re­porter takes part in At­lantic Path study

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

ap­point­ment and things be­gan without de­lay when a re­search as­sis­tant en­sured I filled out my pre-visit ques­tion­naire prop­erly.

From there I watched an eight-minute video out­lin­ing the im­por­tance of my par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Af­ter sign­ing some con­sent forms I was placed be­fore a com­put­er­ized ques­tion­naire, which was by far the long­est por­tion of the morn­ing.

De­scrib­ing this process as thor­ough would be an un­der­state­ment. Ques­tions were per­sonal and wide-rang­ing.

Ex­am­ples in­clude: What is your high­est level of ed­u­ca­tion? Do you drink al­co­hol and how of­ten? How of­ten do you brush and floss your teeth? Do you smoke? What is your mood?

There are also ques­tions about na­tion­al­ity, hair colour, sleep pat­terns, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and nutri­tion.

I’m told you can pick th­ese ques­tions up at the of­fice in ad­vance and fill them out at home, which would speed up your visit.

The weights and mea­sures por­tion of my visit fol­lowed.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the study is not in­tended to be a per­sonal health check, but I found th­ese tests to be of great ben­e­fit.

The heel ul­tra­sound, a mea­sure of bone health, for ex­am­ple, is done on site. It might take as much as a year to get a sim­i­lar test com­pleted at your lo­cal hospi­tal.

And the At­lantic Path read­ing, I’m told, is 95-97 per cent as ac­cu­rate. My bones are strong, by the way.

The body mass in­dex is also im­por­tant to know, even though it is al­ways a touchy sub­ject for me. That in­se­cu­rity sur­round­ing the fat con­tent in your body is ap­par­ently quite com­mon.

My tests in­di­cated drop­ping a few pounds wouldn’t be a bad idea and I took the news well. That’s not al­ways the case, I’m told. From there var­i­ous meth­ods of ex­tract­ing my tis­sue sam­ples were em­ployed.

Pro­vid­ing a saliva sam­ple turned out to be the most in­ter­est­ing and dif­fi­cult method. The study only re­quired a few ounces, but it was sur­pris­ingly tough to pro­duce.

As I was spit­ting into a cup over and over again, I found it funny that while walk­ing to my ap­point­ment, I re­sisted the urge to let a loo­gie fly. I thought it would be rude.

My ad­vice would be to drink plenty of wa­ter be­fore and dur­ing your visit.

A glass of wa­ter will also help you pro­duce the urine sam­ple the study re­quires.

They also ex­tracted a few ta­ble­spoons of my blood, even though it looked like they took much more.

A fi­nal test de­ter­mined my blood pres­sure to be well within safe lev­els be­fore my ex­pe­ri­enced con­cluded with the fo­cus of the study’s mar­ket­ing cam­paign.

That’s right, I of­fered my toe­nails to sci­ence.

It’s toe­nails and not your fin­ger­nails be­cause your feet are more likely to be soak­ing in wa­ter while show­er­ing and bathing, which makes them a use­ful part of a sub-study on ar­senic lev­els.

This wa­ter study is looking at the ef­fects low to moderate lev­els of ar­senic in drink­ing wa­ter have on the hu­man body.

I also brought in a wa­ter sam­ple from home to help this par­tic­u­lar process.

Like the other tests, ex­am­in­ing my well wa­ter is some­thing I wanted done any­way and if some­one is con­ve­niently go­ing to do it for me, then all the bet­ter.

And that ended my part of a busy day of test­ing at the Syd­ney of­fice. The busy day, by the way, was a rar­ity. The of­fice needs plenty more par­tic­i­pants, par­tic­u­larly men.

If you’d like to take part, visit www.at­lantic­path.ca. You can also phone 1-877-285-7284 or visit the Syd­ney of­fice in per­son at 335 Ge­orge St.

Steve Wad­den - Cape Bre­ton Post

Re­search as­sis­tant Ashley Dro­han, left, takes some vi­tals from

re­porter Greg McNeil dur­ing his visit to the as­sess­ment clinic for the At­lantic Path study in Syd­ney.

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