Aurora hunters descending on Yellowknife have plenty of options for searching out the storied northern lights — a major draw to the region known for green and red hued swirls dancing across the night sky.
It’s pretty extraordinary for people in their 80s and 90s to keep the same sharp memory as someone several decades younger, and now scientists are peeking into the brains of these “superagers” to uncover their secret.
Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.8 per cent in December to $49.6 billion as gains in new car sales were more than offset by lower sales at electronics and appliance stores and general merchandise retailers.
The first treatment to help prevent serious allergic reactions to peanuts may be on the way. A company said Tuesday that its daily capsules of peanut powder helped children build tolerance in a major study.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is raising the idea of creating a use-it-or-lose-it funded leave for new dads, doing so days before he unveils a spending blueprint that has been the focus of lobbying efforts for further changes to national parental leave policies.
Facebook is forging ahead with its messaging app for kids, despite child experts who have pressed the company to shut it down and others who question Facebook's financial support of some advisers who approved of the app.
McDonald's in the U.S. is taking cheeseburgers and chocolate milk off its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium, saturated fat and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants.
Diners can still ask specifically for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kid's meal, but the fast-food company said that not listing them will reduce how often they're ordered. Since it removed soda from the Happy Meal menu four years ago, orders for it with Happy Meals have fallen 14 per cent, the company said. Hamburgers and Chicken McNuggets will remain the main entrees on the Happy Meal menu.
The Happy Meal, launched nearly 40 years ago, has long been a target of health advocates and parents who link it to childhood obesity. McDonald's has made many tweaks over the years, including cutting the size of its fries and adding fruit. Most recently, it swapped out its apple juice for one that has less sugar. It's been especially important as the company tries to shake its junk-food image, since McDonald's is known for getting more business from families with children relative to its traditional rivals, such as Burger King and Wendy's. McDonald's doesn't say how much revenue it makes from the $3 Happy Meal, but the company said 30 per cent of all visits come from families.
The latest Happy Meal changes, including new nutritional standards, will occur in the United States by June.
"It's a good step in the right direction," said Margo Wootan, the vice-president for nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "We would love to see many more restaurants do the same."
McDonald's said Thursday that it wants all its Happy Meal options to have 600 calories or fewer and have less than 650 milligrams of sodium. It also wants less than 10 per cent of the meal's calories to come from saturated fat and the same percentage to come from added sugar.
The cheeseburger and chocolate milk didn't meet those new standards, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said. It is, however, working to cut sugar from the chocolate milk and believes it'll be back on the Happy Meal menu eventually -- but doesn't know when that will happen.
There will be other tweaks: The six-piece chicken nugget Happy Meal will now come with a kids-sized fries instead of a small, lowering calories and sodium from the fries by half. And bottled water will be added as an option to the Happy Meal menu, but will cost extra. Currently, the Happy Meal menu lists milk, chocolate milk and apple juice. Soda does not cost extra.
For international restaurants, McDonald's Corp. said that at least half of the Happy Meal options available must meet its new nutritional guidelines. The company said some are adding new menu items to comply, like in Italy, where a grilled chicken sandwich was added to the Happy Meal menu.
The first blood test to help doctors diagnose traumatic brain injuries has won U.S. government approval.
The move means Banyan Biomarkers can commercialize its test, giving the company an early lead in the biotech industry's race to find a way to diagnose concussions.
The test doesn't detect concussions and the approval won't immediately change how patients with suspected concussions or other brain trauma are treated. But Wednesday's green light by the Food and Drug Administration "is a big deal because then it opens the door and accelerates technology," said Michael McCrea, a brain injury expert at Medical College of Wisconsin. The test detects two proteins present in brain cells that can leak into the bloodstream following a blow to the head. Banyan's research shows the test can detect them up within 12 hours of injury. It's designed to help doctors quickly determine which patients with suspected concussions may have brain bleeding or other brain injury.
Patients with a positive test would need a CT scan to confirm the results and determine if surgery or other treatment is needed. The test will first be used in emergency rooms, possibly as soon as later this year, but Banyan's hope is that it will eventually be used on battlefields and football fields.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the test fits with the agency's goals for delivering new technologies to patients and reducing unnecessary radiation exposure.
The test "sets the stage for a more modernized standard of care for testing of suspected cases," Gottlieb said in a statement.
Traumatic brain injuries affect an estimated 10 million people globally each year; at least 2 million of them are treated in U.S. emergency rooms. They often get CT scans to detect bleeding or other abnormalities. The scans expose patients to radiation, but in many patients with mild brain injuries including concussions, abnormalities don't show up on these imaging tests.
With Department of Defence funding, Banyan's research shows its Brain Trauma Indicator can accurately pick up brain trauma later found on CT scans. It also shows that absence of the two proteins in the test is a good indication that CT scans will be normal. That means patients with negative blood tests can avoid CT scans and unnecessary radiation exposure, said Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian, a University of Rochester emergency medicine professor involved in Banyan's research.
Bazarian called the test "a huge step" toward devising a blood test that can detect brain injuries including concussions.
Dr. Walter Koroshetz, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and other brain injury experts say the test isn't sensitive enough to rule out concussions.
"This may be a beginning. It's not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," Koroshetz said.
That prize would be a test that could detect and guide treatment for concussions and traumatic brain injuries, similar to a blood test that hospitals commonly use to evaluate suspected heart attacks, Koroshetz said.
"That's what we'd like to have for the brain," he said.
San Diego-based Banyan has partnered with Abbott and French firm bioMerieux SA to market the test to hospitals using those companies' blood analyzing machines.
Other companies are developing similar blood tests to detect brain injuries. BioDirection is developing a test involving one of the proteins in Banyan's test plus another one and using a portable device that can yield results from a single drop of blood in less than two minutes.
Quanterix is also working to develop a blood test to diagnose concussions and other brain injuries. It has licensed the use of both proteins in Banyan's test to be used with its own technology.