Transcript: Show #6 | Nov 02, 1999

Maureen stands in a studio with windows and sofa chairs in the background. She is in her forties, has short, side-parted, curly blond-highlighted brown hair in a bob, and wears a red suit.

She says HELLO, I'M MAUREEN
TAYLOR, AND WELCOME TO "YOUR
HEALTH."

(music plays)
The opening sequence begins.

Clips of people of different ages flash on screen one by one against an animated blue sky background. First a baby boy, then a 10-year-old boy with short brown hair, a teenage girl with curly brown hair, a man in his thirties with middle-parted brown hair and glasses, and finally a woman in her sixties with long gray hair.

The title appears: "Your Health."

Clips from the episode flash on screen.

Maureen says THIS WEEK,
SUPERBUGS.
IS A HOSPITAL STAY A THREAT TO
YOUR HEALTH?

A clip shows two paramedics pushing a person into the Emergency room.

Maureen continues HERBAL REMEDIES.
CURES OR CONS?
IS IT TIME FOR GOVERNMENT
REGULATION?

A clip shows shelves with bottles of medicine.

Maureen continues AND SLASHING THE FAT FOR A
HEALTHY DIET.

A clip shows crackers on shelves in a grocery store.

The title appears on screen again and fades to Maureen standing in the studio with a screen in the background that reads "Health Digest."

Maureen says FIRST, SOME OF THE HEALTH
STORIES MAKING NEWS.
CANADIANS ARE CONTENT TO TRY TO
HELP THEMSELVES WHEN IT COMES TO
THEIR HEALTH.
THE TWO FASTEST-GROWING PRODUCT
CATEGORIES IN DRUGSTORES ARE
OVULATION PREDICTOR KITS AND
STOP SMOKING PRODUCTS LIKE THE
NICOTINE PATCH.
MANY ANTI-SMOKE PRODUCTS USED TO
REQUIRE A DOCTOR'S PRESCRIPTION
BUT NOW THEY'RE AVAILABLE OFF
THE SHELF.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO JOIN AN
AEROBICS CLASS OR GET A PERSONAL
TRAINER TO IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS
LEVEL.
RESEARCHERS HAVE SHOWN SIMPLY
WALKING AROUND THE BLOCK BRISKLY
CAN BE JUST AS EFFECTIVE AS
STRUCTURED EXERCISE.
IT DOES A GOOD JOB FIRMING UP
THE PENIS; NOW AN AUSTRALIAN
RESEARCHER THINKS VIAGRA COULD
BE USED TO KEEP FRUIT FRESHER
LONGER.

The screen in the background changes to display a photograph of 4 pills with a title that reads "Viagra."

Maureen continues PROFESSOR WILLIS SAYS THE
VIRILITY DRUG COULD EXTEND THE
SHELF LIFE OF FRUITS AND
VEGETABLES BY 200 percent.
IT HAS TO DO WITH THE DRUG'S
ABILITY TO PRODUCE NITRIC OXIDE
WHICH EXTENDS THE RIPENING
PROCESS.

A slide appears on screen that reads "Six million Viagra prescriptions were written in the U.S. in the first year. Source: The Medical Post."

Back in the studio, Maureen says SUPERBUGS ARE
BACTERIA THAT HAVE BECOME
RESISTANT TO ANTIBIOTICS AND
THEY'VE BEEN MULTIPLYING IN
HOSPITALS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA
AT AN ALARMING RATE.
EACH YEAR AN ESTIMATED HALF A
MILLION HOSPITAL PATIENTS IN THE
U.S. AND CANADA ARE INFECTED OR
COLONIZED WITH A SUPERBUG.
THEIR ILLNESSES RANGE FROM MINOR
SKIN INFECTIONS TO
LIFE-THREATENING DISEASES LIKE
PNEUMONIA AND MENINGITIS.

Clips of different bacteria appear on screen.

Maureen says BACTERIA CAUSE DEADLY DISEASES:
TUBERCULOSIS, CHOLERA, TYPHOID
AND PNEUMONIA, TO NAME A FEW.
A SINGLE-CELLED MICROORGANISM,
BACTERIA MULTIPLY EVERY 20
MINUTES, ADAPTING RAPIDLY TO
CHANGES IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT.
ANTIBIOTICS WERE DEVELOPED AS
WEAPONS AGAINST DISEASES THAT
HAVE KILLED MILLIONS THROUGHOUT
THE WORLD.

Clips of scientists analyzing bacteria appear on screen.

Maureen says FOR YEARS THEY SEEMED TO WORK,
BUT RECENTLY HOSPITALS HAVE
BECOME A HOTBED FOR NEW STRAINS
OF ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT
BACTERIA.
THOSE ARE CALLED SUPERBUGS.

Dr. Donald Law appears on screen with a caption that reads "Dr. Donald Law, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Chef Microbiologist." He is in his sixties, has balding brownish gray hair, wears glasses, is clean-shaven, and wears a gray patterned collared shirt.

Dr. Law says THE PROTOTYPIC SUPERBUG THAT
WE'VE HAD TO DEAL WITH WORLDWIDE
IS M.R.S.A., METHICILLIN
RESISTANT STAPHORIOUS.
A VERY IMPORTANT BACTERIA THAT
CAUSES DISEASE, ESPECIALLY IN
THE HOSPITAL SETTING; AND ONE OF
THE IMPOANT DRUGS, CLASSES OF
DRUGS TO TREAT IT WAS THE
METHICILLIN GROUP.
SOON AFTER THAT GROUP OF
ANTIBIOTICS WAS INTRODUCED, WE
SAW RESISTANCE ARISE AND WE
COINED THE TERM M.R.S.A.

Now Dr. Allison McGeer appears on screen with a caption that reads "Dr. Allison McGeer, Mt. Sinai Hospital slash Inspection Control." She is in her forties, has short, side-parted, feathery dark brown hair, wears glasses, and wears a red blazer.

