In the news

2019

May 14

Complaints by gun-rights activists against Toronto surgeon ‘abuse of process,’ regulatory body says
Interview with Dr. Najma Ahmed
The Globe and Mail

Ontario’s regulatory college for doctors says dozens of complaints lodged against a physician advocating for gun control were a politically motivated attempt to silence her and an abuse of its process.

May 9

Partnership meant to fill gaps on cannabis consumption risks and benefits with hard evidence
Mentions research by Dr. Nicholas Vozoris
The National Post

The Ontario Lung Association and its industry partner, Tetra Bio-Pharma, have joined forces to fund and promote medical research that the two partners believe should help resolve some of the major controversies over the possible lung health risks and benefits of using cannabis.

Scarborough’s Providence Healthcare can connect caregivers to community supports
Tips from Erin Leneeuw
Toronto.com

Our health-care system is complex and ever-changing, and it can be difficult to know where to turn. The Scotiabank Learning Centre (SLC) at Providence Healthcare is a community resource that equips people with knowledge to help them make the best decisions along the way. Erin Leneeuw, clinical resource co-ordinator in the SLC, shared a few tips.

May 8

Canada facing doctor shortage
Interview with Dr. Tara Kiran
CBC News

Statistics Canada estimates that 4.5 million people across the country are without a family doctor, with most between the ages of 20 and 34. A panel of doctors discuss possible solution to the shortage.

May 6

Six hospitals to deliver enhanced care to patients in unique restorative care facility
Comment by Dr. Tim Rutledge
Cision

Six Greater Toronto Area hospitals are working side by side under one roof to provide specialized care for patients who no longer require acute hospital services.

Rethinking anxiety meds
Panel interview with Dr. Alexander Caudarella
TVO’s The Agenda

Whether it’s named Ativan or Valium, benzodiazepine anxiety medication is pervasive. It may be helpful for everything from acute cases to long-term anxiety, but it also carries with it an addictive element. Benzos contribute to approximately half of the opioid deaths in Ontario. The Agenda discusses whether it’s time to reconsider how common it’s become.

Soy protein lowers cholesterol, study suggests
Research by Dr. David Jenkins
Medical Xpress

Soy protein has the ability to lower cholesterol by a small but significant amount, suggests a new study led by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

May 1

The Church and dementia
Interview with David Rebelo
The Catholic Register

As both a Catholic teacher and founding member of Dementia Advocacy Canada, Matt Dineen wants to visit parishes to explain what they should do to be dementia-ready and — perhaps more important — why they should do it.

Supporting both patients and caregivers is key in palliative care
Interviews with Maggie Bruneau and a patient’s family
Hospital News

Maggie Bruneau knows that delivering the best palliative care means offering flexibility and options, for both patients and caregivers.

A salute to unsung heroes: Susan Davidson
Feature about Susan Davidson
Hospital News

Susan is the hero to the sick and to the healed. She is the hero to the engaged and to the disenfranchised. She manages the practice of a dozen or so consultant pediatricians for Sick Kids and St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

April 24

Delivering help to indigenous parents
Featuring Dr. Patricia O’Campo and Dr. Janet Smylie
University of Toronto Magazine

A unique project provides support to women during pregnancy and after, with the aim of creating healthier families

April 18

St. Joseph’s Hospital has a new unit
Comments by Paula Podolski
CP24

The new at St. Joseph’s is focused on providing a healing environment for adults suffering mental health crises, said Paula Podolski.

April 15

APOE gene impacts sleep depending on gender and severity of Alzheimer’s
Research by Dr. David Munoz
News Medical

The gene most often associated with risk of Alzheimer’s Disease impacts sleep depending on gender and the severity of Alzheimer’s in a patient, suggests a study led by researchers at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science (KRCBS).

April 11

Canadian trauma surgeons called for gun control. They were told to stay in their lane
Interviews with Drs. Najma Ahmed and David Gomez
The Washington Post

Najma Ahmed figured she knew a thing or two about gunshot wounds. As trauma surgeon at a downtown Toronto hospital, she sees them up close, toiling elbow-deep on the front lines of torn human flesh. But when she spoke out in favor of tighter gun control in Canada, a chorus of voices told her to pipe down: She wasn’t qualified to comment — not on this.

