Monday, September 27, 2010

Canada invests $500 million in electronic health record (EHR) systems with a focus on physicians and nurse practitioners across Canada

TORONTO, September 27, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadian physicians and nurse practitioners will benefit from a $500 million investment made by the Government of Canada in Budget 2010, announced Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).

Of the total amount allocated to Infoway, $380 million of the new money will be directed to speed up the implementation of electronic medical record systems.

EMR systems are the gateway that will enable physicians and nurse practitioners to securely access vital patient information including diagnostic images, blood test results, drug histories and clinical reports.

"A number of provinces and territories are making solid progress developing systems to electronically store the patient information that is far too often unavailable when health providers need it," said Alvarez. "The time has come to shift our attention to the front-lines, where the lion's share of care is delivered, so more physicians and nurse practitioners can access and retrieve the information stored in these systems."

EMRs will provide physicians and nurse practitioners with a better picture of their patients' overall health so better informed care decisions can be made. They also allow health care professionals to record their clinical notes electronically, eliminating the need for inefficient paper-based systems.

"Electronic medical records will allow health professionals to access the vital patient information that is too often lacking in a paper-based environment," added Alvarez. "Currently, 37 per cent of community-based physicians have adopted EMR systems across Canada. The new funding is intended to significantly increase their use in clinics, clinician offices and ambulatory care clinics."

In addition, funding from the $500 million invested by the Government of Canada will be used to support consumer health, diagnostic imaging and telehealth solutions.

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Drop in Breast Cancer Incidence among Canadian Women Linked to Decline in Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Use

Landmark Findings Released by Canadian Cancer Society

TORONTO, September 23, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - A new Canadian study shows that a significant drop in breast cancer incidence among post-menopausal women from 2002 to 2004 coincided with a sharp drop in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use during the same period. This is the first study to show the link between HRT use and breast cancer among Canadian women.

Many Canadian women stopped taking HRT in 2002 because the results from a large American clinical trial - the Women's Health Initiative - showed the risks of taking HRT outweighed the benefits.

These new findings add an important Canadian perspective to growing international evidence that HRT use is linked to increased breast cancer risk. The study is published online today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The Canadian Cancer Society research shows that from 2002 to 2004 the breast cancer incidence rate dropped by nearly 10 per cent among Canadian women aged 50-69. This coincided with a more than 50 per cent drop in the number of women in the same age group taking HRT between 2002 and 2004 (HRT use dropped from almost 13 per cent to five per cent).

This is the largest age group of HRT users in Canada.

During the same period, the rate of mammography use stayed the same for Canadian women. This suggests that the drop in breast cancer incidence was not due to fewer women getting mammograms. The only factor that changed substantially was HRT use.

"These findings give Canadian women meaningful information about breast cancer and how to reduce their risk of getting this disease," says Dr. Prithwish De, the study's lead investigator and an epidemiologist at the Canadian Cancer Society. "Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women, and we hope these findings will help lead the way to seeing fewer women diagnosed with this disease."

Currently, the Society recommends that women avoid taking HRT for any reason other than to relieve severe menopausal symptoms that have not responded to other treatment.

"These findings reaffirm the Society's position on the risks of HRT use and reinforce the importance of getting this message to Canadian women," says Heather Chappell, Director, Cancer Control Policy, Canadian Cancer Society. "As we approach Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is one more piece of information we can give Canadian women to help them fight back against this disease."

Chappell urges women approaching menopause to talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of taking HRT to determine the best course of action for them. "The severity of each woman's menopausal symptoms and her medical history should be considered. If a woman decides to take HRT, she should take the lowest effective dose for the shortest time possible."

The Canadian Cancer Society study

The research team estimated HRT use among Canadian women between 1996 and 2006 by examining data from the National Population Health Survey. This information was examined alongside national breast cancer incidence rates for the same time frame obtained from the Canadian Cancer Registry. The study focused primarily on combined HRT (estrogen plus progestin).

