Posts Tagged "Experts"


More people are giving CBD oil to their pets, but experts aren’t sure it’s safe – National

by BBG Hub

CBD oil, or cannabidiol, has become a popular cannabis product since legalization in October.

It lacks the psychoactive characteristics of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — meaning it won’t get you high — and it can help with myriad health issues, including inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.

Now, some users want to see if the oil can offer similar benefits to their pets.

READ MORE: Pot for pets? Canadian veterinarians say it’s time

According to Dr. Scott Bainbridge, co-owner of Dundas West Animal Hospital in Toronto, there is little research on the topic — but what studies have been done suggest that CBD can have some positive effects for animals.

“I think it’s fair to say that… what works in medicine is usually applicable to animal medicine,” Bainbridge told Global News. “But we are talking about a different species… and the amount of receptors for CBD that a human has may vary from a dog or a cat.”

READ MORE: Vets to lobby MPs over extending medical cannabis laws to cats, dogs

‘We do need to do more research’

Hardly anything is known about how cannabis interacts with an animal’s brain. For this reason, Canadian veterinarians aren’t included in the Cannabis Act as practitioners who can prescribe cannabis products. In fact, there aren’t even any legal CBD products on the market for animals.

In Bainbridge’s view, a lot more research needs to happen before it can be safely incorporated into treatment plans.

“I can see potential for [treating] things like anxiety, arthritis or chronic pain… but we do need to do more research in the area,” he said.

WATCH BELOW: Puppy collapses after ingesting THC on morning walk

Two major studies have researched the effects of CBD on dogs.

A recent study out of Cornell University tested the treatment of arthritis in dogs with CBD, and found a significant decrease in pain, an increase in activity and no observable side effects.

Likewise, a study at Colorado State University from June assessed the efficacy of CBD when treating epilepsy in dogs. Results were similar: 89 per cent of dogs who received CBD had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.

READ MORE: Effects of weed may depend on area of brain it’s acting on: Western researchers

However, just 16 dogs participated in the clinical trial at Colorado State — a sample size which isn’t large enough to provide reliable evidence for the benefits of CBD on dogs with epilepsy.

“It’s kind of a dangerous gray area,” said Sam Hocker, assistant professor of medical oncology at the Ontario Veterinary College.

“We have a lot of people using it and very little evidence to tell us how it works in these different settings and what effect it has on the body.”

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s stance

Currently, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) doesn’t endorse the administration of cannabis — neither CBD or THC — to pets.

According to Dr. Enid Stiles, the vice president of the CVMA, this is due to the limited scope of research. However, more studies are underway now that marijuana is legal in Canada.

“We’ve been working judiciously in the past couple of years — ever since we knew legalization was coming — to determine what ways we might be able to help veterinarians,” Stiles told Global News.

WATCH BELOW: Industry experts: Education on cannabis edibles needed

“Health Canada is in the midst of doing research… but I think it’ll be a few more years before [veterinarians] are actually able to prescribe.”

In the meantime, Stiles is worried that the policy for cannabis and pets varies from province to province.

For example, the Ontario Veterinarian Medical Association (OVMA) has forbidden its members from even discussing the use of cannabis with patients.

READ MORE: Wait, There’s More podcast: How Canada’s legal weed can get you banned from the U.S.

“We can’t legally discuss it… we’re not allowed to make recommendations,” said Hocker. “What I tell patients when they bring it up is that we just don’t have a lot of evidence at this point to tell us its impacts or ill effects.”

This concerns Stiles because she believes pet owners will continue to give their pets CBD regardless of the law — and she thinks it would be safer if they could at least consult a veterinarian before doing so.

“As a practitioner, I would much rather have a conversation than a pet going home and somebody giving him or her a product that could be harmful,” she said.

WATCH BELOW: Keeping pets out of hot vehicles

But I think that time is going to change that… It wouldn’t surprise me if the regulatory bodies were going to be changing [their stances] pretty shortly. Not being part of that conversation… there’s far more risk with that.”

In January 2018, the CVMA provided feedback to Health Canada on proposed changes under the Cannabis Act.

In it, the group argued that veterinarians should be included under the definition of “medical practitioner,’ which would grant them access to prescribe cannabis to their patients. The group also wrote that human cannabis products should have labelling that includes messages to protect the safety of animals.

If you still want to try giving your pet cannabis

Bainbridge’s first recommendation is to consult your veterinarian before administering anything. If you live in a jurisdiction where veterinarians aren’t allowed to offer advice about cannabis, proceed with extreme caution.

“You want to make sure you’re not dosing it too heavily,” said Bainbridge.

Consuming too much cannabis can cause excess sleepiness, depression, wobbling, pacing and agitation, as well as salivation and vomiting, among other symptoms.

READ MORE: How a weed conviction at 18 got a man banned at the U.S. border — 37 years later

However, these symptoms are caused more often by the consumption of THC rather than by CBD. Ensure that you haven’t left THC products in a place where your pet could reach and potentially consume it.

Should your pet need a new medication or surgery, be completely honest with your veterinarian about what you’ve given him or her. “There can be interactions between CBD and other drugs,” said Bainbridge.

Bainbridge, Hocker and Stiles all emphasize the need for harm reduction, at least until more is known about how cannabis interacts with animals.

READ MORE: Cannabis during pregnancy linked to higher risk of pre-term birth: study

“Probably one of the biggest concerns about CBD is that it comes from hemp… which is a weed,” Bainbridge said.

“You have to be really careful where it’s been planted because it sucks all the toxins out of the soil.”

