The Online Multimedia Home of Dr. Karl Kabasele [BETA]

September 13, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Safe And Healthy School Lunches For Your Children

You want your children’s school lunches to be nutritious, and obviously you don’t want those lunches to cause food poisoning. Ensuring that food is free of bacteria can be as simple as keeping foods out of the ‘temperature danger zone’. In terms of food safety, that means storing perishable foods in the refrigerator at 4 degrees Celsius (approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower, and reheating those foods to an internal temperature of at least 74 degrees Celsius (165 degrees Fahrenheit).

Courtesy BC Institute of Technology

Courtesy BC Institute of Technology

Leaving foods at a temperature in the ‘danger zone’ between 4 and 60 degrees Celsius (40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit) allows potentially harmful bacteria to multiply, increasing the risk of food poisoning. If perishable food is left out in the danger zone for two hours or more it is safest to just throw it out.

For an overview of how to safely prepare foods at home to avoid food poisoning, see:


For an overview of how to pack the healthiest possible school lunches for your children (that they might actually eat and enjoy!), see:


September 11, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Why Young People Ignore Health Warnings

Today and tomorrow I will be on local CBC Radio stations across Canada talking about why young people often don’t heed warnings about health risk. According to new research out this week, it may not be that they are ignoring the warnings, but rather that their immature brains are not able to process the information the way an older adult would.

Here’s a summary of the study that was released by the researchers themselves:

* * *

Campaigns to get young people to stop smoking may be more successful by focusing on the positive benefits, such as having more money and better skin, rather than emphasising negative outcomes like increased disease risk, a study from Wellcome Trust researchers suggests.

Researchers at UCL (University College London) asked volunteers aged between nine and 26 to estimate how likely they think they are to personally experience a range of adverse life events, such as being involved in a car accident or getting lung disease. They then showed the participants the actual statistics for such events and noted how each adjusted his or her beliefs after learning that the risk was higher or lower than their own estimate.

The results show that younger participants were less likely to learn from information that shows them that the future is bleaker than expected. In other words, even when they know the risks they have difficulties using that information if it’s worse than they thought it would be. In contrast, the ability to learn from good news remained stable across all ages.

“The findings could help to explain the limited impact of campaigns targeted at young people to highlight the dangers of careless driving, unprotected sex, alcohol and drug abuse, and other risky behaviors” said leading author, Dr. Christina Moutsiana. The authors suggest that reframing information to highlight beneficial outcomes of desired behaviors, such as the positive effect of reduced alcohol consumption on sports performance, rather than the dangers of undesired ones, could have a greater impact.

* * *


When it comes to communicating risk to younger people, it may be more effective to present the information in a positive rather than a negative way. For example, instead of warning a teenager that smoking can lead to cancer, heart disease, and a shorter lifespan it may be more effective to say, “If you choose not to smoke you will feel better, breathe better, and perform better when you play your favorite sport.”

We also know that young people (and teens in particular) care deeply about what their peers think and do. So as a parent you may be able to help your child make better health choices by de-normalizing bad behavior. Using the smoking example again, you can research the statistics and then tell your child quite honestly that most people in their age group do not smoke, so smoking is not a ‘normal’ behavior. This would hopefully exert positive peer pressure to help your child choose not to smoke.

For more resources to help keep your child smoke-free, see: http://teen.smokefree.gov/

September 3, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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A Tribute To My Late Mother: Diabetes Education

One month ago my mother, Anita, passed away suddenly. I’m at a loss for the words to describe the impact this has had on me and my family, but all of us together, with the support of dear friends, have begun the slow, difficult process of healing.

My Mom taught me so much about life. She was a strong believer in putting people first, over material things or anything else. She was an idealist who had very specific notions of right and wrong, and how people ought to live and treat each other with respect and kindness. Mom loved language, was a voracious reader, and in my early, formative years imparted her love of communication to my sister and me. If I have any ability to connect with people, it’s because of the foundation that she laid.

I hope that my work as a physician and health educator will serve as a living tribute to my Mom’s life and the principles that she lived by. Thank you Mom for leading by example. I love you.

* * *

I have begun work with Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), a Canadian media network dedicated to providing television, radio and online content to all people, including those with impaired vision or hearing. You can learn more about AMI on their website, http://www.AMI.ca

My first health educational segment for AMI was a review of diabetes, which aired on AMI-TV in July, 2013. You can view the segment here:

For some more background info on diabetes, click on this link: http://drkarlhq.com/?p=51

Diabetes is a terrible disease that has touched generations of my own family. Because my mother lived with diabetes and was an advocate for better healthcare for people with diabetes, I’d like to dedicate this diabetes segment to her.

August 2, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Injury Prevention At Home

When It Comes To Renovation Protect Yourself, Know Your Limits

If you’re planning to do some home repairs or renovations, you should take your cue from the professionals when it comes to injury prevention. In this video clip I show you some safety equipment that you’ll want to use, and discusses the most common reasons for an emergency room visit!

For a comprehensive list of safety tips for home renovation see:


August 1, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Are Supplements & Vitamins Harmful?

Claims Of Health Benefits Not Supported By Scientific Evidence

You may be taking dietary supplements and vitamins thinking that you’re protecting yourself from cancer and other health problems, but the research does not necessarily support that idea.

In this video segment I discuss:

- why in some cases supplements may increase the risk of cancer;
- some situations where supplements may actually be helpful and
- how to know if your supplements are safe.