Additional findings from the research show:

...There was little change in breast cancer incidence rates in younger women (under age 50) and among older women (over the age of 70).

...The decline in the breast cancer incidence rate among women aged 50-69 years continued until 2005, after which time rates began to increase slightly.

...In 2002, nearly 30 per cent of Canadian women aged 50-69 were taking some form of hormone therapy. This dropped to 15 per cent in 2004.

"This study fills a gap in our knowledge about the link between HRT use and breast cancer risk for Canadian women," says De. "We anticipate that more research in this area will continue to shed light on this crucial health issue for Canadian women."

In addition to De, the members of the research team are:

Dr C. Ineke Neutel, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa

Dr Ivo Olivotto, Breast Cancer Outcomes Unit, BC Cancer Agency

Dr Howard Morrison, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Canadian Cancer Society fights back against breast cancer by:

...supporting excellent breast cancer research
...educating women about early detection
...providing information and support to women living with breast cancer, their families and their caregivers

The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join the fight! Go to to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For a copy of the research paper entitled Breast Cancer Incidence and Hormone Replacement Therapy in Canada please go to:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Businessess Have A Role in Healing Chronic Disease Burden

OTTAWA, Ontario, September 22 /Canada NewsWire/ - More than 40 per cent of Canadians say they suffer from at least one chronic disease. With many of these individuals in the workforce, chronic disease is more than a health issue - it affects businesses too. A new Conference Board of Canada study, published in advance of World Heart Day on Sunday, outlines the vital roles that businesses have in confronting chronic disease.

Cardiovascular conditions comprise just one category of chronic diseases: pulmonary disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and mood disorders are other common conditions. The World Health Organization estimated that in 2005, chronic diseases accounted for 89 per cent of all deaths in Canada.

"The prevalence of chronic diseases has reached a scale that should set off alarm bells within organizations," said Diana MacKay, Director, Education and Health. "Chronic disease does more than just negatively affect a person's health and quality of life."

"Not only can chronic diseases increase absenteeism and benefit costs for organizations, they can also decrease productivity. When employees have to take time from their working day to manage their condition or to care for family members living with chronic diseases, organizational performance suffers."

In 2005, 42 per cent of Canadians aged 12 or older said they were living with at least one chronic disease, according to The Chief Public Health Officer's Report on the State of Public Health in Canada (2008). Federal and provincial governments have taken action in recent years to prevent and manage chronic disease. Businesses have responded, but there is more that they can do. This publication, Addressing Chronic Diseases: What's Business Got to Do With It?, identifies actions that businesses can take, including:

...Offering employee health and wellness programs;
...Providing corporate sponsorship of chronic disease prevention and management initiatives;
...Partnering with health service organizations to develop products and services;
...Developing business niches in employee wellness and chronic disease prevention and management; and
...Partnering with governments and/or health service organizations.

The briefing is a publication of the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. Through the Centre, the Conference Board examines the pressures that chronic diseases place on the Canadian economy and society in general.

The Conference Board has conducted extensive research into the direct and indirect impacts of chronic disease; in February 2010, the Canadian Heart Health Strategy: Risk Factors and Future Cost Implications, identified cost savings of $76.4 billion in Canada between 2005 and 2020 if targeted reductions in risk factors related to cardio-vascular diseases alone could be achieved.

This report includes two case studies:

Vancouver Board of Trade Health, Wellness and Well-Being Task Force, created in 2009; and
Leveraging Information, Forging Excellence, a joint project of Victorian Order of Nurses and IBM.

With the support of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Conference Board published two additional case studies in September 2010:

GP2S - Encouraging the Implementation of Employee Health Programs in Quebec; and,
Medavie Blue Cross: Advancing Organizational Health Through the inHealth Solutions® Suite.