April 9

From bionic arms to predicting patient surges in ER, AI is reshaping patient care
Interview with Dr. Muhammad Mamdani
The Canadian Press via The Globe and Mail

The Centre for Healthcare Analytics Research and Training (CHART) was created to design and implement innovative programs using AI/machine learning to streamline certain hospital systems and to improve care, from decreasing emergency department wait times to predicting which patients could take a turn for the worse – and when.

The dangers of a keto diet in pregnancy
Comments by Dr. Howard Berger
Today’s Parent

When you’re trying to grow a baby, extreme low-carb is not the way to go. Here’s what you need to know, whether you are currently on the diet and recently pregnant or you’re currently pregnant and wondering if the keto diet is a good idea.

April 8

New dialysis centre opens at St. Joseph’s Health Centre
CTV News Toronto (segment starts at 8:20)
On April 7, 2019, St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation celebrated the opening of the new Bachir Yerex Family Dialysis Centre. The hospital is thankful to Salah Bachir and all of the donors who helped make this new space a reality.

Saturated fat, good or evil? How to decipher contradictory nutritional research
Research by Dr. David Jenkins
The Washington Post

Nutrition research is not well-funded, says Dr. David Jenkins. For that reason, nutrition research trials usually have only 70 to 120 subjects. Small studies don’t provide powerful results, so researchers repeat the same small study many times, then group similar studies together in what’s known as a meta-analysis.

Liquid meals show modest benefit in type 2 diabetes
Research by Dr. John Sievenpiper
Reuters, via M.D./alert

Liquid meal replacements may help people with diabetes lose weight and could modestly improve some measures of metabolic health, according to a new systematic review.

April 6

Eating nuts for good health
Column featuring research by Dr. David Jenkins
The National Post

This isn’t the first time that nuts have been found to be helpful in preventing cardiovascular problems. So what’s the magical ingredient? Dr. David Jenkins believes it’s not just one substance, but that nuts contain dietary fibre, magnesium and a good amount of healthy unsaturated fats.

A drug to prevent 1 in 5 deaths? It’s called ‘food’
Interview with Dr. Gary Bloch
CBC News

More than half of diet-related deaths and many diet-related disabilities were attributed to three factors: too much salt, too few whole grains and not enough fruits.

Could pasta actually be your weight loss friend?
Research by Dr. John Sievenpiper
Zoomer

Is pasta as bad as all the fad diets say it is? Research suggests that it can help rather than sabotage our weight loss efforts.

April 1

Electronic tool has potential to improve asthma care
Research by Dr. Samir Gupta and Courtney Price
Hospital News

A first-of-its-kind computerized decision support tool has the potential to improve the quality of asthma care in primary care settings. With the Electronic Asthma Management System (eAMS), asthma control in a study by Dr. Samir Gupta increased from 14 per cent to 59 per cent of patients. The self-management tool lets patients know how to adjust their medications if their asthma flares up.

Incentive payments for family doctors may not have intended results
Research by Dr. Rick Glazier
ICES

An incentive payment called the “access bonus,” designed to encourage better access to family medicine and discourage patients from seeking care outside their family doctor’s office, may be inadvertently benefiting family doctors with lower levels of access in Ontario, according to a new study by researchers at ICES and St. Michael’s Hospital.

March 28

St. Mike’s study using HIV-positive organ donors
Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Zaltzman
CTV News

Dr. Jeffrey Zaltzman, the director of the Kidney Transplant Program at St. Michael’s, said the hospital is studying the use of HIV-positive donors and that their organs would only be used for recipients who are HIV positive. He said he has no doubt Canada will eventually have HIV-positive donors, but added that the impact on waiting lists will be minimal due to the small pool of healthy potential donors and recipients.

