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Thursday, January 28, 2010

H1N1 vaccine makers & The WHO are being Investigated

I heard recently from the news that the second wave of H1N1 has been declared over in Canada. To be honest, we haven't seen too many concerned patients clamouring for H1N1 treatments or for information regarding the vaccine since the initial scare. The Canadian government had ordered enough vaccines for every single Canadian. As a result of the low vaccination rates, I believe we ended up donating much of the vaccines to other countries.

I haven't had to answer an H1N1 question for so long, but two interesting notes came to my attention this week.

1) A patient here at the clinic (who reads European & Russian newspapers) informed us that there were big investigations getting started in Europe regarding the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry's reach and their ability to influence the World Health Organization. That sounded far-fetched to me (as I'm not one to believe in conspiracy theories). But it appears that an inquiry is being launched. This is news that has yet to appear here in North America. You can read more about this here.

2) Apparently pregnant women in Hong Kong have stopped getting the H1N1 vaccine. This has happened as news of 3 fetal deaths occurring in the last month after women received the H1N1 shot. I believe that at least one of these women had an underlying complication.

Frankly, I don't know enough about what's happening in Asian or Europe to make a well-informed commentary, but for those of you who would like to do further research, send me an email or links for what you find and I'll try to post relevant information for our readers.

Yours in health,

Ian Koo, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Essentials Health Centre
"The care you want, the health you need"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year's Resolutions! Weight Loss & Quitting Smoking

Happy 2010 everyone!

Like every other year, many of you have set New Year's Resolutions for yourself. Two common ones seen here at the clinic is to 1) Lose Weight and 2) Quit Smoking.

First off, if you've tried to do this in the past and were unsuccessful, don't despair! If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.......and believe me, you will eventually get it right. Sometimes though, people just need a helping hand: support from friends and family members, advice from a professional or health care practitioner who is knowledgeable in these areas and can guide you through tough times is a must.

Failures should be looked upon as learning opportunities. It's what I tell all my patients. Don't beat yourself up about past failures. LEARN from them! Why were you unsuccessful in previous attempts? Make a list and work on solutions to those obstacles because these obstacles will be present this time around as well.

Obesity in a recently published report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine now ranks as the biggest health risk in North America, ahead of smoking! Who would have thought? It appears that the anti-smoking campaign this past decade has been making a considerable impact. Smoking rates have declined 18.5% in the U.S. between 1993 to 2008, however we've seen obesity rates increase by 85% over the same time frame. It should be noted that approximately 20,500 Canadians died of lung cancer in 2009 and 85% of that was due to smoking. I often tell smokers that they need to be aware that smoking increases the risks of ALL cancers - the smoke and the toxins pass through your entire body - the liver, kidneys, bowels - not just your lungs.

Diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and even things like low libido and erectile dysfunction can be attributed to one being overweight. My patients know that I'm not a fan of fad diets. I don't even like that word - 'diet'. It sends the wrong message. Diets too often implies that we'll be eating a certain way for a set period of time. But what happens when you go off the diet? Can you sustain this way of eating? The end goal isn't all about losing weight, it's about what kind of weight you've lost (ie. fat instead of muscle) and how you feel (ie. more energy). Often times, people find other health concerns are diminished when they lose weight (ie. back pain).

So make 2010 a good year.....the year you finally quit smoking and get your weight under control. Do this for yourself and for your loved ones!

Yours in health,

Ian Koo, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Essentials Health Centre
"The care you want, the health you need"

FYI: 2010 is the year of the nurse. To all my friends and colleagues who are nurses, have an especially good year. We appreciate the job you're doing!