The publications are available at

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Chapter in Globe's History Kicks Off with Eight Week Series - "Canada: Our Time to Lead"

The Globe and Mail to Unveil New Design and Enhanced Online Features October 1, 2010

TORONTO, September 20, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - On Friday October 1, The Globe and Mail will reveal a dramatically redesigned newspaper that features the most significant changes in The Globe's history, including colour on every page, outstanding photo and graphic production, special stock paper and custom print options for advertisers. In addition, will simultaneously introduce changes and improvements including improved functionality and navigation, enhanced story telling features for readers and greater visual presentation of content and news stories.

The new chapter in The Globe's history will kick off with an eight-week series titled Canada: Our Time to Lead ( Each week for eight consecutive weeks the series will introduce a topic that defines who we are as Canadians and a nation, with deep coverage and online discussion and debate. The eight themes are: Multiculturalism; Women in Power; Failing Boys; Future of the Military; Work-Life Balance; Healthcare; Controlling the Internet; and Global Food.

"The Globe and Mail is embarking on a new era that once again demonstrates our commitment to the newspaper business. We're investing to change the way our readers experience the news - in print, online and on the go," said Phillip Crawley, Publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail. "We will continue to set the agenda for news in Canada and stimulate conversation with our readers - in classrooms, boardrooms and living rooms. That's the future of media, and what our readers and partners can expect from The Globe and Mail."

The changes to the newspaper will differentiate the weekday Globe and Mail from the weekend offering. To enhance the weekend experience, The Globe is introducing an improved GlobeStyle and more in-depth editorial content and analysis. The redesign is driven by a new long-term contract with Transcontinental Inc. that provides The Globe with market-leading printing technology currently used by only five other newspapers in the world, none of which are in Canada.

"The Globe's redesign, new colour capacity and enhanced capabilities reinforce our commitment to our advertisers and our readers, said Andrew Saunders, Vice-President of Advertising Sales, The Globe and Mail. "We continue to evolve our product to create endless possibilities and opportunities for our partners and the industry. That's the power of print, and the future of The Globe and Mail."

Canada: Our Time to Lead is being supported by an integrated, multi-channel marketing campaign with print, online, television, cinema and outdoor advertising, and direct-to-consumer promotions, public relations, and street marketing. Campaign creative was developed by Naked Creative of Toronto with media planning and buying handled by Gaggi Media, also of Toronto.

The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, is a division of CTVglobemedia, a dynamic multi-media company, which also owns CTV Inc., Canada's number-one private broadcaster.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hundreds of Retirees ReTool for Families Living in Need

900 retired volunteers build together in Canada's first-of-its-kind development

TORONTO, September 14, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Retirees and boomers will gather September 20th to 25th to help build Habitat for Humanity Toronto's 225th safe and decent home at the organization's 4572 Kingston Road build site during Canada's inaugural ReTooling Build. This east-end development will provide 29 safe, decent and affordable townhomes for over 145 men, women, and children currently living in substandard housing in Toronto.

ReInvent, ReGenerate, ReTool!

Throughout Habitat Toronto's history, retired persons have been the backbone of the volunteer pool that has helped propel the organization's mission forward. The ReTooling Build will enable individuals in the process of moving into the second phase of their lives to give back to their community through a tangible and meaningful way. "When people, regardless of their age, with the will and determination to make a difference come together in a supportive environment, amazing things can happen," explains Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Toronto. "The hard work of these volunteers is testament to our common goal of eradicating poverty housing. We cannot value enough the contribution seniors and retirees make to our mission."

The goal of the ReTooling Build is to provide an environment in which retired individuals, with the time and commitment to give back, can feel comfortable learning skills, meeting new people, and developing a deeper commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy. The more volunteers and donors Habitat Toronto is able to engage long-term, the greater number of Habitat Toronto homes can be built each year for families living in need.