Liquid meal replacements contributed to greater weight loss than low-calorie diets: review
Research by Dr. John Sievenpiper
Medical Xpress

Liquid meal replacements helped overweight diabetes patients lose an average of about five pounds more than others who tried a conventional low-calorie diet, according to a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

March 22

Hears the pitch: Ryerson-led research team invents a new mode of photoacoustic imaging
Research by Drs. Michael Kolios, Michael Moore and Xiao-Yan Wen
Science Codex

Did you know that music and diagnostic imaging have something in common? Sounds have a lower or higher pitch depending on the size of the object that creates them. Tubas and double basses are big and produce deep low-pitch sounds, while flutes and violins are small and produce high-pitched sounds. What’s interesting is that the same effect occurs when biological structures like cells or tissues emit sound – the pitch varies with size.

March 21

Medical view of gun violence welcome
Editorial focused on efforts by Dr. Najma Ahmed
Winnipeg Free Press

New Zealand has acted promptly to reform its gun laws following recent shootings at two mosques in Christchurch that left 50 people dead and dozens injured. Canada should take note.

March 20

Review of osteoporosis clinical practice guidelines finds majority lack patient values
Research by Dr. Joanna Sale
Medical Xpress

Patients’ voices are ignored all too often in osteoporosis clinical practice guidelines, say researchers, who reviewed 70 English-language guidelines around the world and found less than 40 percent included any mention of patients’ beliefs, values or preferences (BVPs).

March 18

Low awareness of heart risks, heart health among young women
Research by Dr. Beth Abramson
Reuters

Young women are largely unaware of the risks they face from cardiovascular disease, even though it remains the top cause of death for American women, researchers warn.

March 17

Scarborough’s Providence Healthcare offering 3 free community sessions
Interview with Erin Leneeuw
Toronto.com

At Providence Healthcare, the focus is on helping people flourish both within the hospital and in the community. Providence’s Scotiabank Learning Centre (SLC) — located in our hospital — helps patients, caregivers and people in our community cope with conditions such as stroke, dementia, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease.

March 14

African mothers 50 times more likely to die after c-section than moms in rich countries, study says
Commentary by Dr. Anna Dare
CNN

African mothers who give birth by cesarean section are 50 times more likely to die after the procedure than women living in high-income countries, the research says. The study, published Thursday in the journal Lancet Global Health, found that the maternal mortality rate in African countries was “substantially higher than expected.”

March 13

Toronto surgeon, medical group call complaints to regulatory body about gun law advocacy ‘abuse’ of system
Interview with Dr. Najma Ahmed
Global News

An organization of doctors fighting for stricter gun legislation in Canada says Ontario’s medical regulator will not be pursuing numerous complaints launched against one of its founding members.

How granting dying wishes is helping people ease the pain of losing loved ones
Feature about the Three Wishes Project and interview with Orla Smith
CBC News

The Three Wishes Project, originally launched in an intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, grants dying patients and their loved ones wishes. The project’s goals are to dignify the patient’s death, to help family members celebrate their loved one’s life, and to help clinicians improve their care.

March 12

Vegan pregnancy is safe if you do it right
Interview with Dr. Sari Kives
Today’s Parent

Your vegan pregnancy diet should pay close attention to nutrients, supplements and meal plans. Here’s what you need to know.

Majority of 200,000 deaths in children aged 5 to 14 in India, China, Brazil and Mexico are preventable, study suggests
Research by Drs. Shaza Fadel and Prabhat Jha
Medical Xpress

Most deaths of children aged five to 14 in India, China, Brazil and Mexico arise from preventable or treatable conditions, suggests a new study published today in The Lancet.

March 7

Toronto trauma surgeon target of complaints by gun-rights advocacy group
Interview with Dr. Najma Ahmed
The Globe and Mail

A Toronto surgeon who treated victims of last summer’s Danforth shooting is being challenged by a firearm lobby group, which has filed dozens of professional complaints against her as part of a wider campaign in opposition to a group of Canadian physicians pushing for stricter gun control.

