Leave our prostates alone

Healthcare must engage in a wider discussion about preventive medicine

DRUG BUST
by Alan Cassels

• “Preventive medicine displays all three elements of arrogance…Aggressively assertive…Presumptuous…Overbearing.”

Dr. David Sackett wrote those words over a decade ago in a neat little column in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He was, in this case, talking about hormone replacement therapy, after the publication of one of the world’s largest studies in preventive healthcare. The results of the Women’s Health Initiative showed that giving estrogen and progestin to healthy women going through menopause, on the assumption that this was vital preventive medicine, did not protect them from cardiovascular disease. In fact, it increased rates of some forms of cancer, heart attacks, blood clots and strokes. In trying to preserve and protect health, the recommended therapies were harming women. On a massive scale, I should add.

Read more

The carnitine controversy

photo of Vesanto Melina

NUTRISPEAK
by Vesanto Melina

• Carnitine is an amino acid, important for our body’s transportation of fatty acids to the area in the cells where the fatty acids can be burned for energy production. For this reason, carnitine has been marketed as a fat-burning support. A very small number of people – about one in 40,000 – have a genetic condition in which they cannot move carnitine to the areas where it is needed. One resulting symptom is muscle weakness, which may have led to the idea that carnitine can improve athletic performance, as carnitine has been marketed as a sports supplement. So far, research has not established its effectiveness.

Read more

When pain is invisble

photo of Gwen Randall-Young

UNIVERSE WITHIN
by Gwen Randall-Young

I have worked with many clients who suffer from chronic physical pain, as well as those who have post traumatic stress. For these people, physical or emotional pain can be constant, and from the outside they may look perfectly normal.

A person wearing a cast or recovering from surgery is treated with compassion and patience. Their pain is obvious. Those with invisible pain often do not get the same compassion. Those who have not suffered from invisible pain cannot know what that is like.

Read more

The predator we need to control is us!

photo of David Suzuki

SCIENCE MATTERS
by David Suzuki

• Humans are the world’s top predator. The way we fulfil this role is often mired in controversy, from factory farming to trophy hunting to predator control. The latter is the process governments use to kill carnivores like wolves, coyotes and cougars to stop them from hunting threatened species like caribou – even though human activity is the root cause of caribous’ decline.

Predation is an important natural function. But as the human population has grown, we’ve taken over management of ecosystems once based on mutually beneficial relationships that maintained natural balances. How are we – a “super predator” as the Raincoast Conservation Foundation dubs us – aligning with or verging from natural predation processes that shaped the world?

Read more

Public consultation is a real chance to repeal unpopular legislation

icon

INDEPENDENT MEDIA
by David Christopher

It’s here. Almost a year into their mandate, the Liberal government has finally launched its long awaited public consultation on Bill C-51, and a broad range of privacy and national security issues.

Speaking at the launch, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said they had already identified a limited number of areas of Bill C-51 they wanted changed and that they wanted to get Canadians’ views on how to deal with the rest of the unpopular legislation.

Bill C-51, readers may recall, is the highly controversial spying bill forced through Parliament by the previous Conservative federal government. Notably, the legislation turns the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) into what the Globe and Mail has called a “secret police force,” with little independent oversight or accountability.

Read more

say no to Site C

Site C and LNG: a tenuous relationship

Site C would be BC’s most expensive infrastructure project ever. Its debt funding will be loaded onto the shoulders of our children. It needs a convincing business case and, so far, that case is anything but convincing.

by Eoin Finn B.Sc., Ph.D., MBA

The relationship between the LNG industry and the Site C’s power is tenuous at best. To date, four LNG plants – LNG Canada, Kitimat LNG, Woodfibre LNG and now Pacific NorthWest LNG – have received export licenses and environmental certificates from Canada’s Governments. Only one – the small-scale Woodfibre plant in Vancouver’s Howe Sound – will use grid electricity to power its liquefaction process. All the much-larger plants will each burn about 10 percent of their gas intake to power the minus 162oC refrigeration process. If built, they would together add about 30 million tonnes to BC’s annual carbon emissions – a 50 percent increase. Upstream emissions would at least double that.

