Montreal is known for its terrific city life. There are festivals and events every season, great food all the time, and a fantastic art culture. However, something that most people overlook when visiting this lively city is that there are some truly splendid hiking trails very close by.

Here is a list of six great hikes to take the next time you visit Montreal.

Parc du Mount-Royal
To get to the trailhead from downtown just head west and start your ascent up! There are many jumping on points as this trail offers amazing views of the city, from inside the city. There are loops to walk, cycle, or even cross-country ski throughout the park.

Les Lacs in Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park
This is a short drive from Montreal and a very leisurely hike. The trail will lead you by all five of the parks lakes and the park itself offers trails that range from easy to intermediate.

Le Haut-Lieu Trail
This is a great choice any season! There are multiple trails for cross-country skiers and many viewpoints. Along the hike you’ll find picnic tables, welcoming a deserved break to snack and relax.

Dieppe Trail
This hike can take a total of three hours, making it a fairly short hike for the beautiful views you’ll be rewarded with. There are several trails that take you through the high points of Mont Ste. Hilair. The reserve is home to an estimated 800 species of butterflies and includes great views of the hills and the Richelieu valley and river. To get there locate the trailhead at the Gault Nature Reserve’s Nature Centre.

Mont Brassard Trail
In total the trail takes about three hours. There are seven fantastic viewpoints that will provide you with views of Lake Remi, Saint-Zenon, and the Black River Valley. There are rocky outcrops and a 60-meter high waterfall; the Voile de la Mariee. This all makes for an interesting afternoon. The trail begins at the welcome center in Sept Chutes Regional Park.

The Gorge Canyon Trail
This is the most popular hike in all of Parc de la Gorge, and for good reason! This trail offers the longest suspended footbridge in all of North America. Once you cross the bridge you’ll be able to visit the observation tower, which offers a wonderful view of the Gorge.  The formation of the canyon actually began during the ice age! The trailhead is located at the reception building, just off of Michaud Road.


Advice on Keeping Aging Parents at Home

Everyone knows that a part of getting older includes losing the ability to do things that used to be a part of your everyday routine. Every situation is different. It’s possible that this means your aging parents are having difficulty walking upstairs or perhaps they are beginning to forget to eat lunch or take medication.

A common issue for older people is the strong desire to stay in their home. As children who want the best for their parents, it can be difficult to navigate this time, as there are a lot of decisions that go into figuring out the best option. For a lot of people, they’ve been told and reminded that their parents do not want to live in a home. However, it’s inevitable that the thought of supportive living is taken into consideration.

It is entirely plausible for older people to continue living independently. Depending on the individual, there are a number of initiatives to take so that this new stage of life can go as smoothly as possible.

The first thing to do is learn what type of support will most contribute to safety and peace of mind for everyone. There are many services in place that have information on full or part time home care. Visit a local Agency of Aging or any senior center to talk with someone who can help you to determine the level of care necessary.

It is critical to consult with a doctor and plan ahead, especially if your loved one has any illnesses such as diabetes. They will be able to explain any problems or setbacks that health problems could create and help you to plan accordingly. The most important thing is to ensure that it is safe for your aging family member to continue living at home.

Some people may need help with personal care routines. Things such as bathing, dressing, or washing their hair could be proving more difficult. Others may need someone to help with household chores. This could involve laundry, yard work, grocery shopping or preparing meals.

Once a conclusion is reached on the type of help your parents need, you can decide whether an at-home caregiver would be beneficial. Some families find that having someone arrive in the morning to help assist with getting ready and then preparing a few meals is all that is needed to keep their loved on a healthy schedule. There are even meal delivery programs that will actually provide hot food for free or a very low cost.

If your loved one has recently been released from the hospital, they may only need short term help while they recover. The hospital discharge planner can assist you in making arrangements so that a home health aid can be available to do things such as remind the client of medicine doses or assist with ambulating safely after surgery.

Lastly, money management can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re taking on the responsibilities of someone else’s finances. Check your resources and find financial counselors or geiratic care managers that can give you advice. Some people find that setting up bill pay online helps to keep everything straight. Most utilities can be paid automatically through a checking account.

The most important thing is safety. Everyone wants the people they love to be safe and taken care of. Make sure that yourself or someone whom you trust has permission to discuss any health care concerns and make necessary decisions if the time comes. Talk to a doctor about whether or not a medical alert bracelet may be a good idea.

Remember that there are professionals who are specially trained to help provide people in these situations to find the resources necessary to make daily life easier.


