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Monday, March 7, 2011

  • Project studies chemo patients' eating
  • With four weeks to go in the winter term
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Project studies chemo patients' eating

by Michelle Douglas-Mills, faculty of applied health sciences

Waterloo researchers want to hear from women who have recently completed treatment for breast cancer to help better understand the unique food intake and weight management challenges associated with chemotherapy.

Unlike with some cancers, weight gain is a common and persistent problem for many breast cancer survivors, both during treatment and in the months and years after diagnosis.

[Powerful in pink]“Most of the women I have spoken to have expressed considerable disruption to their normal eating patterns during chemotherapy treatments and many have experienced significant weight gain,” explains doctoral student Vivienne Vance of Waterloo’s department of health studies and gerontology, who is leading the study. She’s at centre in the photo of a team from the “Run for the Cure” breast cancer fund-raiser last October.

“We are very concerned about the potential health consequences of weight gain and the additional distress that changes in body weight may cause, at a time when breast cancer patients are already under a great deal of stress,” Vance says.

Changes in eating patterns and energy expenditure — whether the result of stress, fatigue, or other side effects of treatment — can contribute to weight gain. Research suggests that loss of lean tissue in some women may exacerbate the issue. When combined with gains in body fat, these changes in body composition increase the risk of chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease and diabetes and may lead to treatment complications and poor clinical outcomes.

While weight gain is a problem for many breast cancer survivors, not all are affected. Vance and her advisor, Rhona Hanning, are exploring possible differences in the experience of chemotherapy and food intake for women who gain weight compared to those who do not gain weight during and after treatment. They hope their findings will help other women and their health care teams better understand food issues related to treatment and the role that changes in diet may have in promoting weight gain.

They are seeking female breast cancer survivors who have completed chemotherapy within the last 12 months. The study involves a personal interview, approximately 60 to 80 minutes, to discuss the challenges associated with chemotherapy treatment in relation to food intake and weight management. Participants will be asked to complete two questionnaires related to ongoing side effects of treatment and to record their food intake for three days. In appreciation, participants will receive a $30 honorarium, a breast cancer bracelet, and the opportunity for a personal nutritional assessment. The study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through Waterloo's office of research ethics. Anyone wanting more information can e-mail or call 519-654-2538.

Approximately one in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and one in 28 will die of the disease. While improved screening and advances in treatment have resulted in a decline in breast cancer mortality, the growing population of breast cancer survivors — at least 166,000 Canadian women and 2.5 million American women — are faced with aftereffects of treatment and questions about how best to promote disease remission and long-term health: questions Vance and Hanning hope to help answer.

“We believe that breast cancer survivors can provide important insights that could lead to the development of more helpful diet and weight management guidelines, improvements in patient care, and a healthier future,” Vance says.

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With four weeks to go in the winter term

A federal official will be on campus today to make what the invitation calls “a special announcement regarding the Small Business Internship Program”. SBIP has already brought Waterloo some $400,000 in Industry Canada funds ($400,000) designed to support small businesses in hiring undergraduate students for e-commerce projects. The co-op education and career services department has been responsible for the Toronto area, as one of 11 agencies across Canada that are helping to administer the [Moore]program, and more than 60 students were hired in this region. Peggy Jarvie, executive director of co-op education and career services, reports that the majority of them were Waterloo students. “Our success with this program,” she says, “caused Industry Canada to choose us as a delivery agent for a similar program, Career Focus, introduced in midsummer and focused on recent graduates. We allocated over half the available funding to support 12 recent grads.” Today’s event, with attendance by invitation, is set for 3:30 in the Tatham Centre. The key figure: Rob Moore (left), a New Brunswick Member of Parliament who serves as minister of state (small business and tourism).

Thumbs at the ready! Campus Tech, the retail services outlet in the lower level of the Student Life Centre, "is looking for Waterloo’s fastest texter," marketing coordinator Ryan King writes. "On March 9, Campus Tech will be holding an in-store contest to find the fastest texter at uWaterloo. Contestants will be given a statement to text; it will be timed and is judged for accuracy. Cell phone provided by Campus Tech and this contest is open to student, staff and faculty at uWaterloo. Registration forms are available at Campus Tech and E Smart, and contest details are available online."

A set of "Record-Keeping Guidelines for University Committees" has been issued as part of the university records initiative. "Committees, large and small, formal and informal, are integral to the functioning of the university," the document points out. "These guidelines are intended to assist committee chairs and secretaries in managing the records of university committees. Following these guidelines will help ensure that committee decisions and actions are easily retrievable when needed and will facilitate the university’s compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act." Among the key points "While many committees still meet face-to-face, technology is providing new and increasingly popular methods for people to meet remotely using, for example, conference calls, videoconferencing, and web meetings. Be aware that when the proceedings of meetings are recorded (whether by audio, video, or in writing), these records may be included in a freedom of information request.… Committee records containing identifiable personal information must be protected from unauthorized access. It may be inappropriate for new committee members or even a new chair to have access to the committee’s previous deliberations.… Meeting minutes should be concise and objective with the decision clearly recorded. Avoid unsubstantiated or subjective comments.… Many committee records, particularly minutes, have long-term value to the university and will be retained permanently as part of its archives."

