Archive for August 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

This movie is appropriately titled. To see it forces you to think about your actions and inactions. How can we close our eyes to something that will have such a big impact on our lives? To something that is already having huge consequences on our environment?

The hottest 10 years on record have all been recorded in the last 14 years! People joke that that just provides an opportunity for more beach days, but people are dying as a consequence of global warming.

Does it not seem as if there are more and more hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters lately? That’s because there are. The number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Glaciers are disappearing. Malaria is spreading. Droughts, floods, and wildfires are increasing. Animals are at risk of disappearing:

The impact of global warming is even being felt by Vancouver Island businesses this summer with the closing of tourist-related businesses this long weekend due to a water shortage.

One could read these facts and feel dispair. But, as is said in the movie, there is a step between denial and dispair. That step is action. We took action when the ozone layer was severely damaged and we forced our governments to make the necessary changes. Now the ozone layer is no longer a concern. For what you can do see

Why do I post something about the environment on my site that is about health? Well, because your environment does affect your health. As much as we have technology to heat or cool our indoor spaces, we don’t live in our own personal bubbles. Peoples joints really do ache when the weather turns damp. People do get headaches with weather changes. Environmental allergies are huge! In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we do see the relationship between wind, cold, heat, damp, and dry with health conditions ranging from the common cold, to strokes, to cancers.

Have you seen the movie? What do you think? What have you done?


Stomach Stapling for Kids?

Apparently more and more hospitals in the U.S. (not sure if it’s happening in Canada) are now offering stomach stapling procedures for children. Why is it that when we have to face something that requires long-term healthy lifestyle changes, we feel it will be better to choose the risky quick fix? What are we teaching our kids when we suggest just cutting out parts of our bodies that cause us problems rather than addressing the true causes–unhealthy lifestyles, poor eating habits, and lack of exercise?

Doctors supporting the surgery say that it will help to prevent future diseases associated with obesity, such as heart disease and diabetes. Does it really? Just because a person has a tiny stomach, doesn’t mean that they will be healthier!

Is this what we’re now calling “Preventative Medicine”? I think that it’s time that we started taking responsibility for ourselves and make the right choices. Yes, that can be challenging at first. But once a person gets over the hump of initial changes, it really is not that hard to do!

But that’s just my opinion. If you have (or if you don’t, imagine) an obese child, would you get the stomach stapling procedure done for him/her?

Oh, and one more thing. I came across this webpage and….this can’t be true: “Do-It-Yourself Stomach Stapling Kits!”??? I’m sure it isn’t, but take a read anyway:



This blog is not just for me to blab on about what I think. It is for others to express their opinions about various health topics. That said, here are some links to interesting polls I thought were thought-provoking:

To what degree do you think clinicians’ prescribing practices are or are not influenced by pharmaceutical company advertising?

In May, the top 3 soft-drink companies agreed to a ban on sweetened drinks like Coke, Pepsi, and iced teas in all school cafeterias and vending machines nationwide in response to the threat of lawsuits and state legislation. Sales are not expected to be affected; the sweetened drinks will be replaced by others. Do you favor or oppose this ban?

Recent reports of sleep-driving and behavioral changes (aggressiveness, obliviousness) after taking the sleep aid Ambien have prompted calls for increased FDA warnings on the drug. Do you think Ambien needs more warnings added to its label or are current warnings not to drive or drink alcohol after taking the drug adequate?

What are your opinions?



This being my first posting, I want to introduce my idea for this blog. I have often thought to myself as I have come across some interesting piece of health information, “I should do something with this info so others can read, hear about, or look at it.” I often don’t want to publish these tidbits and ideas on my website as the topics can vary quite widely and the amount of information can become unwieldy. Aside from that, I really want to receive comments and I’d like to offer a way for my patients and others interested in their health to communicate with each other. Finally, I am forever a student, always wanting to learn more, and I often find that my patients and the people I meet are a wonderful source of information and inspiration.

This will also be a great opportunity for me to learn what topics “inquiring minds want to know” so I can do a larger focus for magazine articles and e-newsletters I write.

Let’s start this off with something inspiring…one of those things you get via email that at first seems like a waste of time (or perhaps a good way to procrastinate from work you should be doing), that you read while hovering the cursor over the “delete” button, and that you then smile at when you finish and send it off because you think it might make someone else smile too.

We can all learn a lesson from this great old girl! The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.

“I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied.”Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged…it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away …just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account …you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing. Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.”

Have a happy day!

Let’s not wait until we are 92 to learn this great wisdom!

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