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Alex Trebek announces cancer diagnosis in YouTube video

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  • Canadian “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek announced he’s been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in a YouTube video on Wednesday that had a positive tone despite the grim prognosis.

    “Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” Trebek said in the message posted on the “Jeopardy!” YouTube channel.

    “Now, normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging. But, I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working. And with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.

    “Truth told — I have to, because under the terms of my contract, I have to host ‘Jeopardy!’ for three more years,” the 78-year-old continued, wearing a signature suit on the “Jeopardy!” set and employing the wry wit he has brought to the hit quiz show for decades.

    “So help me: keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you.”

    Born in Sudbury, Ont., Trebek attended the University of Ottawa and hosted a number of CBC TV programs early in his career, including the high school quiz show “Reach for the Top.”

    He moved to the United States in the 1970s and became an American citizen in 1998. He and his wife, Jean Currivan, have two children.

    Trebek has won several Emmy Awards for hosting “Jeopardy!” since 1984. With a matter-of-fact delivery style and genial personality, the role has made him a worldwide star and the subject of spoofs on “Saturday Night Live.”

    Trebek received the Order of Canada medal in 2017 in recognition of his “iconic television work” and commitment to educational, environmental and humanitarian causes.

    In late 2017, “Jeopardy!” went on hiatus after Trebek underwent surgery for blood clots on his brain caused by a fall.

    Several months after the surgery, he appeared in a video on the show’s Facebook page, wearing a “Jeopardy!” baseball cap. Using the same tone he employs to explain difficult subjects on the show, the unflappable Trebek said: “I had a slight medical problem, subdural hematoma, blood clots on the brain caused by a fall I endured about two months ago.”

    In 2007, he was hospitalized for about a week after suffering what was described as a minor heart attack.

    Sharing his cancer diagnosis was “in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our ‘Jeopardy!’ fanbase,” Trebek said.

    “I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. So therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information.”

    Social media was flooded with tributes for Trebek after his announcement.

    Former Ontario premier Bob Rae shared his sympathies on Twitter, calling Trebek a “very fine man.”

    Ken Jennings, who holds the record for the longest winning streak on “Jeopardy!,” tweeted that he hopes Trebek finds comfort in the millions of fans who are rooting for him, warning L.A. oncologists that they better prepare themselves to have their pronunciations corrected.

    “Alex Trebek is in a way the last (Walter) Cronkite: authoritative, reassuring TV voice you hear every night, almost to the point of ritual,” he tweeted, referring to the late broadcaster known as the “most trusted man in America.”

    Singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith also sent his positive thoughts to the “great Canadian” via social media.

    — With files from Adina Bresge, David Friend and the Associated Press

    Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press




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    Environment

    The hard life of a wild Sable Island horse:’Eeking out a living on this sandbar’

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  • HALIFAX — Researchers studying the carcasses of Sable Island’s fabled wild horses have discovered many had unusual levels of parasites and sand, suggesting they are tougher than most horses, even as many died of starvation.

    A team from the University of Saskatchewan and Parks Canada performed necropsies on more than 30 dead animals during trips to the isolated sandbar about 160 kilometres off Nova Scotia in 2017 and 2018.

    “We showed up in 2017 not knowing whether there would be any dead horses to find,” said researcher Emily Jenkins.

    “Scientifically we really didn’t know anything about the causes of mortality in this population because the last work that was done was in the 1970s.”

    The horses have roamed there since the 18th century and become synonymous with the island’s romantic and untamed image.

    Jenkins said conditions on the wind-swept, 42-kilometre long island were particularly harsh in the early spring of 2017, and that had an effect on the horse population.

    “It was very hard on the horses,” she said. “When we got there they were taking shelter behind anything they could find.”

    With the help of Parks Canada, Jenkins said she and other University of Saskatchewan researchers were able to find 30 carcasses that were suitable for examination during their initial foray to the island.

    Jenkins said they estimated there were another 20 carcasses that were either unsuitable for examination or that were just too inaccessible to get to.

    She said the overall findings were “very similar” to a previous study carried out by graduate student Daniel Welsh in 1972.

    “The main finding was emaciation or starvation and hypothermia, especially for the young horses,” said Jenkins, who noted vegetation is sparse on Sable during that time of the year.

    The researchers found the yearlings in particular, had little or no reserves of body fat to rely on.

    “All of the young horses we looked at were just basically out of reserves,” Jenkins said. “They had nothing left, they were emaciated.”

    However, the adult animals, who would have higher social status and better access to the best grazing, were generally in better body condition and died of a combination of other causes.

    Jenkins said Sable Island’s omnipresent sand tends to grind down teeth, affecting nutrient intake, and also ends up in the horses’ system, blocking their gastrointestinal tract.

    “In several horses that we looked at there was quite a lot of sand. We were picking up the intestines and the stomach and saying ‘these weigh a tonne,’ because there was in many cases more sand than plant content.”

    Jenkins also noted that some pregnant mares had died while giving birth.

    The 2018 trip, meanwhile, focused more on looking for pathogens and diseases, and that’s where Jenkins said the researchers were able to find things such as respiratory and reproductive diseases including a parasite lungworm.

    She said, in fact, research over the last 10 years has turned up astounding levels of parasitic worms in these small horses, many of whom are no bigger than 14 hands long.  The average fecal egg count from the live horse study was 1,500 per gram.

