June 18th, 2015 by cgarrett
“We’re not alone with our health problems”
OULU, FINLAND — The circumpolar world is linked as much by its common health challenges as by its Arctic geography.
That’s what struck Nunavut Health Minister Paul Okalik as he prepared to head back from Finland to Canada June 12 at the end of the International Congress on Circumpolar Health.
“I learned that we’re not alone with our health problems,” said Okalik, who attended a variety of sessions on subjects like housing, food security and suicide during his week at the conference, which he called “important to attend.”
Many subjects discussed during the five-day-long gathering touched on health issues of interest to people in Nunavut and Nunavik, such as diabetes prevention in relation to Arctic berry consumption and marijuana use, contaminants and Arctic human health, potentially harmful genetic conditions and suicide. (Nunatsiaq News)
May 22nd, 2015 by cgarrett
According to a doctoral dissertation to be published by the University of Helsinki, the indigenous Sámi people of Northern Finland generally have lower cancer rates than the rest of the country’s population. The study by researcher Leena Soininen, to be presented next week, finds that the disease mortality among the Northern and Inari Sámi was statistically significantly lower than among other Finns. However, that of the Skolt Sámi subpopulation was higher than that of the general population, apparently linked to high rates of stomach cancer. Alaska Dispatch News
May 14th, 2015 by cgarrett
Suicide has long plagued Greenland’s young people, but new research shows that the number of people under the age of 24 dying by their own hands has steadily increased since the 1970s, when suicide first became a major public-health problem. Since then, young people aged 20-24 have made up the largest group of those committing suicide. In the 1970s, they made up 7% of suicide victims. Today, they account for more than half, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health. The paper also found that as the average age of suicide victims has declined, the number of pre-teens committing suicide has shot up. Among children born between 1980 and 1989, 17 killed themselves between the ages of 10 and 14. For the generation born between 1950 and 1959, just a single suicide committed by a person in that age group was recorded. Arctic Journal
May 1st, 2015 by cgarrett
What do a sociologist from Russia, a biologist from Sweden and artist from the US all have in common? They are all a part of a group of 17 leaders in their fields who, over the next year and a half, will be expected to help demystify the Arctic. The group, all citizens of Arctic countries, was selected last week as the inaugural participants in the Fulbright Arctic Initiative. Their participation will see them conducting research related to energy, water, health and infrastructure, in order to benefit the development of the region. Arctic Journal
April 10th, 2015 by cgarrett
Danish officials have launched a new website aimed at improving co-operation between Arctic researchers in Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands in order to facilitate improved research into the changes facing the region. The website, Isaaffik, meaning ‘gateway’ in Greenlandic, will be maintained by the Arctic Research Centre at Aarhus University and is intended to to make it easier for those involved in the field to share information about research, education, consultancy and logistics. Arctic Journal
April 10th, 2015 by cgarrett
A new scientific synthesis suggests a gradual, prolonged release of greenhouse gases from permafrost soils in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, which may afford society more time to adapt to environmental changes, say scientists in a paper published in Nature today. “Twenty years ago there was very little research about the possible rate of permafrost carbon release,” said co-author A. David McGuire, a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and a climate modeling expert with the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “In 2011, we assembled an international team of scientists into the Permafrost Carbon Network to synthesize existing research and answer the questions of how much permafrost carbon is out there, how vulnerable to decomposition it is once it’s thawed, and what are the forms in which it’s released into the atmosphere.” US Geological Survey
April 1st, 2015 by cgarrett
Though suicide prevention and mental health are areas of life that only national and sub-national governments can do anything about, Arctic Council delegates from around the circumpolar world put a lot of energy last week into talking about it, especially what works and what doesn’t. The two-and-a-half-day gathering at the Iqaluit Cadet Hall, which covered one of Canada’s priorities for its chairmanship of the Arctic Council, was organized under the Arctic Council’s sustainable development working group. Nunatsiaq Online
April 1st, 2015 by cgarrett
Alaska, which contains within its boundaries the only U.S. territory north of — or even anywhere near — the Arctic Circle, has long been the nation’s Arctic state. But is there room at the table for a second “Arctic” state? If there is, Maine is increasingly vying for that spot, writes the Portland Press-Herald (in a piece written by former Anchorage Daily News reporter Tom Bell). Alaska Dispatch News
March 26th, 2015 by cgarrett
More than 80 doctors and other health officials from Nunavut, Nunavik and beyond met Iqaluit for the Challenges in Infectious Diseases conference the weekend of March 21st. Organizers hope to develop closer ties between the two regions. Dr. Gabriel Fortin, president of the organizing committee, says resources are limited so collaboration is essential. Workshops and discussions focused on illnesses such as tuberculosis, sexual transmitted infections and respiratory infections.
February 10th, 2015 by cgarrett
A new report on air pollution from ships in the high Arctic warns of huge increases in air pollution from shipping. Although the report by the the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is called “Air pollution from marine vessels in the U.S. High Arctic in 2025,” its findings are of concern to the entire Arctic region. The report estimates that because of Arctic ice melt, shipping could increase in the next 10 years anywhere from 150 percent to 600 percent. Alaska Dispatch News