Bainbridge is actually more worried about your dog consuming other toxins found in soil — like heavy metals — than he is about the CBD.

“There’s not a lot of regulation right now… At this point, I’m not comfortable recommending a product.”

— With files from Caley Bedore, Robyn Crawford and Simon Little

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Post-partum euphoria is more than just feeling happy — experts say it can be a ‘lethal condition’ – National

by BBG Hub

Having a baby can be overwhelming: not only do you suddenly have another human life to sustain, but your body also releases a flurry of hormones that can affect your mood.

For nearly a quarter of new moms, these hormonal shifts lead to post-partum depression — a debilitating anxiety disorder that can make women feel sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty or anxious.

However, some new moms have the exact opposite post-partum experience — they’re overjoyed, energized by only a few hours of sleep and extremely productive.

READ MORE: Nearly one-quarter of moms experience post-partum depression or anxiety — StatCan

This is known as post-partum euphoria — clinically referred to as a state of hypomania — and although it sounds like a positive side effect to giving birth, it’s actually very dangerous.

Few studies have been done on the phenomenon, but current research suggests that 10 to 20 per cent of women may have significant symptoms of hypomania within the first few days of delivery.

Although the condition may not seem dangerous initially, it can become riskier over time.

READ MORE: Skip the baby shower — Why some moms need post-partum parties after birth

“If a mother develops more severe symptoms of mania, she may begin to engage in risky behaviour, not appreciating the consequences of her actions, or believe that she has special powers or abilities,” Dr. Lori Wasserman, psychiatrist and lead of the Reproductive Life Stages Program at Women’s College Hospital, told Global News.

According to Wasserman, post-partum euphoria is especially menacing because it can present as a new mom who is simply coping well with her new stage of life.

WATCH: How hired post-partum help is becoming more commonplace for moms

“The mother may actually appear to be coping well with abundant energy,” she said. “However, if euphoria develops into irritability, the mother’s emotional availability and attunement to the baby could be compromised.”

Also concerning is the fact that a state of hypomania can be followed by a depressive episode.

“In fact, one study found that women who had an elevated mood in the first week following delivery had higher depression scores at eight weeks post-partum,” said Wasserman.

How it’s diagnosed

A lack of sleep, “feeling like you’re on Cloud 9” and near-dangerous levels of productivity can all indicate a state of hypomania.

The symptoms can worsen quickly so it’s important that any new mom who notices strange behaviour sees a doctor as soon as possible.

“I don’t want people to panic, but it’s a very lethal condition… the risk of suicide is very high,” said Dr. Christine Korol, a registered psychologist at the Vancouver Anxiety Centre.

“If you feel like you don’t need sleep, or you’re not sleeping for days or you’re starting to do some bizarre things, you want to go to a doctor right away.”

WATCH: 5 ways to help a friend with post-partum depression

After reporting your symptoms to your doctor, you will likely be sent to a psychologist or psychiatrist for a psychological evaluation.

“They’ll take [your] medical history as well as your family history,” said Korol. “They’ll also listen to family members if they’re able to come and give collateral information about your post-partum behaviour.”

READ MORE: ‘My whole life taken away’ — Ontario father questions why 24-year-old died post-childbirth

Moms who have a family history of bipolar or other mood disorders are more susceptible to developing post-partum euphoria after birth.

“It can bring about significant mood symptoms in those that have an underlying genetic vulnerability,” Wasserman said.

“Doctors look for the presence of… an elevated or euphoric mood, increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, increased activity and distractibility.”

READ MORE: First post-partum depression drug for women approved in U.S.

If post-partum euphoria is diagnosed, medication to help with “mood stability and sleep” will likely be prescribed.

Korol says that for women who have an increased risk of developing post-partum euphoria, there’s even the option to begin preventive medication during pregnancy.

“If you’re showing signs while you’re pregnant… there are drugs you can take while you’re still pregnant [that are safe] for both you and the baby,” she said.

A call for increased awareness

As the medical community turns its attention to post-partum depression, post-partum euphoria is falling behind.

“It’s very under-diagnosed… clinicians don’t know as much as they should about it,” said Korol. “Although the prevalence is relatively lower, the consequences are pretty severe.”

She believes there should be regular screening for post-partum euphoria in the same way there is for post-partum depression.

READ MORE: Baby bumps aren’t the same size — here’s why

The latter is currently diagnosed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), a survey that identifies symptoms of depression in new moms. There is no equivalent for post-partum euphoria.

Increased awareness will not only benefit doctors and the process of diagnosis but help families recognize the signs and symptoms faster, Korol added.

“We want families to understand what it is and to know that there’s treatment,” she said.

“You want it treated because the longer you leave it, the more damage that’s done to the brain.”

—With files from Arti Patel

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Straight Pride is an ‘attack’ on the LGBTQ2 community, experts say – National

by BBG Hub

June is celebrated as LGBTQ2 Pride month, but a group in the U.S. wants to recognize heterosexuals in August.

Super Happy Fun America, a Massachusetts-based group, whose slogan is “it’s great to be straight,” is organizing a Straight Pride Parade in Boston on Aug. 31.

City officials approved the controversial group’s application for an event permit despite widespread outrage, including from politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and actor Whoopi Goldberg.

LGBTQ2 couple opens up about journey to have children

The Straight Pride Parade route will begin at Boston’s Copley Square and end at city hall, following the same route as the Boston Pride Parade that took place on June 8.

Who are the members of Super Happy Fun America, and why are they organizing a Straight Pride Parade? Here’s what you need to know.

