When it comes to protecting your health, few advances pack the oomph of a good screening test. Take a look at the taming of cervical cancer: Fifty years ago, the disease claimed the lives of more women each year than any other cancer. Then doctors started using the Pap test, which can catch cervical cancer before it starts. And now cervical cancer has dropped to number 15 on the list of cancer killers of American women. Yet even a great screening test can have crucial weaknesses. The Pap isn't perfect. And a recent study on the colonoscopy found that some doctors do the exam so quickly that their patients don't get the procedure's full lifesaving benefit. Fortunately, you don't have to lose out—if you know what to do and say. Make sure you get the best from four common screenings. Prevent Colon Cancer Katie Couric's colonoscopy on Today in 2000 prompted 20% more people than expected to get the exam in the nine months that followed. After that, the increase tapered … [Read more...] about When The Best Tests Fail
Ontario college of family physicians
Everyone knows that ordering 64-ounce sodas and always driving instead of walking contribute to tightening waistbands. But your home can harbor other, less obvious diet enemies: the wrong size juice glasses pack on an extra 8 pounds a year; lined curtains in your bedroom may contribute to that "I'm too tired to exercise" feeling. And the type of TV stand you have could affect both your eating and exercising habits. In short, your home may be making you fat.Kitchen/family room combinations make food continuously present, gadgets do much of our work, and elaborate entertainment centers entice us to sit motionless for hours. "Even the trend to having more bathrooms means people walk shorter distances," says Kelly D. Brownell, PhD, director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. "We've created a toxic environment that encourages excess eating and inactivity."We're not suggesting you move into a three-story colonial home with only one toilet. Simple changes can have a dramatic … [Read more...] about Is Your House Making You Fat?
It's a small, innocuous-looking thing with a crotchety-sounding name: the pancreas. At the moment, a lab technician standing next to me at Johns Hopkins hospital, in Baltimore, is probing one like it's an overdone steak. He explains that the marbling I see is cancer. Now that the organ has been removed, the former owner's chance of surviving the next 5 years has risen from zero to 5 percent. Speed is one reason for the fatal fait accompli: Pancreatic-cancer cells spread especially fast, because they have easy access to the liver and nearby lymph nodes. Stealth is another factor: When cancer develops in the upper region of the pancreas, there are often no symptoms until the malignancy grows so large that it spills over the borders of the organ. You have a better chance of beating brain cancer. Ryan Chappell, a 21-year-old community-college student and Starbucks barista from Lacey, Washington, carries a gene mutation that guarantees he will develop pancreatic cancer. Chappell … [Read more...] about How Far Would You Go to Save Your Life?
By now you'd think scientists could close the book on caffeine and move on to other mysteries, like why anyone would ever order a chai latte. After all, coffee and related beverages have been revving people up since, oh, the 15th century. And in the past 60 years, researchers have conducted more than 21,000 studies on our favorite stimulant. That's an average of one new study a day through all of those decades. (Those nutrition scientists may have gotten into their own stash.)If we don't know caffeine by now, you may well ask, when will we know it? And do I have time for a fix while I'm waiting?Make it a venti, and sit down. We'll explain a few things. First off, caffeine is a complex compound. And it's made even more so by America's preferred delivery method, coffee. For instance, caffeine raises blood pressure, but habitual coffee drinkers are half as likely to die of heart failure as those who don't fill their mug daily. And while caffeine spikes blood … [Read more...] about The Caffeine Advantage
The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) has released the findings of its literature review of 142 scientific research studies about pesticides and human health. And based on what they found, they strongly recommend that we avoid exposure to pesticides whenever we can. The last literature review from the OCFP was in 2004. It examined studies from as early as 1992 and also recommended reducing exposure to pesticides. The 2012 literature review examined studies from as early as 2003, picking up where the previous one left off. Some of the health consequences of pesticide exposure suggested by the studies include: negative reproductive outcomes such as low birth weight, birth defects, and preterm birth neurodevelopmental/behavioural health concerns in children who have been exposed to pesticides prenatally or during childhood, including ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and reduced overall IQ respiratory symptoms, lung diseases, and asthma in both children and adults … [Read more...] about New Canadian Literature Review Warns Against Pesticides
