Medicine

Is Canada Ready for Assisted Suicide?

Harvey Max Chochinov | Posted 10.24.2014 | Canada Politics
Harvey Max Chochinov

This past week, the Supreme Court of Canada has been hearing an appeal by the BC Civil Liberties Association that could grant terminally ill Canadians the right to assisted suicide. The Court faces a daunting task. Palliative care cannot eliminate every facet of end-of life suffering. Preserving dignity for patients at the end of life requires a steadfast commitment to non-abandonment, meticulous management of suffering and a tone of care marked by kindness. In response to this dignity conserving approach, the former head of the Hemlock Society conceded that "if most individuals with a terminal illness were treated this way, the incentive to end their lives would be greatly reduced."

4 Reasons This ER Physician Is Dead Scared of Our Ebola Response

Dr. Brett Belchetz | Posted 10.14.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Brett Belchetz

Statistically, when it comes to more Ebola cases arriving in North America, the question is not if, but when. While I still believe there is no cause for a general panic over Ebola, I feel that the approach being taken at present by our public health authorities is overconfident, dogmatic, and inflexible, with an unwillingness to consider that current containment measures may not be adequate. As a front line health care worker, I feel that my own safety is already at risk.

Why You Need To Get a Flu Shot ASAP

University of Toronto News | Posted 10.07.2014 | Canada Living
University of Toronto News

Very soon, people of all ages across Canada will roll up their sleeves for their flu shots. The vaccine is already available in many doctors' offices...

Viruses of Bacteria May Help Win The War Against Cholera

Jason Tetro | Posted 09.07.2014 | Canada Living
Jason Tetro

2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpgAntibiotics were the first and still are the go-to means of microbial distraction. However, in light of the continuing rise of antibiotic resistance, their usefulness is limited and we need to explore other options. One such ally is a living organism known to have just as much of a hatred for infectious bacteria: the bacteriophage.

Without Big Pharma, Many Useful Drugs Wouldn't Exist

Yanick Labrie | Posted 09.05.2014 | Canada Business
Yanick Labrie

Although some people like to paint the pharmaceutical industry as a villain, a substantial proportion of very useful drugs would simply not have seen the light of day if not for its contribution.

How the Ebola Crisis Is Uniting the World

Jason Tetro | Posted 10.10.2014 | Canada Living
Jason Tetro

The declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern over Ebola is one of the world's most important actions although people may choose to see it differently; the situation requiring its call may lead to fear and panic. But, the only reaction should be resilience.

How Fast You Walk Might Predict Whether You'll Get Dementia

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 09.30.2014 | Canada
Romeo Vitelli

A new study published in the journal Neurology suggests that a simple test measuring how fast people walk and whether they have cognitive complaints can predict later problems with dementia. The developed assesment will potentially allow for many more people to know whether they are at risk without complex testing.

How Probiotics Could Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases

Jason Tetro | Posted 09.26.2014 | Canada Living
Jason Tetro

2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpgThe value of good germs has been known for decades. This was epitomized last month when an international group of researchers illustrated how the use of genetically modified probiotics could prevent chronic disease. Using only a specifically designed bacterium, they could prevent obesity in mice giving them a healthier life.

Let's Keep It Real When Making Comparisons To Canadian Health Care

Dr Ryan Meili | Posted 09.22.2014 | Canada Politics
Dr Ryan Meili

Instead of falling for false comparators, how can we have a broader, proactive conversation on the future of Canadian health care? Boston's book highlights how isolated and frustrating the experience of a patient seeking treatment for a life-altering disease can be. She describes much of her frustration as stemming from rushed appointments that left little time for asking questions. What improvements in system efficiency or changes to compensation models would enable physicians to spend more time providing quality, patient-focused care?

Worst Aid: 6 Examples of Bad Hollywood Medicine

Dr. Brett Belchetz | Posted 09.14.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Brett Belchetz

In the interest of saving lives from bad Hollywood medicine, and also with the goal of providing a little bit of entertainment, here are the top Hollywood medical malpractices that drive me crazy.

How Good Oral Hygiene Can Protect Your Heart

Jason Tetro | Posted 09.13.2014 | Canada Living
Jason Tetro

As with many scientific and medical breakthroughs, the discovery of the link between gum and cardiovascular diseases started off rather unexpectedly. Back in 1989, a group in Finland wanted to find out if heart disease could be linked to other chronic diseases. They did the usual blood analysis to detect heart problems and also conducted other medical examinations not unlike what a family doctor might do. They expected something but never imagined they would find a link between the inevitably fatal problems with a rather common condition many of us have: gum disease.

What 'Feels Good' Isn't Necessarily Good for You

Dr. Brett Belchetz | Posted 09.10.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Brett Belchetz

The implications of this being -- if one believes that gluten is the source of one's intestinal issues, it is very likely one will feel subjectively better when that particular agent is removed, or if one believes a given detox/cleanse will make one feel more vitality, it probably will -- if for no other reason than placebo effect.

