Keenan: Thinking well beyond COVID-19 – Edmonton Journal

Posted: October 10, 2020 at 8:08 am

One upside of the COVID-19 disruption is that many people have a bit more time if only because theyre not commuting, looking for a parking space, going for after-work drinks, etc. Ive been encouraging my students to pick up a fun new activity to make good use of this time bonus. Ive chosen to try to learn to draw and am making a start on it. Well, at least Ive bought some instructional books and supplies. Wish me luck!

One activity that we could all benefit from is paying attention to our long-term health. After all, youre far more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than from COVID-19. There are some concrete steps you can take to improve your long term health prospects. If youve been putting off a visit to your doctor for a physical, this might be a good time, even if its a telehealth visit. Some procedures like that dreaded prostate exam do require the hands-on approach. But youd be amazed at how much you and your doctor can sort out over the phone and with lab tests.

To see whats included in a good physical, have a look at the Preventive Care Checklist on the website of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (cfp.ca). It was recently updated, and I learned a lot from it, including that at my age I should be getting the pneumococcal 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine.

Discoveries also highlight the importance of knowing more about our genetic heritage. In a first-of-its-kind genomic study, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center led by William D. Dupont and Joan P. Breyer studied prostate cancer patients with family histories of the disease. They note that prostate cancer heritability is twice that of breast cancer, at roughly 58 per cent. Their latest research focused on the detailed genetic makeup of chromosome 8, which is known to be related to prostate cancer. The Vanderbilt scientists found three mutations that helped protect us from prostate cancer, and four that raised the danger, in one case by 22-fold.

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Keenan: Thinking well beyond COVID-19 - Edmonton Journal

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