Predictors ID’d for successful removal of mechanical ventilation
Research by Dr. Martin Dres
HealthDay, via Medical Xpress

Mechanically ventilated patients who pass a spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) and are extubated reach a higher level of wakefulness, indicated by a higher odds ratio product (ORP), according to a study published online March 1 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

March 6

As 2nd person declared HIV-free, advocate says finding ‘functional cure’ is key
Interview with Dr. Darrell Tan
CBC Radio’s The Current

After researchers declared a second person HIV-free, one advocate says we need to focus on finding “a functional cure” that allows patients to “coexist” with the virus — without taking drugs.

Therapy dogs bring some comforting four-legged medicine into the lives of hospital patients
Interview with Charissa Choi
The Catholic Register

When Harley travels the halls at Providence Healthcare, he gets the rock star treatment. Everyone wants a piece of the mixed-breed Bijon-Coton de Tulear dog. People stop in their tracks, both patients and staff, to share a friendly word with Harley. And he laps it up.

A new wound-care initiative is tackling painful wait times
Patient feature, plus interviews with Chiara Campitelli-Thompson, Dr. James Mahoney and Janeth Velandia
Hospital News (pages 28 and 30)

Trevor Kampen marvels at the number of people he’s met during his journey from St. Michael’s Hospital to Providence Healthcare to treat his debilitating pressure wound, a condition caused by his spina bifida.

March 5

Study shows success of measles vaccine campaigns in India
Research by Drs. Benjamin Wong and Prabhat Jha
Science Daily

A mass measles vaccination campaign saved tens of thousands of children’s lives in India between 2010 and 2013, according to a new report.

March 3

Doctor debunks anti-vaccination arguments amidst a measles outbreak in B.C.
Interview with Dr. Anne Wormsbecker
CBC News Network

Pediatrician at Unity Health Toronto, Dr. Anne Wormsbecker, joins CBC News Network’s Michael Serapio to discuss what people need to know about vaccinations as British Columbia battles a measles outbreak and Toronto tackles a vaccination misinformation campaign.

March 1

AI implemented for Emergency Department forecasting at St. Michael’s
Interviews with Dr. Muhammad Mamdani and Ray Howald
Canadian Healthcare Technology (page 21)

When considering a solution for staff scheduling challenges in the bustling emergency department at St. Michael’s Hospital, Dr. Muhammad Mamdani suggested artificial intelligence.

Feb. 24

Doctors moonlighting as inventors face unique hurdles to commercialization
Interview with Dr. Joao Rezende-Neto
The Canadian Press, via the National Post

In Dr. Joao Rezende-Neto’s 25-year career as a trauma surgeon, he’s only twice dealt with patients who insisted on forking over big bucks to buy equipment for a procedure.

Feb. 22

Drs. Michael Cusimano and Kamran Khan among 2018 President’s Impact Award winners
Interview with Dr. Michael Cusimano
University of Toronto

From youth-level hockey to professional football, neurosurgeon Michael Cusimano’s research has influenced policy across the sporting world to reduce concussions and save players’ lives.

Feb. 19

Oral antifungal drug used to treat yeast infections linked to higher rates of miscarriage: study
Interview with Dr. Nav Persaud
The Globe and Mail

A drug commonly used to treat yeast infections is linked to an increased risk of miscarriage in pregnant women, according to new Canadian research.

Feb. 14

New eHealth tool shows potential to improve quality of asthma care
Research by Dr. Samir Gupta
News Medical

A new electronic decision support tool for managing asthma has the potential to improve the quality of asthma care in primary care settings, suggests a study led by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

Feb. 11

Doctors take stand against gun violence, call for stronger firearm laws
Interview with Drs. Najma Ahmed and David Gomez
CBC News

A group of doctors in Canada is taking a stand against gun violence and calling for stronger laws governing firearms to prevent shooting deaths and injuries.

Art exhibit showcases link between health, poverty
Interview with Dr. Stephen Hwang, Dr. Pat O’Campo and Sara Wolfe
CTV News

An interactive display at Brookfield Place highlights Toronto’s urban health challenges, such as homelessness.