Dr. McGeer says IN ONTARIO IN 1998 WE KNOW
ABOUT 8,100 PATIENTS ARE
COLONIZED OR INFECTED WITH
M.R.S.A.
SO IN ONTARIO WE KNOW ABOUT ONE
PATIENT EVERY HOUR IS BECOMING
NEWLY COLONIZED OR INFECTED WITH
M.R.S.A.
[(music plays)]

A clip of a sign appears on screen that reads "Biological Hazard, Restricted area Microbiology staff Only."

Dr. Law says STREPTOCOCCUS PNEUMONIA IS A
BACTERIA THAT IS THE COMMONEST
CAUSE OF MIDDLE EAR INFECTION IN
CHILDREN, MENINGITIS, PNEUMONIA
IN BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS, AND
SINUSITIS.
IT'S A VERY IMPORTANT BACTERIA.
IT IS ASSOCIATED WITH A
SIGNIFICANT DEATH RATE WHEN
CAUSING SERIOUS INFECTION LIKE
MENINGITIS OR PNEUMONIA, AND
WE'VE ALWAYS RELIED ON
PENICILLIN AS OUR FIRSTLINE
AGENT.
THE BEST ANTIBIOTIC WE HAD TO
TREAT THIS BACTERIA.

A clip of a scientist analyzing bacteria in a lab appears on screen and Dr. Law continues WHAT WE STARTED TO SEE IN THE
1980s WAS THAT THESE STRAINS
WERE LEARNING HOW TO BECOME
RESISTANT, NOT ONLY TO
PENICILLIN BUT THEY WERE
LEARNING TO BECOME RESISTANT TO
OTHER CLASSES OF ANTIBIOTICS
THAT WE HAD RELIED ON TO TREAT
THESE PATIENTS WITH IN THE LAST
20, 30 YEARS.

Dr. McGeer says ONE OF THE RISKS OF BEING IN
THE HOSPITAL IS GETTING AN
INFECTION WITH AN ANTIMICROBIAL
RESISTANT MICROORGANISM, SO
HOPEFULLY ANY TIME YOU'RE COMING
TO THE HOSPITAL, YOU'RE COMING
FOR SOMETHING THAT OUTWEIGHS BY
A VERY LARGE MARGIN THE
POTENTIAL RISK OF GETTING AN
INFECTION WITH AN ANTIMICROBIAL
RESISTANT ORGANISM.

A photo of a family appears on screen focusing on a man in his sixties, with short dark gray hair, glasses, and a gray beard in the background.

Maureen says THAT'S A RISK JANET McDONOUGH
DIDN'T KNOW SHE WAS TAKING WHEN
SHE BROUGHT HER HUSBAND JOHN TO
THE HOSPITAL IN 1986 FOR A BLOOD
TRANSFUSION.

Janet McDonough appears on screen with a caption that reads "Janet McDonough, Voices on Healthcare Concerns." She is in her sixties, has shoulder-length, curly brownish gray hair, and wears a pink shirt.

Janet says AFTER THEY ENTERED HIM IN,
REGISTERED HIM IN, THEY
IMMEDIATELY TOOK A SWAB Of A
VERY SUPERFLUOUS BEDSORE HE HAD,
AND IT CAME BACK... SO HE WAS
THERE ON APRIL 10th, AND THE
SWAB CAME BACK POSITIVE ON THE
15th.
NOW THAT MEANS THAT IT WAS
POSITIVE FOR M.R.S.A.

Dr. Law says FOR US TO SEE A BLOODSTREAM
INFECTION WITH M.R.S.A. IN THIS
HOSPITAL IS STILL A RARE EVENT.
AND WE MAY ONLY SEE ONE OR TWO A
YEAR.
HOWEVER, WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN
ONTARIO, AND EVEN OTHER PARTS OF
CANADA, IS THAT THE PREVALENCE
OF M.R.S.A. IS RISING AT A VERY
STEADY, VERY DISCONCERTING RATE.

Janet says IT WAS AT THAT POINT I FOUND
OUT THAT THEY HAD HAD AN
OUTBREAK.
BECAUSE ONE OF THE NURSES TOLD
ME.
NO ONE HAD TOLD ME BEFORE.
SHE JUST MENTIONED IT BY
MISTAKE.
AND I SAID, "WHY WASN'T I TOLD?"

Dr. McGeer says I THINK PATIENTS DO HAVE A
RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN
THE HOSPITAL.
AND, UM... WE TRY... I THINK ALL
HOSPITALS TRY TO MAKE SURE THAT
PEOPLE DO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON.
IT'S TRADED OFF AGAINST PEOPLE'S
RIGHTS OF CONFIDENTIALITY, SO
THAT PATIENTS WHO ARE IN THE
HOSPITAL WHO MAY BE INFECTED OR
COLONIZED ALSO HAVE A RIGHT TO
NOT HAVE THE WHOLE WORLD KNOW
THAT SOMETHING'S WRONG WITH
THEM, IF THAT'S NOT RELEVANT.

Janet says RIGHT AWAY THEY ISOLATED HIM
IN A PRIVATE ROOM.
UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS WERE
TAKEN.

Now a clip of a woman in her thirties with blond hair appears on screen as she puts on gloves, a mask, and a gown.

Janet says WE ALL HAD TO WEAR MASKS.
I HAD TO WEAR MASKS, RUBBER
GLOVES.
WE HAD TO WASH OUR HANDS WHEN WE
LEFT THE ROOM, AND WE HAD TO
TAKE OFF THE GOWNS AND THEN PUT
THE GOWNS BACK ON WHEN WE WENT
BACK INTO THE ROOM.
IT'S VERY SMOTHERING.

Back to Janet, she says WHEN IT WAS FOUND THAT HE WAS
POSITIVE FOR A COLONIZATION OF
M.R.S.A., THE PHYSICIANS SAID
THAT THE ONLY ANTIBIOTIC THAT
WOULD WORK AGAINST M.R.S.A. NOW
IS... IT'S CALLED THE DRUG OF
THE LAST RESORT.
IT'S CALLED VANCOMYACIN.

