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What's in the news: Nov. 18 -- Will feds permit a supervised Vancouver crack-smoking site?

Trying to make crack safer
Vancouver may get a supervised crack-smoking clinic. PHS Community Services, which also operates the supervised injection site Insite, would like to set up the crack-smoking clinic but federal officials would have to provide an exemption to the relevant drug-control laws. [Globe and Mail] Needless to say, the idea is a controversial one. [Vancouver Courier]

Emergency military mental-health team formed
The Canadian Forces created an emergency mental-health squad to respond to soldiers' urgent psychological problems. Major Rakesh Jetly, mental health adviser to the Forces' surgeon general, said they will study soldiers' suicides to find out how to prevent more from occurring. [Toronto Star] This tacit admission by the military should go some way to appeasing members of the Canadian psychiatric community, who in the past clashed with military physicians over what the quality of psychiatric care being provided.

Health system shuffled in PEI
The government of PEI has elected to restructure its healthcare bureaucracy. A new board will govern an agency called Health PEI, which will be charged with organizing care across the island. "Taking the politicians out of health care" is how described Health Minister Doug Currie described the new system, though few details have been released about the specifics. [CBC News]

H1N1 flu news
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has, it seems, quietly revised her initial goal of providing H1N1 flu immunizations for all Canadians who want one by December 31. She now says that the government will "try" to do so by December 31. Liberal health critic Dr Carolyn Bennett, who does not appear to be big fan of Ms Aglukkaq on a good day, really let her have it during question period in Parliament on Monday. [Maclean's]

The Canadian Health Coalition denounced the federal government's inaction on the issue of H1N1 flu vaccines being distributed to private clinics while many in the public healthcare system still wait to be immunized -- a practice the CHC equates with queue-jumping. The coalition has asked supporters to send emails with their concerns to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP leader Jack Layton. [Canadian Health Coalition] [Canadian Health Coalition news release]

Dr Yves Bolduc, the health minister of Quebec, threatened nurses who abet queue-jumping for H1N1 flu vaccines. [CBC News]

H1N1 flu patients could find it very difficult to get a life-insurance policy while they are infected -- and even after they've been cured. [Canadian Business]

BC drug-policy researcher Alan Cassels bemoaned the hype that's made the H1N1 flu pandemic seem far more dangerous than he believes it to be. [CBC News]

Canada has now spent over $1,500,000,000 on the H1N1 flu. Former Ontario chief medical officer of health Richard Schabas wondered whether the disease was worth that much spending, and that the pandemic was a "dud." "It's really not causing — and is not going to cause and nowhere has caused — significant levels of illness or death," he said. [CBC News]

Vancouver Sun health reporter Pamela Fayerman took a look at experts' projections of the number of people who will be infected with the H1N1 flu this year and discovered a wide range -- anywhere between 10% to 35% of the population. [Vancouver Sun, Medicine Matters blog]

The majority of Canadians now think the H1N1 flu threat has been exaggerated, an Ekos poll found. [CBC News]

Northern Ontario med school's first grads test well
The Northern Ontario School of Medicine's graduates this year -- its first graduating class of MDs ever -- scored sixth out of 17 medical schools across the country on Medical Council of Canada qualifying exams. [NOSM news release] Unfortunately, the MCC can't release its data to Canadian Medicine. Would anybody with access to the data -- someone from one of the schools' dean's office, perhaps -- like to share with us. Send an email to solomon at parkpub dot com or share with everyone in the comments below. Inquiring minds want to know.

Orbinski advocates for embattled Sri Lankan MDs

University of Toronto professor Dr James Orbinski, the former international president of Médecins sans frontières, spoke out on behalf of Sri Lankan doctors who've been caught up in a political battle in the wake of that country's terrible civil war. [Canadian Immigrant] Activists around the world have rallied to join the Save the Doctors Campaign, to protect the Sri Lankan physicians from prosecution. [Save the Doctors]

Gaza MD finds refuge in Toronto
A Palestinian gynecologist who lost three daughters in last winter's Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, has taken his wife and his five remaining children with him to Toronto. Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish is now a professor of global health at the University of Toronto. [Toronto Star]

Saxagliptin, new diabetes drug, approved
A new supplementary diabetes drug saxagliptin (marketed as Onglyza) was approved by Health Canada to aid patients' glycemic control. [AstraZeneca Canada news release]

Wanna buy some drugs -- whatever they are?
More often than not, recreational drugs are not as advertised. An analysis of police raids conducted in Quebec over the last several years found that more than half of illegal pills being sold were not what they were said to be. Many ecstasy tablets, for instance, were discovered to contain methamphetamine. [Sûreté du Québec news release] [Canadian Press]

Sounds a bit uncomfortable...

Lying immobile in bed with your head below your feet at a -6 degree angle for 60 days of bed rest speeds up bone marrow fat accumulation by an average of four years. That's what an international team of scientists, led by Ottawa researcher Guy Trudel, discovered when conducting a space-travel-simulation experiment. [Journal of Applied Physiology abstract]

Fair care for immigrants and refugees in Canada
Next Thursday evening, at Ryerson University, a panel discussion will be held on the topic of healthcare for immigrants and refugees. The event is called "Crossing the Borders: Creating a Just Health Care System for Immigrants and Refugees" and will take place at 6:30pm at 55 Gould Street in the Ryerson Student Campus Centre, Room 115.

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  2. sharon18 November, 2009 6:57 AM

    We need to be in a "new space" over the next few weeks and address how vigilance is being expressed after this latest rise in H1N1 death over the past week.
    Talking about established programs and how the entrenched and retrenched positions give us angst has it's season..... but right now we need to be in a "quick response team" mode if/and when we see geometric growth of H1N1 deaths:

    Let's not have our ears full of sand on this one......

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  4. sharon19 November, 2009 11:04 PM

    Nov.11 to Nov.17 = 198 deaths(total)

    Nov.17 to Nov.19 = 250 deaths (total)

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  6. sharon6 December, 2009 1:33 AM

    Nov.11 to Nov.17 = 198 deaths(total)

    Nov.17 to Nov.19 = 250 deaths (total)

    Nov.26 to Dec.3 = 357 deaths ( latest total)

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    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. dich vu seo5 March, 2012 5:24 AM

    Last year in early November I was walking around the downtown eastside as part of normal routine, and couldn’t help but notice the poverty and hopelessness that seem to be rampant on every corner of this the poorest part of our lovely city. I myself have suffered in the past from addiction and temporary homeless conditions. After a few days of feeling inspired I decided to carry a camera with me and started to document what I saw for the next two week’s I gathered together a archive of photo’s and with the help of a friend we produced a video which we aptly named THE OLYMPICS’ TOOK MY HOME This video is currently hosted on over fifty websites throughout the world. I also started a WEBSITE called ” WHO NEW” Today I’m so looking forward to the coming event’s surrounding the Olympics’ and the plight of this neighborhood Here is the link to this video