Category: Research

As the world battles with localised CoVID-19 outbreaks, it is now clear that a major source of transmission of infection is no longer from the influx of expatriates nor travellers. CoVID-19 is now a community problem. The politicizing of the pandemic has obfuscated the fact that, in most countries, communities and family groups have been […]

(This blog is the Gordon Reid MacDonald Memorial Lecture which I have been asked to deliver in Edmonton Alberta this month. It is much longer than my usual blogs) If there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it is that modern healthcare is undemocratic, antisocial and thus largely unresponsive to its patients’ […]

Absolute risk is the likelihood an event will occur. Relative risk is the likelihood an event will occur in one group compared to another. In CoVID-19 terms, the absolute risk of dying from the disease is low. However, if we look at very old residents of care facilities who have multiple health problems compared with […]

Over the past two decades, three human coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2) have emerged worldwide and there is still no approved vaccine for any of them. Greedy nations race each other in a drug-ridden CoVID Olympics, spending billions to find the gold medal vaccine. Yet we are told the greatest elite performer on earth – […]

A new epidemic has broken out, and it’s not CoVID-19.  The symptoms are an inability to subtract, and a tendency just to add.  It’s sweeping through physicians around the world who, instead of weaning patients off antidepressants, continue to layer on two or even more psychoactive drugs, despite evidence that this strategy is ineffective. Depression […]

Every couple of years a group of experts lowers the level of blood pressure required to diagnose and treat hypertension. On the face of it, the advice seems reasonable: obesity and diabetes are on the increase across the globe and both are related to hypertension and its result, cardiovascular disease. So, dropping the upper limits […]

Hospitals are full of people sick with CoVID but not all of them are patients. More and more staff in our hospitals are turning up for work that they are unable to do. They are present, but not working at their best, either due to their own health problems, increased CoVID-related workload, or CoVID anxiety. […]

CoVID is no longer just a health concern. As clinicians we now understand the disease a little better, are comforted that most cases are mild and self-limiting, and relieved that the intensive care resources are becoming equipped to manage the increase in patient numbers. Even the danger to health care workers of too much exposure […]

In times of overwhelming disaster and limited resources, ingenuity and repurposing can save lives.  For example, the use of stapling wounds on the suture-poor battle fields more than a century ago was game changer. It worked because the purpose of a suture and a staple were similar – to hold two opposing surfaces together. Wrap […]

As most of us become as paranoid as Lady Macbeth about handwashing, dodging infected droplet spread of CoVID-19 is equally important. So, let’s talk about sneezing and coughing. To avoid potentially infecting others, hold something you can clean or dispose of safely to sneeze or cough into at all times. Sneezing or coughing into your […]

Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals have a long history of wearing face masks in clinical environments, but I’ve never seen a person in scrubs walking down the street in a face mask.  That look is generally reserved to  tourists, particularly from Japan and China, who wear masks as they see the sights. Surgical […]

You can measure almost every health metric on your wrist these days. And many Americans do.  One in six consumers in the United States now uses a smartwatch or fitness band. Footsteps, heart beats, and even ECG monitors are now integrated into wearables. If you are looking to wearables to help you relieve stress or achieve […]

Breathing is becoming increasingly dangerous, especially following accidents that release toxic fumes into the atmosphere. During the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral, at least 450 tons of lead were released into the atmosphere from the melting spire and roof. That is more than four times the yearly atmospheric lead emissions for the whole of France. […]

Should women use reproductive hormones? There is growing evidence of higher risk, yet little research is happening to study alternatives to oral contraception or HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Why aren’t researchers and clinicians talking about the risks of continuous use of reproductive hormones by women throughout their life cycle? More than a decade ago, a […]

Drugs are here to stay but the way they should be used is changing. It started with antibiotics – too many are unnecessary. Now many drugs are prescribed for courses that are too long. No ‘one-size-fits-all’ – neither for the choice of drug nor the duration of use. More than two thirds of antibiotic courses for acute […]

What should a clinician wear when consulting with a patient? For many years the answer was simple: a white coat. A long one, if you were qualified, and a short one if you were in training. The white coat symbolized the clinician’s authority; until authority became a non-starter for some clinicians, such as psychiatrists and […]

There is no opiate epidemic. We have a societal problem that isn’t going to be solved by restricting prescribing. Despite overwhelming evidence that the majority of opioid-induced deaths involves the use of non-prescribed opioids such as fentanyl and heroin, much of the focus has been on prescription opioids. Over the last two decades illicit fentanyl […]

E-health is the promise and the epidemic of this Century. Health is the second most frequently searched term in Google, resulting in 57% of the more than two trillion searches in 2016. Currently, there are more than 300,000 health apps listed on the Internet. Block quote: WHO and NIH should publish an inventory of toxic health apps. Quantity […]

Today’s medical practitioners are expected to perform more than clinical roles.  They are expected to act as resource managers, clinical standards arbitrators, educators, researchers, and patient advocates. If all these weren’t enough, now tack on the additional role of green advocate. Little is known about the processing of less toxic waste once it leaves health […]

Does legislation really make a difference to the health of women? A quarter of a century ago, the USA legislated in the Women’s Health Equity Act to remove the inequalities between men and women in medical research. More recently, Health Canada recommended comparative studies in healthy male and/or female volunteers to minimize variability. Nonetheless, nothing has really […]