Author Archives: CMAJ

Denis Daneman is Professor and Chair Emeritus in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, and Paediatrician-in-Chief Emeritus at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto

 

Here’s a strong recommendation for all paediatricians and paediatricians-in-training: if you are going to read only one book in 2018, seriously consider Ghost Boy: The miraculous escape of a misdiagnosed boy trapped inside his own body, the autobiography of Martin Pistorius, co-written with Megan Lloyd Davies. The book was given to me by a colleague aware of my bibliophilia, my South African roots and my advocacy for child health: “Read this!” she said, simply and forcefully. I obeyed, picking it up a couple of days later. I could not put it down until I’d read it cover to cover.

The story is pretty simple: a 12 year old, previously well boy in South Africa, develops an undiagnosed neurological illness, which leaves him mute and quadriplegic ...continue reading

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Doctor Mom is a physician who lives in Ontario

 

A little while ago my sons - who were in grade 5 and grade 8, respectively, at the time - came home deep in discussion begun on the school bus after Son #2’s first sex ed lesson.

I listened to them talk. You couldn’t really fault the accuracy of the information received. Male human… female human… different-but-complementary body parts, the names of which were correctly recalled…sperm, egg, uterus…

“But how do the egg and the sperm get together?” asked Son #2.

...continue reading

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Kirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ

 

A week ago, André Picard published a column in the Globe and Mail entitled “How many people actually suffer from mental illness?” and later he tweeted his thanks to readers for making that column the publication’s most-read story of the day. The column may have been well-read - it certainly sparked controversy on social media - but it wasn't because Picard had anything very profound to say. In fact the piece was based on an epidemiological faux pas, which is why I called it a nothingburger.

Commenting on the findings of a poll commissioned by Sun Life Financial Canada, which found that 49% of Canadians have “experienced a mental health issue” at some point in their lives, ...continue reading

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Jessica Dunkley is a PGY-4 in dermatology at UBC. She completed her family medicine residency at the University of Alberta

 

Every year, Match Day for CaRMS brings back heart wrenching memories for me.  It is a terrifying day for medical students who do not match to residency.  For many years medical students have placed all of their eggs in one basket - to get that one spot in residency.  Their entire lives of dreaming to become a doctor depend on that day. I matched to a competitive specialty only to be told that my disability – hearing loss - would not be supported in residency because it was different from medical school.  ...continue reading

Dr. Susan Sutherland is Chief of Dentistry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and President of the Canadian Association of Hospital Dentists

 

 

Dentists in community practices usually work in isolation from our physician colleagues. Often, dentists  prescribe an antibiotic to patients in advance of minor dental procedures like root canal therapy. Evidence shows us that the prophylactic antibiotic use for most patients is not necessary in these cases. And, if the patient develops a C. difficile infection several weeks after the unnecessary antibiotic, the dentist is usually not informed of this until the patient is seen at their next checkup – if at all. Not only do dentists not usually get feedback about the adverse event caused by inappropriate antibiotic use, they are also unaware of their role in the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

For reasons such as this, the Canadian Association of Hospital Dentists has recently joined the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign. ...continue reading

Barbara Sibbald is associate editor, Humanities, at CMAJ

 

After ten years, eight annual meetings and countless, long discussions the new Canadian Association of Health Humanities (CAHH) is up and running. According to its constitution, the CAHH aims to “add significant value to the interdisciplinary cultures of medicine, health care and the field of health humanities locally, nationally and internationally.”

On April 27, some 120 registrants at Creating Space VIII, the annual health humanities conference ...continue reading

Mark Soth is a mid-career academic intensivist in Ontario, Canada. He blogs as the Loonie Doctor about physicians' personal finance

 

We really have come a long way as a society in that "the talk" is not so much of a big thing anymore. We speak more openly about sex - the benefits, the pitfalls, and the repercussions both within our families and in our public institutions. It is no longer a major taboo. That was not always the case.

Historically, the taboo of sex has contributed to much misery. For example, when syphilis ran rampant around the world in the 16th century, many were denied care because it was considered “the wages of sin”. Of course, they treated syphilis with mercury back then, so that may have been worse. The advent of penicillin as an effective cure for syphilis in the 1940s was revolutionary, but it still did not eradicate the disease. With penicillin, education, and condoms - syphilis is much less common now, except on internal medicine exams.

Did all that talk about sex make you uncomfortable? Probably not. In fact, some medical nerds are probably chomping at the bit to correct me on some fact about syphilis.

"Let's talk about money." ...continue reading

Natasha Sarah Crowcroft is Chief of Applied Immunization Research at Public Health Ontario and a Professor at the University of Toronto in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Her work aims to maximize the public health benefits of immunization.

 

It is good to celebrate anniversaries of major achievements in public health. The bicentenary anniversary of the publication of Dr. Edward Jenner’s paper on vaccination against smallpox, published in 1796, was celebrated on the cover of the 1996 edition of the United Kingdom’s (UK)’s immunization guide, marking one of the greatest achievements of humankind. Recently however we reached the anniversary of a publication that we might all rather forget.  Twenty years ago in February 1998, two years after the celebration of Jenner’s legacy, The Lancet medical journal published a paper describing a small case series of “ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children”. The story has been described ...continue reading

Magbule Doko is a family physician in Windsor, Ontario, and an adjunct professor at The University of Western Ontario

 

 

Our decision, firm and dedicated
To become doctors: a noble profession
Long years of heads in our books
Clinical years of emotional turmoil
Oh yes you did not know
Their stories touched us, imprinted on our minds
We wept ...continue reading

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Howard Abrams is the Director of Openlab, a design and innovation shop located at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto

 

Andre Picard recently proposed in the Globe and Mail: “if we want a healthier Canada, we should spend less on healthcare.” This may, at first, seem counterintuitive, but it has been long recognized that the social determinants of health are at least as, if not more, important in the health of a population. This is where food intersects with public health in a pivotal way. If we look at the evidence, we know that food insecurity and poor housing are two major risk factors for chronic disease and adverse health outcomes. Patients we serve don’t show up out of thin air, but come out of a community environment rich with factors that impact their health ...continue reading