Health & Medical Links
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A Starting Point
The links on this page are intended as a resource and starting point for self-help research. Be sure to check the information you find there with your health professional.
Discuss Findings With Your Health Team
Your body is your own and patients that take control of their own health often do better than those that depend on others for all the answers.
However, I suggest that you use the information you find there as a discussion point with your health team. They can explain the pros and cons of any particular course of treatment. An informed patient will listen to all the facts before making their mind up about the validity of any medical procedure.
External Links Open in a New Window
All links external to this site open in a new tab (or new window). Simply close the external site's tab or window to return to this page. I am not responsible for the content of websites that I provide links to. Read the disclaimer.
Consumer Health Information
- HealthLinkBC gives online access to non-emergency health information and services from the Government of British Columbia.
- Health Finder — sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
- Health Information — sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Sleep affects all aspects of your life, including mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Learn to harness its positive impacts. — SleepHelp.org
The resources in this section include several sites that have information about sleep, the main reason I link to them. However, they also provide reviews of mattresses and associated products which generate some sort of referral income if you follow the links from their reviews.
- SleepHelp.org is an independently-owned, unbiased sleep resource which includes information on common sleep disorders and resources including pillow/mattress guides with the aim of improving your sleep.
- Sleeptips.org includes information on sleep health, sleep guides and sleep hacks.
- Sleepadvisor.org includes information on sleep science, sleep hygiene as well as buying guides and tips.
We are outraged that experts in the fields of cardiovascular medicine, diabetes and osteoporosis have come up with disease definitions that label at least 75% of our fellow citizens “sick” and in need of preventive medication. —ShowMoreSpine
Taking 6 to 9 medications is associated with a 59% chance of death in older adults. —Lown Institute
- Worst Pills, Best Pills your expert, independent second opinion for prescription drug information (subscription-based — highly recommended).
- Pharmawatch Canada blog — Canadian drug safety and drug policy.
- Know Your Drugs — looks at the problem of adverse drug reactions to prescribed medications.
- RxList — the Internet Drug Index for prescription drugs, medications and pill identifier.
- DailyMed provides high quality recent information about marketed drugs including FDA labels and strengthened warnings undergoing FDA review. Not all drugs are listed.
Vaccination is a hot topic, particularly for parents and around the effectiveness of the flu vaccine (now required of medical staff). The fact that the companies producing these vaccines are protected from liability by the government is disconcerting.
Unfortunately, some very well organized folks began to promote the idea that
vaccines can damage a child's developing brain and immune system, leading to neurodevelopmental disorders, learning disabilities, ADHD, asthma, anaphylactic food allergies, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Much of the evidence was anecdotal but emotionally-charged.
The 2019 outbreak of measles has again brought out the controversy of vaccinations, particularly where a minority's personal choice NOT to vaccinate may be endangering the majority of the population.
The World Health Organization has ranked vaccine hesitancy — the growing resistance to widely available lifesaving vaccines — as one of the top 10 health threats in the world for 2019. — The New York Times
The story of baby Ian Gromowski is emotionally compelling, but what if the parents are wrong and millions of other babies die because they are not vaccinated?
Ian Gromowski's story is so powerful, so pervasive, and so difficult to refute because it is just that: a story. And personal accounts, particularly as utilized by the anti-vaccine movement, are seemingly immune to facts. — Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics
Mozilla put together a reading list to understanding misinformation online using the anti-vaccine movement as an example (there are 480 anti-vaccine websites coded by just 4 people). You'd do yourself a favour by checking out that resource to ensure you fully understand the issues involved.
I think Mozilla is more trustworthy than many online sources, particularly social media.
Not all misinformation is from outside the drug industry.
The use of psychiatric drugs is a growing problem in countries across the world. The most common treatments for clinical depression are drug-related rather than “talk therapy” and these medications cause long-term problems. There is growing evidence that these drugs are related to violence.
The U.S. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has become the standard reference for treatment, but many question its assumption that psychiatric problems are a result of a shortage of serotonin in the brain.
Telling people, as I was told by my doctor, that depression is caused by a problem in your brain is, firstly, untrue and it is also really problematic because it cuts people off from finding the real causes of their depression and anxiety. We've been telling ourselves this chemical story for 35 years and every year depression and anxiety gets worse. — Johann Hari
- Psychiatric Medication Awareness Group (PMAG) — psychiatric drugs and withdrawal (many are commonly-used sleeping pills).
- Benzodiazepine/Sleeping Pill Addiction, Tapering & Recovery — blog hosted by PMAG.
- Is everything you think you know about depression wrong? — The Guardian, January 7, 2018.
Note: a number of traditional portals are now sponsored by corporations or advertisers that may influence the information provided based upon their products and services. For example, see Doctor Who? The corporations behind WebMD's friendly, free advice.
- Medscape — medical news and full-text journal articles.
- HealthCentral is an online health company that provides information and support for people with life-changing conditions.
General Information & Guides
- Medical Library Association's For health consumers and patients: Find good health information includes guidelines on assessing content.
- South West Self Management Program's Resources includes videos, articles, websites and tools.
- 100 websites you can trust (PDF — 2013 CAPHIS Top 100 List).
Traditional Medical Resources
A medical journal is expected to promote an open-minded discussion of treatments, even if findings — or criticisms — threaten conventional beliefs. In psychiatry journals, the abstracts are nearly always written in a manner that ensures that the conventional wisdom about psychiatric drugs isn't unduly threatened. —Mad In America
- Health Canada.
- Health Canada's Recalls and Safety Alerts.
- Health Canada — Diseases & Conditions.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
General Information & Guides
- VeryWell provides an extensive range of health-related articles vetted by board-certified physicians.
- Medline Plus has a medical encyclopedia with information on health topics and drugs & supplements.
