Comment on: White matter, red flag (letter to the editor, Parkhurst Exchange, sent 2010-4-12)

The Q&A response to the question “What could multiple hyperdensities on brain MRI in the absence of migraine indicate?” (Parkhurst Exchange, April 2010, p28) did not include B12 deficiency as a possible cause. There are a number of case reports (1-4) reporting the finding of white matter hyperintensities on T2-weighted…

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Comment on “Age-related macular degeneration” (letter to the editor, Parkhurst Exchange, submitted 2008-11-25)

The article “Age-related macular degeneration” Oct 2008, p52) lists the risk factors for AMD as age, genetics, history of smoking, Caucasian race, and diet low in antioxidants. Not mentioned was the association between a lower risk of AMD and higher fish and/or omega-3 fatty acid consumption. Augood C, Chakravarthy U,…

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Senate reform in Canada

With the Mike Duffy trial figuring prominently in the news these days, The NDP is renewing calls for abolition of the Senate. Instead of outright abolition of the “House of sober second thought” perhaps a major restructuring should be considered. Here is one suggestion: Reduce the size of the senate,…

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A disappointing symposium: McConnell Brain Imaging Centre 30th Anniversary

Yesterday I attended an all-day symposium at the Montreal Neurological Institute, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre. I went to hear talks by David Van Essen, Principal Investigator, The Human Connectome Project; Henry Markram, Director, The Blue Brain Project, and Coordinator, The Human Brain Project; and Robert…

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The war against Islamic State

Western democracies are lining up to engage in bombing raids against Islamic State installations, citing the IS (aka ISIS, or ISIL) terrorists as particularly cruel and barbaric, a scourge that needs to be eliminated. We’ve seen the gruesome beheadings, and heard the warnings that Canadians may become radicalized, join IS,…

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Assisted suicide

In Canada and Quebec, the debate over the right to die with dignity, medically assisted suicide, and euthanasia is often heated. I am struck by the inconsistency, perhaps even hypocrisy, of governments that maintain that it is OK for individuals to commit suicide, but not to receive help from anyone…

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Letter to the Editor: Comment on ‘Acute Impact of Immediate Release Methylphenidate Administered Three Times a Day on Sleep in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder’

The study reported on in the article “Acute impact of immediate release methylphenidate administered three times a day on sleep in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder” (Corkum, Panton, Ironside, Macpherson, & Williams, 2008) found a significant reduction in total sleep time of almost an hour with medication compared to the no…

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Letter to the Editor: PPIs, B12, and falls. Comment on ‘Use of proton pump inhibitors and risk of osteoporosis-related fractures’

This letter to the editor of the “Canadian Medical Association Journal” was published electronically on the CMAJ website, on 2008-11-18, in response to this article:  Targownik LE, Lix LM, Metge CJ, Prior HJ, Leung S, Leslie WD. Use of proton pump inhibitors and risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. CMAJ. 2008;179:319-326. Article…

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How to discourage gas consumption

Letter to the Editor, submitted to the Montreal Gazette on 2008-8-28. Many companies provide parking at no charge for their employees. This represents a subsidy, as parking spaces involve considerable costs including initial construction, drainage, paving, lighting as well as ongoing expenses such as snow removal, security, and electricity. Never…

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Proposed ban of trans fats

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. One would think we had learned nothing from the U.S. experience with Prohibition, or the War on Drugs. Banning a substance such as alcohol or marijuana inevitably leads to the creation of a criminal underground which profits enormously, and supports a large…

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Sanctuary in churches

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. Immigration Minister Judy Sgro believes that it is inappropriate for churches and other faith communities to provide sanctuary to refugee claimants who have been ordered deported after their hearings. It has been argued that churches should not usurp the role of democratically…

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Election posters up prematurely

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. The federal liberals have made flouting the rules an art form, as demonstrated by the sponsorship scandal, Radwanski’s expense accounts, and the Shawinigate affair. Now, in Westmount, liberal incumbent Lucienne Robillard’s overeager campaign team are breaking the rules by erecting election posters…

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Why megacities?

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. The various arguments that have been made in favour of merging smaller municipalities into megacities have been demolished, one by one, as these undemocratically created monstrosities (monstrocities?) have failed to produce promised reductions in costs. It seems that the only remaining rationale…

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School board elections

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. The recent school board elections were noteworthy for the low voter turnout, and for the mysterious process whereby some voters who previously had been on the English school board electoral lists saw their names turn up on the lists for francophone school…

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Transit strike

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. The strike of MTC maintenance workers is a terrible hardship for many people, but is it really necessary to limit service to a few hours daily and none on weekends? After all, it isn’t the bus drivers who are striking; it’s the…

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Are insomniacs sleep deprived?

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. Every couple of weeks or so, there appears an article about sleep, most recently “A mounting sleep debt is nothing to yawn about” (Gazette 2002-12-03) Typically, the authors decry the high prevalence of insufficient sleep, the deleterious effects of sleep deprivation, the…

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Merger of cities

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. It appears that the Quebec government is employing a timeworn ploy to get its way with regard to the just-introduced legislation on the forced merger of Quebec cities. The ploy is: when trying to get a deal, always ask for more than…

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Pain in brain-dead patients

Letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette. With reference to the article “Leading British doctors urge anesthetics for brain-dead organ donors” (Gazette, 20 Aug 2000, page A10), I find it surprising that the British Department of Health would reject in such a cavalier fashion the possibility that brain-dead individuals…

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