Canadian doctors are being harassed. Should this be happening when Canada signed international legislation protecting their rights more than 10 years ago? The Ontario Ministry of Health recently hired international consulting giant Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG). Its job is to tackle the controversial subject of how the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) handles complaints from patients and disciplines its doctors. Even though cleaning up the CPSO may very well be a significant public health measure, a closer look at the ministry’s mandate reveals that a mere $140,000 has been allocated to the company–what a major law firm spends in a couple of days! KPMG is also not required to address the misuse of disciplinary legislation. A preliminary version of their report will be directed to the college for comment first, but the public will never see this report in any form, thereby effectively insulating the CPSO and the ministry from public … [Read more...] about Doctors Under Fire
If you had to choose between an errant weed or two in your front lawn and your son or daughter’s health, it would be a no-brainer, right? The cosmetic use of chemical pesticides for residential use may be banned in many areas of Canada, but a recent legislative committee in BC has recommended no ban. Not enough science, they say Though BC’s premier Christy Clark has said publicly in the past that she supports a ban on pesticides for cosmetic use, the Report of the Special Committee on Pesticides disagrees. The report claims the scientific evidence does not sufficiently support such a ban. Whose science did they consult? The World Health Organization and US Environmental Protection Agency have both published studies about the harmful effects of pesticides. Carcinogens in many commonly used pesticides may lead to increased risk of cancer to both adults and children, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate, brain, and lung cancers. An April 2012 … [Read more...] about BC May Lag Behind Other Provinces in Banning Cosmetic Pesticides
Hundreds of events are taking place across Canada from September 21 to 28 to celebrate Organic Week 2013. From Winterton, Newfoundland, to Victoria, BC, the benefits of organic farming practices will be shared with consumers—along with delicious opportunities to sample organic food and drink. Back to the farm Sponsored by the Canadian Organic Growers, the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA), and the Canadian Health Food Association, Organic Week is the largest national celebration of organic farming, food, and other products. Some of the planned events include farm and vineyard tours, farmers’ markets, harvest festivals, dinners, and lots of fun educational opportunities for the whole family. Recent research commissioned by COTA shows that the organic sector in Canada grew to a healthy $3.7 billion in 2012. The organic food market has tripled its growth since 2006. More than 50 percent of Canadians purchase organic food products each week. British Columbians … [Read more...] about Organic Week
Pesticide and herbicide horror stories have become part of 20th-century lore, and rightly so. The liberal use of toxins to kill anything that squeaks, buzzes, or grows wild took off in the last century. Unsurprisingly, the origin of this trend lies in the development of chemical weapons. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since the days of Agent Orange and DDT, yet pesticide and herbicide residue still seems to linger everywhere, from our food to our golf courses to our lawns. How concerned should we be? Pesticide exposure Lisa Gue, environmental health policy analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation in Ottawa, cautions us to stay vigilant. “It really is intuitively obvious that pesticides are designed to kill,” she says. The acute effects of pesticides on human health are well known. A 2007 report published by the David Suzuiki Foundation found that over 6,000 Canadians are poisoned by pesticides each year. Disturbingly, 46 percent of these poisonings involved … [Read more...] about Lawn Warfare
What exactly is a naturopathic doctor or ND? If you were a game show contestant with $50,000 on the line, could you confidently distinguish between a naturopathic doctor, herbalist, nutritionist, acupuncturist, and homeopath? If you’d have to call a friend, you’re not alone. To be fair, this a trick question. The diverse practice of naturopathic medicine incorporates all of the disciplines above, in addition to physical medicine (massage, chiropractic, hydrotherapy) and lifestyle counselling. This seemingly endless therapeutic toolbox is, in fact, one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about my own practice of naturopathic medicine. What does an ND do? NDs are primary health care providers, diagnosing and treating both acute and chronic conditions. The principles of naturopathic medicine encourage addressing the root cause of disease and treating the whole person. Treatments work with the healing power of nature within the body. In practice, this approach leaves … [Read more...] about Get to Know an ND