[Library website graphic]The university's library is launching "some assessment activities" today, says librarian Nancy Collins, as a step towards redesigning its massive web site. A survey and two online usability tests go live today, and staff are recruiting participants for focus groups and individual usability testing. "Individuals participating in any of these assessment activities will have the opportunity to win an iPad or iPod Touch," says Collins. "We have more information on these assessment activities and on our Library Web Redesign website. We’re hoping to get as much feedback from students, faculty, and staff as possible."

Word arrives from the staff association that applications are now welcome (through March 31) for the Special Initiatives Fund, a component of the Staff Excellence Fund. It’s the second year of a two-year trial, after which the staff compensation committee “will evaluate its merit”, a memo explains. “For 2011 the SIF will have a budget of approximately $65,000 for funding of special projects proposed by staff in the university support group. Project proposals will be forwarded to the Staff Excellence Fund Subcommittee, who will evaluate each proposal. There are some criteria: projects “must enhance the working environment for staff”, “should be implemented within one year”, “may be departmental or university-wide, with preference given to projects that involve cooperation and collaboration across departments/faculties”, and “cannot benefit employees financially”. What does that leave? “Projects that promote excellence through cooperation, collaboration and innovation; projects that enhance staff morale; cultural, athletic or recreational events and outings; beautification projects; volunteer or community service initiatives; projects that enhance staff wellness; or any other undertaking that would enrich the working environment for staff.”

A course on "Defining Your Financial Future" is offered to staff members in two half-day sessions, this Thursday and next Tuesday, by the office of organizational and human development. • The Waterloo Public Interest Research Group has a new "action group" under the title Wellness for UW, or WUW, and will hold an organizational meeting on Wednesday. • Through March, food services is holding a hot promotion: "Purchase 9 bowls of soup and receive the 10th free."


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Link of the day


When and where

Climate Change Awareness Week with events sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, March 7-11.

Career workshop: “Academic Interview” 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Waterloo International country presentations: “The Caribbean Life” and “The Many Faces of Indonesian Culture” 12:00, Needles Hall room 1101. “Pakistan: Where Civilizations Meet” and “Australia: The Land Downunda, Mate” Tuesday 12:00.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Classical studies lecture: Christian Mileta, MLU Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, “The Attitude of the Successors Towards the Indigenous Population of the East” 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 105.

Explore Islam: “Myths and Realities of Islam” 7 p.m. today; “Islam in the West Today” Tuesday 7 p.m., Math and Computer room 2065, presented by Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association.

Life and Health Sciences Conference hosted by Communitech, Tuesday, The Tannery, 151 Charles Street West, Kitchener. Details.

‘BlackBerry 101’ Rogers Trainer-to-Go program one-hour session Tuesday 12:00, Stratford campus, register ext. 23006.

Senate undergraduate council Tuesday 12:00, Needles Hall room 3004.

Library workshop: “Data  Retrieval from Statistics Canada Surveys” Tuesday 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Institute for Computer Research and Games Institute present Gray Graffam, Stratford campus, “Immersion and Identity in Virtual World” Tuesday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Career workshops Tuesday: “Work Search Strategies for International Students” 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1208; “Thinking About Pharmacy?” 5:30, Tatham 1208. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation seminar: Marten Scheffer, Wageningen University, “Early Warning Signals for Critical Transitions” Tuesday 2:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Robert Bristow, University of Toronto, “Contextual Synthetic Lethality and Hypoxic Cells” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry II room 361.

WatRISQ presents Joseph Kim, statistics and actuarial science, “Visualizing Risk Contribution, Performance and Diversification in a Financial Conglomerate” Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Accounting and Finance Students Association roundtable with alumni and other professionals on “Investment and Portfolio Management, Post-Crisis” Tuesday 4:30, Hagey Hall room 1101. Details.

‘Shin Splints’ presentation by personal trainer Stephane Gregory, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Wednesday 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116.

‘An Experiment with an Air Pump’ by Shelagh Stephenson, production by department of drama, preview by invitation Wednesday 7 p.m.; public performances March 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Oracle Financial System downtime March 10 at 12:00 noon to morning of March 16.

Alicia Hendley, counselling services, author of novel A Subtle Thing, speaks at university bookstore, South Campus Hall, Thursday 4:00.

‘Orange Pop’ concert sponsored by Engineers Without Borders, performers including Unaccompanied Minors, Acabellas, Water Boys, Friday 8:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, $3 donation suggested.

One click away

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Students’ blackboard video competes in Go Green Challenge
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Globe and Mail special section: Colleges and institutes
TEDx draws 1,000 to Centre in the Square
‘A changing portrait of international students’ (Stats Can)
‘Education is a right’ lobby website
From The Agenda: click on ‘Science, a Man’s World?’
‘Universities: partners in the business of innovation’
Chevron interviews the editors of OMG web site
Proposed WLU construction along University Avenue
Ontarians worry about cost of post-secondary education
Times Higher Education sees ‘collateral damage’ in UK changes
Video explains quantum computing ‘breakthrough’

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