How did Straight Pride start, and what does it stand for?

According to Super Happy Fun America’s website, their parade “is a festive occasion that will be used as a platform to educate the public on the unique problems facing our community and to fight against heterophobia.”

The group was founded by John Hugo, who says he started Super Happy Fun America “in order to advocate on behalf of the straight community,” according to the group’s website.

WATCH: 2019 Pride Parade Highlights

ThinkProgress reported that the parade’s organizers have “close ties to far-right groups,” including white nationalists.

In an email to Vox, Hugo said he is organizing a Straight Pride Parade because straight folks are not represented at Pride parades.

“Perhaps, one day, straights will be honoured with inclusion and the acronym will be LGBTQS. Until that time, we have no other choice but to host our own events,” he wrote to the outlet.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial alt-right figure who was banned from Facebook in May for violating its rules against hate and violence, is the parade’s grand marshal.

Thousands march in Ukraine’s largest ever Pride parade

Yiannopoulos is openly gay but said in a statement to Vox that he is partaking in the parade because he has “spent [his] entire career advocating for the rights of America’s most brutally repressed identity: straight people.”

While Super Happy Fun America received a permit for its parade, Boston officials turned down the group’s request to raise a Straight Pride flag at city hall. The group says all are welcome to attend the event.

Why people feel Straight Pride is so problematic

According to Olivia Nuamah, executive director of Pride Toronto, Straight Pride is just another example of a majority group trying to argue they’re oppressed in similar ways as minority groups. This is not true, as members of the LGBTQ2 community are much more likely to be victims of harassment, discrimination and violence than straight people are.

WATCH: Pride march in NYC commemorates 50th anniversary of Stonewall

Recent government data found that “the odds of being a victim of violent victimization were two times higher among lesbian, gay or bisexual Canadians than among their heterosexual counterparts.”

People who identify as bisexual were almost nine times more likely to be sexually assaulted, the data showed.

“As soon as a group that experiences institutional oppression decides that they’re going to make their voices heard, the counter-narrative says somehow, the majority of the population in any given community suffer themselves [and] needs to celebrate their own identities,” Nuamah told Global News.

“[It’s] as though, somehow, they are equally oppressed for not being able to take up space around their own sense of oppression.”

Acceptance rates of LGBTQ2 people declining among U.S. millennials: survey

Straight Pride also dismisses the fact that members of the LGBTQ2 community do not have the same lived experiences as straight people. This includes romantic relationships, professional experiences, access to health services and human rights. (Same-sex marriages were only legalized in Canada in 2005.)

The Canadian Mental Health Association highlights data that shows members of the LGBTQ2 community face higher rates of mental health issues as well as discrimination when trying to access health services.

Other U.S. research has found that LGBTQ2 youth are at a higher risk for substance use, sexually transmitted infections, cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Helen Kennedy, executive director at Egale, says the idea of Straight Pride is an “attack on the LGBTI community” and highlights the need for more education around the issues marginalized groups face.

WATCH: Children’s book encourages celebration of Pride

“We need to look at the broader issues around the LGBTI [community] like homelessness, our suicide rates, our hate crimes and really understand the lived experience of LGBTI people in Canada and around the world,” Kennedy told Global News.

“It’s not a healthy situation for many of us.”

Nuamah adds that Straight Pride helps “legitimize” the idea that heterosexual people should celebrate their sexuality, too, while missing the point that Pride is about more than sexuality. Nuamah says Pride is also about advocating for equal rights and fighting against systemic oppression.

Coming out later in life: ‘I was finally an authentic human being’

“[Straight Pride] is actually saying that queer people are the same as everybody else and somehow aren’t entitled to seek to find solutions for the issues that oppress their community,” she said.

The Straight Pride Parade in Boston

In Boston, Nuamah says the fact the city agreed to grant Straight Pride a permit for its parade is an issue in and of itself.

The city said it approves event permits on “operational feasibility, not based on values or endorsements of belief,” the Washington Post reported.

But by letting a Straight Pride event even happen, Nuamah says Boston is ignoring the fact that Pride exists because LGBTQ2 groups have been discriminated against for so long. She says the city is making Straight Pride an issue of free speech, even though the rhetoric of Super Happy Fun America is harmful to the LGBTQ2 community.

WATCH: ‘My Little Pony’ introduces lesbian couple to its animated series

“The most problematic aspect of Straight Pride is the fact that the City of Boston decided that if queer people are going to be able to say, ‘We are struggling,’ then straight people can say, ‘We are struggling, too’ — even though there is absolutely no evidence to corroborate that,” she said.

“To give them a permit because they are a group and they are allowed to be able to express themselves however they like is… ignoring the fact that [Straight Pride] exists to be counter to the LGBTQ2+ community.”

How to steer the conversation in a meaningful way

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will not attend the parade, the city told the Washington Post, and celebrities including Chris Evans have publicly denounced the event.

While Kennedy says it’s important to not give groups like Super Happy Fun America an elevated platform, she also believes it’s important to talk about their beliefs to understand how they’ve formed. Kennedy says it’s crucial that people don’t shy away from these tough conversations.

‘No Black, no Asian’: Racism in the LGBTQ2 dating community

“We don’t have a broad enough education base that is really inclusive and intersectional,” she explained.

“We’re not bringing that critical analysis into the classroom, where our young people need to be having these conversations, and we’re shying away from discussions around gender identity, sexual orientation because people align these conversations with sex, and that’s not where they should be aligned at all.

“It’s a much broader conversation.”

