Health + Medicine – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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Keeping older workers on the job past 65 could help solve Canada’s skill shortage, but the federal parties are silent on the topic. (Shutterstock)

Canada’s aging workforce should have been a major election issue

The Canadian workforce is aging. At the same time, we're facing a skills shortage. Keeping older workers on the job past 65 is an obvious solution but the federal parties are silent on the topic.
Cancer rates are rising among Inuit and critical oncology specialists and treatments are often located in urban centres, thousands of kilometres away from remote communities in Inuit Nunangat. (Alex Hizaka)

An Inuit approach to cancer care promotes self-determination and reconciliation

A 'shared decision-making' model enables collaboration with Indigenous communities within Canada's health-care system - to respond to TRC Calls to Action and address rising cancer rates.
Research estimates that each year some 15,000 deaths, 90,000 hospital admissions and 240,000 years of life lost are directly attributable to alcohol use. (Shutterstock)

Canada needs an Alcohol Act to address the damage caused by this deadly carcinogen

Alcohol is classified by the World Health Organization as a Class 1 carcinogen. Our next federal government must step up with an Alcohol Act and a strategy to reduce harms from this recreational drug.
The new study still finds that reducing unprocessed red meat consumption by three servings in a week is associated with an an approximately eight per cent lower lifetime risk of heart disease, cancer and early death. (Shutterstock)

Should I eat red meat? Confusing studies diminish trust in nutrition science

New research claiming that people do not need to reduce their consumption of red and processed meat says more about the conduct and evaluation of research than it does about beef.
Jean Truchon, right, looks on as lawyer Jean-Pierre Menard gives their reaction to a Québec judge overturning parts of provincial and federal laws on medically assisted dying on September 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

The latest medical assistance in dying decision needs to be appealed: Here’s why

One judge must not be allowed to curtail parliament’s power to promote broader societal interests and protect people who are elderly, ill and disabled.
User agreements are often long, complex and inaccessible texts that don’t help users understand what exactly is being done with their information. Shutterstock

Plain language about health data is essential for transparency and trust

As more data are collected, it's important for the public to understand how their health information is being used. But user agreements are often complex, lengthy and written in inaccessible language.
When a student dies by suicide, university communities grapple with the fact that an opportunity for a suffering person to receive help was missed. (Pexels)

Compassionate ‘zero-suicide’ prevention on campuses urgently needed

As universities advocate for 'zero suicide' frameworks, it is important for university leaders to work at suicide awareness, prevention and response, and to reinforce a culture of compassion.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is seen at a daycare centre in Toronto in September 2019. His party is proposing a major investment in child care, but why don’t voters care? Twitter

The baffling indifference of Canadian voters to child-care proposals

If Canadians want to advance financially, few policy innovations would offer the same boon to voters’ bank accounts than a public child-care program. So why doesn't it drive votes?
A culture of perfectionism that begins in medical school is one reason why doctors and other medical professionals struggle to apologize for their mistakes. (Shutterstock)

Why is it so hard for your doctor to apologize?

Despite protective apology legislation across Canada, many doctors and other health-care professionals remain too afraid or ashamed to apologize after medical errors.
Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest creatures because they are carriers for many lethal viruses. Shutterstock

Genetically modifying mosquitoes to control the spread of disease carries unknown risks

Genetically modified mosquitoes were released in Brazil in an attempt to halt the spread of dengue fever by reducing the mosquito population.
The system of ‘birth alerts’ across Canada perpetuates the removal of children from Indigenous families begun by residential schools. Pictured here: a historical report on residential schools released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

British Columbia’s ban on ‘birth alerts:’ A guiding light on the road to reconciliation

To make meaningful progress on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action, all provinces and territories should promptly follow B.C. and ban discriminatory 'birth alerts.'
Vision is the most important source of information on which driving conduct is based. Poor vision of drivers has been found to be the cause of many accidents. Shutterstock

Poor vision: Do drivers always see what is happening on the road?

When you head out onto the road, there's always a chance that you might encounter a driver who has a vision problem, putting his or her driving at risk. Regulations need to change.
Without an understanding of the complexities of medically assisted dying, it’s difficult for patients and families to make good decisions. (Shutterstock)

Why people choose medically assisted death revealed through conversations with nurses

Nurses who surround the process of medically assisted dying are an important source of insight into the real conversations our society needs to have about what it's really like.
Severe air pollution can speed up neurodegeneration when the brain is at the peak of its development — during childhood. Pictured here, a child in Beijing. (Shutterstock)

Air pollution in global megacities linked to children’s cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and death

Investigation of the brains of children and young adults who died suddenly in Mexico City revealed amyloid plaques similar to those found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.
Mental disorders are treatable, but a key stumbling block towards positive campus responses in health care has been a lack of systematically collected data. (Shutterstock)

University student mental health care is at the tipping point

Mental health researchers based at Queen's University in Canada and Oxford University in the U.K. are helping universities take the lead in developing improved student mental health care.
This election, one of the top concerns for Canadians is being able to afford groceries, according to a recent poll. Sydney Rae / Unsplash

Why food affordability should be a federal election issue

Canadian politicians on the campaign trail would do well to mention issues of food security. At least 55 per cent of Canadians are worried about how they will continue to pay grocery bills.