sweeteners consumed. Other important contributors were tabletop sweeteners (30 per cent) and flavoured dairy products, such as yogurt and cottage cheese (8 per cent). Aspartame, acesulfame potassium and sucralose represented most of the total artificial sweetener intake.
Participants who had a higher intake of total artificial sweeteners had an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to non-consumers. The average daily artificial sweetener intake among people classified as “higher consumers” was 77 mg, equivalent to roughly two packets of tabletop sweetener or 200 mL of diet pop.
Aspartame intake was linked to a greater risk of stroke; sucralose and acesulfame potassium were associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
The researchers accounted for several factors tied to cardiovascular risk including age, family history, smoking, physical activity and diet components.
The study’s strengths include its large sample size and high quality dietary data. The researchers collected repeated 24-hour diet records, which are known to be more precise than food frequency questionnaires typically used in nutrition studies.
One limitation of this study is that the findings show correlations only; they don’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
As well, it’s possible that some participants assessed as higher consumers at the start of the study had increased artificial sweetener intake in response to having risk factors for cardiovascular disease and may have already been in poorer cardiovascular health.
How artificial sweeteners may harm
These new findings are consistent with those from several other large observational studies that investigated the association between artificially sweetened soft drinks and cardiovascular disease risk.
There are plausible ways in which artificial sweeteners may increase heart risk. Previous studies have linked artificially sweetened beverages to metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease that can include abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, increased blood sugar and low HDL (good) cholesterol.
Artificial sweeteners may also activate sweet taste receptors in the gut, which can alter the body’s regulation of blood glucose.
And experimental studies have shown that some artificial sweeteners alter the composition of the gut microbiome in a direction that can lead to inflammation and glucose intolerance.
What to do?
Due to a lack of consensus on whether the habitual use of non-sugar sweeteners is effective for long-term weight loss, or tied to other long-term health effects, in July the World Health Organization proposed a draft guideline recommending that “non-sugar sweeteners not be used as a means of achieving weight control or reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases.”
If you’re a daily consumer of artificial sweeteners, I do advise cutting back. That doesn’t mean it’s necessary to completely avoid them; there is no evidence that occasional use is harmful.
Replace soft drinks with sparkling water, unsweetened flavoured carbonated water or plain water with a wedge of citrus fruit.
If you add a packet of sweetener to coffee, tea or hot cereal, cut back gradually and incrementally. Ditto for real sugar.
Replace artificially sweetened yogurt with plain yogurt; sweeten it with fruit.
The good news: your taste buds will come to prefer a less sweet taste.
Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is director of food and nutrition at Medcan. Follow her on Twitter @LeslieBeckRD
Health unit hosting pop-up COVID vaccine clinics – BradfordToday
SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is continuing to offer one-day pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics at locations throughout Simcoe Muskoka, with upcoming clinics taking place from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2. Walk-ins for individuals aged 5 years and older will be available, including the bivalent booster dose for people 18 years of age and older, as capacity allows as follows:
Monday, Sept. 26
- Clinic location: POP-UP Clinic – Stayner Arena and Community Centre, 269 Regina St. Stayner
Time: 1 – 6 p.m.
- Clinic location: POP-UP Clinic – Chappell Farms, 617 Penetanguishene Rd., Barrie
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept 27
- Clinic location: POP-UP Clinic – South Innisfil Community Centre, 1354 Killarney Beach Rd, Innisfil
Time: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept 28
- Clinic location: POP-UP Clinic – Huntsville Trinity United Church, 33 Main St. E., Huntsville
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 29
- Clinic location: POP-UP Clinic – Orillia Common Roof – Boardroom, 169 Front St. S., Orillia
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
GO-VAXX bus and mobile clinics continue to operate on an appointment only basis. Appointments for the GO-VAXX clinics may also be booked up to four days prior to the clinic through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
The health unit continues to offer COVID-19 vaccinations on an appointment only basis to individuals aged six months and older at the Georgian Mall, 509 Bayfield St. (upper level) in Barrie:
- Wednesday: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Appointments are also available at the health unit office immunization clinic locations in Midland, Orillia, Cookstown, Collingwood, Huntsville and Gravenhurst and can be booked through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
In addition, the RVH COVID-19 Immunization Clinic at 29 Sperling Dr. in Barrie continues to offer booked appointments and walk-ins from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments may also be booked with the Couchiching Ontario Health Team Clinic located in the Orillia Soldier’s Memorial Hospital Kiwanis Building – West Entrance 170 Colborne St., W.
Individuals six months of age and older may also receive the vaccine at some local pharmacies or booked appointments through some primary care providers, and Family Health Teams who are offering the vaccine as part of their regular clinical practice. Pop-up and GO-VAXX mobile clinics will continue to be scheduled throughout Simcoe and Muskoka.
Staying up to date with all COVID-19 vaccine doses you are currently eligible for remains the best defense against infection, severe illness, long term COVID-19 symptoms, hospitalization and death.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination, dose eligibility and booking an appointment, please visit www.smdhu.org/GetVaccinated.
Advancing care for burn patients | Queen's Gazette – Queen's University
New research finds that glutamine, previously thought to help with burn injuries, does not improve patients’ time to discharge from hospital.
Queen’s researcher Daren Heyland (Medicine) has spent his career studying what nutrients are best for intensive care patients who cannot eat for themselves, trying to understand if certain nutrients assist with their recovery. Patients in intensive care who cannot eat for themselves are fed artificial nutrition through a feeding tube or an intravenous catheter. For over 20 years, Dr. Heyland has been evaluating the role of glutamine, which is an amino acid that is made in the body and is found in foods like fish, eggs, and nuts.
Worldwide, burn injuries are among the most expensive traumatic injuries to treat and 50 per cent of burn patients are treated using glutamine. Before adopting this practice more broadly, however, the medical community wanted more evidence of the efficacy of glutamine.
Seeking to understand the role of the amino acid in burn recovery, Heyland has been involved in a decade-long scientific trial involving 1,200 patients around the world with severe burns. The study was recently published in the high-impact New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), and marked the first time a clinical trial on burn patients was featured in the prestigious publication. It yielded some unexpected results – the glutamine did not appear to harm or help burn patients.
“In the past, small, single-centre trials had suggested that glutamine was beneficial in the recovery of patients with severe burns. However, our previous work with glutamine in stressed, sick patients suggested that glutamine might actually be harmful in critically ill patients with organ failure. The only way to resolve these conflicting data was to conduct a large trial evaluating glutamine in severe burns,” said Dr. Heyland.
Dr. Heyland is the Director of the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at Queen’s University, which functioned as the coordinating centre for the trial. He also serves as the principal investigator and sponsor of the trial, partnering with over 60 hospital burn units in nearly 20 countries.
“It took us 10 years to complete the trial, including recruiting patients and securing funding,” said Dr. Heyland. “The results of this trial will hopefully cause burn units that were using glutamine to put a stop this unnecessary practice.”
The trial was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Department of Defense (DOD) in the U.S. through their competitive granting programs. About 20-30 per cent of wounded soldiers have burns, and the DOD is looking for new ways to manage burns.
Dr. Heyland’s research evaluating the use of nutrition or specific nutrients and their role in improving the recovery of critically ill patients is not over. With $1.5 million in new funding from the DOD, he is now looking at high-dose intravenous vitamin C in burn-injured patients, which may help reduce the amount of fluid burn patients require to stay alive.
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