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Swapping out eggs, white bread for oatmeal linked to lowered stroke risk – Ottawa Citizen

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A great start to your day begins with a good breakfast. Give oatmeal a try.


Pillsbury.com / SunMedia

(Reuters Health) – People who eat oatmeal for breakfast instead of eggs and white toast may be lowering their risk of stroke, a Danish study suggests.

Consuming breakfast every day, and oatmeal in particular, has long been linked to reduced stroke risk. But research to date hasn’t offered a clear picture of how substituting oatmeal for common breakfast foods like eggs, toast and yogurt might impact stroke risk, the study team notes in the journal Stroke.

Researchers examined dietary data on about 55,000 adults in Denmark who were 56 years old, on average, with no history of stroke. At the start, each week, participants consumed an average of 2.1 servings of eggs, 3 servings of white bread, 1 serving of yogurt, and only 0.1 serving of oatmeal.

Researchers followed half of the participants for at least 13.4 years. During the follow-up, 2,260 people had a stroke.

Using a statistical model, the researchers calculated that a person who replaced one serving of eggs or white bread with oatmeal would have a 4% lower risk of stroke compared to someone who stayed with eggs or bread for breakfast. Eating oatmeal instead of yogurt didn’t appear to impact stroke risk.

“Our results indicate that shifting more people to choose oatmeal instead of white bread or eggs might be wise for population-level prevention of stroke, but the modest association means that for individuals, it is quite possible that other factors might be more important,” said senior study author Christina Dahm of Aarhus University in Denmark.

While the study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how oatmeal might lower stroke risk, oats may do this by helping to lower cholesterol, Dahm said by email.

“Cholesterol is a risk factor for ischemic strokes, and our results were stronger for ischemic stroke, which could indicate that the cholesterol-lowering effect of eating oats may have long-term impact on risk of ischemic stroke,” Dahm added.

Most ischemic strokes occur when a clot blocks an artery carrying blood to the brain.

To minimize that risk, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends not smoking, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar in check, and eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein with limited sweets and fats.

Replacing one weekly serving of eggs or white bread with oatmeal was specifically associated with a 5% lower risk of ischemic stroke from blockages in small arteries, the researchers note.

Overall, study participants who ate more eggs and white bread tended to have less healthy eating habits than people who ate more oatmeal.

“Perhaps patients who eat oatmeal take better care of themselves in other ways, and this accounts for the observed effect,” said Dr. Michael D. Hill, a researcher at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“If true, this would mean that eating oatmeal just identifies a population of people who are healthy, rather than having a direct effect on the pathological processes leading to stroke,” Hill said by email.

Portion sizes and diet quality are also important for stroke prevention, said Dr. Amytis Towfighi of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.

The AHA recommends the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet or a Mediterranean-style diet to help prevent cardiovascular disease. Both diets emphasize cooking with vegetable oils with unsaturated fats, eating nuts, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish and poultry, and limiting red meat and added sugars and salt.

“This study provides additional support of a Mediterranean diet, which includes daily consumption of whole grains,” Towfighi, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2rtckRg Stroke, online December 12, 2019.

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Mass COVID-19 vaccinations to begin in Montreal as province ramps up effort – Sudbury.com

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MONTREAL — Quebec’s mass vaccination campaign gets underway in earnest in the Montreal area today as the province begins inoculating members of the general public.

The province announced last week that it was booking appointments for seniors age 85 and up across the province, or 80 and above in Montreal.

Quebec began accepting appointments last Thursday, with nearly 100,000 booked on Day One of the campaign.

Some regions started vaccinating members of the general population late last week, but the campaign is expected to speed up considerably with the opening of mass vaccine clinics in the Montreal area, including one at the Olympic Stadium.

Outlying regions are mainly expected to ramp up after the March break holiday, which gets underway today.

Quebec has so far concentrated its vaccination effort on health care workers, people living in remote regions and seniors in closed environments such as long-term care and private seniors residences.

The province has chosen to delay giving second doses in favour of administering a first jab to as many people as possible, but the province’s health minister said last week it will dole out second doses beginning March 15.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that the start of the mass vaccination campaign was giving him “a lot of hope,” even as he expressed concern about spring break week and the spread of new virus variants.

In a Facebook message, he urged Quebecers to remain vigilant for the coming weeks to allow the province to vaccinate more people, and to wait for immunity to fully develop in those who have received a shot. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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From lockdowns to spring break, provinces split on next steps in COVID-19 fight – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Canada’s COVID-19 hotspots showed diverging approaches to handling the crisis on Sunday, as Ontario and Prince Edward Island prepared for new lockdowns while Quebec entered a week of spring break complete with some activities meant to ease the monotony of life during a global pandemic.

Prince Edward Island announced it was entering a 72-hour lockdown starting at midnight as the province struggled to contain an outbreak of COVID-19.

The short-term public health order was announced as officials reported five new infections of the disease in a province that has seen few cases for most of the pandemic. The Island has now recorded 17 new infections over the past five days.

Health officials identified two clusters of COVID-19 in the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown, and said it’s possible the island has community spread of the virus. The province has a total of just 132 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

The three-day lockdown requires residents to stay home as much as possible and will close all kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, with post-secondary education moving online only.

“We would rather go harder and stronger now than wait for an outbreak like we have seen in other provinces that could put us in an extended period of lockdown for weeks or even months,” Premier Dennis King said late Sunday during a briefing with reporters.

Ontario, meanwhile, passed the 300,000 case mark on Sunday as the government prepared to hit a so-called ’emergency brake’ in two northern public health units grappling with surging case numbers.

The Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka District health units will enter the lockdown phase of the province’s pandemic response plan on Monday in order interrupt transmission of COVID-19 at a time when new variants are gaining steam.

The province has also pushed back its spring break until April in an effort to limit community spread.

Quebec, in contrast, has allowed movie theatres, pools and arenas to open with restrictions in place to give families something to do as the traditional winter break kicks off, even as most other health rules remain in place.

The province opted to allow students and teachers the traditional March break, even though Premier Francois Legault has said he’s worried about the week off and the threat posed by more contagious virus variants.

Quebec’s health minister said the situation in the province was stable on Sunday, with 737 new cases and nine additional deaths – even as confirmed cases linked to variants of concern jumped by more than 100 to 137.

Most of the variant cases have been identified as the B.1.1.7 mutation first identified in the United Kingdom, including 84 in Montreal.

Ontario, meanwhile, reported 1,062 new infections linked to the pandemic on Sunday as it became the first province to record more than 300,000 total cses of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.

The country’s chief public health officer urged Canadians on Sunday to continue following public health measures as a way of buying critical time as vaccine programs ramp up.

“Aiming to have the fewest interactions with the fewest number of people, for the shortest time, at the greatest distance possible is a simple rule that we can all apply to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.

Canada’s immunization program received a boost last week with the approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine, raising hopes that provinces will be able to inoculate their most vulnerable populations before the more contagious variants can fully take hold.

Toronto announced Sunday that it was expanding the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness, noting that they have a higher risk of serious health impacts due to COVID-19 and are vulnerable to transmission in congregate settings.

Quebec, meanwhile, is set to begin vaccination of the general population on Monday, beginning with seniors 80 and over in the Montreal area, or 85 and over in the rest of the province.

While some regions with extra doses began administering shots late last week, the pace of inoculation will ramp up on Monday when mass vaccination clinics in Montreal throw open their doors.

Case counts were more stable elsewhere in the country.

Manitoba reported just 50 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday and two new virus-related deaths, while Saskatchewan saw its overall tally climb by 181 but did not log any new deaths.

Alberta reported three new virus-related deaths and 301 new infections, including 29 identified as variants of concern.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia logged three new cases while officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported seven.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021

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Quebec reports 737 COVID-19 cases, nine deaths as variant cases jump – Sudbury.com

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MONTREAL — The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in Quebec jumped by more than 100 on Sunday, on the eve of a ramp-up in the province’s mass vaccination plan.

The province is reporting 137 confirmed cases involving variants, with most of them identified as the B.1.1.7 mutation first detected in the United Kingdom. 

While most of the cases are in Montreal, the province’s public health institute reports there are also 40 cases of the variant originally found in South Africa in the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region.

A further 1,083 cases remain under investigation and are listed as “presumptive.” 

Quebec’s health minister described the overall situation as “encouraging” as the province reported 737 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths due to the pandemic.

Four of the deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, while the rest took place earlier. 

Hospitalizations rose by two to 601, while intensive care numbers rose by five to 117.

Christian Dube noted that the situation in the province has been stable for the last week, but asked Quebecers not to let their guard down as spring break begins.

“It’s not the moment to relax our efforts,” he wrote on Twitter.

The province will kick off its mass vaccination program in earnest on Monday, with several large clinics in the Montreal area opening their doors to residents age 80 and older who have booked appointments through the province’s website.

In the rest of the province, the vaccination appointments are being accepted for those born in or before 1936. 

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that the start of the mass vaccination campaign was giving him “a lot of hope,” even as he expressed concern about spring break week and the spread of new variants.

He urged Quebecers to remain vigilant for the coming weeks to allow the province to vaccinate more people, and to wait for immunity to fully develop in those who have received a shot.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

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