WATCH: Trump reportedly rejects requests from embassies to fly pride flag from flagpoles

Allies of the LGBTQ2 community also have a responsibility to help advocate for equal rights, foster inclusive societies and stand up against homophobia and transphobia. Kennedy says that while Pride parades are only one day a year, the issues the LGBTQ2 community faces are year-round.

“Allies to the community on a day-to-day basis  can be our greatest champions [as they] can participate in events and conversations, push for a broader curriculum in our education system and can make sure that our youth are getting the type of education that reflects our broader society,” she said.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Tracking your symptoms might make you feel worse, experts say – National

by BBG Hub

More and more, Victoria Natarelli was feeling scatterbrained.

It wasn’t until she was listening to a podcast about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that she heard a near-perfect description of her most troublesome habits.

“[They] mentioned organizational issues that could be considered quirks — like paper all over the place or losing things a lot — and [explained that] if you’re high functioning, it will just seem like a self-improvement task and not a symptom,” Natarelli said.

READ MORE: Signs your child has ADHD and what parents can do to help

She went to see her (now former) doctor, hoping for an ADHD diagnosis so that she could start on a path towards better management of her symptoms.

She was told that ADHD was typically diagnosed in young boys, but that she should track her behaviour (like her sleep and attention span) anyway to see if there are any patterns.

She tried, but she found the practice — which involved taking notes every time she felt distracted or disorganized — time-consuming and frustrating.

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“I actually felt a little annoyed with myself when I tried to track the attention span type of stuff. I work for myself, and alone, so having to sit at a computer and try to focus while also checking in on [myself] was demoralizing,” Natarelli said.

“Somebody who is potentially more forgetful than others being expected to track symptoms consistently is a funny little irony in itself!”

Ultimately, Natarelli wasn’t able to track her symptoms for the prescribed time, and she didn’t receive any diagnosis.

The practice of symptom tracking

Tracking your symptoms (also known as self-monitoring) means writing down any symptom or behaviour believed to be associated with a chronic illness — either physical or mental.

The goal is to give your doctor a holistic, precise portrayal of how you feel so that they can make an informed diagnosis.

It often requires taking meticulous notes about your eating, sleeping, and mood, though what you’re asked to track will vary from illness to illness.

READ MORE: Experiencing withdrawal: What it’s like to stop taking antidepressants

“This is something that would widely accompany cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety, depression, anger and a wide range of other conditions,” said Dr. Simon Sherry of Crux Psychology.

In his research at Dalhousie University, Sherry has had great success asking patients suffering from disordered eating to self-monitor their eating behaviour, but the practice can also be effective for people suffering with “binge-eating episodes, drinking behaviour, the experience of anxiety, guilt, shame [and],” among other problems.

According to Sherry, it’s common for memory to fail — especially in times of discomfort. Symptom tracking is more reliable.

“We humans often struggle to accurately recall what we were thinking, feeling, doing… so when we monitor behaviour close to its actual occurrence, we can get a more accurate representation,” he said.

READ MORE: You can drink up to 25 cups of coffee a day without harming your heart: study

By doing so, your doctor can get a clearer picture of what may have contributed to the behaviour.

With tracking, “you get more contextualized information in technical terms,” said Sherry. “You get more ecologically valid information.”

This makes it easier to properly diagnose and treat the problem.

“You’re studying someone in the context within which their behaviour is actually occurring,” he said.

The possible side effects

Sometimes, this practice can do more harm than good. One concern, says Sherry, is the effect that monitoring your actions can indirectly alter them.

In research, this is known as a “reactant.”

“By intensively monitoring a behaviour, you can unintentionally change the behaviour,” said Sherry.

For example, if you ask someone to closely track their drinking behaviour and bring the record back to therapy, the person may drink differently knowing that their actions will be analyzed critically.

This may sound like a positive side effect, but it can actually make it more difficult for a doctor to discover the root of the problem in the long run.

“By monitoring something, you can change the thing you’re seeking to understand,” Sherry said.

WATCH BELOW: How cooking helps ease symptoms of anxiety and depression

However, he doesn’t believe self-monitoring will have much of an impact on most problematic behaviours: “[They] don’t change that easily,” he said.

Montreal-based psychologist Dr. Félix Gauthier Mongeo has a similar worry. He’s concerned that closely monitoring one’s symptoms can lead to hyper-vigilance.

“Hyper-vigilance is the state of anxiety when anxiety is dysfunctional,” he said.

“When you’re too anxious… you can [start to] think there is danger everywhere.”

READ MORE: Kylie Jenner’s new walnut-based face scrub could be dangerous: experts

Basically, by focusing intently on your symptoms from one moment to the next, you can create anxiety where there wasn’t before.

“Your attention plays the role of an amplifier,” said Gauthier Mongeo.

In his work, Sherry has also witnessed hyper-vigilance become a problem.

“People can be extremely perfectionistic about such things, and they can create a lot of pressure and burden on themselves as they go about this exercise,” he said.

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“I don’t particularly care if it’s done on paper or on the back of a napkin… what I want is contextualized, valid information. But some people will feel [the] need to track these symptoms incessantly, and it creates an unpleasant experience.”

However, if this does happen, Sherry sees it as an opportunity for further discussion.

“It’s just a problem to solve in therapy… it provides an opportunity when someone gets stuck to give them some additional help.”

READ MORE: Men suffer from eating disorders, too — so why do we ignore them?

Another limitation to self-monitoring is a perceived sense of judgment — similar to what Natarelli felt.