Dementia is a brain disorder that affects a person’s memory and speech, along with a variety of motor skills. It also affects a person’s ability to regulate emotions and interact with other people. There are a variety of different types of dementia, as well as various underlying causes. In addition, there are some forms of dementia that are treatable and others that aren’t. For the most part, doctors agree that people have a genetic predisposition to most types of dementia, excluding the ones that are caused by a traumatic brain injury. In recent years, however, there have been many studies that show how certain lifestyle tendencies can have a profound effect on whether a person will develop this disease. The four factors examined by researchers were people’s smoking status, levels of physical activity, alcohol consumption, and diet.

The two most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia. Both of these disorders are tied to problems with the vascular system, meaning associated with the heart and blood vessels. Smoking is tied to dementia because it increases the chances of developing vascular problems. It can also lead to bleeding in the brain or having a stroke. Both of these issues are proven as potential gateways to developing dementia.

There are many reasons for staying active, but now people can add to that list a reduced chance of becoming senile. The white matter of our brains is comprised of millions of bundles of nerve fibers. These are the pathways connecting various parts of the brain that aid in decision-making, memory, and cognition. Studies involving the brains of older adults have shown a decreased amount of white matter in those who don’t maintain an active lifestyle. People with increased physical activity were able to slow down white matter degradation.

Doctors have known for years that drugs and alcohol kill brain cells. They also know it happens faster than the aging process. Studies have now found a correlation between excessive drug and alcohol use and signs of dementia. When alcohol is consumed in large quantities, neurons that are normally supposed to regenerate are prevented from doing so and instead, die.

Diet plays an important role, too. The Meditteranean approach towards eating has long been touted as the healthiest easting style. Evidence shows that a diet that is abundant in fruit, vegetables, cereals, while also being low in red meat and sugar could help reduce the likelihood of dementia.


Fathers who are over 40 years old have a lot of changes happening in their lives. A lot of these changes are medical-based. After 39, you are no longer considered a spring chicken. There is a reason for this. Apart from the obvious lack of sleep and free time, there are other differences you will begin to notice that take you further away from your childless, youthful, carefree days. If fitness used to be a major element of your lifestyle, it will soon become apparent that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to maintain the same way of life while still being a father, especially as you advance in years. As difficult as it may be, it might time to accept that what was once the norm for physical fitness, is no longer possible.

One rule of thumb that is easy to overlook is not taking the time to stretch, either before or after a workout. This could be because of time constraints or the belief that the workout sessions of your younger days still apply. There are two types of stretches – dynamic and static. It matters a lot which one you perform on cold muscles versus after being warmed up. Dynamic stretches are meant to prepare your body for a vigorous workout – they are repetitive and entail a lot of motion, though not necessarily strenuous. The idea is to warm up the muscles for the workout ahead. Static stretching is performed after a workout in order to increase flexibility and to avoid cramping. Static stretching should never be done to cold muscles because it increases the risk of injury.

Comparing yourself to others or to your much younger self is another mistake that fathers over 40 tend to make. The only person you should be competing with is the person you were yesterday, and even then it should be done in the spirit of friendly competition. You should be your number one supporter, making every day as productive as possible, but also cutting yourself slack if you don’t make all the right choices.

What you put into your body is just as important as how much you exercise. The expression you are what you eat is true. If you eat whole grains, vegetables, and protein you will have more energy and feel better. If you choose processed foods, you will feel sluggish and fatigued. You are no doubt less likely to maintain a fitness regimen if you are too tired to make it through the day.

Technology and Innovation: The Pacemaker

When medical pacemakers were first developed in the 1950s, they revolutionized treatment for cardiovascular disorders. This tiny device sends small electrical pulses to the heart to help it beat in a regular rhythm. Ever since implantable pacemakers were first developed, the design has stayed mostly the same. However, some medical researchers are starting to experiment with this standardized product once again.

In the past decade, the Electrophysiology Clinical Research & Innovations Team at the Texas Heart Institute has been working to improve the design of pacemakers. Along with innovative partners at the University of California and Rice University, the team has been trying to see how new technology could potentially better pacemakers. According to professor Aydin Babakhani, the type of pacemaker most people still use is essentially on the same level of technology as a wired telephone.

The typical pacemaker still requires doctors to run wires through blood vessels and implant a battery inside of a person. However, the new pacemaker that the Texas Heart Institute researchers have designed is meant to be a batteryless pacemaker with less wires. This style of pacemaker will get energy wirelessly from an external battery pack situated outside of the patient’s heart. It can change the frequency of the signals it sends out by adjusting the amount of power received wirelessly by a small antenna.