Volunteering is good for the body and the soul

Retirees and baby boomers are not often pursued as active event volunteers even though a recent survey shows that boomers accounted for 2.1 billion hours of volunteered time to charities. Moreover, 1 in 3 who donated their time also donated financially.(1)

The benefits to encouraging the retired community to volunteer are not only evident to the organization, but can also be felt by retirees as well. Senior citizens who volunteer in their community tend to be healthier overall and live longer than those who do not.(2) In fact, it's been revealed that 86 percent of senior volunteers surveyed said they feel younger than their age, compared to 72 percent of those who do not volunteer, and 92 percent say they have an enriched sense of purpose in life. Volunteering could even be part of a healthy lifestyle, as one study found a lower proportion of volunteers were identified as obese when compared to non-volunteers.(3)

Turning out to volunteer has always been a fantastic way to strengthen communities and Habitat Toronto hopes to unite seniors, their friends and families alike through their inaugural Retooling Build. "I am looking for support from friends, family, and colleagues to sponsor me for Habitat for Humanity Toronto's 2010 ReTooling Blitz Build," says Habitat for Humanity Toronto volunteer Jean Lew, "since I'm now a retiree and a Habitat Toronto volunteer, this go-live week would be a great opportunity for me and others to build fresh from the ground up!" Habitat for Humanity Toronto expects that 85 percent of the retiree volunteers will be first-timers, like Jean, attracted by the chance to meet new people and learn new skills.

Family Story: ReTooling Build Partner Family Homeowners

The building Antonio and Helen Garcia live in with their three children isn't a family-friendly place. "Recently, a break-in happened in our building and a youngster fell from the eighth floor and died. The apartment itself is also very bad. It has only two bedrooms and is very crowded with all five of us in it. There's no balcony, no storage spaces and the rooms are very small," says Helen. Their neighbourhood isn't much better. "A lot of crimes have happened here. Drug dealings are just around the corners and playgrounds," she says.

Antonio and Helen were desperate for a way out so their children wouldn't grow up in such dangerous surroundings. "We don't want our kids exposed to the bad elements and dangers in these high rise apartments," Helen says. Antonio and Helen's three children are 13-year-old Charles, 10-year-old Clarisse and six-year-old Hans. The family heard about Habitat for Humanity Toronto through Housing Connections. The family was ecstatic to be approved and have the opportunity to live in a clean and safe place. "My children will have their own separate room where they can study well and have their own privacy. They will be proud of their new home and it will inspire them to be at their best," says Antonio. According to the Garcia's, Habitat for Humanity Toronto has changed their lives for the better.

The support of retired volunteers from the ReTooling Build will help ensure hardworking Toronto families like the Garcia's will escape poverty housing and own a safe and decent home of their very own.

Please visit for more information on the ReTooling Build.

Please visit for more information on Habitat for Humanity Toronto.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

President of Ford Canada Says "We Need Higher Fuel Prices"

The Globe and Mail notes that a Detroit Electric car cost $ 2,600 and had a range of 100 miles, while a Model T cost $ 650 and had a range of 180 miles; even 95 years ago, electric vehicles were a tough sell.

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

Here is a surprise, coming from David Mondragon, the President of Ford Canada:

It's hard to believe that I'm going to say this, but we need higher fuel prices.

He says the higher prices are needed to entice consumers to buy smaller cars like the Fiesta and encourage the market for electric cars.

Greg Keenan writes in the Globe and Mail:

Oil prices will rise to $100 (U.S.) a barrel in the not-too-distant future, he said, which will help encourage drivers to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles.

But Mr. Mondragon said it will take oil prices higher than that level to get drivers to trade in their internal-combustion-powered wheels for electric vehicles. Without government incentives to buyers of electric vehicles, oil prices will have to be as high as $120 to $140 a barrel to make economic sense for consumers, he noted.

There are also a lot of problems to be overcome besides developing a charging infrastructure and reductions in the cost of the cars.

"For battery electric vehicle customers, there has to be a behaviour change," Mr. Mondragon said. "You have to charge every day and you have to think about how far you're going on each trip."

More in the Globe and Mail

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Poll says Canadians unaware arthritis affects workers

September is Arthritis Awareness Month

TORONTO, September 9, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Many Canadians do not understand the impact arthritis has on people in the workplace, says The Arthritis Society.

A recent Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by The Arthritis Society reveals that many Canadians don't understand the struggles faced by workers with arthritis. Almost four in 10 Canadians surveyed believe employees with arthritis are able to perform the same duties as their co-workers.

"In fact, the pain, stiffness and fatigue associated with some types of arthritis can make it difficult for many workers to perform routine tasks," says Steven McNair, President and CEO of The Arthritis Society. "Most people with arthritis are affected during their prime income-earning years and many worry whether their symptoms will worsen and if they can continue working."

Of the more than four million Canadians with arthritis, about 60 per cent are of working age. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, caused by joint degeneration and inflammation. Although there is no known cure, there are a number of treatments but their effectiveness and accessibility can vary by individual situation. Most types of arthritis can be managed by pacing, planning ahead and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

A recent study of almost 500 employed Canadians with arthritis found that about 37 per cent left work at some point over a five-year period as a result of their disease.1 In addition, a recent Public Health Agency of Canada report stated that 44 per cent of employed people with arthritis are working with job limitations and 33 per cent require job modifications.2

Contessa Benson of Winnipeg was diagnosed with psoriatic polyarthritis almost four years ago and found it difficult to perform her duties as a travel agent.

"The pain was very intense," she recalls. "Whenever I walked, it felt like I was moving barefoot across a sea of knives. My hips were swollen so it was uncomfortable to sit in a chair. My fingers were also affected, which made it hard to use a pen or type on a keyboard. I didn't know how I could maintain my career. At my doctor's advice, I took a leave of absence to rest my joints and allow medications to work."

Now back on the job, Contessa continues to work thanks to workplace adjustments, planning and communication with co-workers. Her workspace has been outfitted with several ergonomic aids, such as a footstool and a raised keyboard, that protect her joints from excess wear and tear. She also plans ahead and paces herself. "I know there are parts of the day, particularly in the morning, when I'm feeling my best and that's when I try to get most of my work done. Taking breaks conserves my energy and keeps me alert. My colleagues have also been very cooperative; they spare me from a lot of physical exertion by moving chairs or lifting boxes."

"Arthritis currently costs the Canadian economy $6.4 billion every year in health-care expenses and lost work days," adds McNair. "With the prevalence of arthritis set to dramatically increase, this problem is about to get a lot worse so we need to find better treatments and a cure."

The Arthritis Society is drawing attention to the struggles of workers with arthritis during Arthritis Awareness Month in September. It has just published a new Arthritis in the Workplace booklet, available in English and French, which can be accessed online at

About The Arthritis Society

The Arthritis Society is Canada's principal health charity empowering the more than four million Canadians with arthritis to live their lives to the fullest through extensive programs and services. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has invested more than $170 million towards arthritis research to develop better treatments and, ultimately, find a cure.

About the Survey

The 2010 Arthritis in the Workplace Survey was responded to by 1,000 Canadian adults, 18 years of age or older, using the online Ipsos Reid Canadian Online Omnibus. The results of the survey are considered accurate to within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Online questioning was conducted between July 6 and 9, 2010. To access the full results, visit

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ontario Economic Prosperity Theatened by Diabetes

Canadian Diabetes Association Releases Ontario Diabetes Report

TORONTO, September 8, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Diabetes Association released today the findings from its Ontario Diabetes Cost Model. The model shows that the cost and prevalence of diabetes in the province has risen sharply over the last 10 years and, without action, will continue to increase substantially over the next 10 years.

"The economic burden of diabetes in Ontario is staggering and threatens the sustainability of our healthcare system and the provincial economy," said Michael Cloutier, President and CEO, Canadian Diabetes Association. "It's estimated the direct and indirect financial impact of diabetes in Ontario currently costs the province $4.9 billion per year. By 2020, these costs will increase to $7 billion per year if we don't take action."

The economic burden of diabetes represents only a part of Ontario's challenge. The human cost of the disease is also reaching epidemic proportions in the province. The Ontario Diabetes Cost Model estimates that there are currently 1.2 million people, or 8.2 per cent of the population, diagnosed with diabetes in Ontario - increasing to more than 1.9 million people, or 11.9 per cent of the population, by 2020. These figures do not include people undiagnosed with diabetes or people living with prediabetes, where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for an individual to be diagnosed with the disease.