“Bringing back a record of their eating or a record of their emotions… they may feel embarrassed or judged,” said Sherry.

In his view, this is another opportunity for further analysis of why the patient feels personally targeted by the act of tracking their symptoms.

“That’s something you can work out with your therapist over time, [and] I actually think it’s quite meaningful to then help a person so that they feel less ashamed or less judged.”

If tracking your symptoms doesn’t work…

In addition to self-monitoring, Gauthier Mongeo recommends the use of mindfulness strategies to avoid the potential negative side effects.

“Rather than trying to identify your emotions and question them or get them to go away, you’re going to identify and label your emotions and then use some strategies to let them do their thing and go at their own pace,” he said.

In Gauthier Mongeo’s view, tracking your symptoms can bring to light a lot of intense emotions as a patient realizes their problem areas and their triggers.

The process is likely to be more effective if the patient is also equipped with ways to deal with those emotions.

READ MORE: To fight loneliness, you need face-to-face social relationships: experts

After putting a name on it, you can start gradually paying attention to other things… and soon, you forget altogether that you were anxious.”

Mindfulness practices could be exactly the addition Natarelli needs for her self-monitoring to be successful.

Formerly, she felt that tracking her symptoms was time-consuming and ultimately fruitless because the nature of her symptoms made self-monitoring difficult.

“ADHD could explain a lot if were diagnosed,” she said. “I probably have it but now can’t bring myself to go in and go through the whole [process] again.”

WATCH BELOW: Do you feel lonely? Here are 3 ways to build meaningful, social relationships

Were Natarelli properly equipped to self-monitor, Sherry believes the contextualized information collected as a result could be “enormously valuable.”

“For example, you could ask someone to track the time of day [and] track their mood,” Sherry said.

In this example, Sherry would ask his patient to place their mood on a scale of one to 10, one being an awful mood and 10 a great mood.

“This will allow you to see that when someone is actively engaged in their world and socializing with friends their mood rating is a seven. However, when they’re at home, working on their taxes, their mood rating is a one,” he said.

“That may suggest that more socializing could improve their mood and it may also point to a problem within their life that they need to work on.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Experts say dodgeball is ‘legalized bullying’ — is the game really the problem?

by BBG Hub

“As part of the curriculum…  [dodgeball is] tantamount to legalize bullying,” she continued. “The fact that it happens in the school context gives you the sort of legitimacy that we don’t feel it deserves.”

Is dodgeball itself the issue?

Some schools in the U.S. have banned dodgeball, Robson added, but research indicated Canadian schools have not done the same.

Parenting and lifestyle expert Maureen Dennis of Toronto told Global News all games and sports have winners and losers, but it also doesn’t mean all sports and games have incidents of bullying — including dodgeball.

“Learning how to be a gracious winner or loser is a very important lesson in life,” she said. “Not everyone can win at everything. Not being good at something is OK. Not enjoying a game is OK. Being proud of being good at something is OK. Enjoying winning is also OK.”

She added it is concerning to “bubble wrap” our kids from an opportunity to lose, fail, get hurt or compete.

“We aren’t encouraging bullying, that is not the same thing as competing or playing a game, bullying is defined as seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone perceived as vulnerable,” she said.  “Dodgeball doesn’t seek to harm, intimidate or coerce other students. Everyone has the same chance to play the game.”

Early childhood consultant Julie Romanowski of Miss Behaviour in Vancouver, added dodgeball is aggressive (like other sports), and it should neither be banned nor mandatory for children at school.

“I don’t think it should be banned but definitely other [students should have] options,” she said. “There are many alternatives to keeping fit and learning new games other than the aggressive ones.”

She added children should be exposed to a variety of sports that include interaction and no interaction, giving them a choice to seek what is best for them.

“Interacting with other children is good for child development however, you can ‘interact’ with someone and even have physical touch and not be ‘aggressive’ such as touch-football, the game tag, skipping or group gymnastics and cheerleading.”

Teaching children competition

John Cairney, professor and director of Graduate Studies at the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto added while banning dodgeball is not the answer, having alternatives could be a good starting point.

“There are many alternatives to the game that are preferable — more inclusive with greater opportunities for participation and design,” he told Global News. “The kinds of concerns individuals are expressing about banning the game have to do with more generalized concerns about how children are treated in our schools.”

He added some comments suggest dodgeball makes children tough and banning it or removing it from the school system is an attack on competition. While the researchers argued they are not anti-competition, Robson added others believe the backlash stems from a backlash of liberal ethics generally.

READ MORE: Reality check — bullying rates in Canada

“The reality is, children can learn a lot about themselves and others, experience the thrill of adventurous play, experience team work, individual achievement in competitive structures through a number of different game-based activities and learning opportunities beyond dodgeball,” Cairney said.

Credit: Getty Images 

And in the bigger picture, let’s not forget about bullying, something that can happen in dodgeball or any other sport or setting.

“We need to consider how sport and physical education must be structured to work to prevent bullying,” he said. “For too long I think, we have ignored the problem and allowed certain contexts, like sport, to be a place were bullying is tolerated and even seen as part of the culture.”

He said physical education has evolved tremendously in the last few decades. “Where gymnastics, sports like football and basketball, dominated the landscape, today there is way more attention to a broader range of activities [like] circus arts, fitness, dance, games of a wide variety and more traditional sports.”

He added: “Let’s help children and youth find what’s right for them so that they stay active and engaged.”

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Declawing pets is actually ‘amputating a joint’ and should be outlawed: experts – National

by BBG Hub

Lawmakers in New York state passed a bill on Tuesday that, if approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will make declawing surgeries for cats illegal unless deemed “medically necessary.”

