Madely Health Headlines Commentary for April 9, 2010
Madely Health Headlines Commentary for April 9, 2010
Madely Health Headlines Commentary for December 9, 2009
I am not a fan of how newspapers use headlines to misrepresent stories to provke unwarranted fear, and heightened risk perception. Today, the Ottawa Citizen published two stories about seasonal and H1N1 vaccine. The first story, For Guillain-Barre survivors, flu shot stirs up unwelcome memories, emblazoned on the front page has all the elements of [...]
What have we learned about the cardiovascular risk of Vioxx, with so much media attention lately? Health Canada set up a 13-member expert panel to review and critique the scientific evidence for the Cox-2 painkillers Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra. The panel recommended in its July report that Merck could resubmit Vioxx for approval.
When discussing the potential side effects of drugs, risks must be viewed within a realistic context. Indeed, my last column on Ecstasy, or MDMA, and today’s on GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate), Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) and ketamine, contain information that is factually correct.
Recently, one of my patients with bipolar disorder took Ecstasy at a rave. Within 60 minutes she had collapsed on the dance floor from dehydration.
The thrill of the winter sojourn to warmer climes and ocean activities like scuba diving, surfing and snorkeling, among others, can lead many to overlook other notable health and safety precautions.
What is a drug interaction? Many believe it occurs when one or more medications directly affect the effectiveness of another. But how does it happen?
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen Friday, November 12, 2004 Original Title: Infection control for dummies Infection control can be a complicated matter, especially for viruses that spread as easily as the flu. The flu can spread through direct hand-to-hand contact, via airborne droplets (fomites) after a sneeze, and with contact with recently touched surfaces [...]
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen October 18, 2004 Original Title: The HN factor New information and reports of bird flu have shifted attention to the possibility of a new flu pandemic. The most lethal pandemic in our history occurred from 1917 to 1919 killing an estimated 20 million to 50 million people.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen July 27, 2004 Original Title: Cozy up to Co-Q An early study released recently by the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan, showed that co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ) may be another treatment approach for migraines.
Known as Fuga Demonum or Devil’s Scourge, its original use was to ward off evil spirits and prevent demonic possession. Sixth century Gaelic legend makes reference to St. Columba who carried a piece of the flowering plant in deference to St. John the Baptist around whose birthday the flower would bloom.
Do herbal preparations really live up to their claims?
There are many anecdotal reports that they do make a difference and help people with a variety of ailments. Many websites purport to give information but, for the average consumer, it can be difficult to separate the facts from bias.
What do some of the B vitamins and antioxidants do? Are we dealing with marketing hype?
The announcement last week that Letrozole reduced breast cancer recurrence represents another step forward in the battle against breast cancer. When an announcement of a “groundbreaking” study, it is understandable to react with hope that a cherished life will be saved and suffering will end.
Several of my patients have asked about the medicinal use of marijuana. Some are cancer patients, others have chronic pain syndromes. A conundrum exists; we must do our utmost to alleviate pain and suffering, adhere to an accepted standard of care based on scientific evidence and data and most importantly not harm the patient.
Herbal remedies are medical concern. A substantial minority of people use them. Indeed, many people do not tell their doctor about herbal medication use unless directly asked. This is not a recipe for good comprehensive health assessment. Some herbal preparations will adversely interact with prescription medications.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen August 19, 2003 Original Title: Medication safety during pregnancy Moms-to-be should speak to their pharmacist and doctor about prescription medications and any other drugs they might be taking’ What medications are safe to use during pregnancy? Should I stop my prescription medications? How can I treat my heartburn? Can [...]
During the summer months, it is common to see people come in with peculiar linear or blotchy blistered red rashes. Welcome to poison ivy country.
Educational campaigns alerting physicians and the public about the dangers of indiscriminant prescribing and use of antibiotics is beginning to raise awareness of the problem. This is a worldwide health issue. In many developing countries, prescriptions are not a requirement to purchase antibiotics. In the West, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in livestock and fish further complicates matters.
Asthmatics can suddenly crash and burn. Last week’s column made note that asthma is an inherently unstable disease. Some patients unknowingly play with fire by ignoring the symptoms. A good web site to determine the risk of asthma in children and adults is found at http://allergy.mcg.edu/home.html.
At the end of October, the Flu vaccine will be available in our region. Many will opt to forego an inexpensive and safe approach to preventing a disease that causes significant misery and death. Some fear the vaccine causes the flu; others take the chance that it will pass them by and many others will roll up their sleeves. Why should we protect ourselves? The historical record provides an excellent answer.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen October 15, 2002 Original Title: Daycare Part III: A little red in the face Part I – Why children fight one cold after another Part II – Children’s eye diseases spread quickly What are the common childhood rashes seen in the school and daycare setting? Initially, many rashes can [...]
Every summer our skin is subject to the mosquito onslaught. Young children’s skin tends to react more strongly from bites. A young child’s immune system has not had the pleasure of the hundreds of times adults have been exposed to mosquito saliva. With age we develop antibodies so that by adulthood our response to these bites is more subdued.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen April 30, 2002 Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more! – Eric Idle – Monty Python’s Flying Circus Recent reports in the National Post and Ottawa Citizen about Health Canada’s failure to disclose to Canadians in the mid 90′s the lead risk in Turkish raisins is another example of [...]
Mr. T. is a strapping 85 year-old man who suffers with an anxiety disorder. He also cares for his wife who is severely affected by Alzheimer’s. Twenty years ago he was prescribed clonazepam (Rivotril), a benzodiazepine (BDZ). He became dependent upon them to control his anxiety. BDZs and the elderly do not mix well.
Herbal supplements should be regulated, like prescription drugs, so people know exactly what they’re getting.
In Ontario there are two drug programs designed to reduce the burden of medication costs: The Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB) and the Trillium Drug Program (TDP). The ODB covers the cost of medications for seniors, welfare recipients and the disabled. The TDP, a co-payment plan varies with an individual’s or family’s income.
A recent article about parents holding chickenpox parties to intentionally infect their children perpetuates the popular misconception that chickenpox is a benign disease. One of the parents said: “It’s a natural way to deal with the problem, instead of introducing more chemicals into kids.” She was concerned about whether it provided lifelong immunity and erroneously believed that the vaccine had been available for only six years.
Attending a conference entitled The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, a number of physicians noted that the placebo effect was a very powerful force and motivator with respect to the success of alternative medicine practices such as therapeutic touch, chiropractic, herbal remedies and the like.
Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen July 4, 2001 We know all too well the pain and suffering the victim, their families and friends endure from the scourge of AIDs. Imagine it’s the year 2051 and there is a vaccine for AIDs. AIDs has been virtually eliminated. Small outbreaks continue to occur but for the [...]