Canadian blood supply future uncertain as population ages: Study

October 13, 2009

The Canadian blood supply relies heavily on a small number of donors--with young adults donating at higher rates--which may prove problematic as the population ages, according to a new study from McMaster University.

The research, published in open access format in the International Journal of Health Geographics, examined what specific factors had an impact on blood donation in this country.

"Like other countries, Canada's population is aging and the implications of this need to be better understood from the perspective of blood supply," says Antonio Páez, lead researcher and assistant professor in the department of Geography & Earth Sciences at McMaster University. "So while younger people are more likely to donate, they are also a declining share of Canada's population."

Almost every single Canadian will require donor blood at some point in their lifetime, but less than 4% of eligible donors donate, explains Páez.

The team of researchers used records from Canadian Blood Services, the national charitable organization charged with overseeing the safety of the blood supply, which operates 40 permanent collection sites and more than 20,000 donor clinics annually.

The study found those aged 15 to 24 were the most likely to donate, while those who are typically more entrenched in the workforce--aged 25 to 54--were the least likely to donate blood.

Similarly, immigrants and the wealthy were less likely to donate, while English-speaking Canadians, highly educated individuals or those employed in health-related occupations were more likely to give blood. Researchers also found that those living in small cities or towns were far more likely to donate than people who live in larger, metropolitan cities.

"Blood products are an essential component of modern medicine and necessary to support many life-saving and life-prolonging procedures. To achieve sustainable levels of donations, there needs to be targeted campaigns to encourage a greater number of Canadians to consider blood donation," says Páez.

According to researchers, 25% of Canadians believe there are some risks associated with giving blood, but an aggressive education campaign would help expand the donor database, which is estimated at about 12.5 million eligible donors.
-end-
The study was funded by Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada Blood Services and Environics Analytics. The complete study can be viewed at http://www.ij-healthgeographics.com/content/8/1/56.

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.

For more information please contact:

Antonio Páez
Assistant Professor, Geography & Earth Sciences
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 26099
paezha@mcmaster.ca

Michelle Donovan
Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media
McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext 22869
donovam@mcmaster.ca

McMaster University

Related Aging Articles from Brightsurf:

Surprises in 'active' aging
Aging is a process that affects not only living beings.

Aging-US: 'From Causes of Aging to Death from COVID-19' by Mikhail V. Blagosklonny
Aging-US recently published ''From Causes of Aging to Death from COVID-19'' by Blagosklonny et al. which reported that COVID-19 is not deadly early in life, but mortality increases exponentially with age - which is the strongest predictor of mortality.

Understanding the effect of aging on the genome
EPFL scientists have measured the molecular footprint that aging leaves on various mouse and human tissues.

Muscle aging: Stronger for longer
With life expectancy increasing, age-related diseases are also on the rise, including sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass due to aging.

Aging memories may not be 'worse, 'just 'different'
A study from the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences in Arts & Sciences adds nuance to the idea that an aging memory is a poor one and finds a potential correlation between the way people process the boundaries of events and episodic memory.

A new biomarker for the aging brain
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan have identified changes in the aging brain related to blood circulation.

Scientists invented an aging vaccine
A new way to prevent autoimmune diseases associated with aging like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease was described in the article.

The first roadmap for ovarian aging
Infertility likely stems from age-related decline of the ovaries, but the molecular mechanisms that lead to this decline have been unclear.

Researchers discover new cause of cell aging
New research from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering could be key to our understanding of how the aging process works.

Deep Aging Clocks: The emergence of AI-based biomarkers of aging and longevity
The advent of deep biomarkers of aging, longevity and mortality presents a range of non-obvious applications.

Read More: Aging News and Aging Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.