The bill recommends that declawing procedures for “cosmetic or aesthetic” reasons be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

“It’s unnecessary, it’s painful and it causes the cat problems,” said Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan and the bill’s sponsor.

READ MORE: Paws-itively great news for cats — Manitoba vets ban declawing

The only exceptions are surgeries for “therapeutic purpose(s),” such as for treatment of an illness or disease.

In an interview with the The New York Times, Rosenthal called the bill a way to protect cats from pet owners who “think their furniture is more important than their cat.”

If the bill is signed into law, New York state will be the first in the United States to officially ban declawing.

The state will join several U.S. cities — such as Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles — as well as many other countries, including Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe.

READ MORE: New Brunswick veterinarians vote to ban declawing, practice no longer available in Atlantic Canada

In Canada, declawing is only illegal in two provinces: Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

However, it has been banned by several provincial veterinarian associations across the country, including groups in Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia and Alberta.

In recent months, there’s been more pressure placed on veterinarian associations in remaining provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec, to follow suit and ban declawing.

However, according to Jan Robinson, registrar and CEO of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, banning the procedure as a veterinarian association is not the same as making it illegal. Sometimes, the former can do more harm than good.

WATCH: Dog and cat obesity is a growing problem

“What we’re seeing in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland… and out of New York state are societal decisions,” said Robinson.

“When you have the law coming… then what you’ve got is nobody can do the procedure.”

In contrast, when a veterinarian association bans the procedure, it only becomes prohibited for licensed veterinarians to perform the surgery.

This means other, potentially less qualified people are still free to offer declawing procedures, which worries Robinson.

“If you make it professional misconduct for a veterinarian to do it, then [the client] can have it done by whomever,” she said.

“If these procedures are going to go on from time to time, then what we want is the most skilled individuals to be able to do that.”

READ MORE: Declawing cats no longer allowed in B.C.

Although the group has not banned the procedure, the College of Veterinarians of Ontario does not support declawing.

“We don’t support surgeries for cosmetic purposes that are medically unnecessary. We encourage veterinarians not to perform them unless they are medically necessary or beneficial to the animal, and that becomes very context specific,” said Robinson.

“Our belief is that that should be the judgment of the veterinarian — the medical professional — who is there with that client, with that animal, with that circumstance and [who is] making a judgment around that.”

This is aligned with the position of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), which also vehemently opposes the practice.

WATCH: N.B. SPCA speaking out about the need to educate people about adoptions

According to veterinarian Dr. Jim Berry, a past president of the CVMA and current chair of the CVMA professional development committee, declawing is actually “amputating to a joint.”

“The common term is ‘declawing,’ which makes it sound like we’re just removing the nail,” said Berry, who is also co-owner of Douglas Animal Hospital in Fredericton, N.B.

“The actual name is partial digital amputation, and… that’s because what we’re actually doing is removing the last bone on the finger of each paw.”

The procedure is extremely painful, especially during recovery.

READ MORE: Veterinary pricing: Costs for services and procedures vary wildly, here’s why

“If you hold your finger up, it’s not just taking off the nail — it would be like amputating to that last joint. Instead of having three bones in the end of each finger, you’d only have two,” he said.

After being declawed, cats have to change the way they walk and do other basic tasks because of the loss of bone.

“Scratching is a normal behaviour for a cat… they’re scratching for marking and scratching for care of their claws,” said Berry.

“What you’re doing is… taking away a normal behaviour [and] creating a situation where we have surgical pain.”

Berry says declawing can also cause chronic pain.

“It comes down to why we’re doing this. There’s no benefit to the cat,” Berry said.

When declawing is deemed “medically necessary” will vary from province to province. However, it’s usually only in severe situations, such as a tumour in the nail or when nails are severely infected.

“We are supposed to be advocating for the health and well-being of our patients,” said Berry.

“It’s very hard to rationalize that one.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Kylie Jenner’s new walnut-based face scrub could be dangerous: experts – National

by BBG Hub

Kylie Jenner has announced that she’s expanding her beauty line to include skincare, and one product in particular — the walnut face scrub — is already causing a stir.

The scrub is set to hit shelves along with the rest of her new line, aptly called Kylie Skin, on May 22.

In a promotional video posted to Twitter, Jenner calls the scrub her “secret to a fresh face.”

She also says it’s gentle enough to use every day, which worries experts.

“It really comes down to how the walnut powder is built. You can have larger, less uniform powder and you can have finer, smaller, more uniform powders,” said Dr. Julia Carroll, a dermatologist at Compass Dermatology

READ MORE: Hyaluronic to salicylic — A guide to using acids in your skincare routine

The theory is that larger, less uniform walnut powder can cause micro-tears in the skin, which can promote inflammation and leave you vulnerable to infection.

“If you’re using scrubs, particularly for acne, which is a common use of scrubs — one of the hallmark features of acne is inflammation, and if you use a scrub on top of that, that’s going to increase inflammation,” said Carroll.

“You can actually compound the problem and make it worse.”

The problem, according to Carroll, is that there’s no way to know if the product will be damaging to a customer’s skin until they try it.

“That’s something you wouldn’t be able to tell by feeling a product,” said Carroll.

“It’s something that you would only know as a manufacturer or if you were able to look at it under a microscope. It’s information that is difficult for the public to access.”

Carroll is wary about the quality of the ingredients used in Jenner’s skincare line.

“It really does come down to the quality of the product and how those different ingredients are milled,” she said.

