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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

By Gail Balfour, Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Late last year, a breakthrough study out of Ottawa made headlines around the globe as the first to show that Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) directly affects muscle stem cells – findings that are already changing long-held beliefs around the causes of the disease.

The study, entitled “Dystrophin expression in muscle stem cells regulates their polarity and asymmetric division” was published in Nature Medicine on November 16, 2015. The research concluded that muscle wasting in DMD not only is caused by myofiber fragility, but also is made worse by impaired regeneration due to satellite cell dysfunction. (more…)

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By Gail Balfour, Muscular Dystrophy Canada

People affected by neuromuscular disorders today are living longer than ever before – which is very positive news. But the challenge of these disorders becoming more of a chronic disease state is that while many of these people are living longer into adulthood, they continue to face major quality-of-life challenges.

One of the key things having a negative impact on the quality of life in these individuals is their respiratory health. Although neuromuscular disorders do not impair the lungs directly, they often affect the muscles involved in breathing, coughing and swallowing. (more…)

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By Gail Balfour, Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Having a nagging cough can be really frustrating. But did you know your ability to produce a strong cough is actually a blessing in disguise? The act of coughing is something many of us take for granted, and is even seen as a nuisance. But if you have a neuromuscular disorder, coughing can be one of the most important things you can do to improve the quality of your life and slow down the progress of breathing problems, infections and weakness. (more…)

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By Gail Balfour, Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Most people are familiar with the terms “physiotherapist” and “chiropractor.” But a “physiatrist” is a particular type of specialist that you may have not heard of before.

A physiatrist is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, who treats conditions involving muscle and nerves, with a goal of helping to maintain and restore abilities and function, says Dr. Rajiv Reebye, a physiatrist and staff physician with G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. Dr Reebye was one of the presenters at Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s Empowerment in Action (EIA) Conference, held recently in Richmond BC. (more…)

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By Gail Balfour
Canadian Healthcare Technology

According to Dr. Andrew Evans, the benefits we will see from telepathology projects taking place throughout the country will go far beyond the ability to quickly share biopsy images with remote pathologists for consultation and diagnosis. This emerging technology will also have a profound impact on clinical education and research, quality assurance, accuracy and speed of diagnosis, as well as storage of data and integration with electronic health records.

(more…)

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From 2002 to 2008 I was responsible for writing hundreds of news stories about Women’s health for Women’s College Hospital’s editorial website, based on peer reviewed international research articles and reports, as well as attendance at local health/medical/research events.

Here is a link to the large Internet archive of many of these articles:

https://web.archive.org/web/20060613014257/http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca/news/index.cfm

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By: Gail Balfour
Backbone Magazine (11 Sep 2005)

Designer drugs, tissue regeneration, nanotechnology and genetic profiling. These are the promises of modern biotechnology, and are only the baby steps in what will be a long journey.

A buzzword today, biotechnology can be traced back to at least 1919, when a Hungarian agricultural engineer first coined the phrase to describe a particular fermentation process. The roots of biotech, however, are found at least 6,000 years ago, when the ancient Egyptians used rudimentary methods to make bread and wine from yeast.

What is different today is the level of collaboration between research disciplines, the amount of information being generated and, for the first time, the use of advanced technology to manage and manipulate this vast amount of data in a cohesive way, said Dr. Jim Friesen, professor emeritus with the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto.

(more…)

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By: Gail Balfour
Computerworld Canada (21 Mar 2002) 

“Take them to the CAVE,” intones a voice from the back of the rather ordinary-looking elevator crammed with journalists. The doors open to reveal a dark-veiled room hidden deep within the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine, and what lies beyond the curtains just may hold the answers to some of the world’s great mysteries.

(more…)

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