Toronto’s St. Mike’s Hospital participating in trial in attempt to halt overdose deaths
Interview with Dr. Dan Werb
CityNews

Drugs sold on the streets today are often cut with fentanyl, and are killing users right now. Awareness campaigns haven’t worked, political options take years of debate and legislating to arrive on the front lines, and meanwhile, people keep dying.

Managing young women at high risk of heart disease
Research by Dr. Beth Abramson
Science Codex

Deaths from heart disease have decreased in recent decades, but these decreases have not occurred in women younger than 50. A new review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) provides guidance for physicians to identify and manage premenopausal women at high risk of heart disease.

Inside an attempt to disrupt the opioid crisis
Interview with Dr. Dan Werb
The Big Story podcast

We’ve already seen the impact that having users inject in a safe space can have on overdoses, so what if we offered to test the drugs for them before they injected. A new program that’s part of a massive focus on urban health through Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital is going to make that offer and see where it leads.

Feb. 8

Opioid crisis
Interview with Dr. Tara Gomes
CBC Radio’s Windsor Morning

Health advocates call it an opioid crisis, and they want the province to declare a state of emergency. But what that would actually do remains heavily debated. Peter Duck speaks with Dr. Tara Gomes – one of the province’s top drug policy researchers.

Feb. 7

St. Mike’s art exhibit focuses on poverty and health
Interview with Dr. Stephen Hwang
The Toronto Sun

A new exhibit at St. Michael’s Hospital uses art to show the effects of poverty on health. Research from the hospital’s MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions has been translated into five art installations which feature patients’ stories.

Providence Healthcare patients can practice outdoor mobility in an indoor setting
Interviews with Sarane Poon and Dellene Sakaguchi
HealthScape

Inside the walls of Providence Healthcare is a parked SUV, patches of artificial grass and gravel, concrete sidewalks, ramps and curbs. The Toyota Canada Motor Skills Clinic is a specially designed room where rehabilitation professionals can help their patients practice and regain their strength and mobility.

Feb. 5

What I’ve learned as a trauma surgeon
Dr. Najma Ahmed speaks at TEDxDownsviewWomen
TEDx Talks

What is it like being a trauma surgeon? What’s it like being a woman AND a trauma surgeon? Dr. Najma Ahmed shares her experience of working in the operating room and challenges women to continue to show up and makes strides for the next generation to come. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Jan. 30

St. Michael’s Hospital’s trauma team shows why seconds count for Toronto’s victims of violence
Interviews with Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak, Sue Zelko and Dr. Najma Ahmed
Global News

In the basement of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto, members of the trauma team gather inside a state-of-the-art simulation lab for a full-scale exercise — one that is painfully too familiar to many in the room.

What is a Mobile Crisis Intervention Team?
Interview with Sivi Joachim
CP24

Two people on the forefront of the public response to those suffering from mental health crises speak about their experience.

Men get postpartum depression, so why aren’t dads screened?
Interview with Dr. Andrew Howlett
The Huffington Post

Mark Williams is shocked Canada doesn’t provide screening for perinatal mental illness for women or men.

Jan. 28

Health advocates urge Ontario to declare state of emergency over opioids
Interview with Dr. Alexander Caudarella
The Globe and Mail

The Ontario government should immediately declare a state of emergency to combat the worsening opioid crisis, according to health leaders and harm-reduction workers who say the province’s current approach risks making a bad situation worse.

Jan. 27

Is there a better way to measure how cannabis causes impairment?
Interview with Dr. Tom Schweizer
The Globe and Mail

Police who suspect people are driving under the influence of cannabis may ask them to perform a roadside sobriety test, or have them give blood or saliva samples. But even policy-makers recognize these methods, which work reasonably well for alcohol, are unreliable when applied to cannabis.

Jan. 24

Soluble fiber may improve diabetes control
Research by Dr. Vladimir Vuksan
Reuters

People with diabetes who take soluble fiber supplements have slightly lower blood sugar than diabetics who don’t add this type of fiber to their diets, a research review finds.

