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Friday, December 24, 2010

Impaired walking can be a killer

  There were two articles in the LP today that highlight the need to take care of ourselves particularly at this time of year and for some very good reason.  Because this blog o'mine is so wildly popular and widely read and I must be very famous by now I'm sure this will save somebodies life....'tap tap tap'... is this thing working?  Has anyone tried to use the comment box???  Oh and besides it's my 40th blog which deserves a very important topic and one that has actually touched my real non-blogger life.

  Nearly 40% of pedestrians killed on Canadian roads in a recent snapshot year had been drinking, with two-thirds of them have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) more than double the legal driving limit.  Fewer than one in five was at or below drivers' legal content of 0.08 according to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.
  New Year's Day is one of the deadliest times of the year for pedestrians and experts say people need to take the dangers of "drinking and walking" seriously due to the fact that they are not dressed properly nor do they pay attention to traffic or other hazards.   
  The stats are strikingly similar in the U.S.A.  Many pedestrians are never tested for impairment and the problem therefore may be underplayed because the stats don't reflect those whose fatal injures occur outside of road settings such falling down stairs, tripping or gun incidents.  A landmark study in Prevention found January 1st has more pedestrian crash deaths, on average, than any other day of the year, with 58% having high BAC's.  Halloween ranks second.
  The holidays themselves are a risk factor for death and thus the soundtrack for many a North American Christmas isn't Bing Crosby but rather the scream of ambulance sirens found a new study report. 
  In a 25 year period between 1979 and 2004, researchers identified an excess of 42,325 natural deaths---that is above and beyond normal winter increases---in the two weeks starting with Christmas.  On Christmas and New Year's Day especially, they report that "mortality from natural causes spikes in dead-on-arrival (DOA) and emergency department (ED) settings with more of these deaths occurring on Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 than on any other day.  These findings were written in the journal of Social Science & Medicine and professor David Philips, of the University of California at San Diego went on to say that these increases in DOA/ED settings, spanned the top five disease groups: circulatory, neoplasms, respiratory, endocrine/nutritional/metabolic disease and digestive.  The increases are anywhere between 3 and 10% depending on either demographics or the causes of death.  Less clear is the reasons behind this fatal phenomenon. 
  Cancer deaths increase in every medical setting leaving those to ponder what mechanism it is that causes such calendar-specific spikes.  Many plausible lines of reason were discussed in the article but none offered clean evidence of what is driving this trend.  So that is what researchers next step will be.
  "For now", Phillips says, "the message is pay attention to your health, and to your health resources, particularly on these two occasions.

  On January 1, 2009 the father of my children and my good friend, had a massive heart attack and died three days later.

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