“The issue with the Kylie Jenner scrub is that it hasn’t been released yet so… we don’t know the details on what type of powder it is.”

READ MORE: Foods that help clear your skin — and the ones that don’t

Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist at DLK on Avenue, expresses similar concerns about the scrub and its use of walnut-shell powder.

“The issue is this: not everyone is ideal to use that product and not everyone is ideal to use that product daily,” said Kellett.

“To say that it’s great for everyone… that’s a blanket statement. For some people, it would not be appropriate.”

Ultimately, the effects of this scrub will vary from person to person — but Kellett warns that people with underlying skin diseases should stay away.

“People with a history of eczema or atopic dermatitis… people who have very active acne… this product could irritate them and cause an irritant reaction,” she said.

READ MORE: People are using Coca-Cola as tanning lotion and experts are worried

This isn’t the first time a beauty company has made headlines for using walnuts in a skincare product.

In 2016, St. Ives was the subject of a class-action lawsuit worth $6.8 million because of their apricot facial scrub — which also uses walnut-shell powder.

The two claimants, Kaylee Browning and Sarah Basile, argued that the scrub caused tears and was not fit for use.

Unilever, the company that makes the cult-favourite scrub, stood by its “dermatologist-tested formula,” but the case started a heated debate among dermatologists about use of the ingredient.

According to Top Class Actions LLC, the case was ultimately dismissed.

Carroll hopes Jenner has learned from the mistakes of the beauty industry’s past.

“Hopefully, she’s gone to higher-end ingredients, and they’re finally milled… but we won’t know until we get our hands on it,” she said.

WATCH: Beauty queen spreads awareness of skin cancer after finding it on her thumb

In Carroll’s experience, people who suffer from chronic acne often reach for an abrasive scrub because acne is associated with “clogged skin” — but it’s not always the right way to go.

“I think that a lot of people feel that acne comes from dirty, clogged skin, and they may actually go towards a scrub because they feel like they can clean the acne away,” she said.

“While this combination can be helpful for acne, I think a lot of people, in desperation, overdo it.”

However, if you happen to have a bad reaction to a scrub after use, Carroll wants to be clear that the damage is probably temporary.

“Your skin cycles every four to six weeks, depending on your age… so if you do damage with micro-tears, not all is lost — it will repair itself,” she said.

The only thing to worry about are “channels” in the skin.

READ MORE: Winter elements causing dry, cracked and flaky skin? Here’s how to fix it

“If you’re using other products, like acid (which is very common for people suffering with acne), you’ve given it more access to your skin,” Carroll said.

“Where your skin’s natural barrier might have protected you from some of these (harsh) ingredients, now you’ve got a little tear. It’s essentially a channel that allows that product to go deeper into your skin.”

This may not cause any problems, but it can be an issue for people with sensitive skin or acne.

Instead, she recommends looking for ingredients that “naturally dissolve” — like silica.

“It’s essentially sand… that is really finely milled. It’s very round, it’s very small but it doesn’t damage the skin,” Carroll said.

In her view, silica is a great way to replace microbeads, which were cast aside by the beauty industry when they were discovered to be extremely bad for the environment.

READ MORE: Want healthy skin? Stop these 8 bad skincare habits now

Both Carroll and Kellett recommend consulting a dermatologist before trying anything new on your face.

“That’s why it’s always important to get the help of a board-certified dermatologist… Often, people come in with very complicated routines, and it’s just a matter of cleaning up their routine to get them on the right track,” said Carroll.

“I feel sad for people who blame themselves for their acne. They come in with a lot of guilt and a lot of shame, but it’s a medical condition that often needs a medical treatment by a dermatologist.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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More millennials are signing prenups — and experts say that’s a good thing – National

by BBG Hub

Marriage is an exciting milestone in many people’s lives, but for an increasing number of millennials, it’s also an opportunity to talk break-ups.

According to research, more millennials in North America are getting prenuptial agreements before walking down the aisle. A recent U.S. survey found that an increasing number of young adults are requesting prenups through lawyers to cover things like protection of property, spousal support and division of assets.

Toronto-based family lawyer Rick Peticca says the same trend is happening in Canada.

READ MORE: Should you get a prenup or cohabitation agreement before settling down?

Peticca, who is a lawyer at Shulman Law Firm, says he’s seeing more millennials asking for prenups and cohabitation agreements. Peticca says this trend has increased over the last five years or so.

“While I cannot comment on overall Canadian statistics on prenups, I can tell you that at Shulman Law Firm, the files that are marriage contracts are almost all exclusively millennials,” he told Global News.

Andrea Syrtash, a relationship expert and author of Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband), echoes Peticca’s experience, and says she’s noticed more couples seeking legal agreements.

“People pursuing [prenups] recognize that some marriages don’t last forever,” Syrtash told Global News. “And [they] want to be protected if their relationship doesn’t work out.”

Why are millennials asking for prenups?

It may seem surprising that a generation commonly portrayed as being financially strapped is pushing for prenups. But according to experts, there are some good reasons as to why.

WATCH BELOW: How bickering couples can find peace

“[There are] several reasons which may explain the rise in prenups,” Peticca said. “Millennials are staying in school and working longer than 30 to 40 years ago, and so they are acquiring more wealth and income before getting married or cohabiting in a long-term relationship.”

Peticca said that millennials may also inherit more intra-generational wealth, either through their parents or grandparents. (The rise of parents and grandparents passing on “living inheritances” is an example of this trend.)

He says that times are changing, too, and the way in which people approach relationships is shifting. These days, people are concerned with protecting their assets since they are well aware that divorce rates are high.