In addition to eliminating the need for more bulky and invasive medical devices, the researchers also hope their pacemaker will be more comfortable to wear. Since it is so much smaller, the pacemaker can be placed directly in the heart. At just 4 millimeters in width including the receiving antenna and pacing signal, the chip fits comfortably against the heart itself.This delivers pacing signals right to the necessary muscles instead of requiring complicated wiring arrangements that can be painful.

Right now, the researchers have not been able to test their devices with human subjects. They have tried it in pigs, which have a weight and organ arrangement similar to humans, and they found that the pacemaker was able to successfully manage heart rates ranging from 100 to 172 beats per minute. The next step in developing the new pacemakers will be refining it for human use. Hopefully, with the right funding and development, this pacemaker will revolutionize the way humans treat heart rhythm disorders.


Original article appeared at

How To Discover A Food Allergy

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One important part of living a healthy life is knowing what your body needs and what it should avoid. Although there are many diets that claim to have the secret, the truth is, we all have different genetics and environments that determine what our body can and cannot digest properly. Before you commit to a diet, whether for general health or weight loss, it may be beneficial to determine whether or not you have any food allergies or intolerances.

Step 1: Keep a Food Journal

Before you do anything else, you should keep a food journal for at least one week without making any changes to your diet. Write down not only what you eat, but also how much of it (roughly), and how you feel physically and emotionally throughout the day. This will give you a baseline to work off of.

Step 2: Identify Problems

Do you feel sluggish or nauseous an hour after eating at McDonald’s? That’s an easy enough problem to solve. However, what can be much more difficult is pinpointing problems that occur at home. For example, you could have spaghetti and meatballs with a large salad that has tons of toppings and dressing. If you start to feel bloated after eating, there are many ingredients that could be the culprit. Try to see if there are any patterns, where you eat a particular food and then feel bad afterward. If you cannot find a particular pattern, your problem may not lie with one particular food, but with a buildup from the foods that you eat throughout the day.

Step 3: Elimination Diet

Once you have an idea of the foods that could cause you problems, you can eliminate them from your diet, while still maintaining your food journal. See if you notice more energy or less stomach problems. When you do this, you should keep in mind that you may lose essential vitamins and minerals. Try to replace them with another food, or take a supplement if needed.

Step 4: Consult a Doctor

Although this step is not necessary, as avoiding certain foods is easy enough, it can give you some peace of mind to take an allergy test. Whether the results come back positive or negative for the foods you’ve identified, you can still avoid foods that make you feel bad. There are many digestive conditions that are triggered by certain foods, and not all are considered allergies. Still, if you are concerned about your overall health in relation to your diet, contacting a doctor is a good idea.

Food allergies and intolerances are extremely common, but many do not know they have them. Before trying out a new diet, take some time to evaluate which foods your body really needs.


We Need Digital Medical Records

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It’s 2018 and everything is going digital. Conversations, books, and paperwork are all making the transition. It’s natural, then, that people in the medical field are wondering when medical records will be available digitally. Although most health networks use digital records for their own purposes, patients are often not allowed access to these. This is a problem that should be fixed, and these are the biggest reasons why.

Second Opinions

No doctor is perfect. People with chronic or severe conditions, such as cancer, may want a second opinion on their condition and treatment options. Having records would make it easier for the patient to see where both doctors are coming from and compare notes. It would also save the trouble of having to get records transferred, if they are even handed over at all.

Treatment Plans

People with lifestyle-changing illnesses are going to have a treatment plan. Usually, a doctor will write down or print out the plan, and the patient may lose a vital piece of information due to the hard copies. Instead, it would be useful to have a digital copy of the treatment plan directly on the patient’s computer. The doctor could include notes on what the effects of each step are, and the patient could have a portal that allows them to keep track of their progress and symptoms as time goes on. The biggest change between current treatment plans and digital ones would be the coordination between the doctor and patient, outside of the office.

More Accountability

Have you ever had a doctor question whether you are being honest about symptoms? Some doctors are skeptical around patients and may assume health before sickness. This can cause serious problems, and could lead to complications or death. Having access to your doctor’s notes will keep them accountable for taking you seriously. On the patient side, doctors will be able to hold patients accountable for making progress toward healthy behaviors. In my previous point, I mentioned that patients could have digital treatment plans. This would make patients responsible for implementing good habits and decreasing negative ones, which could take some pressure off of doctors for curing someone who does not want to help.

Digital records do come with some downsides. Security would be a problem, primarily on the patient’s end. Doctors could also have more work to do to upload their notes and treatment plans to the system. However, even with these negative points, digital records have the potential to bring positivity to the healthcare system.