6 Reasons Why Nurses are the Unsung Heroes of the ER

Dr. Brett Belchetz | Posted 09.03.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Brett Belchetz

Our nurses so frequently go above and beyond the call of duty, while receiving so little recognition for their amazing work and dedication. It is a situation I feel we all should do our best to improve, so without further ado, the top reasons why nurses are my true heroes of the Emergency Room.

We Need to Rethink the Canada Health Act, and Fast

Dr. Brett Belchetz | Posted 08.27.2014 | Canada Politics
Dr. Brett Belchetz

Recently, a scathing report on the United States' health care system was issued. Surprisingly, little was made of this report in Canada. This was a shocking oversight, given that our performance on this same report was abysmal. Our health care system ranked second last in the study. How did our once-vaunted health care system become such a very expensive failure?

5 Tips From a Physician to Help You Breeze Through the ER

Dr. Brett Belchetz | Posted 08.19.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Brett Belchetz

Summer is fast approaching. Days full of swimming, sports, alcohol, and hot weather create a perfect storm of conditions for accident and illness. Here are five simple tips, based on my 10 years of working in the ER, which will make a huge difference to both the speed and safety of any ER visit.

Why I Won't Recommend Gluten-Free Diets to My Patients

Dr. Brett Belchetz | Posted 08.12.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Brett Belchetz

If your doctor turned to you one day and diagnosed you with a dietary condition that research suggests doesn't exist, for which there was no objective laboratory test, and for which treatment would cost your household thousands of dollars per year, while raising your fat and calorie intake with no measurable health benefits, would you say yes? I wouldn't.

Do You Know About This Mysterious Sleeping Epidemic?

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 08.05.2014 | Canada
Romeo Vitelli

Along with the inhabitants of Kalachi, the few remaining residents of the nearby town of Krasnogorsk, Russia have also been reporting sleeping episodes lasting as long as six days. Krasnogorsk, which was once home to more than 6500 people during the boom period during the U.S.S.R., when the nearby uranium mine was operated in secret by the Soviet government.

How Doctors Use Dark Humour to Keep Ourselves Going

Dr Brian Goldman | Posted 07.22.2014 | Canada Living
Dr Brian Goldman

For those who work in high stress professions, dishing slang is pretty normal. Another important purpose of hospital slang is to help health professionals cope with patients who are in pain and suffering as well as those who die on their watch. There are probably more words and phrases used to talk about patients at or near death than almost any other clinical condition or situation.

What I Learned About Health By Leaving Medicine

Dr. Carolyn Ee | Posted 07.12.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Carolyn Ee

I've been on a journey to discover the answers to true well-being since I diverted from Western medicine. Since then I've learned so much about nutrition, lifestyle and the mind-body connection and how to use it. Taking a different tangent opened up my eyes to new paradigms. It was startling.

U.S. and Canadian Health Care Have More In Common Than You Think

Trudy Lieberman | Posted 06.24.2014 | Canada Politics
Trudy Lieberman

As in the U.S., there's much soul searching about whether the country is getting as much bang for the bucks it spends. Does the quality of care match the country's outlay? A number of studies, including the latest international comparison from The Commonwealth Fund, show that Canada and the U.S. both fall down on several dimensions of care.

Don't Blame Seniors For Canada's Rising Health Care Costs

Michel Grignon | Posted 06.23.2014 | Canada Politics
Michel Grignon

There is a worrying rise in health care spending in Canada, but it doesn't have much to do with population aging. It's not that we have too many seniors that will break the bank, but how those seniors, and others, are treated in the health system that affects the bottom line.

Medical Tourism Is Not the Answer For Canadian Hospitals

Colleen M. Flood | Posted 06.16.2014 | Canada Politics
Colleen M. Flood

So it looks like the 'magic bullet' solution has been found at last to cure Canada's health care woes: medical tourism. It's a revenue-generating solution for a cash-strapped system, we are told. A handful of other hospitals already engage in this practice. Should we break out the champagne and celebrate? Not so fast.

We Deserve to Know More About Prescription Drugs

Roojin Habibi | Posted 06.15.2014 | Canada Politics
Roojin Habibi

Why is Health Canada only letting doctors and the public know part of the story about the safety and effectiveness of new pharmaceutical drugs? Inadequate information can be as dangerous as misinformation. Here's how.

Why Your Doctor Could Be Biased

Stephen Hwang | Posted 06.15.2014 | Canada Living
Stephen Hwang

In a recent study researchers called doctors' offices in Toronto while playing the role of a person looking for a family physician. Doctors' offices were 58 per cent more likely to offer an appointment if the caller mentioned that he or she had a high-status job than if he or she mentioned receiving welfare.

This Doctor Treats Poverty Like a Disease

Trudy Lieberman | Posted 06.13.2014 | Canada Impact
Trudy Lieberman

What would you think if your doctor handed you a prescription that recommended filing your tax returns or applying for food or income benefit programs instead of the usual medicines for high blood pressure or diabetes? You'd probably say the physician was nuts. Tax refunds? Food? What do they have to do with making you healthier?