Dr. Law says WE ALWAYS EXPLAIN TO THE
PATIENT WHY WE'RE GIVING THE
DRUG AND WHAT THE OPTIONS ARE.
I MEAN, WE WOULDN'T WANT... IF
THERE'S A REASON TO GIVE IT, WE
HAVE TO... THE PATIENT HAS TO
HAVE FAITH IN US, THAT WE ARE
USING OUR DECISION-MAKING POWERS
TO DECIDE WHEN WE TAKE THE RISKS
OF USING AN ANTIBIOTIC FOR THEM.

Janet says WE TRUSTED THEM COMPLETELY.
AND THEY DIDN'T... BUT THEY
DIDN'T BOTHER TO EXPLAIN THE
RISKS AND THE BENEFITS OF THIS
DRUG.

Dr. Law says THERE'S ALWAYS RISKS TO
TREATMENT WITH ANY OF THE DRUGS
THAT WE USE IN HOSPITAL.
AND ANTIBIOTICS FALL INTO, YOU
KNOW, ONE OF THOSE RISK GROUPS.
AND FORTUNATELY, WE UNDERSTAND
WHAT THE RISKS ARE AND WE KNOW
HOW TO MINIMIZE THEM.
SO NO.
WE WOULDN'T BE USING AN
ANTIBIOTIC THAT PUT SOMEONE AT
RISK IF WE DIDN'T FEEL IT WAS
NEEDED.

Janet says SO THIS POWERFUL DRUG, I
BELIEVE, WAS HARMFUL TO HIM.
IN FACT THE DAY AFTER THEY GAVE
HIM... THE FIRST DAY THEY GAVE
HIM THE VANCOMYACIN, THAT DAY
THEY GAVE IT TO HIM, THAT NIGHT
HE HAD A STROKE.
AND I BELIEVE THAT IT WAS CAUSED
BY THE VANCOMYACIN.
BECAUSE ONE OF THE SIDE EFFECTS
IS... FOR VANCOMYACIN IS IT CAN
CAUSE APOPLEXY IN ELDERLY
PEOPLE.

Dr. McGeer says AN INDIVIDUAL COMING INTO A
HOSPITAL IS ALWAYS AT SOME RISK
OF GETTING AN INFECTION.
AND IT IS... THE FIRST THING
THAT INDIVIDUALS NEED TO KNOW IS
THAT LIKE ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT
DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS, IT'S
PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE TO ASK
QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT THE
PROCEDURE IS AND WHAT'S GOING
ON.

Janet says NOW IN HINDSIGHT I CAN THINK
OF QUESTIONS THAT I SHOULD HAVE
ASKED THE QUESTION BEFORE I
ALLOWED MY HUSBAND TO BE
ADMITTED.
I SHOULD HAVE ASKED THEM IF
THERE WAS AN OUTBREAK OF ANY
KIND OF AN INFECTIOUS ORGANISM.
I SHOULD HAVE ASKED THEM IF
THERE WAS A CONTAMINATION IN THE
HOSPITAL OF ANY KIND AT ALL.
IF THERE HAD BEEN, I CERTAINLY
WOULD NOT HAVE GONE THERE.

Dr. Law says WE'VE RECOGNISED THAT WE HAVE
ANTI-MIC... THESE SUPERBUGS IN
OUR HOSPITAL, AND AS OPPOSED TO
OTHER HOSPITALS, WHERE THEY NOT
BE RECOGNISED, THEY MIGHT NOT
RECOGNISE THEY HAVE A PROBLEM.
IT MIGHT BE FOR THE PATIENT TO
GO TO A HOSPITAL WHERE THESE
PROBLEMS DON'T APPEAR TO EXIST,
MAY BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE
PATIENT.

Janet says I WOULD LIKE TO SEE POLICY
CHANGED.
I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE
HOSPITALS MAKE FULL DISCLOSURE
OF ANY INFECTIOUS ORGANISMS THEY
ARE AWARE OF AT THE HOSPITAL.

Dr. Law says NOW UNFORTUNATELY WHAT WE
HAVE NOT DONE IS WE DO NOT HAVE
NATIONAL POLICIES.
HEALTHCARE IS A PROVINCIAL
ISSUE, AND THEREFORE WHAT YOU'LL
SEE IS QUITE A BIT OF VARIATION
FROM PROVINCE TO PROVINCE.
BUT I THINK WE HAVE SEEN A TREND
IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.
PEOPLE RECOGNISE DIFFERENT
AGENCIES, DIFFERENT GROUPS SUCH
AS THE CANADIAN INFECTIOUS
DISEASE SOCIETY, THAT WE REALLY
DO NEED SOME UNIFORM POLICIES,
AND THOSE ARE STARTING TO BE
DEVELOPED AND I THINK IT'S GOING
TO BE VERY IMPORTANT FOR US.

Dr. McGeer says THE BIGGEST SINGLE THING YOU
CAN DO WHEN YOU'RE IN A HOSPITAL
TO PROTECT YOURSELF TO MAKE SURE
THAT YOU AND EVERYBODY ELSE
WASHES THEIR HANDS.

A demonstration of a woman washing her hands appears on screen. She puts soap on her hands, rubs them together, washes them, and then uses a paper towel to turn the faucet off.

Dr. McGeer continues THAT'S THE OTHER THING THAT'S
PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE TO DO, WHEN
SOMEBODY COMES INTO YOUR ROOM TO
SEE YOU IS TO SAY, YOU KNOW, DID
YOU WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU
SAW ME OR BEFORE YOU TOUCHED ME?
BECAUSE THAT'S THE... AND THAT'S
PROBABLY THE SINGLE THING THAT
WE DON'T DO AS WELL AS WE OUGHT
TO IN HOSPITALS.
AND YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
BOTH FOR YOURSELF AND FOR OTHER
PEOPLE.
YOU KNOW, A LITTLE NUDGE IN THE
DIRECTION OF PREVENTION FOR ALL
OF THOSE OF US WHO WORK IN
HEALTHCARE IS SOMETIMES A GOOD
THING.