And here’s a good overview of how you should approach the use of supplements:


July 31, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Exercise & Heart Risk

Extreme Cardio Can Cause Heart Damage

Going for a long run can feel great, but running may also lead to injuries. In addition to that, a 2012 study pointed out that too much exercise may overwork the heart, causing scarring of the heart muscle. In this video clip I discuss the findings of the study and who is at risk.

Before you go and throw away your running shoes it should be noted that in actuality far more of us are at risk from not exercising enough!

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that most adults should get 150 minutes of physical activity each week, and that can be broken down into chunks as small as 10 minutes at a time.

You should “focus on moderate to vigorous aerobic activity”, which means exercise at least at the level of a brisk walk.

And don’t forget to do some strengthening activities that target muscles and bone at least twice a week.

For physical activity tips for people of all ages, see:


July 30, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Food Allergies In Children – We Must Be Vigilant!

Study: More Than 70% Of Kids With Food Allergies Had Reactions From Accidental Exposure

Children who have food allergies may have life-threatening anaphylactic reactions if they eat even small amounts of certain foods. In this video clip I discuss a small 2012 study that found that over a three year period, the majority of the group of children studied were accidentally exposed to the food to which they were allergic.

Watch the video for some tips on how to prevent accidental food allergy exposure, and see the following link for detailed information on food allergies vs. food intolerances:


July 29, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Diabetes & Complications

Lack Of Blood Sugar Control Leads To Blood Vessel Disease

Diabetes is a collection of diseases that involve the loss of blood sugar control in the body. But the long-term complications of diabetes are actually caused by the narrowing of blood vessels in your body that can lead to heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputations of extremities.

In this video clip we discuss how to prevent diabetes complications, and we look at the human and financial costs of diabetes according to a 2011 report from the Canadian Diabetes Association. Ultimately, the best way to prevent diabetes (or manage it if you have it) is through a combination of lifestyle changes in your diet and level of physical activity.

For a guide to the Glycemic Index that will help you to choose healthier foods, see:


For some dietary tips for preventing or managing diabetes, see:


For some diabetic-friendly recipes, see:


And for an interactive guide to understanding the “Nutrition Facts” label on Canadian food products, see:


As for physical activity, diabetes specialist Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe of Women’s College Hospital in Toronto says that all you have to do to lower your diabetes risk is to get 30 minutes of exercise per day, 3-5 days per week, at a level of intensity where you break a sweat. This could include brisk walking, cycling, or skating.

Health Canada recommends 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day as an ideal goal. But don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all at once – you can break it up into 10-minute intervals.

For a copy of Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines, see the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website, here:


July 26, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Autism Runs In Families

Higher Risk For Younger Siblings Of Children With Autism

We’ve known for some time that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are more likely to recur in families where there is already at least one child with an ASD. A 2011 study published in the journal Pediatrics suggested that the recurrence rate is higher than previous believed. The best estimates were that a couple’s risk of having another child with an ASD was between 3% and 14%, but this study estimates the risk overall at approximately 18.7%.

This may not sound like a large difference from what we already knew, but the strength of this research is in its design. This is the first study to follow infants born into families with at least one child with an ASD and evaluate them at a minimum of 3 years old, an age when most ASDs can be diagnosed with 85% certainty. This study also enlisted the help of experts to confirm the diagnoses of all the children involved, as opposed to relying on parents to report the ASD status of their children.


The study also showed that two risk factors predicted an additional risk of having another child with an ASD. The first was the sex of the next child – boys were almost 3 times as likely as girls to be born with an ASD if they had an older sibling with an ASD. The second was the number of children with an ASD that a couple already has – a family with multiple children with ASDs are more than twice as likely to have another child with an ASD, versus a family that already has only has one child with an ASD.


Unfortunately there is no test or method available to tell a couple their individual risk of having a child with an ASD. The risk percentages described in the study are based on population statistics and can give you a general idea of the risk. It’s important for couples that already have a child or children with ASDs to have this information because it can help them to make decisions about having another child and it can put them on alert to monitor the developmental milestones of subsequent children. The advantage of identifying ASDs as early as possible is that disabilities these children experience can be minimized with early interventions like special education and therapy.

ASDs are characterized by problems in 3 key areas:

1) social interaction
2) language
3) behavior

Some warning signs include:

1. Social skills

- Fails to respond to his or her name
- Has poor eye contact
- Appears not to hear you at times
- Resists cuddling and holding
- Appears unaware of others’ feelings
- Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her “own world”

2. Language

- Starts talking later than age 2, and has other developmental delays by 30 months
- Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
- Doesn’t make eye contact when making requests
- Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
- Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
- May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them

3. Behavior

- Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
- Develops specific routines or rituals
- Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routines or rituals
- Moves constantly
- May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car
- May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch and yet oblivious to pain

[Courtesy: The Mayo Clinic]

For a detailed look at ASDs and what can be done about them, see:


July 25, 2013
by drkarlkabasele
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Attacking Cancer With The Immune System

Experimental Therapy Trains T-Cells To Kill Cancer Cells

Imagine being able to treat cancer without chemotherapy or radiation? Researchers are working on an approach to destroying leukemia cells by using genetically altered immune cells called T-cells, taken from the patient’s own immune system.

Although it’s still years away from being a treatment available to all patients, the 2011 study that we discuss in this video clip gives us reason to hope.

In the meantime, we can reduce our cancer risk overall by following these simple lifestyle tips: