One of the more controversial studies we reported on this year on Quirks & Quarks was about the latest science on the health risks of eating red and processed meat.
The study raised strong objections from some, but others praised its rigour and suggest it is a milestone and could guide the way forward as the we more critically evaluate the quality of nutritional science studies.
Scientists conducted five systematic reviews and meta-analyses and published them this fall in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. They concluded that eating moderate amounts of red or processed meats poses a “very small” risk to our health.
The system the scientists used in those studies is a standard many experts believe should widely adopted as a way to wade through the flip-flopping headlines about nutritional research.
“A fundamental problem with nutrition science for decades has been that we’ve relied on a very weak kind of science,” Nina Teicholz, told Quirks & Quarks host Bob McDonald. Teicholz is a science journalist and executive director of the Nutrition Coalition — a non-profit organization that doesn’t accept industry funding,
It’s a little bit like we’ve been playing a game of soccer with no referees.– Nina Teicholz, Nutrition Coalition
Nutritional advice often comes from observational studies that show associations between some foods and health outcomes. Many critics say these studies can be unreliable. For one thing it can be hard to tease out the effect of lifestyle factors from the health outcomes. The studies are also often based on surveys that ask people about their diets, and it can be difficult for people to accurately recall and report what they’ve eaten.
Systematically assessing study quality
“The red meat studies were really a milestone,” said Teicholz. She added that the system those scientists used for grading nutritional studies “really brings discipline to the field that it has not had in the past.”
“It’s a little bit like we’ve been playing a game of soccer with no referees.”
The scientists who conducted the meat studies used a system known as GRADE to prioritize strong science over weak science. An observational study would be graded lower than a randomized, controlled trial and strong associations graded higher than weak associations.
“[GRADE] was recommended by the National Academy of Sciences for the use of our U.S. dietary guidelines. So that’s the highest recommendation in the land for our most important nutrition policy,” said Teicholz.
“I think that the future of nutrition [science] will include GRADE,” she added.
BC Eyeing Record Influenza Vaccine Rollout – CFNR Network
British Columbia is looking to break records when it comes to this year’s influenza vaccine rollout, according to Minister Adrian Dix.
Dix says that the province has received 2.4 million doses of vaccines, 200 thousand more than last year.
Experts are expecting a flu season for the record books as well, after Covid lockdowns nearly killed off all spread last year.
In recent years, British Columbia has been accustomed to closer to 1.5 million doses, but the province is expecting more demand as Covid restrictions begin to loosen.
COVID-19 drives up demand for flu shots; N.S. to launch campaign later this week – CTV News Atlantic
With the colder winds of fall starting to blow, flu season will soon be on us again, but it seems scores of people are hoping to head off the sickness by getting a flu shot.
Unlike last year, when it was essentially pre-empted by COVID-19, experts say influenza will be back this year.
Just hours after getting a shipment and posting signage outside lineups started to form inside a north end Halifax pharmacy.
“We just got our flu shots, and people start showing up right away,” said pharmacist and store owner Ghada Gabr.
“I think this is going to be a lot of demand.”
It’s the same story a few blocks away, where pharmacist Greg Richard is expecting his first shipment of flu vaccine later this week.
With COVID-19 still around, customers like Kathy Lynch, who hasn’t had a flu shot in five years, is anxious to get one.
“I mean, I feel great. I’ve had no problem with either of the vaccinations, so, to put another layer on top is just the best thing, I think,” she said.
“People are eager to get their doses into them right off the bat,” said Richard. “They’re not looking to wait until November or December. So, I have a list of folks I’m going to reach out to as soon as they (the vaccines) arrive, and I anticipate to run through my stock pretty quickly.”
And it might very turn out to be the same thing across the country.
There’s word today Ontario has ordered an extra 1.4 million doses, with an aim to make the shots available to everyone by next month.
In Nova Scotia, the Health Minister says the official kickoff will come later this week, and supply should not be a problem,
“We do anticipate having enough vaccine for folks,” said Michelle Thompson.
“And I would really encourage people to ensure they have both their COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccine this year.”
But, if early demand is any indication there might not be need for much encouragement.
A sign of the times as more and more of us take steps to avoid getting sick.
PG woman denied high dose flu shot, although her age and health condition makes her eligible – CKPGToday.ca
“I’m an advocate for my health and I want the best that there is–everybody should have what they need,” said Newman.
Today, the province announced it’s beginning its influenza immunization campaign.
“The influenza vaccine is for free for anybody over six months of age, for whom it’s recommended. But particularly for people who have underlying health conditions,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer
Newman’s condition requires a higher dose of the flu shot and she has been eager to get it. However, she says she’s been denied even though she’s eligible.
“I have Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which is a cancer of your lymphatic system–your germ fighting network. So as soon as the flu shots were available, I phone my pharmacy to get the high dose vaccine. I was told that the high doses were not available,” said Newman.
Because of her cancer, she’s also classified as a Clinically Extremely Vulnerable person (CEV). She has qualified for the high dose shot in the last three years. But after calling more than a dozen pharmacies and Northern Health, she was told she wasn’t eligible yet.
“It’s really hard to get answers. But when I’ve had it in the past and people in my situation have had the high dose in the past. I just don’t get why we cannot get it. Nobody can tell me. They don’t say it’s a supply issue or anything, so I just don’t understand,” said Newman.
According to ImmunizeBC’s website, First Nations communities, residents in long term care, residents in assisted living facilities, and who are 65 and older are able to receive the high dose for free.
This means Newman’s age alone qualifies her.
CKPG-TV reached out to the Ministry of Health for clarification as to why she wasn’t able to get a high dose shot. At the time that this article was written, this was the response that was given:
“As of today, the province is proud to announce the implementation of free publicly-funded influenza vaccines for those 6 months and older (those under 6 months aren’t eligible to receive this vaccine). FluZone HD, also referred to as the “high-dose influenza vaccine,” was never publicly-funded in BC until the federal government made it available in limited supply last year. With publicly funded FluZone HD, eligibility is restricted to residents of LTC/AL who are 65 or older. This year, eligibility was extended to people 65 or older residing in Indigenous communities. No pharmacy within Northern Health has a stock of publicly funded FluZone HD reserved for these eligible populations; they are administered through other means. Some pharmacies may pay for private-pay stock of FluZone HD. That is their prerogative and the Ministry is only responsible for publicly-funded stock. If those over 65 who do not live in an Indigenous community or are an LTC resident can receive a standard-dose influenza vaccine, they should accept it,” said Ministry of Health.
Newman says that she’s not undermining the importance of the other groups getting the high dose, she’s upset that the province didn’t plan for high-risk people like herself to get one.
“It just astounds me. To me, there’s no common sense. I know common sense is not so common, but what is right is right and you know I’ve already gotten my covid booster shot. I felt guilty getting that before some people in long care even got it. I just want what’s right for everybody.” said Newman.
She says she’s not going to give up on her fight and she thanks all healthcare workers for their fight against COVID-19.
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