Dr. Law says WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT
THIS.
WE CAN'T SIT BACK AND IGNORE IT.
AND I THINK... SO WHAT CAN THE
GENERAL PUBLIC DO?
I THINK OUT IN THE COMMUNITY
WHAT CAN BE DONE IS TO LOOK AT
HOW WE USE OR MISUSE
ANTIBIOTICS.
AND THAT'S SOMETHING WE CAN ALL
DO.
AND WE CAN ALWAYS ASK THE
QUESTION, WE CAN ASK THE
QUESTION TO OUR PHYSICIAN.
WHEN PRESCRIBED AN ANTIBIOTIC,
DO WE REALLY NEED THAT
ANTIBIOTIC?

Dr. McGeer says IT'S A WAR THAT WILL CONTINUE
FOREVER.
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE BACTERIA,
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE HUMANS,
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ILLNESS,
OKAY?
THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE.
BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE
CAN'T WIN.

Back in the studio, Maureen says ACCORDING TO A
RECENT CANADA-WIDE SURVEY, FIVE
OUT OF TEN PATIENTS ASKED FOR
ANTIBIOTICS FOR A COLD OR FLU,
AND 41 percent OF PHYSICIANS SAID THEY
PRESCRIBED THEM TO PATIENTS IF
THEY WERE ASKED, EVEN IF
ANTIBIOTIC TREATMENT WAS
INAPPROPRIATE.

A blue slate appears on screen.

Maureen says LOTS MORE TO COME,
BUT FIRST THIS WEEK'S HEALTH
QUIZ.

On screen a title reads "Your Health Quiz."

The question reads "The official medical term is myocardial infarction. Is it: 1. Heart burn, 2. Heart attack, 3. Heart murmur."

Maureen says THE ANSWER LATER
ON YOUR HEALTH.

Back in the studio, Maureen says HERBS.
WE'RE NOT JUST COOKING WITH THEM
ANYMORE, WE'RE POPPING THEM BACK
FOR EVERYTHING FROM COLDS TO
DEPRESSION.
RECENTLY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
CREATED AN EXPERT ADVISORY
COMMITTEE TO REGULATE NATURAL
HEALTH PRODUCTS.
THE GOAL IS TO ENSURE THAT
HERBAL PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS
GUARANTEE A CERTAIN PURITY AND
DON'T MAKE HEALTH CLAIMS ON
THEIR LABELS THEY CAN'T BACK UP
WITH HARD SCIENCE.
HOW WILL THESE REGULATIONS
AFFECT PEOPLE WHO BUY THINGS
LIKE ECHINACCEA, St. JOHN'S WORT
AND EVENING PRIMROSE OIL?
IS REGULATION EVEN NECESSARY?
MEERA THADANI IS A PHARMACIST
AND WAS A MEMBER OF THE FEDERAL
STANDING COMMITTEE ON HEALTH,

Meera appears on screen sitting in the studio. She is in her fifties, has short, thick black hair, wears round glasses, and a black blazer with a white shirt.

Maureen continues ZOLTAN RONA IS AN M.D. WHO USES
ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES IN HIS
PRACTICE AND WELCOME TO BOTH OF
YOU.

Zoltan appears on screen next to Meera. He is in his fifties, has short, side-parted, straight salt and pepper hair, is clean-shaven, and wears glasses, a black suit, a white shirt, and a black tie.

Maureen continues MEERA, HOW DO YOU FEEL OF
GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF NATURAL
HEALTH PRODUCTS?

Dr. Thadini says I BELIEVE THESE PRODUCTS
SHOULD BE REGULATED, THAT THE
PUBLIC SHOULD GET WHAT THEY'RE
PAYING FOR, AND I BELIEVE THAT
IF THE MANUFACTURER IS GOING TO
MAKE A HEALTH CLAIM, THAT IT
SHOULD BE SUBSTANTIATED BY SOME
GOOD SCIENCE.

Maureen says Dr. RONA, YOU'VE
USED MANY OF THESE IN YOUR
PRACTICE FOR YEARS.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE IDEA OF
REGULATION?

Dr. Rona says FIRST OF ALL THESE HERBS HAVE
BEEN IN USE FOR THOUSANDS OF
YEARS AND REALLY THERE'S NO
EVIDENCE THAT THEY CAN CAUSE ANY
SIGNIFICANT HARM.
IN FACT, MORE PEOPLE DIE EACH
YEAR OF TAKING ASPIRIN AND
TYLENOL THAN THEY DO OF ANY
HERB.
I THINK THAT MUCH OF THE
REGULATIONS IS REALLY OVERKILL.
IT'S UNNECESSARY, EXPENSIVE AND
REALLY... I DON'T SEE ANY REASON
THAT THEY SHOULD BE, YOU KNOW,
DONE RIGHT NOW.
WE DON'T REALLY HAVE THE NEED TO
REGULATE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN
IN USE FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS,
AND YOU KNOW, ARE PERFECTLY SAFE
AND EFFECTIVE.

Dr. Thadini says I, I JUST WANT TO RESPOND TO
Dr. RONA'S POINT OF THOUSANDS OF
YEARS.
I THINK A THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD
ARGUEMENT IS A VALID ARGUMENT
FOR LOOKING AT AND STUDYING THE
PRODUCT, BUT TO SAY IT WHOLESALE
DOESN'T MAKE IT EFFECTIVE.
BLOODLETTING WAS USED FOR
THOUSANDS OF YEARS, BUT THAT DID
NOT MAKE IT EFFECTIVE.
AND I DON'T THINTHAT WE... WE
CAN'T SIMPLY GO AHEAD AND SAY
THEY'RE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE
THEY'VE USED FOR THOUSANDS OF
YEARS.

