Author Archives: CMAJ

Alastair McAlpine is a fellow in paediatric infectious diseases at BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver

 

People sometimes ask me, "What’s the difference between medicine in Vancouver and medicine in Cape Town?" The answer is, quite simply, Everything.

But let’s rewind a bit. In July of this year, I flew the 20 or so hours it takes to get from South Africa to Vancouver. I arrived in the city by myself with 2 suitcases, knowing hardly a soul, and feeling completely overwhelmed. A few months earlier, I had been accepted into a 2 year paediatric (even the spelling is different) infectious diseases program at BC Children’s Hospital. Before coming I had filled out endless paperwork, done a million online courses ...continue reading

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Dr Margaret Rundle is a Family Physician practicing in Scarborough, Ontario

 

There is little dispute among care providers that a person’s dietary habits influence preventative and treatment outcomes. Every year, there is more research validating the role of food and therapeutic diets for chronic disease management and prevention. However, basic education around the role of nutrition and lifestyle for a long time has been a blind spot in the Canadian medical school system. ...continue reading

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Katherine Atkinson is a PhD student at the Karolinska Institutet in the Department of Public Health Science.

Cameron Bell has a B. Eng from McGill and is the lead technical architect for the CANImmunize project.

Kumanan Wilson is a physician and senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital, Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and lead at the Ottawa Hospital mHealth Lab

 

As they accumulate their “10,000 hours” of caring for patients or examining the health system, health care providers and researchers often come up with great ideas on how the system could be improved.  The advent of digital technologies and mobile apps has helped to tear down the barriers to introducing these newly devised solutions and created opportunities for a new breed of medical entrepreneurs.  You may want to build an app that will help you get critical information to your patients because you know this is why they are having trouble staying healthy.  Or perhaps you want to empower them to manage their own health care by tracking aspects of their health.  Or maybe you have an idea that could allow physicians to do simple diagnostic tests at the bedside using smartphones.

At the beginning of 2018, there were almost 100,000 health apps on the Apple iOS App Store and Google Play. Health and fitness apps are cited to have the highest user retention rates, engagement, and frequency of use ...continue reading

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Kevin Lam is a third-year medical student at McMaster University

Lawrence Loh is Associate Medical Officer of Health at Peel Region, Ontario, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health

 

Suburbs, and later exurbs, became central to the Canadian lifestyle during the automobile boom in the 1960s and 1970s. Cars were sold as the future and urban planners created suburban neighbourhoods that quickly became the primary venue where people lived and learned. Suburbs were touted to be cleaner and safer spaces, far away from “derelict” urban cores, where people went only to go to work. From this idyllic image, suburban built environments have since developed various distinct characteristics, typically defined by "commercial strips, low density, separated land uses, automobile dominance, and a minimum of public open space."

Having reshaped many cities in North America, the suburban model has gone global. Around the world, the suburban forms of major cities such as Mississauga (Toronto), Surrey (Vancouver), Limert Park (Los Angeles), Footscray (Melbourne), and Prospect Park South (New York) share these similar characteristics. But it’s becoming clear that suburban living doesn’t necessarily promote wellbeing. In fact, urban sprawl is not healthy. ...continue reading

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.

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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