WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Turning lemons into lemonade

Here’s a reminder for those who are new to reading this blog. “What We’re Reading This Week” (WWETW) is a weekly feature to give our supporters, volunteers and fans of lung health a review of the stories that we are reading this week.

Have you read something that’s worth sharing? Let us know about it by sending us an email.

Duped Volkswagen owner gives to Lung Association

Toshiba Digital Camera

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade. Dr. Mary Graham is giving the credit she earned from Volkswagen to our friends at the BC Lung Association as a result of a scandal that has hounded the German car manufacturer.

Thousands of vehicle owners across Canada — including Graham — were in the crossfire Volkswagen’s recent scandal.  The company admitted to using engine software that shut down its emissions controls when its vehicles were not being tested.

That improved performance and mileage, but meant the vehicles spewed far more than the legal limit of pollutants.

In an effort to help win back its customers, Volkswagen has offered a credit package to Canadian owners — a credit card loaded with $500, a further $500 for use at Volkswagen dealerships and three years of roadside assistance.

Graham — a who owns a late-model station wagon from Volkswagen  — donated her credit to the BC Lung Association after feeling betrayed by the car company.

Check out the rest of the story here.

Yoga is a good workout, especially for asthma patients, suggests study

Metro News Canada, Published April 28, HEADLINE: Yoga could reduce asthma symptoms, study finds


Yoga has a lot of benefits. It’s not only good for your mental health, but it’s also a healthy way to keep your lungs healthy and active.

yoga-relax-1556603-640x650Researchers, as part of a a global study looking into the effects of asthma, say they’ve found a regular practise of the exercise can help asthma patients.

However, health professionals say it is still important for patients to continue using their prescribed treatments to help them maintain their respiratory health.

Yoga is a great way to exercise and there are so many benefits as it promotes breathing, particularly through the nose. That in turn helps you relax as you stretch your muscles to soothing, calming music.

According to the Yoga Journal, there are 38 health benefits of yoga.

Just a reminder, World Asthma Day is on Tuesday, May 3 this year.


Top 10 ways you can prevent lung disease

It’s true what they say, prevention is always the best medicine. The same can be said with the health of your lungs. We have created Lungs gifa list of 10 ways you can help prevent lung disease:

10. Make a difference. Protect your family by encouraging exercise, eating right and keeping your home free of respiratory triggers. Help spread the word to those around you to increase awareness about lung health. Every day, you can make a difference.

9. Start small. Your best bet for preventing lung disease is by helping children grow up smoke free and by modelling that behaviour. The Lung Association works with government and other organizations to ensure communities are smoke-free. Call us at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864) for free information on the dangers caused by tobacco.


Supplied photo from FreeImages.com

8. There are more than 300 substances in the workplace known to cause occupational asthma. Know the symptoms of asthma and monitor to see if they appear while at work. Talk to your doctor about workplace risks.

7. Test your home for radon. It’s simple and inexpensive. This coulourless, odourless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, yet you can easily prevent it from getting into your home. Visit www.YourHealthyHome.ca for more information on how to keep the air in your home healthy.

6. Get involved! Air pollution worsens lung disease and can be divesting for all Canadians, especially for those with chronic lung conditions. Join in the fight for clean air by reducing pollution and supporting clean air laws.

5. Prevent air pollution. Help keep the air in your community clean. Drive less, don’t idle your vehicle, and avoid burning wood, leaves or trash.

4. Know the symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath. Call the Lung Association at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864) and speak to one of our certified respiratory educators if you suspect you or a loved one has asthma. We can help you learn how to get it under control.

3. Recognize the warning signs of lung disease. Chronic cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing blood, chronic mucus production and chronic fatigue are not normal. See your doctor or other health provider for prompt attention.

2. Avoid lung hazards. Protect yourself from air pollution indoors and outdoors. Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home. Visit www.YourHealthyHome.ca for more tips.

1. Don’t smoke. If you smoke, plan to quit. Call The Lung Association at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864) for the help you need to quit for good. You can also visit www.lung.ca.

A blast from the past at The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT


This year marks the 75th anniversary of The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (“TLA”).

Over the next few weeks you will see vintage PSAs posted — like the video posted above — as a way to help us celebrate this milestone.

Help us celebrate by donating today. If you donate before Oct. 15, you have a chance to win one of three vacation packages that will take your breath away — pun intended.

Since 1939, TLA has been the primary information source for lung health. The organization continues to raise funds for critical research and patient support programs and advocates for changes in public policy.

Meanwhile, if you are in the Fort McMurray region from Sept. 19 to 21, visit our booth at the Fort McMurray Fall Fair and Trade Show.

University of Calgary’s Dr. Mark Giembycz is ‘powered by breathing’


Important work is continuing in Dr. Mark Giembycz’s lab at the University of Calgary.

Giembycz is studying how drugs that are currently available — or potentially new drugs — can help treat asthma, an illness that is the leading cause of emergency room visits for children in Alberta and Canada.

He is also studying how those drugs will also benefit patients who are suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), along with other lung diseases. His work is also being financially supported by those who have generously donated to The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (“TLA”).

“It may seem kind of bizarre, but even though drug companies make drugs and are effective for certain individuals, many of the drugs seem to work without us understanding the mechanizm,” said Giembycz.

“What we do is try to pin down how these drugs actually work in hopes that we could make those new drugs better drugs in the future.”

Without the funding from charities like TLA, Giembycz said his team would face extreme challenges in finding improved treatments for lung diseases like COPD and asthma.

“Funding for research across the board is difficult to get, despite having very important questions to ask or more problems to actually solve,” said the Calgary-based lung health researcher.

“Some of the research would suffer without The Lung Association.”

Donate today to support other important research projects like Giembycz’s work. Click here to donate today!

Important work continues for researchers in Calgary in hopes of finding new treatment for asthma

Here’s just one of many reasons why it is so important to give to The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (“TLA”).

Dr. Margaret Kelly, an associate professor at the University of Calgary, is hoping work done in her lab could help discover a new treatment for asthma by studying how a patient’s airways react during an asthma attack.

Her project is being funded by TLA.

“Asthma is increasing in incidents, it is becoming quite a large problem both economically and for individual persons,” said Kelly.

Kelly says her lab’s project is also looking at how allergic reactions can make those asthma symptoms worsen.

In a number of studies, Kelly says her team has confirmed that myofibroblast cells — cells that are usually seen on a patient’s skin where a wound heals — are present in an asthmatic’s airways.

“If we can find out where these cells are coming from, how long they stay in the airway before they change into different types of cells, we will have made very big inroad into (finding) the cause of asthma,” said Kelly.

“We will also be better equipped to try and find drugs that stop this from occurring.”

Currently, money raised from TLA’s generous supporters is helping support technical staff in Kelly’s lab during the entire project, along with funding high-tech equipment so researchers can continue their important work.

“If I didn’t have the support, I wouldn’t be able to carry on with this research,” said Kelly.

Donate today! Support lung health research by clicking here!