Maureen says ADDRESS THE
EFFICACY ARGUMENT, NOT THE HARM
ARGUMENT FOR A MOMENT, Dr. RONA.

Dr. Rona says WELL THERE ARE A GREAT DEAL
OF PUBLISHED STUDIES, ESPECIALLY
IN THE PAST 10 TO 15 YEARS ON
THE BENEFITS OF HERBS.
FOR EXAMPLE GARLIC AND GINKO AND
ECHINACCEA AND HUNDREDS OF
OTHERS HAVE BEEN EXTENSIVELY
STUDIED.
IN FACT, THESE THINGS ARE SO
WELL STUDIED NOW EVEN THE
PHARMACEUTICAL WORLD, MANY OF
THE DRUG COMPANIES ARE MAKING
THEIR OWN PRODUCTS.
AND IF YOU GO INTO ANY PHARMACY,
YOU'LL SEE THAT MANY DIFFERENT
COMPANIES HAVE THEIR OWN LINE OF
HERBAL PRODUCTS.
SO IF THESE THINGS WERE SO
INEFFECTIVE, WHY ARE THE
PHARMACEUTICAL PEOPLE SO
INTERESTED IN MARKETING AND
SELLING THEM?

Maureen says LET'S ASK THE
PHARMACIST.

Dr. Thadini says I THINK THERE'S A DEMAND FOR
THESE PRODUCTS, AND THE
PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES ARE
INTERESTED BECAUSE IT'S A MATTER
OF MONEY.
IT'S A BIG MONEY-MAKING MARKET
AND THAT'S WHY THEY'RE
INTERESTED.
BUT JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE POPULAR
DOESN'T MEAN THAT THEY'RE
EFFECTIVE, AND I THINK WE SHOULD
LOOK AT WHAT THEY'RE CLAIMING TO
DO AND WHAT SORT OF SCIENCE IS
THERE?
I MEAN, IF YOU LOOK AT THE
STUDIES FOR GINKO, YOU'LL SEE
THERE ARE 50 SOME STUDIES BUT
ONLY FOR YOU OF THEM ARE
REASONABLY DONE.
AND WHAT DO THESE FOR YOU SHOW?
THAT WE NEED TO STUDY IT SOME
MORE.
IS THAT ANY REASON TO START TO
GO AND MARKET THESE PRODUCTS IN
THE WAY THEY'RE BEING MARKETED
AT THE PRESENT TIME?

Maureen says BUT HOW DO YOU
EXPLAIN THE HUGE POPULARITY OF
THIS PRODUCTS?

Dr. Thadini says I THINK THE PUBLIC FEELS THAT
THEY HAVE NOT BEEN GETTING THE
KIND OF CARE THAT THEY SHOULD BE
FROM OUR CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE.
I THINK THEY FEEL THAT...
THEY'VE TRIED IN MANY CASES, AND
USED MANY OF THE THERAPEUTIC
PRODUCTS WE HAVE AND HAVE
RECEIVED SOME BENEFIT AND SOME
PROBABLY SIDE OR ADVERSE
EFFECTS, BUT THAT IS
DOSE-DEPENDENT ON HOW THE
PRODUCT IS USED.
I THINK PEOPLE ARE DISILLUSIONED
WITH CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE FOR
NOT COMING UP WITH CURES FOR
CANCER AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
AND ARTHRITIS, AND SO THEY ARE
LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES AND FOR
OTHER THINGS THAT MIGHT HELP
THEM.
SO I CAN SEE WHY THE PUBLIC IS
GOING FOR THIS.

Maureen says Dr. RONA, HOW
CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE
PURITY OF NATURAL PRODUCTS THAT
PEOPLE CAN BUY IN PHARMACIES AND
HEALTH FOOD STORES?

Dr. Rona says WELL I THINK THAT THERE ARE A
LARGE NUMBER OF COMPANIES THAT
PUT OUT VERY, VERY PURE
PRODUCTS.
QUITE EXCELLENT.
AND FOR THE MAJORITY OF CASES, I
THINK THAT THE PUBLIC REALLY
DOESN'T HAVE ANY CONCERN.
BUT THERE ARE... IT'S TRUE.
THERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS OUT ON
THE MARKET WHICH DON'T CONTAIN
ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF THE ACTIVE
INGREDIENTS AND THAT MAY CONTAIN
PRODUCTS THAT ARE FAIRLY BOGUS.
SO IT'S A MATTER OF BASICALLY
NOT ONLY TRIAL AND ERROR, BUT
PRACTITIONER EXPERIENCE AS WELL
AS EXPERIENCE OF THE PHARMACISTS
AND OTHER HEALTHCARE
PRACTITIONERS, YOU KNOW, WHO ARE
ABLE TO THEN GUIDE THE PUBLIC IN
TERMS OF WHAT THEY CAN BUY
RELIABLELY.

Maureen says SO IF A CONSUMER IS
BUYING SOMETHING THAT ISN'T
PURE, IS THERE A DANGER IN WHAT
THEY'RE TAKING?
OR IS IT JUST THAT THEY'RE NOT
GETTING THE EFFECTIVE
INGREDIENT?

Dr. Rona says I THINK IT MIGHT BE BOTH IN
SOME CASES.
THERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS THAT ARE
BADLY CONTAMINATED, AND THERE
ARE PRODUCTS THAT ARE
INEFFECTUAL AS WELL.
AND YOU MAY HAVE CERTAIN
PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET WHICH
DON'T CONTAIN THE ACTIVE
INGREDIENT, FOR EXAMPLE SAY FOR
St. JOHN'S WORT OR GINKO OR
GINSENNG OR WHATEVER, SO PEOPLE
MAY NOT BE GETTING A PRODUCT AS
SAFE OR EFFECTIVE AS THEY THINK.

Maureen says WHY WOULD YOU NOT
WELCOME A SYSTEM THAT DEMANDS A
MANUFACTURER PUT IN THE BOTTLE
WHAT IT SAYS IT PUTS IN THE
BOTTLE?