"One in four Ontarians will be living either with diabetes or prediabetes by 2020," said Cloutier. "Turning the tide against diabetes requires a significant shift in government approach, private sector involvement and broad-based personal and societal change."

To offset the burden caused by diabetes, the Canadian Diabetes Association has recommended that the government adjust its current Ontario Diabetes Strategy to reflect three key priorities: a broad-based diabetes prevention strategy, a targeted population-at-risk strategy and a diabetes complications prevention strategy.

"We need to focus on how we think about and approach diabetes management and prevention in our province," added Cloutier.

This is the second provincial cost model report released by the Canadian Diabetes Association. The first report was released this past May for New Brunswick. The Association continues to roll out diabetes cost models for all provinces and territories.

About the Ontario Diabetes Cost Model

The Ontario Diabetes Cost Model was created for the Association by the Centre for Spatial Economics based on the Canadian Diabetes Cost Model developed by Informetrica Limited. The two main sources of data used for the estimate and forecasts come from the National Diabetes Surveillance System (NDSS) and Health Canada's study the Economic Burden of Illness in Canada (EBIC). The Model aimed to integrate the administrative prevalence and incidence estimates from NDSS with the economic cost estimates from EBIC. The Ontario Diabetes Cost Model follows the Association's An Economic Tsunami: The Cost of Diabetes in Canada. This economic report was supported by an unrestricted educational grant provided by Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.

About the Canadian Diabetes Association

The Canadian Diabetes Association is leading the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live healthy lives while we work to find a cure. We are supported in our efforts by a community-based network of volunteers, employees, healthcare professionals, researchers and partners. By providing education and services, advocating on behalf of people with diabetes, supporting research, and translating research into practical applications - we are delivering on our mission. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Seniors get a boost reading bad news about the youth: Study

from The Medical News - September 3, 2010
By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

New research shows that the elderly prefer to read bad news about the youth. This is possibly because it makes them feel better about themselves say researchers.

Study author Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, an associate professor at Ohio State University's School of Communication says,

“The more time they spent with negative news about young people, the higher self-esteem they reported. They may get some self-esteem boost out of this.” She said that young people, when given the choice, would rather read about people their own age and are not very interested in stories about their elders, whether the articles are positive or negative. She concludes from this study that people “are not just neutral processors of information. They have a lot of biases in their selections.”

The findings appear in the September issue of the Journal of Communication.

For the study the Knobloch-Westerwick and co-researcher Matthias R. Hastall, a PhD student at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany recruited 178 young people (aged 18 to 30) and 98 older people (aged 50 to 65) and asked them to read news stories online. The participants were able to choose which stories they wanted to read. The stories included “human interest” ones that focused on a specific person. The idea was to study the preference for stories that were about bad things happening to non-celebrities (losing a malpractice suit, for instance) or good things (winning a malpractice suit). Each participant was given a limited amount of time to look over either a negative or positive version of 10 pre-selected articles. Each article was paired with a photograph depicting someone of the older or younger age group. Each story focused on one person, but there were two versions -- one that had a positive spin and the other a negative one. The study participants were offered just one of the two versions.

In addition, participants were told they would not have time to read all the stories and were instructed to click on the ones they found interesting. The participants were given a random mix of positive and negative stories about both younger and older people. Older participants were more likely to choose negative articles about younger people, but did not show a stronger preference for either positive or negative stories about people in their own age group.

As explanation to this trend researchers say that the society tends to assign older people to a lower status than younger people. Looking for negative stories about the young and those with a higher status, may help older people feel better, said Knobloch-Westerwick. She said, “everybody likes to think they're better than other people in some way…If you get information that confirms that, you might like it.”

According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor who studies happiness at the University of California, Riverside, this study does not compare with other happiness studies that show that happy people “don't compare themselves to people who are worse off.” Lyubomirsky added, “They feel good about themselves, and they don't need it. It's like putting someone down to make yourself feel better.”

According to Knobloch-Westerwick this study throws light on how people decide what to read. She said,

“We think people are rational and they use the news to stay up to date as part of the democratic process…But a lot of other factors play a role. You like to see your own group do well, and get a self-esteem boost out of it.”

... read more story at The Medical News

Friday, September 3, 2010

There Have Never Been So Many Ways To Turn Over A New Leaf

Canadian Cancer Society offers several services to help Ontarians quit smoking this fall

HAMILTON, Ontario September 2, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Cancer Society is equipping Ontarians with free tools to help them quit smoking with the aid of many services offered by Smokers' Helpline. As fall brings changing leaves and the return of students to school, many people think of changing their routines and making healthy choices. Quitting smoking is a positive way to turn over a new leaf for fall.

Smokers' Helpline offers free, confidential services that provide personalized support, advice and information about quitting smoking and tobacco use. Those thinking of quitting, actively quitting or those who want to help someone quit can call a Quit Coach at 1 877 513-5333, with interpreter service available in over 100 languages. Online users can access their own Quit Centre and support forums at And, for those on the go, support is available through Smokers' Helpline Text Messaging.

Social media users can join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, while determining how much money they can save by quitting with the Cost of Smoking Calculator.

"Quitting smoking or other tobacco products can take a lot of work," says Gail Luciano, manager of smoking cessation at Smokers' Helpline. "We want to help make quitting an achievable goal by offering evidence-based, free support in a variety of ways."

Whether someone has slipped back into smoking during the summer months, or has never tried to quit before, Smokers' Helpline Quit Coaches can help to tailor a quit plan.

"Many clients tell me that they no longer want to smoke, but they have not yet figured out how to approach quitting," explains David Angus, Quit Coach at Smokers' Helpline. "Together we identify their triggers for smoking and reasons for quitting, and put an action plan in place."

Ontarians can connect for free, seven days a week for phone, online or text messaging service at 1 877 513-5333 and

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CRTC encourages competition and investment in the provision of Internet services

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, August 30, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today determined, on the basis of the evidence submitted at a recent public hearing, that large telephone companies must make their existing Internet access services available to alternate Internet service providers (ISPs) at speeds that match those offered to their own retail customers. This requirement will ensure that alternate ISPs can continue to give Canadians more choice by offering competing and innovative Internet services.

"Access to broadband Internet services is a key foundation for the digital economy," said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. "The large telephone and cable companies are bringing their fibre networks closer to Canadian homes and businesses, which allows for faster Internet connections. Requiring these companies to provide access to their networks will lead to more opportunities for competition in retail Internet services and better serve consumers."

The large telephone companies have been investing in upgrades and expanding their networks. In recognition of these investments, the CRTC will allow them to charge competitors an additional 10-per-cent mark-up over their costs for the use of their wholesale Internet services' higher-speed options.

The Commission has also taken steps to make the obligations imposed on large telephone and cable companies more equitable. To this end, large cable companies must modify their existing Internet access services in such a way that alternate ISPs can connect to their networks at as few points as possible. This will enable competitors to make use of the cable companies' services just as easily as those of the telephone companies. Furthermore, the cable companies are already required to provide access to alternate ISPs at speeds that match those offered to their own retail customers.

In addition, the Commission denied the alternate ISPs' requests that the large telephone and cable companies reconfigure their networks. Although these reconfigurations may have permitted alternate ISPs to offer additional services to consumers, the CRTC felt that they would constitute a disincentive to network investments without necessarily enhancing innovation or competition.

Canadians connect to the Internet primarily through services provided by the large telephone and cable companies and a variety of alternate ISPs. The wholesale framework currently in place allows ISPs to pay for the right to use the large companies' networks to serve their customers. The CRTC will consider the need to phase-out mandated Internet access services when alternatives, such as wireless or satellite Internet services, become more accepted as substitutes.


The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.