Why you should not potty train your baby…

In the article “A Doctor Responds: Don’t Potty Train Your Baby” Steve Hodges, a pediatric urologist, explains why children before the age of 2 should not be potty trained.

Fish oil and the prevention of allergies in infants

Is sugar toxic?

Excellent article:  Is sugar toxic?  Worth the read.

Maternity Leave

I’m on maternity leave until April 2012. Until then, please see one of my colleagues at the Vancouver Wellness Centre.

Preventing car sickness for your kids

Want to avoid using medication for motion sickness?  I find it’s often necessary to combine natural treatments, so try using these strategies together:

Look outside and ahead

Have your kids look constantly ahead (not to the sides), outside the car at the environment, rather than inside the car.  This creates balance between their eyes and organs within the inner ear, which helps prevent the motion sickness.

The inner ears respond to the car’s movement and so if a child’s eyes focus within the car, as the car moves or goes around a corner, the brain receives one type of signal from the ears and another type of signal from the eyes, about where it is in space.  These differing signals to the brain leads to the nausea.

Keep the kids looking outside and ahead by playing games identifying certain types of cars or special license plates.  That means, avoid reading and playing computer games, which brings the focus back inside the vehicle.  It may help to have them sit in the front seat as it’s best to look ahead rather than to the sides.


Try Seabands for Children which work for many kids.  It’s a wrist band that uses acupressure to stimulate specific areas of the wrist’s nerves to prevent nausea. Research shows they are more effective when the that wrist area is moved around so don’t have them sit completely still.  Interestingly this spot on the wrist corresponds to the acupuncture point used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for treating nausea.
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Mental Health: an innovative treatment

I went to the Vancouver Public Salon this week.  It’s a collection of speakers giving short talks on a wide variety of interesting topics.  Their moto is: “Interesting People. Interesting Ideas. An evening to inspire and educate.”

Check out what one of the speakers, David Granirer is doing:  Stand Up for Mental Health, is a health project that teaches people with mental illness how to do stand up comedy.   An unlikely approach and I admit, not the first therapy that would have come to my mind.  But it’s a wildly popular class with training now all around Canada and the US, including Vancouver, Victoria, Courtenay, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Fort Frances, Guelph, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

“There’s something amazing about having members your community take the stage at an event and rock the house, says Granirer. It’s incredibly empowering and a great way of fighting public stigma. Most so-called normal people would never want to go anywhere near stand-up comedy. Seeing people with mental illness do it forces the audience to re-evaluate their perceptions of and prejudices against people who have a mental illness.”

“I’ve had students overcome long standing depressions and phobias, not to mention increasing their confidence and self-esteem. There’s something incredibly healing about telling a roomful of people exactly who you are and having them laugh and cheer.”

“Seeing people talking about their mental illness through comedy would have made such a difference to me [at the point in my life when I was suffering from depression]. To have mental illness brought out of the closet in that way, to have role models who were funny and courageous would have been huge in helping me to overcome my shame.  I remember going around thinking, ‘I am nothing, I am no one.’ My whole personality changed from being an extrovert to a hermit who isolated and avoided people. I’d be walking down the street and see someone I knew and run around the block to hide from them.”

Says David, “I got tired of all those self-help books that say you have to be completely confident and spiritually centered in order to succeed. I think those books set people up to fail. I’m basically a neurotic guy, and my fear and anxiety are a fabulous source of motivation. And I think there are lots of people out there like that. We need to be able to celebrate our neurotic ways of getting things done rather than feel ashamed.”

Here is the local calendar if you’re interested in catching a show or want to learn more about the program.

What you need to know about your breast density, breast cancer and mammograms….

I highly recommend listening to this TED talk by Dr. Deborah Rhodes, an expert in managing breast cancer risk.

The density of your breasts determines how well a mammogram will pick up a tumour. Breast density decreases with age but many, many women, especially younger women who haven’t reached menopause, have dense breasts that reduce the efficacy of a mammogram.

Based on the current available technology, for women who haven’t gone through menopause and who have dense breasts, it is recommended a digital mammogram is used, rather than the film or regular mammogram, as this increases the ability for the radiologist to see the difference between breast tissue and a tumor.

Because x-rays are influenced by breast density, Dr. Rhodes started looking into other detection methods that didn’t use x-rays.  She and her team developed a breast cancer detection device using very low level gamma rays (which results in the same radiation exposure as a mammogram).  The MBI, the gamma ray tool she and her team developed, can capture very tiny tumors in dense breast tissue and can detect three times as many breast tumors as mammography in high risk (high breast density) women. She advocates the use of the MBI as an additional tool, not a replacement to mammograms.

Please watch this short talk and learn some key points every woman should know about breast cancer and breast density.