Dr. Rona says SIMPLY BECAUSE THE CANADA
FOOD AND DRUG ACT ALREADY HAS
THOSE GUIDELINES IN IT, AND THE
PROBLEM IS THOSE PARTICULAR
GUIDELINES ARE NOT BEING APPLIED
CONSISTENTLY.
AND BECAUSE OF THAT, IT LOOKS TO
PEOPLE LIKE MISS THADANI HERE
THAT THERE'S INADEQUATE
REGULATION, WHEN IN FACT THE
REGULATION EXISTS.
AND ALL THAT HAS TO HAPPEN IS
BASICALLY THOSE RULES TO BE
APPLIED CONSISTENTLY.

Dr. Thadini says THAT'S TRUE.
I THINK THE RULES HAVEN'T BEEN
APPLIED AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY
NO ENFORCEMENT, OR LITTLE
ENFORCEMENT, FROM HEALTH CANADA
WITH RESPECT TO HERBAL PRODUCTS
AND NATURAL HEALTH PRODUCTS.
I THINK THAT IF THE ENFORCEMENT
WERE THERE, AND IF THE
GUIDELINES WERE BEING PROPERLY
FOLLOWED, WE WOULDN'T HAVE THE
PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE TODAY.
AND I THINK THAT THE PUBLIC
SHOULD GET THE ACTIVE
INGREDIENT.
UNFORTUNATELY, IN MANY OF THESE
HERBAL REMEDIES WE HAVE NOT
ISOLATED THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT,
SO WE REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT
WE'RE DEALING WITH; AND QUITE
OFTEN WHEN YOU SEE THE LABEL
STANDARDIZED TO SUCH AND SUCH,
IT'S STANDARDIZED TO A MARKER.
WHETHER THE ACTUAL ACTIVE
INGREDIENT IS THERE OR NOT, YOU
DON'T KNOW.
IT MAY OR MAY NOT BE THERE BUT
WE DON'T KNOW, SO...

Maureen says LET'S TAKE THE
EXAMPLE OF GLUCOSAMINE.
FOR YEARS CONVENTIONAL DOCTORS
TOLD THEIR PATIENTS "TAKE IT IF
YOU WANT, IT WON'T HURT YOU, BUT
I DON'T THINK IT WORKS ON
ARTHRITIS."
NOW THERE ARE GOOD STUDIES THAT
SAY IT'S EFFECTIVE AND I THINK
WE'LL SEE RHEUMATOLOGISTS
PRESCRIBING IT FOR PATIENTS.

Dr. Thadini says I THINK THAT'S FINE.
IF YOU HAVE THE STUDY TO
SUBSTANTIATE THE CLAIM THEN
THAT'S OKAY.
AND THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT
THING IS TO HAVE THE CLAIM AND
TO HAVE SOME GOOD SCIENCE BEHIND
IT.
AND IF THAT'S THE CASE, THEN
IT'S NOT A PROBLEM AND THEN IT
CAN BE REGULATED APPROPRIATELY
UNDER OUR CURRENT GUIDELINES.
SO WHEN GLUCOSAMINE SHOWS THAT
IT HAS A POSITIVE EFFECT, THEN
THAT'S PERFECTLY OKAY.
WE WILL WIND UP AS SEEING
GLUCOSAMINE AS MEDICINE THAT
WORKS.
I THINK YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE
DISTINCTION BETWEEN MEDICINE
THAT WORKS AND MEDICINE THAT MAY
OR MAY NOT WORK, AND UNTIL SUCH
TIME SOMEONE SHOWS THAT IT
WORKS, IT SIMPLY BECOMES
MEDICINE THAT MAY OR MAY NOT
WORK AND DOESN'T MATTER WHERE IT
CAME FROM, WHETHER IT WAS AN
ALTERNATIVE OR CONVENTIONAL OR
OTHERWISE.

Maureen says WHY OPPOSE STUDIES,
Dr. RONA?

Dr. Rona says I DON'T OPPOSE STUDIES AT
ALL.
I THINK THE THING THAT IS
MISSED... FOR EXAMPLE,
GLUCOSAMINE IS NORMALLY FOUND IN
THE BODY ANYWAY.
TO SAY THAT WE NEED TO STUDY
SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN THERE FOR
THOUSANDS OF YEARS THAT IS
TOTALLY HARMLESS AND IN MOST,
MOST LIKELIHOOD WILL HELP
ARTHRITIS OR WHATEVER, I THINK
IS OVERKILL.
I THINK IT'S FINE TO HAVE
STUDIES, BUT SHOULD WE BE REALLY
WAITING FOR TEN YEARS OR 20
YEARS BEFORE USING GLUCOSAMINE
SULPHATE TO HELP PEOPLE WITH
ARTHRITIS, RATHER THAN GO AHEAD
AND USE IT AND USE SOMETHING
THAT IS SAFE AND IS PROBABLY
EFFECTIVE?

Dr. Thadini says I THINK THE ASSUMPTION HERE
THAT Dr. RONA IS SAYING, IS THAT
IT'S TOTALLY HARMLESS.
HE'S MAKING THE ASSUMPTION THAT
IT'S TOTALLY HARMLESS.
BUT HARM AND SAFETY HAVE TO BE
DETERMINED.
IT CANNOT BE A MATTER OF OPINION
TO DETERMINE WHETHER SOMETHING
IS SAFE OR ISN'T.
WE HAVE TO LOOK AT IT TO SEE
WHETHER IT IS OR ISN'T SAFE.
TO ASSUME IT'S HARMLESS IS NOT
REASONABLE.

Maureen says WILL ALTERNATIVE
AND CONVENTIONAL PRACTITIONERS
EVER SEE EYE-TO-EYE ON THIS
POINT?

