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Monday, 15 August 2011

Public health news of the day – hot topics. Asbestos, MS, war, electronic health records and what's missing

Asbestos – can you believe the audacity of the Canadian government to chastize the widow of a worker killed by mesothelioma for expressing her views on Canadian asbestos policy.   One has to wonder how dependant the governing party of Canada is on industry supported money.  They put enough in to support the industry, it is a great way to have money back in their party coffers.
MS treatment by venous angioplasty (CCSVI) – a preliminary report that shows some benefit in symptom reduction and duration of remission – only 15 patients though.   Keep your fingers crossed, but it is still too early to spend personal money on unproven treatments.
If you read the blog on Leukemia and MS and are amazed at coincidence, check out the CTV blog by Dr. Lorne Brandes http://healthblog.ctv.ca/post/Immunity-leukemia-and-multiple-sclerosis-A-tale-of-two-studies-and-their-politics.aspx .  Uncanny parallel.   
War and Peace – gang related violence hits peaceful Kelowna.  3 shot in garage in Winnipeg.  Both headlines seem related to gangs.  Talk about bringing the issue of war close to home. Iraqi bombs kill 56.  Syria enters third day of “major assault” (at least 188 deaths this month). 
Google Health has announced its imminent demise.  The effort to allow individuals to make their personal health records available.  A topic for later this week. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/update-on-google-health-and-google.html
Now for the interesting stuff – what’s not in the news.  
·         What ever happened to C. difficile in Ontario, after a documented 26th death in late July, no reporting.
·         When was the last time you heard the Public Health Agency in Canada (PHAC) in the news.   These are the defenders of our wellbeing.
·         For that matter – have you heard anything from the Ministry of Health where you live?  Health expends close to 50% of provincial budgets, you might think that it should generate some news daily.  Only in Quebec does the media dedicate effort to tracking health stories, and only through Andrew Picard at the Globe and Mail are public health issues even occasionally reported nationally. 

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