    “I just about fell over because we call a high fecal egg count in a domestic horse 500 eggs per gram,” said Jenkins. “So the average Sable horse is walking around shedding three times more parasites than our domestic horses.”

    Jenkins said the horses’ genetic resistance to the parasites could render clues for horses in the domestic world, where veterinarians are “fighting a losing battle” to worms with a growing resistance to various treatments.

    The scientist said she believes domestic horses are dewormed too much to begin with, and the Sable research could help bear that out.

    “Look at what those guys are surviving with — massive levels of parasitism and no treatment. So we are probably overdoing it for most horses that are just companion animals.”

    Jenkins said the overall mortality rate in 2017 was about 10 per cent of the population, while the 2018 figure represented about one per cent, which is more the norm.

    She said the current population sits at around 500 horses, up from the 300 or so recorded in the 1970s.

    From a scientific perspective, Jenkins said it’s fascinating to see a system of untreated and unmanaged horses living in what amounts to their ancestral conditions.

    “But there’s the little girl in me who has always loved horses who can’t believe these horses are eeking out a living on this little sandbar,” she said.

    Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press



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    Environment

    The hard life of a wild Sable Island horse:’Eeking out a living on this sandbar’

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  • HALIFAX — Researchers studying the carcasses of Sable Island’s fabled wild horses have discovered many had unusual levels of parasites and sand, suggesting they are tougher than most horses, even as many died of starvation.

    A team from the University of Saskatchewan and Parks Canada performed necropsies on more than 30 dead animals during trips to the isolated sandbar about 160 kilometres off Nova Scotia in 2017 and 2018.

    “We showed up in 2017 not knowing whether there would be any dead horses to find,” said researcher Emily Jenkins.

    “Scientifically we really didn’t know anything about the causes of mortality in this population because the last work that was done was in the 1970s.”

    The horses have roamed there since the 18th century and become synonymous with the island’s romantic and untamed image.

    Jenkins said conditions on the wind-swept, 42-kilometre long island were particularly harsh in the early spring of 2017, and that had an effect on the horse population.

    “It was very hard on the horses,” she said. “When we got there they were taking shelter behind anything they could find.”

    With the help of Parks Canada, Jenkins said she and other University of Saskatchewan researchers were able to find 30 carcasses that were suitable for examination during their initial foray to the island.

    Jenkins said they estimated there were another 20 carcasses that were either unsuitable for examination or that were just too inaccessible to get to.

    She said the overall findings were “very similar” to a previous study carried out by graduate student Daniel Welsh in 1972.

    “The main finding was emaciation or starvation and hypothermia, especially for the young horses,” said Jenkins, who noted vegetation is sparse on Sable during that time of the year.

    The researchers found the yearlings in particular, had little or no reserves of body fat to rely on.

    “All of the young horses we looked at were just basically out of reserves,” Jenkins said. “They had nothing left, they were emaciated.”

    However, the adult animals, who would have higher social status and better access to the best grazing, were generally in better body condition and died of a combination of other causes.

    Jenkins said Sable Island’s omnipresent sand tends to grind down teeth, affecting nutrient intake, and also ends up in the horses’ system, blocking their gastrointestinal tract.

    “In several horses that we looked at there was quite a lot of sand. We were picking up the intestines and the stomach and saying ‘these weigh a tonne,’ because there was in many cases more sand than plant content.”

    Jenkins also noted that some pregnant mares had died while giving birth.

    The 2018 trip, meanwhile, focused more on looking for pathogens and diseases, and that’s where Jenkins said the researchers were able to find things such as respiratory and reproductive diseases including a parasite lungworm.

    She said, in fact, research over the last 10 years has turned up astounding levels of parasitic worms in these small horses, many of whom are no bigger than 14 hands long.  The average fecal egg count from the live horse study was 1,500 per gram.

    “I just about fell over because we call a high fecal egg count in a domestic horse 500 eggs per gram,” said Jenkins. “So the average Sable horse is walking around shedding three times more parasites than our domestic horses.”

    Jenkins said the horses’ genetic resistance to the parasites could render clues for horses in the domestic world, where veterinarians are “fighting a losing battle” to worms with a growing resistance to various treatments.

    The scientist said she believes domestic horses are dewormed too much to begin with, and the Sable research could help bear that out.

    “Look at what those guys are surviving with — massive levels of parasitism and no treatment. So we are probably overdoing it for most horses that are just companion animals.”

    Jenkins said the overall mortality rate in 2017 was about 10 per cent of the population, while the 2018 figure represented about one per cent, which is more the norm.

    She said the current population sits at around 500 horses, up from the 300 or so recorded in the 1970s.

    From a scientific perspective, Jenkins said it’s fascinating to see a system of untreated and unmanaged horses living in what amounts to their ancestral conditions.

    “But there’s the little girl in me who has always loved horses who can’t believe these horses are eeking out a living on this little sandbar,” she said.

    Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press



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    march, 2019

    fri8mar - 30aprmar 85:30 pmapr 30Real Estate Dinner Theatre5:30 pm - (april 30) 10:00 pm

    sat23mar10:00 am- 4:00 pmLet Them Be Little Market10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    sat23mar1:00 pm- 4:00 pmMAGSaturday @ the MuseumMAGnificent Saturdays welcomes all ages and abilities to participate in a fun art project every week! 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    sat23mar8:00 pm- 10:30 pmA Night at the Movies8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

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