Health

This week's wellness news

Canadian Living
Health

This week's wellness news

Health News In the world of health, information is changing all the time. Scientists are constantly researching cures for diseases, conducting studies that help us better understand the human body and sifting through current health advice to see what strategies are actually going to help us live longer, healthier lives. It can be hard to keep up on it all. That’s why I’ve decided to check in on the latest in health news once a week to round up the most relevant studies that you need to know to keep yourself well. Here are three of this week’s most important stories. 1. Mammograms might not be all they’re cracked up to be. A 25-year study of Canadian women ages 40 to 59 found that women who got mammograms were no less likely to die of breast cancer than those who didn’t get them. It’s not that the mammograms themselves are faulty but that early detection seems unable to help us with those more deadly cases. Researchers from the study also said that the mammogram group was more likely to be overdiagnosed—in other words, they were more likely to be diagnosed with and treated for cancer that might not have actually been dangerous to them. They suggest that women should actually wait till 60 to be screened for breast cancer, but there is fierce debate on this topic. There may be shortcomings to mass screening, but many doctors still support it because it is so difficult to determine the high-risk group that needs regular screening. This is sure to be a hot topic as doctors continue to evaluate the best methods for prevention going forward. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your screening. 2. Kids can help kids get healthy. A Manitoba study tried using the buddy system to help fight obesity among kids—and it worked! In the study, kids in Manitoba schools delivered healthy lesson plans to other kids, and some of the groups most at risk for obesity saw reductions in their waistlines. But the biggest change might have been in their self-esteem, which gives kids a good jumping off point to make a bigger change. Although neither exercise levels or body mass index improved, researchers are encouraged by the small changes, and by the knowledge that kids are more likely to make healthy decisions when they’re encouraged to by other kids. 3. Get healthy with hemp! Spanish researchers analyzed hemp oil and found it could be a great addition to a heart-healthy diet. Although they already knew about its excellent vitamin and fibre content, the researchers were interested to find that the plant also has an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. The fat makeup, as well as a few special compounds found in the hemp, could be good for not only reducing cholesterol but plaque buildup, suspect the scientists. They’ll still need to test the effects in human trials, but it’s good reason to give those hemp oils, hearts and other hemp-based foods in your health-food store a try! (Photography: Thinkstock)
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