Saturday, October 29, 2005

Exercise a good prescription for aging

Exercise is good for everyone but it is especially important for transplant recipients as part of their overall program to live as long and as healthy as they possibly can. This announcement from Baylor College of Medicine helps us to focus on our prorities for living.

HOUSTON -- (October 27, 2005) --
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging.

"It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age."

Loss of muscle mass typically begins in the 30s or 40s. As muscles shrink, fat cells take their place and that leads to a slowdown in metabolism and weight gain even if caloric intake and expenditure remains the same.

"Any type of movement can be considered exercise, but resistance weight training has been shown to be the best way to reduce the loss of lean muscle," Roush said. "Surprisingly, resistance training also increases cardiovascular fitness and it makes your bones stronger, too."

Strength training is especially important for women. Since women are generally smaller in stature and weigh less than men, they're at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis that can lead to fractures and immobility, making a weak person even weaker.

Exercise can improve your overall health, reduce stress, help weight control, provide arthritis relief and help you get a better night's rest.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Antibacterial soaps no better at cleaning your hands

Should we continue to use antibacterial soaps and sanitizing gels? Read the following from the University of Michigan and draw you own conclusions.

October 24, 2005
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Germophobic Americans have antibacterial soaps in their bathrooms and kitchens, they carry hand sanitizing gels and wipes when they're away from home, and their grocery stores have even gotten into the act, offering wipes for the cart handles.

But Allison Aiello, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, is worried we might inadvertently develop superbugs, bacteria resistant to the arsenal of cleansers and soaps.

The concern, she explained, is that the ingredient triclosan, which most consumer antibacterial liquid soaps contain, changes the ecological balance on your hands by killing off some—but not all—of the bacteria there. In addition, laboratory tests have shown that use of antibacterials can lead to cross-resistance with oral antibiotics that are used to treat some infections.

Aiello appeared before the Food and Drug Administration's Non-prescription Drugs Advisory Committee Thursday to discuss the health benefits and risks of antibacterial soaps.

She told the committee that any kind of soap, with or without antibacterial ingredients, can help remove bugs from the hands. Soap helps to loosen dirt, so that water can rinse it down the drain. She feels it is unnecessary to use antibacterial soaps since research shows that those products are not any more effective than plain soap against common infections found in the household setting.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sport Fest Promotes Organ Donation Awareness

I met liver transplant recipient Tom Awad recently at a Trillium Gift of Life Network volunteer event and am happy to publish the following from his brother Roger. Check out their web site. There's no end to the innovative ways we can come up with to promote organ and tissue donation. Merv.

"My brother and I formed an organization called Sport Fest Windsor to promote organ donor awareness thru sporting, cultural and entertainment events.

Our website Sport Fest shows all the events and initiatives we have undertaken this year.

We have been very fortunate to have many businesses help financially thru generous donations. People like Tim Hortons, Local 444 and Valiant Machine Tool were major sponsors.

Our major funding initiative is an 18 MONTH HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CALENDAR where Jane Awad 2004 and 2005 IFBB North American Pro Figure Champion demonstrates workout techniques, lists foods to prevent breast cancer and organ donation facts are shown each month.

Selling this calendar has been challenging to say the least and your help would be appreciated.

We are hoping you would post this on your web site and encourage your readers to help us in any way by purchasing some calendars. Putting a link to our website would help as well. Sport Fest

Please add me to your mailing list as Tom advised me that he receives valuable messages from you.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Roger Awad."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

$6500 Raised for Lung Transplant Research

Gerald Sutton and his wife Kathy Marcelline would like to thank all of their supporters for helping to make the Rock "N" Roll October 15th fundraiser a huge success. They raised $6500 for Lung Transplant Research at Toronto General Hospital and also increased organ donation awareness.

Congratulations to Gerald, Kathy and their team for this very successful fundraising initiative!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lung Transplant Craft & Bake Sale a Big Success!

