NEWS Report: Clients claim sex abuse at Massage Envy spas Scottsdale, ariz. – More than 180 people across the United States have filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports and other sexual misconduct complaints against Massage Envy spas, their employees and the national company, according to an investigative report by the website BuzzFeed News. The website reported that many of those who complained believed their claims were mishandled or ignored by employees and owners of individual Massage Envy spas and by the national company. Dozens of women reported digital and oral penetration. More than 100 reported that massage therapists groped their genitals, groped their breasts, or committed other explicit violations. Adam Horowitz, a lawyer who has handled more than two dozen sexual misconduct lawsuits involving Massage Envy, said he received 25 calls from alleged new victims following the report’s publication. The claims represent only a fraction of the tens of millions of services Massage Envy says its franchises have provided, Buzz Feed News reported. Lawyers for spa clients told BuzzFeed News that there are cases of women reporting massage therapist abuse to police where no arrests have been made with Massage Envy spas offering settlements before lawsuits have been filed, leaving no public record. Massage Envy in a statement said the complaints documented by BuzzFeed News spanned a period of more than 15 years and said each account was heartbreaking. “But, we believe that even one incident is too many, so we are constantly listening, learning, and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues,” the company said. Melanie Hansen, general counsel of Massage Envy Franchising, told BuzzFeed News that the company has worked hard to create the industry’s “most stringent, rigorous policies” for hiring, screening and training therapists. Except in some places where local laws might demand it, the company does not compel franchisees to notify law enforcement or to hire qualified investigators to help determine what happened, BuzzFeed News reported. The company tells franchisees they must conduct their own “prompt, fair, and thorough” investigation of any abuse or misconduct claims, but Buzz Feed News reported it provides little guidance on how to do so. In court filings and in public statements, Massage Envy said it is not liable for sexual assaults that take place at the spas because of the nature of the franchise arrangement, BuzzFeed news reported. Spas control their own day-to-day operations, Hansen said, including figuring out how best to investigate inappropriate conduct. – The Associated Press NEWS Health spending forecast to hit $242 billion this year Health spending in Canada is expected to reach $6,604 per capita this year – or about $200 more per person compared to last year – according to a report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. It forecasts total health spending for the year to increase almost four per cent to $242 billion and equal 11.5 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product, similar to last year. The Institute says the growth rate is slightly higher than the annual average of 3.2 per cent that has been recorded since 2010. The report says total health spending per person is expected to vary across the country, from $7,378 in Newfoundland and Labrador and $7,329 in Alberta to $6,367 in Ontario and $6,321 in British Columbia. Hospitals, at 28.3 per cent, are expected to eat up the largest share of health dollars in 2017 as they have since 1997, followed by drugs at 16.4 per cent and physician services at 15.4 per cent. Drug spending is expected to grow the fastest, reaching an estimated 5.2 per cent this year. Physician spending growth is forecast to grow 4.4 per cent and spending on hospitals is estimated to grow by 2.9 per cent. On an international basis, the report says Canada’s health spending per person in 2015 was $5,681, similar to spending in France Australia and the United Kingdom. Per capita spending remained highest in the United States at C$11,916. – The Canadian Press CONCUSSION Sport head injuries may cause memory loss, researchers say McMaster university neuroscientists studying sports-related head injuries have found that it takes less than a full concussion to cause memory loss, possibly because even mild trauma can interrupt the production of new neurons in a region of the brain responsible for memory. Though such losses are temporary, the findings raise questions about the longterm effects of repeated injuries and the academic performance of student athletes. The researchers spent months following dozens of athletes involved in high-contact sports such as rugby and football, and believe that concussions and repetitive impact can interrupt neurogenesis — or the creation of new neurons — in the hippocampus, a vulnerable region of the brain critical to memory. The findings were presented November 14th at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual conference, Neuroscience 2017, in Washington D.C. “Not only are newborn neurons critical for memory, but they are also involved in mood and anxiety,” explains Melissa McCradden, a neuroscience postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University who