When I first settled in Vancouver in 1978, I went to a Canadian Club lunch. The guest speaker was BC Hydro’s CEO, who sternly warned the audience that, unless he got the OK to build three nuclear plants, the coal-fired Hat Creek and the Site C dam, we would in future have to munch on sushi in the dark. That was my introduction to “hydronomics”, and the engineers who want to keep on building dams – proving that, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Read more

food and natural

Natural health products are not drugs

Changing the way NHPs are regulated will have an impact on the products you will find on your store shelves. Providing the evidence required for drugs is vastly expensive, which is why the price for drugs is significantly higher compared to NHPs.

Tell Health Canada to leave our NHPs alone

 

by Helen Long

Health Canada has recently launched the Consulting Canadians on the Regulation of Self-Care Products in Canada document. Previously referred to as the Consumer Health Product Framework, this document has changed dramatically since its original inception, and proposes that, in the future, many natural health products (NHPs) be regulated using the same rules as drugs.

Read more

glass of water

Health Canada expands power with the Wookey decision

The Ontario Court of Appeal found that a drug is any substance that modifies an organic function. That definition would lnclude water.

The noose tightens

by Shawn Buckley

The Ontario Court of Appeal found that a drug is any substance that modifies an organic function. That definition would lnclude water.

Many of the broad powers that created concern years ago with Bill C-51 are now law in the Food and Drugs Act. The only saving grace is they do not yet apply to natural health products because of the public backlash that readers like you created during the Bill C-51 fight. Eventually, I predict the broad powers we were all concerned about will apply to natural products. A story, or stories, about harm caused by natural products will circulate in the media, and calls for imposing the broad powers on natural products will be made. Armed with the public cry for protection, the government will dutifully comply and expand the powers to cover natural health products. At that point, anyone involved in natural health could be completely and totally destroyed financially and jailed for long periods for not complying with Health Canada demands, regardless of how unfounded they may be and regardless of whether complying will cause harm or death to others.

Read more

Canadians want climate plan, not fracked LNG

by Bruce Mason

 

• On October 2, when Canada’s environment ministers met in Montreal, they were made aware of how Canadians view key climate issues. Topping the list: the majority (66%) of Canadians support an effective climate plan to meet targets.

The new public opinion research revealed a substantial majority of respondents (70%) believe climate change is a significant threat to Canada’s economic future. It also found that 60% support a price on carbon emissions everywhere in the country.

The survey of 1,000 Canadians, conducted by Nanos Research for Clean Energy Canada, was released as federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers gathered to prepare for a First Ministers’ Meeting on climate change later this year.

“The public is sending a clear signal. They’re tired of bickering among politicians,” reported Merran Smith, Clean Energy’s executive director. “Canadians want to see provinces do their part, but they also want the federal government to pick up the slack if provinces don’t deliver necessary results.”

Read more

Extra pounds (EP) = atherosclerosis (A2)

by Dr. W. Gifford-Jones

• It’s been said Einstein’s E=mc2 (energy=mass x C speed of light squared) is the world’s most important scientific equation. Unfortunately it created the atomic bomb that killed thousands in World War II. But I believe my equation EP = a2 (extra pounds = atherosclerosis squared) is the world’s important medical equation. Regrettably, it’s killing millions of people every year, more than than E=mc2. Think again if you believe this is exaggerated.

Consider human obesity. Nothing, including the thousands of books on weight loss and diet, has been able to stop the epidemic of obesity, which gets worse worldwide every year.

Nor does anyone have the solution to the problem of increasing numbers of people developing type 2 diabetes. The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in 13 North Americans has diabetes. And one in four over the age of 65 suffer from this disease. Then there are an estimated 14 million people in North America who don’t even know they have diabetes. And millions more have prediabetes, just one step away from diabetes and its complications. All these figures increase every year.

Read more