Linda Lycett reports the final tally is in from the Annual Lung Transplant Craft and Bake Sale held October 20th at Toronto General Hospital, and is happy to announce that they made $3063 with an additional $125 in committed donations still to come.

Linda also notes that this money will once again be donated to purchase equipment for the Treadmill Room and transplant floor.

Linda sends a huge thank you to everyone who contributed either items or money and to those who helped on the day of the sale. She also sends special thanks to Maureen O'Dell, Social Worker, Multi-Organ Transplant Program, for her help and support in making the event a success.

Congratulations to Linda and her team for a job well done!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

New antifreeze protein may allow longer storage of transplant organs

October 21, 2005 (Kingston, ON)
A new antifreeze protein discovered in tiny snow fleas by Queen’s University researchers may lengthen the shelf life of human organs for transplantation.

Drs. Laurie Graham and Peter Davies, from the Department of Biochemistry, found that the potent protein produced by the fleas to protect themselves against freezing is capable of inhibiting ice growth by about six Celsius degrees. This would allow organs to be stored at lower temperatures, expanding the time allowed between removal and transplant.

The results of the Queen’s study, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), are published today in the international journal Science.

For full details goto: Press Release

Friday, October 21, 2005

"A Change of Heart" Oct 26, 8:00 p.m.

"A Change of Heart" takes us behind-the-scenes of a world renowned heart transplant program.

This coming Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 8:00 p.m the renowned heart transplant program at Toronto General Hospital (TGH), University Health Network will be featured on the season premier of CBC's The Nature of Things. Hosted by David Suzuki, "A Change of Heart" follows the extraordinary team led by Dr. Heather Ross, Medical Director of the Cardiac Transplant Program at TGH, through weeks of intense work as they try and achieve the best outcomes for four remarkable patients in a race against time.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Grant to build technology center will carry U.S. transplant system into future

News from UNOS
Release Date: 10/20/2005

Richmond, Va. -- A one-million-dollar grant from The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation will help enhance the information technology infrastructure that is used to manage the nation's transplant system. Upgraded information technology will enable UNOS to optimize waitlist management, organ matching and distribution, ultimately benefiting the more than 90,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the United States.

Through a contract with the federal government, the United Network for Organ Sharing operates the nation's Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, serving as the central hub for organ sharing in the United States, and collects and manages clinical data on transplant candidates, organ donors, and all transplant recipients in the United States.

Upgrading the equipment and software necessary to maintain the nation's waiting list and match potential candidates with donors that become available, which are not covered under the contract, will be funded through the grant as will system repairs, placements, upgrades and enhancements.

Full press release: News Release

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Quitting Smoking Could Save Your Teeth

"Quitting smoking could save your teeth," this study shows.

Smokers who give up are much less likely to lose their teeth prematurely than those who don't kick the habit, pioneering research has shown.

Dental researchers at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, observed a group of cigarette smokers with chronic gum disease over one year and found some symptoms were more likely to improve in the people who quit during the study period.

Chronic gum disease, which is characterised by inflamed gums that increasingly recede from the teeth, can lead to tooth loss in its advanced stages if preventive action is not taken.

The researcher's findings, revealed in the academic publication, the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, therefore provide yet another reason for the 12 million UK adult smokers (just over one-quarter of the adult population) and smokers worldwide to quit their habit for the good of their health."

Read the full press release: Press Release:

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Annual Lung Transplant Craft & Bake Sale This Thursday, October 20th 8:30am-5:00pm

Craft Sale

This was originally planned for the Elizabeth Street entrance lobby but will now be held in the more spacious McEwen Atrium.

The annual craft and bake sale fundraiser for the lung transplant program is Thursday, October 20, 2005 at Toronto General Hospital, Robert R. McEwen Atrium entrance (585 University Ave) 8:30AM – 5:00PM. Mark your calendars!

Baked goods and crafts may be dropped off the day of the sale. For more information and instructions where to drop off or send items before the sale date e-mail Linda Lycett or Maureen O'Dell.
You can also call Linda at (416) 245 9306.

Linda is a lung transplant recipient who has continued to give back in many ways over the years and she says that if, in addition to friends and support people, we even get one donation from each transplant patient we will be doing very well this year.

Linda also notes that it seems to be the same patients, friends and support people who contribute every year and she would like to see more people involved this year to help raise money to provide equipment for the transplant floor and Treadmill Room. This will eventually benefit us all.

Eating Fish Once A Week Associated With Slower Cognitive Decline

Here's another article on the importance of eating fish regularly.

CHICAGO – October 10, 2005 - Consuming fish at least once a week was associated with a 10 percent per year slower rate of cognitive decline in elderly people, according to a new study posted online today from Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The study will be published in the December print edition of the journal.

Martha Clare Morris, ScD, of Rush University Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed six years of data from an ongoing study of Chicago residents, 65 years and older, first interviewed between 1993 and 1997 and every three years in two follow-up interviews.

Morris found dietary intake of fish was inversely associated with cognitive decline over six years in this older, biracial community study. "The rate of decline was reduced by 10 percent to 13 percent per year among persons who consumed one or more fish meals per week compared with those with less than weekly consumption. The rate reduction is the equivalent of being three to four years younger in age," she said.

Full news release: Rush News

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Rock 'N' Roll Fundraiser, Saturday, October 15th

Gerald Sutton called to say there were still plenty of tickets available at the door. Why not go out for a night on the town and at the same time help transplant research?
Rock 'N' Roll Oct 15/05
Gerald Sutton (lung transplant recipient) and his wife Kathy Marcelline have organized this fund raising event to support lung transplant research at Toronto General Hospital. This is another fine example of the creative initiatives we can take to help raise money for our transplant "team". For more info send an email to Gerald at: Rock 'N' Roll

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Help Hurricane Flood Victims

Updated as of today.October 11, 2005 - The American Red Cross is responding to multiple natural disasters and is relying on people to help aid hurricane survivors by supporting the Disaster Relief Fund.

Goto Donate Now

There's no need for me to describe the horrendous events that have unfolded in the U.S. gulf area. First Katrina and then Rita. The papers, TV and other media are providing non-stop coverage of the flooding, death and destruction, as they should. My heart goes out to those suffering such great loss of loved ones, homes, jobs and the necessities of life and I am urging my readers to donate to help these poor victims of the worst storms in U.S. history. My charity of choice is the American Red Cross.

To help the victims of these catastrophic storms the Red Cross has organized the largest mobilization of it's kind in history, and has mobilized thousands of staff and volunteer relief workers. As of October 11, 2005 this is what the red cross has been able to accomplish:

Situation Updates:
This disaster relief operation is constantly changing. All numbers are approximate. Please note the date of last update when using facts or numbers in news stories.

Sheltering Operations
  • Since Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the Red Cross has provided more than 3.3 million overnight stays in nearly 1,100 shelters across 27 states and the District of Columbia. To date, the Red Cross and the Hurricane Katrina and Rita special accommodations program, which will be funded by FEMA and is being administered by the Red Cross on behalf of the federal government, has provided more than 5.8 million overnight hotel stays for hurricane survivors in nearly 9,700 hotels/motels in 5o0 states and the District of Columbia.

Relief Workers
  • Nearly 187,000 Red Cross workers from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have responded to Katrina. During this effort, the Red Cross has trained tens of thousands of people in specialized disaster relief skills.

Feeding Operations
  • The Red Cross, in coordination with the Southern Baptist Convention, has served more than 24.4 million hot meals and more than 15.3 million snacks to hurricane survivors to date.

Financial Assistance
  • The American Red Cross is expanding the variety of its efforts to provide financial assistance to more than 1.1 million families (more than 3.4 million hurricane survivors) to date. Assistance is provided in a variety of ways, including client assistance cards, vouchers, checks and cash.

When disaster strikes anywhere around the world, the Red Cross is always among the first and biggest aid organizations to set up relief efforts. The Red Cross always finds a way to bring support staff, food aid, shelter, and medical care to areas of great need even in the most dangerous and difficult conditions imaginable.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by your voluntary donations of time and money.

Funds Received
The Red Cross has received approximately $1.15 billion in gifts and pledges to date for the hurricane relief.

The Red Cross has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for its effective use of donations. At least 91 cents of every dollar donated to the American Red Cross goes directly to assist disaster victims.

Estimated Cost
The American Red Cross estimates that relief efforts will exceed $2 billion, meeting the needs of nearly one million families in three key areas:

Food and Shelter — $110 million
Transient Hotel Accommodations/Lodging Expenses - $134 million
Emergency Financial Assistance to Disaster Survivors — $1.06 billion

As of October 11, 2005, approximately $1.51 billion has been spent or committed for hurricane relief efforts.

Please help by donating your time or money for Katrina victims.
Goto Donate Now

Additional Information & Resources can be found under Hurricane Season 2005. To learn more about the coordination of efforts among the many organizations and agencies helping hurricane survivors and for additional resources, visit USA Freedom Corps

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Living Kidney "Paired Donation" a Success - Hopkins Study

--Results suggest technique can offer transplants to many more patients--

OCT. 4, 2005 - A Johns Hopkins study has affirmed the success of living kidney "paired donation" (KPD) as a means of efficiently finding more kidney donors who are a match for patients in need.

In the study, published in the Oct. 5 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, Hopkins surgeons report successfully performing KPD transplants on 21 out of 22 kidney patients whose willing donors were incompatible by matching them up with other incompatible pairs. Robert Montgomery, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Hopkins and lead researcher in the study, said the results could pave the way to a national matching registry that would enable hundreds and perhaps thousands of patients who cannot receive a kidney from a loved one to be transplanted by exchanging donors with a stranger.

"This is especially important," Montgomery said, "because it offers hope to patients who have compatibility issues that make it difficult for them to find suitable donors."

KPD is a process in which living incompatible donor-recipient pairs are matched with other living incompatible donor-recipient pairs in order to find successful matches. For example, an incompatible donor-recipient pair with blood types A and B, respectively, might be successfully matched with a donor-recipient pair who has the opposite incompatibility --- blood types B and A. The kidneys would be exchanged between the two pairs so that the A recipient then would receive an A kidney and the B recipient a B kidney.

Montgomery, an associate professor at Hopkins, said KPD is also effective with patients who have tissue incompatibilities. Tissue incompatibility can occur when a patient --- who has either been pregnant or had a blood transfusion or a previous transplant --- mounts an immune response against the foreign tissue. The condition, called HLA antigen sensitization, can cause a kidney to be rejected and make patients incompatible with donors who share their tissue type. As a result, donor matches are more difficult to find.

Full press release: Paired Donation

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Pfizer Provides Easier, Broader Access to Clinical Trial Information

Now On Web: Results From 314 Clinical Studies On 35 Medicines, Enrollment Information For 265 On-Going Studies

NEW YORK, October 3 -- Pfizer Inc said today it has posted information on more than 500 company-sponsored clinical trials on two easy-to-access web sites. Results from 314 studies involving 35 Pfizer medicines are posted on the Clinical Study Results Database at Study Results

The Clinical Study Results Database was created by the pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA as part of an industry-wide effort to expand access to clinical trial data. Moving forward, Pfizer will continue to post data from the company's late-stage clinical studies for marketed medicines.

Patients interested in participating in an on-going Pfizer clinical trial will find registration information at the National Institute of Health's web site at Clinical Trials. Currently, 265 on-going Pfizer studies are posted there. Pfizer regularly updates the site when new studies begin enrollment.

For full news release goto: News Release