- National Library of Medicine has links to several databases & other resources.
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics's Health Topics.
- ConsumerSafety.org is a U.S.-based non-profit that provides recalls and safety information about drugs, medical devices, food and consumer products. Products may be regulated differently in Canada.
- Reuters Health News — daily breaking news coverage of the global pharmaceutical, medical and consumer health sectors.
- Medical World Search.
The Human Body
Organ Donation & Transplantation
In 1997 the BC Organ Donor Registry replaced all previous forms of consent. A decal on your driver's licence is not valid.
Register or verify your decision online — it only takes 2 minutes yet could make a tremendous difference to someone waiting for a transplant. Paper forms are also available at ICBC and Service BC offices.
Canadian Transplant Resources
My Organ Donation & Transplantation page tells the story of my kidney transplant and contains a deeper look into the critical need to greatly increase donor registration to meet a growing need. 1 in 10 Canadians has chronic kidney disease and a renal transplant is the best option for quality of life.
General Information & Guides
- Donating a Kidney is an overview from HealthLink BC.
- TransWeb is one of the oldest transplantation sites and includes excellent information and links.
Renal (Kidney) Disease
General Information & Guides
- Chronic Kidney Disease is an overview on HealthLink BC.
- BC Renal Agency “Managing My Care” includes links to information on taking an active role in managing your kidney disease.
- Kidney School.
- JASN — Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
- American Journal of Kidney Diseases — Official Journal of the U.S. National Kidney Foundation.
- Parathyroid.com has a series of parathyroid articles. Parathyroid issues can result from chronic renal failure.
- Children with Diabetes is an excellent resource for diet, new technologies, and summer camps.
- Surgical Waitlist Registry for British Columbia.
- Royal Jubilee Hospital is home to the Victoria Renal Unit.
- Victoria General Hospital.
- Vancouver Hospital & Health Services Centre.
- Lists of hospitals in Canada.
- Canadian hospitals rated by CBC.
Journals & News
- Nutrition Today.
- Journal of Nutrition — American Society for Nutrition.
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
General Information & Guides
- Food and Nutrition — Health Canada.
- Nutrition Labelling — Health Canada.
- Nutrition Glossary — common nutritional terms.
- University of Arizona Health Sciences Library.
Manufacturers love artificial sweeteners. They can be produced much less expensively than the cost of real sugar and that cost is relatively stable. However, there are genuine concerns about these chemical alternatives.
[O]ver 40% of adult Americans consume no-cal sweeteners on a daily basis, and studies that measure the sweeteners in blood and urine show that many people who report not using artificial sweeteners are unknowingly consuming them. — Meghan Azad
- The safety of sugar substitutes — Health Canada.
- High-intensity sweeteners — U.S. FDA.
- Artificial sweeteners: Where do we stand? — CNN 2016.
- Just desserts: Artificial sweeteners linked to weight gain — Scientific American.
- Aspartame Consumer Safety Network takes a serious look at this wide-spread sugar alternative.
Herbs and Vitamins
- The Health Action Network Society. BC based H.A.N.S. is known for their fight to maintain the availability of vitamins, herbs and other alternative treatments outside of pharmacies.
- Henriette's Herbal Homepage contains a herbal FAQ.
With the legalization of marijuana becoming more prevalent, it is important to ensure that the risks as well as potential benefits are understood.
Study of 10,000 reports into cannabis finds only enough evidence to support therapeutic use for chemotherapy patients, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis. There is not enough research to reach conclusive judgments on whether marijuana can effectively treat most of the symptoms and diseases it is advertised as helping, according to a wide-ranging US government study. —The Guardian
The ability to smoke marijuana on the street (anywhere you can smoke cigarettes) is of great concern to me because my wife has experience hospitalization just from being around those that smoke it (a chemical imbalance treated with 4 IVs in her at once).
If you are in possession of an open can of beer downtown Victoria, you can be arrested. Not so with this potent drug that could have such a life-threatening reaction in someone nearby.
General Information & Guides
- An overview of complementary and alternative medicines.
- Homeopathic Educational Services includes a number of articles and free information from Dana Ullman, M.P.H.
- The Townsend Letter — the Examiner of Alternative Medicine will keep you up to date on current alternative medical literature.
- Dr. Weil's Site offers an alternate perspective on traditional medicine.
- National Toxicology Program (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
- TOXNET online databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health and toxic releases.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry tracks health effects of hazardous substances. This agency offers a searchable database of profiles of about 200 environmental contaminants, giving health effects and other information for the lay person. Also featured is a clickable map leading to locations where hazardous substances exist. The entire site is searchable using keywords and Boolean operators.
- NIH Toxicology Literature Online (TOXLINE).
- What's on My Food lists the pesticides used on common foods.
- Pesticide Action Network works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with alternatives.
- Pest control and pesticide safety for consumers.
- Burning Issues provides public education about the health hazards of burning wood. There is a FAQ and links to studies on the effects of smoke and particulates, including legal cases.
- Carbon Monoxide Headquarters is an “expert” site on the issue of carbon monoxide, which causes more deaths than any other poison in our environment.
- EMfacts Consultancy is an independent source of information on the possible health and safety issues arising from human exposure to Electromagnetic Energy (EME).
- WEEP Initiative — The Canadian and International Initiative to stop Wireless, Electric, and Electromagnetic Pollution.
- WiFi Router Guard
Chemical & Environmental Sensitivities
- The Environmental Health Association of BC provides information on resources for those with Environmental Sensitivities (ES): food, chemical and electromagnetic sensitivities.
- Global Recognition Campaign for sufferers of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is an Australian Social Development Committee enquiry into Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.
- The trouble with sunscreen chemicals.
- How toxic are your household cleaning supplies?
- 8 hidden toxins: What's lurking in your cleaning products?