Dr. Rona says I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE'RE
GOING TO SEE IN THE FUTURE.
I THINK THERE'S GOING TO BE A
BLENDING OF BOTH.
RIGHT NOW IT'S ALREADY HEADED IN
THAT DIRECTION, BUT AT SOME
POINT I THINK THAT CONVENTIONAL
DOCTORS WILL BE USING A LOT OF
THESE NATURAL ALTERNATIVES.
AND MANY OF THEM HAVE ALREADY
INCORPORATED THINGS LIKE
GLUCOSAMINE INTO THEIR
PRACTICES.
I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING WE'RE
GOING TO BE SEEING IN THE
FUTURE.

Maureen says I WANT TO THANK YOU
BOTH FOR TALKING TO US ABOUT
THIS.

Dr. Thadini says THANK YOU.

Dr. Rona says THANK YOU.

Maureen says COMING UP, CUTTING
OUT FAT FOR A HEALTHY DIET.

A blue slide appears on screen with a clip of cookies and crackers in boxes on a store shelf.

Maureen continues THAT'S LATER ON "YOUR HEALTH."
GERMAN RESEARCHERS SAY THEY HAVE
GERMAN RESEARCHERS SAY THEY HAVE
MORE PROOF THAT THE BRAINS OF
ANIMALS, AND PROBABLY HUMANS,
CAN BE TRAINED TO HEAR, AS LONG
AS THE DEAFNESS IS DETECTED
EARLY.
THE SCIENTISTS PUTS COCHLEAR
IMPLANTS INTO KITTENS BORN DEAF.
WITHIN THREE WEEKS THE KITTENS
WERE RESPONDING TO SOUNDS IN HIS
SECOND OPINION, EAR NOSE AND
THROAT Dr. BLAKE PAPSIN SAYS THIS IS MORE PROOF THAT WE NEED
TO SCREEN EVERY INFANT FOR
HEARING LOSS SO WE CAN START
TREATMENT RIGHT AWAY.

Dr. Blake Papsin appears on screen with a blue screen in the background that reads "Second Opinion." Dr. Papsin has short black hair, is clean-shaven, and wears a gray suit, blue shirt, and patterned tie.

Dr. Papsin says I CAN'T THINK OF A SINGLE
GOOD REASON WHY A FIRST-WORLD
COUNTRY DOESN'T SCREEN INFANTS
FOR HEARING LOSS.
THE WHOLE WORLD IS BASED ON
COMMUNICATION.
EVEN THROUGH KEYBOARDS AND USING
COMPUTOR LANGUAGE.
WHEN YOU CALL YOUR BROKE OR YOU
CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENT ON THE
PHONE, THEY COULD BE IN A
WHEELCHAIR.
AS LONG AS THEY CAN COMMUNICATE
AND SPEAK, THEY ARE ABLE TO HAVE
A JOB, THEY ARE ABLE TO PAY
TAXES AND BE A MEMBER OF OUR
SOCIETY.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT THERE ARE A
NUMBER OF CHILDREN WHO ARE BORN
WITH SIGNIFICANT HEARING
IMPAIRMENT, WHICH WILL IMPAIR
THEIR ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE IN
THIS SOCIETY.
ABOUT TWO IN A THOUSAND CHILDREN
IS BORN WITH SIGNIFICANT HEARING
IMPAIRMENT.
AND THE JOKE IS THAT IN THIS
ADVANCED SOCIETY, WE DON'T
DETECT THOSE CHILDREN UNTIL
THEY'RE ABOUT 23 MONTHS OF AGE.
WHICH IS ABSURD!
BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT THERE'S A
SIGNIFICANT, MEASURABLE DECREASE
IN THEIR I.Q. IF WE LEAVE THEM
INREHABILITATED FOR MORE THAN
SIX MONTHS.
SO CLEARLY, BY NOT DETECTING
THESE CHILDREN EARLIER, WE'RE
ALLOWING OUR SOCIETY TO HAVE A
LOWER I.Q. ON THE BASIS OF THE
FACT THAT THERE'S A NUMBER OF
CHILDREN WE'RE GOING TO MISS BY
NOT DETECTING THEM AT BIRTH.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S LOTS OF
REASONS WHY PEOPLE SAY, "OH, WE
CAN'T TEST."
THEY SAY THEY CAN'T TEST KIDS.
YOU CAN'T REHABILITATE KIDS.
SOMETIMES EVEN YOU SEND THEM FOR
THE RIGHT TESTS AND THE TESTS
ARE MISINTERPRETED.
WELL ALL THESE REASONS HAVE NO
BASIS IN FACT.
YOU CAN TEST A NEWBORN.
YOU CAN REHABILITATE A NEWBORN,
AND IF AUDIOLOGIC TESTS ARE
PERFORMED AND RED CORRECTLY,
THEY CAN GIVE YOU 100 percent CORRECT
ANSWERS IN VIRTUALLY EVERY CASE.
HOW WE DO IT NOW IS WE IDENTIFY
CHILDREN WHO HAVE SIGNIFICANT
RISK FACTORS FOR HEARING LOSS.

A caption reads "Dr. Blake Papsin, Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist."

Dr. Papsin continues LIKE THEY WERE BORN PREMATURELY
OR LOW BIRTH WEIGHT OR PARENTS
HAD A HEARING IMPAIRMENT.
THERE'S A WHOLE LIST OF RISK
FACTORS AND THOSE CHILDREN WE
SCREEN VERY CAREFULLY.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT OF ALL THE
CHILDREN WHO HAVE HEARING
IMPAIRMENT, ONLY 50 percent HAD RISK
FACTORS.
SO WE'RE MISSING HALF THE KIDS
WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENT BY NOT
SCREENING THEM NOW.

A blue slate appears on screen with a caption that reads "What about costs?"

