Medical Dispatches

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Catherine Whicher is a graduate student of Global Health Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Varoon Mathur is a Software Engineering/Data Science student at the University of British Columbia

 

Last week Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) published the 2017 University Report Card for Global Equity in Biomedical Research, evaluating fifteen of Canada's universities (U15) for their contributions to neglected health needs including biomedical research, equitable licensing, global health education, and transparency. This is the 5th iteration of the report card, but the first time UAEM focused exclusively on public research schools (and exclusively on Canada, for that matter). While there were some promising highlights of what our universities can do when they set themselves to it, overall it is clear that Canadian schools are failing to use their considerable power to address many neglected aspects of global health. ...continue reading

Did you hear about Chris’s mint condition 1963 Shelby Cobra? Mechanics say he didn’t check the oil for decades, and the engine just seized one day on the way to work. When they opened it up, they say there wasn’t much left. Such a shame really.

Said Nobody. EVER.

Jazlin Mayhue is a researcher in Victoria, BC

Peter Hobza is a family physician in Victoria, BC

Robert O'Connor is a family physician in Victoria, BC

 

Introducing a new concept...

We all know folks who are not vigilant with preventive health for their body. However, a subset of them wouldn’t drive an irreplaceable million-dollar car until it was destroyed from lack of maintenance. A human’s life and body are irreplaceable, and worth at least a million dollars, when considering the price of an injury causing death. Therefore, it’s logical to help some people think of treating their body as well as a valuable car. ...continue reading

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Jacalyn Duffin is a hematologist and historian who holds the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at Queen’s University

 

The sixth full year of the global generic drug shortage has drawn to a close. We Canadians can look back and marvel at how little we still know about the problem. Generic drug shortages do not get anything like the attention paid to the fraught relationship between the federal government and the provinces over a renewed health accord. They are also obscured by concerns over brand-name, on-patent pharmaceuticals, such as the shocking price hikes that occurred overnight last February when Martin Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750, or when Valeant upped the price for a month’s supply of two drugs for Wilson’s disease to more than $25,000. Yet, looking back over 2016, Canada has reported shortages of reliable generic drugs for epilepsy, bladder cancer, psychosis, syphilis, asthma, and kits for treating overdose.  ...continue reading

nichollsStuart Nicholls is a Clinical Investigator and Methodologist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and Methodologist at the Ontario Child Health Support Unit (OCHSU). He recently attended the 66th Annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) in Vancouver

 

The ASHG annual meeting takes place every fall towards the end of October or in early November, as the leaves are changing from green to reds and golds. Every four years the meeting also takes place against the backdrop of the US presidential elections. In 2012, in San Francisco, when the meeting ran from the 6th to the 10th of November, I recall standing in the main hall as part of the opening ‘mixer’ event, where several thousand scientists watched a big screen projection as President Obama was re-elected to office.

This year's meeting, which ran from the 18th to the 22nd of October, took place against the backdrop of a very different election ...continue reading

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bonnie-larsonBonnie Larson is Family Physician at Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) Health Centre

 

Recently I called the emergency department from my outreach clinic in an urban shelter.  Near the end of the day, the nurse mentioned that one of the clients staying there, a young aboriginal woman I will call Ms. Rain, was supposed to follow up on an abnormal lab result from a few days earlier.  As I looked the patient up on the ancient clinic laptop, I thought about the promise I had made to my daughter that morning to try to be home by suppertime.   I willed the computer to load the results a little faster so I could get home to my family.

Finally, several abnormal results, including an elevated D-Dimer, appeared.  ...continue reading

J_DuffinJacalyn Duffin is a hematologist and historian who holds the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at Queen’s University

 

Recently, I addressed first and second year residents in the Queen’s University family medicine program, during their annual retreat at Camp Oconto, near Sharbot Lake, Ontario. Roughly every other year for some time now, I’ve been asked to talk to them about my work on drug shortages and what drives them, my website (which I mentioned in my previous blog), and the mysterious causes, harms and  frustrations of drug shortages. ...continue reading

berghDr Rod Bergh is a general pediatrician who has practiced medicine since the early 1960s.

 

I have practiced Pediatrics for most of the 59 years since I graduated from Medical School and I have seen tremendous changes in our knowledge. For the past 16 years, I have restricted my practice to children with ADHD and have experienced the great satisfaction of seeing in this period about 3000 children turn their lives around.

Change is based on knowledge gained by research. However, I would like to point out an area where I believe we have ignored evidence, which has resulted in some less-than-optimal therapy for ADHD.  ...continue reading

David Cawthorpe is a Professor (Adjunct) in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, Alberta

 

By the end of this month the 22nd International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) Congress will have come and gone. As this will have been its second congress hosted in Canada since 1954, it is perhaps time to take stock.

In Istanbul, in 2008, our team got its first whiff of tear gas and we won the 2016 bid; it was the beginning of an exciting journey, wherein the hope was to form a national community around this torch, a mental health Olympics for children and adolescents. Did we succeed? A good question. Regionally, we hoped to gain access for at least 1000 participants who would never otherwise have the opportunity to attend such a world class event. Did we achieve this or will this congress have been just another big business venture? The proof will, no doubt, be in the residual pudding! ...continue reading

irisIris Gorfinkel is a General Practitioner and Founder & Principal Investigator of PrimeHealth Clinical Research in Toronto, Ontario

 

I’d been attending this particular patient’s medical needs as her GP for the past five years.  Enid dressed impeccably, was a young 85 years of age and had the amenities that most elders dream about.   She had her health, financial security, education and a strong intellect.  What she was missing was companionship.

“If only I had someone to travel with,” she lamented.

Hardly 24 hours later, I was asked to see Fred who had been my patient for 7 years.  He was a robust 87 year old, financially secure, well educated, and possessed a marvelous sense of humor.  He had remained active despite having lost his partner to lung cancer the year before.

 “I miss having someone when I travel,” he told me.

...continue reading

genevieve2015-msgDr Genevieve Gabb is a Senior Staff Specialist in General Medicine at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia; she also works at the Veterans Heart Clinic, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park,  in ambulatory cardiovascular medicine.  Genevieve has an interest in drug safety, particularly in relation to medicines commonly used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease

 

We have scientific consensus that global temperatures are rising.  Despite this, debate and argument continues about whether global warming is occurring, the extent, possible causes and potential solutions to the problem.

In early January 2013, as this debate continued to rage, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was confronted with a dilemma. Forecast temperatures were so extreme that they exceeded the colour range available for its isotherm charts.  Isotherm charts are used to indicate temperature across the continent, and have lines that join points of equal temperature.  Different colours, starting with cool blues; increasing to yellows and a deep burnt orange are used to show areas of similar temperature.  An ominous, solid black topped the scale, indicating a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius. ...continue reading