Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Lipodissolve (Phosphatidyl Choline and Deoxycholate) is a compound used for many years, offering patients the ability to remove lipomas through a simple non-invasive procedure rather than surgery. In this 2004 video, Dr. Patrick Treacy shows the benefits of this compound in treating Multiple Lipoma Syndrome

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Get ready for gardening ..

Spring has (almost) sprung, and that means the bounty of the garden can be yours once again. From a large plot to a container on your terrace, any size garden gives you the joy of fresh flavors. Embrace the rejuvenating power of the garden with our favorite garden products.

Get Growing

Prime gardening season is upon us, so get out there and get to work in style with these out-of-the-ordinary finds

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Alex Munter We’re letting Canadian kids eat themselves sick

Alex Munter

A bill that would protect children is languishing in the Senate. We need it to tackle childhood obesity and chronic diseases

By Alex Munter
President and CEO
CHEO, The national capital’s pediatric health centre
If you’ve ever watched the hit TV series Mad Men, you’ll remember that everybody smoked. Everyone. Everywhere.

It was a great show, in part, because it was like a trip back in time, showing us what life was like in the American advertising industry in the early 1960s. Smoking was just a part of normal life.

Jump to today and smoking no longer looks normal. Modern viewers gasp, “Why are they killing themselves like that? How could they think that wouldn’t harm them?”

In the mid-1960s, the link between smoking and cancer was confirmed and, gradually, we achieved a great turnaround in attitudes and policies about smoking. Tobacco taxes rose, advertising was banned, smoking was stopped in work and public places, packages were made plain, with graphic warnings and concealed in stores.

In short, governments made a concerted effort to force changes in smoking habits.

Though there’s still work to do, there has been notable success. The percentage of smokers has plummeted and, with it, the cost of treating tobacco-related health issues has been cut in half. As a society, we de-normalized smoking.

We need to do it all over again. This time the target must be our diets, particularly those of our children.

We are, quite literally, letting our kids eat themselves sick. Childhood obesity has risen exponentially, and with it, dangerous chronic diseases, starting in children. For the first time, we’re in real danger of having a younger generation that doesn’t live as long as their parents.

There are many reasons for this. But just as smoking was normalized decades ago by a flood of advertising and cheap, ready availability of appealing products, so has the drinking of sugary drinks and eating of processed foods high in sugar, saturated fat and salt become ubiquitous among our kids.

We see the results every day in Canada’s children’s hospitals, including the one I lead. At a retirement party a few years ago for a longtime nurse in our diabetes clinic, she noted that when she started in the mid-1970s, all the children seen in the clinic had Type 1 diabetes – caused genetically.

That’s no longer the case. A growing number of children and youth we see have Type 2 diabetes – caused by their diet. They face a future of health challenges.

Most people are aware of the connection between obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Less well known is its correlation with cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society earlier this month reported that excess weight is expected to become the second leading preventable cause of cancer, behind only the continued effects of tobacco use.

What should we do to fix this huge problem?

There’s no magic bullet, but we won’t even begin to tackle this until we stop bombarding our children with messages online and everywhere else they look about how great these foods taste. Over 90 per cent of food and drink ads they see on TV and online are for products high in sugar, salt and saturated fat.

That’s why the federal government has wisely decided to restrict advertising of food and beverages to children. It’s already done in many other places, including in Quebec, where this important step was taken almost 40 years ago.

This legislation, Bill S-228, originated in the Senate almost three years ago as a response from Conservative Sen. Nancy Greene Raine to the Senate report Obesity in Canada.

It was approved by our elected MPs last September and returned to the Senate for what should have been a routine second approval before it became law. It’s been almost 1,000 days since the bill was first introduced in the Senate.

We’re still waiting and time is running out. If not approved in the next few weeks, this vital bill will die when Parliament rises for the summer and the fall election. That’s not OK.

I chaired an Ontario expert panel on childhood obesity in 2013 that recommended this change. Many other reports have reiterated that call over the years.

Our kids have waited long enough. It’s time.

Alex Munter is president and CEO of CHEO, the national capital’s pediatric health centre.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Cellphone industry continues to control the safety message

In the U.S., the industry has influenced science, regulators, public perception and government policy

By Lee Harding
Research Associate
Frontier Centre for Public Policy
When industry wants science to say something, how does it do it?

Last year, The Nation showed us how in its special investigation, How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe.

In 1993, a lawsuit alleged that cellphones caused a woman’s terminal brain cancer. As wireless stocks headed downward, the industry unleashed a five-fold response.

This tactical plan can be used by any threatened industry on any issue at any time to influence science, regulators, public perception and government policy.

Citizens beware.

The government never tested the safety of cellphones prior to the cancer lawsuit. But just one week after it was launched, Tom Wheeler, president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) in the United States, announced that cellphones were safe. He also announced the industry would fund research that would “re-validate the findings of the existing studies.” With that, he authored the conclusions of the Wireless Research Technology project before it even began.

The first industry tactic is to buy the science. Biochemistry professor Henri Lai looked at 326 safety-related studies on cellphone use between 1990 and 2005 and found that 67 per cent of independently funded studies found biological damage from cellphone radiation, but only 28 per cent of industry-funded studies did.

Lai participated in the CTIA study. In an interview with Microwave News, he recounted numerous anomalies and apparent industry manipulation of the study, including an attempt to gut its discussion section.

The CTIA massaged the message again after the World Health Organization published its Interphone study in 2000. The study showed that those who used a cellphone for 10 years or longer saw their risk of glioma (a type of brain tumour) increase by 120 per cent.

Yet John Walls, VP for public affairs at CTIA, told reporters that “Interphone’s conclusion of no overall increased risk of brain cancer is consistent with conclusions reached in an already large body of scientific research on this subject.”

Another tactic is to kill the research. Biochemistry professor Dariusz Leszczynski first experienced this in 1999 when he was adjunct professor at Harvard Medical School. He wanted to investigate the effects of radiation that were higher than the government-allowed levels but kept getting overruled by scientists funded by Motorola.

In 2011, Leszczynski said in an interview, “Everyone knows that if your research results show that radiation has effects, the funding flow dries up.” A year later, his employer, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland, stopped researching the biological effects of cellphones and released him.

The draft version of a National Toxicology Program study in 2016 called cellphone radiation a “probable” or “known” carcinogen with “broad implications for public health.”

Yet when the final version was released in 2018, the study’s senior scientist John Bucher said in a press conference, “I don’t think this is a high-risk situation at all.”

Microwave News editor Louis Slesin wondered openly what changed at NTP?

His best guesses were industry, military and political pressure, as well as leadership changes.

Tom Wheeler, CTIA president from 1992-2004, chaired the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. from 2013-2017. Meredith Attwell Baker, FCC commissioner from 2009-2011, has presided over CTIA since 2014.

In a Harvard University ethics paper, journalist Norm Alster called FCC a “captured agency,” and cited the CTIA website, which praised FCC for “its light regulatory touch.”

Leave it to big wireless to maintain its message over the airwaves.

Lee Harding is a research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.