Dr. Papsin appears on screen and says IT COSTS BETWEEN 7 DOLLARS AND 25 DOLLARS TO
SCREEN A CHILD.
AND THIS SCREENING PROCESS IS
MANDATORY IN A NUMBER OF STATES
ALREADY, BUT IN NO PROVINCES IN
CANADA.
THAT COST COVERS A NURSE GOING
IN AND PUTTING A PROBE IN A
CHILD'S EAR AND GETTING THE
RESULT.
AND IF THE CHILD FAILS THEY'RE
SENT TO A REGIONAL CENTRE FOR
ADDITIONAL TESTS.
WHEN IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE, IT
COSTS BETWEEN 7 DOLLARS AND 17,000 DOLLARS TO
PICK UP A SINGLE CHILD WITH
SIGNIFICANT IMPAIRMENT.
BUT AT LEAST WE CAN REHABILITATE
THE CHILD EARLY AND GET THE
CHILD MAXIMALLY REHABILITATED
AND IN SCHOOL SO THAT THEY CAN
OBTAIN THEIR POTENTIAL.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE MONEY
WILL COME FROM, BUT I DIDN'T GO
TO BUSINESS SCHOOL.
I DIDN'T GO TO FINANCE SCHOOL,
AND I'M NOT A POLITICIAN.
I'M A PHYSICIAN.
I WENT TO SCHOOL TO LEARN HOW TO
CARE BEST FOR THE KIDS WHOSE
PARENTS BRING THEM TO ME.
I DON'T CARE WHERE THE MONEY
COMES FROM.
THIS IS AN IMPERATIVE.
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT
PROGRAMME THAT HAS TO BE DONE.
IT'S GOT TO BE FUNDED AT A
FEDERAL OR A PROVINCIAL LEVEL.
AND WHEN SOMEBODY ASK ME WHERE
THE MONEY WILL COME FROM, I'M
AFRAID I HAVE NO ANSWER.
I'M JUST A PHYSICIAN.

The health quiz appears back on screen.

Maureen says HOW DID YOU DO ON THIS WEEK'S
HEALTH QUIZ?
A MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION IS THE
OFFICIAL MEDICAL TERM FOR A HEART ATTACK.
AND IT IS INFARCTION.

Back in the studio, Maureen says WE KNOW LOW FAT IS
THE KEY TO A HEALTHY DIET BUT
THERE'S A NEW BUZZWORD ON THE
SUPERMARKET SHELVES.
IT'S FRANCE FATS.
HERE'S DIETICIAN LIZ PEARSON.

Liz Pearson appears on screens standing in the dairy section of a supermarket. She is in her thirties, has short, dark blond hair, and wears a blue suit with a yellow shirt.

Liz Pearson says HYDROGENATION,
OR THE ADDING OF HYDROGEN, IS A
PROCESS USED TO MAKE LIQUID OILS
MORE SOLID.
FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN MAKING
MARGARINE, THEY TAKE A LIQUID
OIL, ADD HYDROGEN AND THEN THEY
THEN HAVE A PRODUCT THAT IS
SPREADABLE.
HYDROGENATED FATS, ALSO CALLED
TRANS FATS ARE ALSO FOUND IN A
LOTS OF BAKED GOODS, SNACK FOODS
AND A LOT OF CRACKERS AND
COOKIES.
THE PROBLEM WITH THESE TRANS
FATS, OR HYDROGENATED FATS, IS
THEY'RE VERY UNHEALTHY FOR THE
HEART SO YOU REALLY WANT TO
LIMIT YOUR INTAKE.
NOW THERE'S SEVERAL WAYS YOU CAN
DO THIS.
MARGARINE IS STILL A HEALTH YEAR
CHOICE THAN BUTTER, HOWEVER IT'S
IMPORTANT THAT YOU CHOOSE THE
RIGHT MARGARINE.
TRY TO AVOID THE HARD STICK
MARGARINES.
THEY'RE VERY HIGHLY HYDROGENATED
AND HIGH IN THE TRANS FATS.
YOUR BEST BET IS TO STICK WITH
THE SOFT TUB MARGARINES.
BETTER YET CHOOSE A MARGARINE
THAT IS NON-HYDROGENATED AND
ALSO LOW IN SATURATED FAT.
THIS IS THE BEST BET IN TERMS OF
HEART HEALTH.
IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO AVOID
HYDROGENATED FATS OR TRANS FATS
WHEN IT COMES TO CRACKERS,
COOKIES, SNACKS AND BAKED GOODS.
HOWEVER WHAT YOU CAN DO IS
CHOOSE THE LOWER FAT VERSIONS
MORE OFTEN.
ALSO BECOME A LABEL READER AND
EAT LESS THOSE FOODS THAT
CONTAIN PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED
VEGETABLE OIL OR MAY ALSO SAY
VEGETABLE OIL SHORTENING.

A caption reads "Liz Pearson, Dietician."

Liz Pearson continues LAST OF ALL, FOR THOSE OF YOU
THAT LOVE YOUR FASTFOOD, KEEP IN
MIND ALL FAST FOOD OUTLETS USE
HYDROGENATED OIL FOR THEIR DEEP
FRYING, SO IF YOU LIKE THOSE
DEEP FRIED SANDWICHES OR FRENCH
FRIES, YOU REALLY WANT TO EAT
THEM IN MODERATION.
[(music plays)]

Back in the studio, Maureen says THAT'S IT FOR THIS
WEEK'S EDITION.
I'M MAUREEN TAYLOR.
UNTIL NEXT WEEK, HERE'S TO "YOUR
HEALTH."

A slate reads "The advice given in the preceding program is of a general nature only. Viewers should consult their own medical professional for medical advice specific to their circumstances."

Another slate reads "Your Health, Website, www.tvo.org/yourhealth; e-mail, yourhealth@tvo.org, fax 416-484 4519."

The end credits roll.

Music, Andy McNeil,

Editors, Douglas Beavan, Craig Gellner, and Dean Henry.

Story Editor, Mark Quinn.

Director, Blair Harley.

Producer, Cathy Perry.

A production of TVO Ontario, copyright The Ontario Educational Communications Authority 1999.

Watch: Show #6