Health + Medicine – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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Research published in Science Translational Medicine in February 2019 used a virtual patient to test the drug, Fevipiprant. (Shutterstock)

A new drug promises to lower risks of asthma attack

Asthma affects around 339 million people worldwide. A new drug promises to lower risks of asthma attack and may eventually allow patients to reduce their dependence on steroids.
A girl takes her tuberculosis medication under the supervision of a health worker in Himachal Pradesh, India. (WHO/M.Grzemska)

A human-rights approach is essential to end the global TB epidemic

Tuberculosis kills more people globally than any other infectious disease. A human-rights approach and investment in quality care are essential to ending the global epidemic.
Bubble-wrapping children doesn’t work. They need to experience mild adversity, to know how to overcome it when they inevitably face it in life. (Shutterstock)

From playground risks to college admissions: Failure helps build kids’ resilience

Paying to get your kids into prestigious universities is an example of a 'bulldozer parenting' trend, which reduces exposure to failure and can lead to mental health difficulties.
Canadian finance minister Bill Morneau announced funding for a new Canadian Drug Agency in the 2019 Federal Budget. Here he speaks at a press conference in Toronto, March 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Federal budget: A Canadian Drug Agency and rare disease funding are not enough

A new agency and money for drugs for rare diseases are only very partial steps on the road towards what Canada really needs: a national pharmacare plan.
The concept of a shared inheritable risk underlying mental illnesses could lead to a new paradigm shift in drug discovery, (Unsplash/Fernando Cferdo)

Having one mental health disorder increases your risks of getting another

Mental health is impacted by both genetic and environmental factors. But new research reveals that many mental health disorders may flow from early disturbances in fetal development.
Experts have called for a moratorium on clinical research with CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. of the germline — that is changing heritable DNA in sperm, eggs or embryos to make genetically modified children. (Shutterstock)

CRISPR gene editing: Why we need Slow Science

CRISPR gene editing should learn from the Slow Food movement. Scientists must allow time for critical conversations and perfecting of techniques before rewriting the source code of humanity.
Palliative radiation therapy is effective regardless of a patient’s original cancer site (for example breast, lung or kidney) and is usually delivered in one to 10 daily doses. (Shutterstock)

Cancer pain can be eased by palliative radiation therapy

Palliative radiation therapy can improve a cancer patient's life, by alleviating pain and other symptoms. Unfortunately, some doctors associate the term with end-of-life care and fail to refer people.
The evidence shows that vaping is creating a generation of nicotine-addicted youth, who start with e-cigarettes and move on to smoke tobacco products. (Unsplash/Andrew Haimerl)

Vaping is an urgent threat to public health

Vaping devices were designed as a clean way of delivering nicotine, to help people stop smoking tobacco. Now, with gummy bear flavours and celebrity endorsements, they are a serious public health problem.
Meat consumption is decreasing in Canada. But don’t look at vegans and vegetarians. In fact, it’s meat-eaters who are eating less than usual who are behind the trend. Yvonne Lee Harijanto/Unsplash

Meat consumption is changing but it’s not because of vegans

There are clearly changes happening in meat consumption. But it's not being fuelled by an increase in veganism and vegetarianism.
Recent studies suggest that tourists believe that beach access points and resorts are located adjacent to safe swimming areas, but that isn’t always true. (Shutterstock)

Why your tourist brain may try to drown you

Just because a beach is accessible, has restaurants, lounge chairs and vendors, and is near a resort, does not make it safe.
Research shows that physical activity and avoiding screens before bed are both strategies to protect your teenagers’ sleep. (Unsplash/Andrea Tummons)

How much sleep do teenagers really need?

When teenagers sleep for less than eight hours a night, they are at increased risk of suicide, being overweight, high rates of injury, poor sustained attention and low school grades.
The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto runs a Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship Program, which offers one-on-one consults and an eight-week group rehabilitation program for patients. (Shutterstock)

Cancer survivors urgently need funded rehabilitation care

Multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams could help cancer survivors to recover from the toxic side-effects of their treatments and return to their lives.
A new body of research suggests that infections in childhood, along with antibiotic use, could impact the bacteria in our intestines and raise risks of mental health challenges in later life. (Shutterstock)

How childhood infections requiring antibiotics may increase risks of mental illness

Research using massive databases -- such as the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register -- is enabling a whole new understanding of the links between life history, the gut and mental health.
A new review of 372 patient group submissions to the Canadian Agency for Drugs or Technology in Health – about whether new medicines should be covered by public plans – reveals a total of 1896 conflicts of interest. (Shutterstock)

How Big Pharma donations may influence public drug coverage

A new study reveals how many patient groups lobby for new drugs to be funded by public plans in Canada -- all while receiving funding from the companies manufacturing the drugs in question.
For many individuals with spinal cord injury, restoring autonomic functions – such as blood pressure control, bowel, bladder and sexual function – is of a higher priority than walking again. (Shutterstock)

Electrical stimulation technique helps patients with spinal cord injury

Researchers have successfully used 'epidural spinal cord stimulation' with patients to improve bowel function, restore blood pressure control and increase upper-body exercise capacity.
Data from provinces varies, but it generally shows Canadian cannabis users prefer to buy dry flowers (to smoke or vape their weed), want high-quality products and prefer shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores rather than online. Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

How Canadians are buying cannabis and getting high now that it’s legal

Government data outline what’s popular with Canadian cannabis shoppers. Among other things, they prefer smoke-able cannabis, high-quality products and in-store shopping.