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Stats Can meets Dr. Sunshine

It's official, about 10% of the population has inadequate concentrations of vitamin D and, of these, 1.1 million Canadians are vitamin D deficient -- this according to a Stats Can report released today. Men are more likely to be deficient than women, especially males under age 40.

The agency defined vitamin D deficiency as a concentration below 27.5 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) — a measurement of concentration based on the number of molecules per litre of blood.

American dermatologist Michael "Dr Sunshine" Holick, the author of the new book "The Vitamin D Solution" blames The American Academy of Dermatology he told the New York Times this past weekend. He knocks the Academy for their recommendation that "that you should never be exposed to one ray of direct sunshine without sun protection." He suggests that the Academy is "heavily invested" in the cosmetic industry.

He recommends 2000 IU Ds a day and suggests you can get it by spending 15-30 minutes a day sunning your arms and legs. Why the legs? Because they comprise almost 40% of the skin's surface. He strongly recommends that you always protect your face with sunscreen.

Fired from the University of Boston because of his sunshine advocacy, he remains a controversial figure. For example, the new book's cover touts the vitamin for eveything from depression to autism. In the he latter case says it will help as an improvement to muscle function.

Not surprisingly he recommends that everyone take a supplement. There may soon be confirmation from Stats Can. Future analysis of the data will investigate factors that may influence vitamin D concentrations, such as supplement consumption, body mass index, pregnancy, fish consumption and use of sunscreen. the researchers. said.


Obama, US health insurance boons and EMRs


Congratulations to Mr Obama on the passing of the truly odd health legislation -- a horse designed by a committee that came out a camel if ever there was one. Is the main intention to force private health insurers to take on 30 million new customers? Did I get that right? Free enterprise lives! Remarkably not a single "free-enterprise" Republican voted for it. But then neither did 34 "socialist" Democrats. No one from either party has much of an idea of how the scheme will play out. To hear them talk, it's going to sink each and every one of them who runs in the election this fall regardless of how they voted.

I've had many discussions with Americans about health care over the last five years most of them in airplanes. One seat mate asked if because of long waiting times had he lived in Canada would he have died of the "gall bladder attack" he'd just experienced. Another man. with a young family and no coverage, said he couldn't tolerate the government meddling in his affairs. A woman at a dinner party told me she couldn't bear the thought of the government "knowing everything about me." I suggested she embrace "single payer medical coverage" and address her ire at Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). She was puzzled the learn that in Canada far fewer doctors use EMRs than the US (see below).

It's high time we got serious about EMRs : 62 % of Canadians over age 65 take five or more prescriptions medicines a day. Fully 20% take 10 or more Rx medicines daily.
That's the conclusion of a new UBC study released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information that looked at drug use among more than one million seniors covered by public drug programs in six provinces from 2002 to 2008. Time spent by MDs trying to verify patient medication use could be "virtually" eliminated with more aggressive adoption of EMRs.

Only 37% of MDs here use electronic records and though that’s up from 20 % in 2006, we lag behind most of the other players. In Holland the number is 99% of family doctors using EMR. It's over 90% in Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the UK and Italy. Germany clocks in at 72%, France at 68%, even the US counts 46% of their physicians in the EMR user column.