conducted the work. “We believe these results may help explain why so many athletes experience difficulties with mood and anxiety in addition to memory problems.” For the study, researchers administered memory tests and assessed different types of athletes in two blocks over the course of two years. In the first block, they compared athletes who had suffered a concussion, uninjured athletes who played the same sport, same-sport athletes with musculoskeletal injuries, and healthy athletes who acted as a control group. Concussed athletes performed worse on the memory assessment called a mnemonic similarity test (MST), which evaluates a person’s ability to distinguish between images that are new, previously presented, or very similar to images previously presented. In the second study, rugby players were given the MST before the season started, halfway through the season, and one month after their last game. Scores for injured and uninjured athletes alike dropped midseason, compared to preseason scores, but recovered by the postseason assessment. Both concussed and non-concussed players showed a significant improvement in their performance on the test after a reprieve from their sport. For the concussed athletes, this occurred after being medically cleared to return to full practice and competition. For the rugby players, they improved after approximately a month away from the sport. If neurogenesis is negatively affected by concussion, researchers say, exercise could be an important tool in the recovery process, since it is known to promote the production of neurons. A growing body of new research suggests that gentle exercise, which is introduced before a concussed patient is fully symptom free, is beneficial. “The important message here is that the brain does recover from injury after a period of reprieve,” says McCradden. “There is a tremendous potential for the brain to heal itself.” – Newswise POLICY Feds to boost treatment options for drug users CALGARY – Ottawa is planning to boost treatment options for drug users as it tries to deal with what Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is calling a national public health crisis. Petitpas Taylor outlined some of the steps the federal government aims to take during a conference in Calgary of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. She said the government plans to support pilot projects that would provide safer opioid alternatives at supervised consumption sites. Ottawa also aims to hold consultations on allowing different drugs, such as heroin, to be administered outside of hospital settings. She said the government intends to allow drug-checking services at all authorized supervised consumption sites that would like to offer that service. Petitpas Taylor added that she wants to work with provinces and territories to find a better way to establish temporary overdose prevention sites if there’s an urgent need. “This is an emergency and ... sometimes the short-term measures need to be taken to address the reality on the ground,” she said in her speech at the event. Petitpas Taylor said 3,000 people could die this year as a result of the opioid crisis. – The Canadian Press PHYSICAL ACTIVITY B.C. researchers aim to help people with spinal cord injuries get fit Vancouver – People with spinal cord injuries now have a set of exercise guidelines for maintaining heart health to match those offered to the general population decades ago. Kathleen Martin Ginis, a researcher at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, led an international committee that recommends 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise, three times a week, for people with spinal cord injuries. That’s compared with 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every week for others, as recommended by the World Health Organization. Martin Ginis said the new guidelines are in addition to recommendations she helped come up with in 2011 for people with spinal cord injuries through her work at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. Martin Ginis worked with a team that included participants from Canada, U.K., the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and the United States. Their research was be published in the journal Spinal Cord. The team also analyzed 211 studies examining the effects of exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, bone health, body composition and cardiovascular risk factors for people with spinal cord injuries. That population faces significant barriers when it comes to exercise, starting with transportation if they aim to get to a gym, let alone trying to navigate their wheelchairs on sidewalks without ramps, Martin Ginis said. Gyms often exclude people with disabilities, but could accommodate them with adaptable equipment and knowledgeable staff, she said. “If there are ways to get into a facility there are ways to adapt standard exercise equipment for people with spinal cord injuries, at least for strength training.” People with disabilities often have to pay extra if they come with an assistant to help them with equipment, she said. Martin Ginis called the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ont., the “gold standard” of gyms because of its inclusive programming that includes arm