Jan. 23

Transgender Canadians far less likely to be screened for cancer, raising risk
Research by Dr. Tara Kiran
CTV News

People who are transgender are significantly less likely to receive cancer screenings than the general population, raising their risk of developing the disease undetected in situations that could have been preventable.

Jan. 22

Food Guide recommendations to limit sugary drinks could influence school nutrition programs, expert says
Interview with Dr. Jonathon Maguire
The Globe and Mail

Nutrition experts say recommendations on beverages in the new Canada’s Food Guide will be felt most by young Canadians, as they are among the largest consumers of sugary beverages and have daily exposure to school-based nutrition programs.

Cleaning fluid blocked from optic nerve in glaucoma patients, study finds
Research by Dr. Neeru Gupta
Insight

Canadian researches have discovered the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) – which flushes waste from the optic nerve – is disrupted in mice with glaucoma.

Jan. 21

People classified as trans by health-care providers may actually identify as male or female: study
Research by Dr. Andrew Pinto
Global News

According to a study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) about sexual orientation and gender identity data, some people prefer to identify themselves by their current gender identity and not as a trans male or trans female.

Puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones: Canada’s family doctors get guidance on treating youth with ‘gender dysphoria’
Research by Dr. Joseph Bonifacio
The National Post

Hormone suppression can delay puberty and give youth “more time to make decisions about transitioning,” write the authors of a new review.

‘If you don’t ask, then you won’t know’: family doctors guided on care for transgender teens
Research by Dr. Joseph Bonifacio
CBC News

A growing number of young people identify as transgender, but many miss out on vital care from a family doctor. The authors of a new Canadian review aim to change that.

Jan. 17

Gun violence takes a heavy toll on families of victims, says trauma surgeon
Interview with Dr. Bernard Lawless
CBC Radio’s The Current

For Dr. Bernard Lawless, helping families process that a loved one has been shot can be as difficult as treating the gunshot wounds themselves. “Most people don’t get to rehearse their reaction to a catastrophic event,” he says.

Travel precautions persist for Zika-hit areas
Interview with Dr. Kamran Khan
CBC News

The Zika virus should remain a concern for some Canadians planning winter vacations in sunny climes, doctors say. Public health officials are reminding travellers to protect themselves because even a single mosquito bite can transmit a host of illnesses, including Zika.

More Americans mixing opioids with sedatives
Research by Dr. Nicholas Vozoris
HealthDay

As if the opioid crisis wasn’t already bad enough, new research shows a sharp rise in the number of Americans taking dangerous combinations of opioids and sedatives.

Jan. 15

Geriatric Psychiatric Clinic supports complex needs of older adults
Toronto.com
The Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic is part of a multidisciplinary program, The Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto, housed at Providence Healthcare since 1988. The role of the clinic’s geriatric psychiatrists is to assess, consult, and treat elderly patients who may have a mental health issue, dementia syndrome, behaviour disorder, or a psychosocial problem.

Jan. 14

Toronto adult day program for people with dementia gives caregivers respite
Patient story, featuring interview with Elizabeth Davison
Global News

The Adult Day Program at Providence Healthcare is more like a social club for individuals with moderate to severe dementia. The home-like environment supports caregivers who have a family member living with memory loss.
– More coverage on Global News Radio 640’s The Exchange

Jan. 9

Early rehabilitation in critical care the focus of pilot project
Interviews with Dr. Andrew Baker and Deanna Feltracco
HealthScape

For patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, early mobility can be a key factor to a successful recovery. Now a pilot project underway at St. Michael’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre will further study the impact of movement on recovery and provide a standardized toolkit of best practices to critical care units across the province.

Jan. 7

New Regent Park program provides holistic support for new Indigenous moms
Interview with Dr. Pat O’Campo
CBC News

Dr. Patricia O’Campo, interim VP of Research for St. Michael’s, talks to CBC about the Baby Bundles Project, which aims to stop apprehension of Indigenous children.

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