Government of Canada invests in research on physical activity and health

VANCOUVER, July 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians will benefit from new insights into the link between physical activity and health as the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced funding for four research teams through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). These teams will study the effects of exercise on the body and its role in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases including arthritis, breast cancer and heart disease.

"Our Government encourages Canadians to be physically active as part of a healthy lifestyle," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Today's investment in research will help develop new strategies for using exercise to prevent and treat major diseases affecting Canadians."

The teams announced today will be led by the following researchers:

  • Dr. John Esdaile (Arthritis Research Centre of Canada; Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver General Hospital; and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC) and his team will explore the link between physical activity and hip osteoarthritis.
  • Dr. Kevin Shoemaker (University of Western Ontario, London, ON) and his team will investigate the effect of cardiovascular disease on the health of nerves that control muscle function and mobility.
  • Dr. Kerry Courneya (University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB) and his team will study how physical activity and the fitness level affect the survival and long-term health of patients diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Dr. Ciaran Duffy (McGill University, Montreal, QC) and his team will examine the role of physical activity in improving the health and well-being of children with arthritis.

"We are very proud to be supporting these four talented teams," said Dr. Jane Aubin, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute of Health Research's Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis. "By supporting this research we will help improve the health and quality of life of Canadians and reduce the burden on Canada's health care system."

The teams were selected through a rigorous process of competitive peer review. They will each receive $2.5 million over five years for a total investment of $10 million.

Dr. John Esdaile, Scientific Director of the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, spoke at the announcement about his team and the potential impact of its work. "We believe we can detect osteoarthritis of the hip much earlier than we have in the past," said Dr. Esdaile. "By catching it early, before it causes damage, we open the door to preventing hip osteoarthritis, which means we avoid costly surgery and greatly improve the quality of life of Canadians who experience hip pain."

For the past 10 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has supported better health and health care for Canadians. As the Government of Canada's health research investment agency, CIHR enables the creation of evidence-based knowledge and its transformation into improved treatments, prevention and diagnoses, new products and services, and a stronger, patient-oriented health-care system. Composed of 13 internationally recognized Institutes, CIHR supports more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

BACKGROUNDER

CIHR Team Grants in Physical Activity, Mobility and Health

Physical activity is a strategic priority for the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis. The Institute launched the CIHR Team Grants in Physical Activity, Mobility and Health competition to support research teams examining physical activity and its role in the development, prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Four teams were selected for funding through a competitive process of peer review. Each team will receive $2.5 million over five years from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for a total investment of $10 million.

CIHR Team in IMPAKT-HIP - Investigations of Mobility, Physical Activity and Knowledge Translation in Hip Pain
Team Lead: Dr. John Esdaile, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada; Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver General Hospital; and University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

Certain types of physical activity have been linked to the development of osteoarthritis of the hip. Evidence suggests that the repetitive hip flexion involved in sports like hockey, soccer and bicycling and deformities of the hip bone combine to cause pain and eventually osteoarthritis. Dr. Esdaile and his team will study the role of physical activity in the development of hip pain. The team will also explore the prevalence of hip osteoarthritis in First Nations and Chinese communities in B.C. This research will help develop new approaches to the prevention, detection, and treatment of hip osteoarthritis.

CIHR Team in Physical Activity, Mobility and Neural Health
Team Lead: Dr. Kevin Shoemaker, University of Western Ontario (London, ON)

Human movement depends on the coordinated activity of the muscles and bones of the body. This process relies on signals from nerves in the brain. What happens, then, to nerves and their ability to affect mobility when the blood vessels supplying them become diseased? Dr. Shoemaker and his team will examine the role of vascular disease on blood supply to nerves in the brain, spinal cord and the periphery and its effect on muscle function. The team will also determine whether exercise programs that help people with vascular disease also improve the health of nerves.

CIHR Team in Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Survivorship
Team Lead: Dr. Kerry Courneya, University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

Breast cancer survivors face a higher risk of long-term health problems, such as new cancers, heart disease and bone loss. Dr. Courneya and his team will examine the effect of physical activity and fitness level on the treatment, recovery and long-term health of breast cancer patients. This research will provide the most comprehensive examination of physical activity and breast cancer survivorship to date.

CIHR Team Linking Exercise, Physical Activity and Pathophysiology in Childhood Arthritis: A Canadian Collaborative Team (LEAP Team)
Team Lead: Dr. Ciaran Duffy, McGill University (Montreal, QC)

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic illnesses among children. It affects 1 in 1,000 Canadian children under the age of 16. The inflammation associated with this condition makes a child's joints stiff, swollen and painful. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. Dr. Ciaran Duffy and his team will study a group of children with arthritis to determine the effect of physical activity on bones, muscles, joints and quality of life. This work will help develop new strategies involving physical activity to improve the care and health of children with arthritis.

Ce document est également disponible en français.

SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research

For further information: For further information:

Jenny VanAlstyne, Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, 613-957-0200

David Coulombe, Media Relations, CIHR, 613-941-4563


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