ergometers, or so-called arm bikes. The centre was a special project of former Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty, whose son John had health challenges after contracting encephalitis as an infant. Martin Ginis said about six gyms in Canada are dedicated to people with spinal cord injuries, in cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Hamilton and St. Catharines, Ont., and that most are affiliated with universities. Brad Skeats, 43, works out at the Physical Activity Research Centre gym, a Vancouver facility led by researchers at the International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries, or ICORD. Jasmin Ma, who collects data at the ICORD gym as a PhD student and is a personal trainer for people with spinal cord injuries, said some of her clients are surprised to hear they would be able to do aerobic exercise. “There are a lot of fabulous ways you can do an exercise. It’s just a matter of finding out how you can do it for your specific situation.” She said people who may not have grip strength, for example, could use grip-resistant gloves or “active hands.” – Camille Bains The Canadian Press BENEFITS Motorcycle crash injuries more costly than car crash injuries: study Motorcyclists in Ontario are three times more likely to be injured in a collision than people in automobiles, 10 times more likely to suffer serious injuries and those injuries will cost more to treat, a new study suggests. The study from researchers at the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It tracked Ontario adults who went to hospital because of a motorcycle or automobile crash from 2007 through 2013 and calculated the costs of their treatment over a two-year period. It found treatment of a motorcycle crash’s injuries will cost, on average, nearly twice as much – $5,825 – as those suffered by a person in a car, pegged at $2,995. “We found that motorcyclists were much more likely to have severe extremity injuries – even mangled extremities or traumatic amputations,” said Dr. Daniel Pincus, an orthopedic resident physician at Sunnybrook who is one of the study’s authors. The rate of injury was triple for motorcycle crashes compared with automobile crashes – 2,194 injuries a year per 100,000 registered motorcycles as opposed to 718 injuries annually per 100,000 registered automobiles. “When a crash does happen the result seemed to be more devastating consistently for a motorcyclist,” Pincus said. The study looked at 26,831 patients injured in motorcycle crashes and 281,826 injured in car crashes, and excluded patients from outside the province. It found 81 per cent of patients who were in motorcycle crashes were men compared with car crash patients, who were 57 per cent female. The study’s authors said they hope the higher medical costs associated with motorcycle crash injuries provide incentive to improve motorcycle safety. “Despite publicly available data indicating that the risk associated with driving a motorcycle is much greater than that associated with driving an automobile, this knowledge has not translated to improvements in motorcycle safety,” the authors said. The study also pointed to statistics indicating that motorcycles, on average, are driven only a fifth the distance of a car in Ontario and, Pincus said, are much more dangerous than cars on a per-kilometre basis. Research quoted in the study found that between 2000 and 2010, automobile crash deaths decreased by 55.1 per cent in 19 developed countries, while deaths and injuries in motorcycle crashes remained stable during the same time period. But Pincus said the motorcycle crash statistics in Ontario “have gotten worse.” “The number of people dying related to motorcycle crashes in Ontario is worse today than it was in 1997,” he said. “Some of it will never be preventable as motorcycle trauma’s always going to be worse.” – Peter Cameron The Canadian Press EDUCATION New Mayo Clinic book touts holistic wellness A new mayo clinic book – Mayo Clinic: The Integrative Guide to Good Health – highlights the importance of mental and spiritual wellness when maintaining an individual’s overall health. Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Brent Bauer, professor of general internal medicine; Dr. Cindy Kermott, assistant professor of preventive medicine; and Dr. Martha Millman, emeritus assistant professor of preventive medicine wrote the book, which addresses all aspects of health, including mind, body and spirit. These experts in integrative and preventive medicine explain what works when treating common ailments, including headaches, allergies and sprains. They also discuss what complementary techniques, such as aromatherapy, acupuncture and reflexology, can enhance conventional medicine. The authors detail how to apply dozens of therapies, such as progressive muscle relaxation, Pilates and guided imagery. “Integrative medicine is used to help people cope with medical conditions in many facets,” says Bauer. “Meditation can help manage the anxiety and discomfort of medical procedures. Massage has been shown to improve recovery rates after heart surgery. And gentle tai chi or yoga can assist the transition back to an active life after illness or surgery.” – Newswise
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