READ MORE: Millennials account for highest RRSP contribution, according to BMO study

“With the increase in divorce rates over the last 40 to 50 years, the prevalence of growing up and being immersed in divorce has conditioned millennials to think differently about relationships and planning for an ‘exit strategy,’” Peticca explained.

“With the age of the internet and accessibility to information, millennials are more knowledgeable on how to approach relationships from a ‘risk-management’ point of view.”

What should a prenup entail?

Put simply, a prenup is a written agreement made between a couple before they marry. It outlines who is entitled to what should a divorce occur, and how assets will be divided.

According to Susan O’Brien, senior vice-president and senior wealth adviser at BMO Nesbitt Burns, it’s important for couples to talk about their financial status and discuss their money goals as a couple. This talk should come before they say “I do.”

WATCH BELOW: Couples use app to manage, organize divorce decisions

“When you’re in a relationship with someone, you talk about all your hopes and dreams for tomorrow, and what your life is going to look like and how wonderful it’s going to be,” O’Brien told Global News. “[But] you also have to get down to the business part of the relationship — and prenups come under that business part.”

O’Brien says that you and your partner should determine how you want to protect your individual assets, debt, shared properties, investments and even things like life insurance policies.

“It’s not just about what I have is mine and what you have is yours; it’s also about the growth of those assets,” she added.

How to talk about prenups

Experts say it can be hard to talk about prenups — especially at the beginning of a relationship. Syrtash says that even if conversations around money and assets are uncomfortable, they are important.

READ MORE: One in 5 Canadian millennials are delaying having kids due to money worries: BDO

“The reality is that many uncomfortable topics — like debt, family dynamics, religion, sex — should be brought to the table before marriage so you and your partner can feel aligned… before going into the long-term partnership,” she said.

“When you approach the prenup conversation, say it in the spirit of wanting to be honest and on the same page about many uncomfortable topics, including that one.”

Syrtash said instead of coldly asserting your needs, start a conversation about why a prenup is important to you. She said that it’s crucial to let your partner know you don’t imagine divorce happening, but want to cover all bases since you know what can happen when couples aren’t financially prepared.

“If you get resistance, ask your partner if she or he is willing to speak with a financial specialist or counsellor about it since it’s important to you,” she added.

WATCH BELOW: Divorce doesn’t have to be detrimental to your family

O’Brien says as a wealth adviser, she is often that third party who addresses prenups. She says that she introduces many clients to the idea of a prenup when they’re in her office talking about financial planning, which includes investing and mortgages.

If a client is in a serious relationship that could result in marriage, she says that it’s important for them to talk openly about their financial goals with both her and their partner.

It’s important to note, however, that not every couple wants a prenup, Syrtash said. “Prenups are not important in every marriage, but my general relationship rule is if something is important to one person in a relationship, it’s important,” Syrtash said.

READ MORE: ‘Sell before you buy’ is the new housing market battle cry

If you and your partner do decide to get a prenup, O’Brien says it’s vital that a lawyer handles the contract to ensure all is sound. She also advises that both parties seek independent counsel to look over any documents. That way, each person can feel comfortable with the agreement.

While couples hope they should never need their prenups, the comfort they offer is invaluable, O’Brien says.

“They really give that peace of mind, like car insurance,” she said. “You hope to never use it, but it’s there.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Harmful alcohol use is on the rise — and experts warn it’s not slowing down – National

by BBG Hub

Health experts want people across the world to drink less alcohol, but according to a recent study, some of us are drinking more booze — and more often.

A new study published in medical journal the Lancet found that between 1990 and 2017, global alcohol consumption rates increased from 5.9 litres annually per person to 6.5 litres. What’s more, researchers predict that this number will jump to 7.6 litres by the year 2030.

In other words, people are drinking more alcohol and the trend is expected to continue upward.

READ MORE: Alcohol is killing Canadians, so why are we still drinking?

The study, conducted by researchers in Canada and Germany, also discovered that more people are drinking alcohol, too.

“The prevalence of current drinking increased from 45 per cent in 1990 to 47 per cent in 2017,” the researchers wrote. The amount of “heavy episodic drinkers” — a.k.a binge drinkers — also increased to 20 per cent in 2017 from 18.5 per cent in 1990.

When it comes to non-drinkers, the percentage of people who abstain from alcohol decreased from 46 per cent in 1990 to 43 per cent in 2017.

WATCH BELOW: Uncorked: ‘Mommy’ drinking culture normalizing alcoholism for women

The researchers predict that these trends will continue, meaning that global goals for reducing alcohol intake are unlikely to happen.

“We forecast… trends to continue, with abstinence decreasing to 40 per cent by 2030… and the proportion of current drinkers increasing to 50 per cent by 2030,” the researchers wrote.

The number of people who binge drink is also expected to increase, rising to an estimate of 23 per cent in 2030.

READ MORE: France trying to get people to cut back to two drinks a day or less

The countries with the largest uptick in drinking are India and Vietnam, while booze consumption dropped in Australia, the U.K. and Canada.

The increase in global alcohol consumption has health experts concerned.

A 2018 report found that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink, and any possible benefit of light drinking — including reducing heart disease — is outweighed by the combined health risks associated with alcohol.

The study, published in the Lancet, said alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 across the world in 2016, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths. That same year, alcohol was associated with 2.8-million deaths.

WATCH BELOW: Is legal pot putting a dent in alcohol sales?

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction says that the economic cost of alcohol-related harm across Canada is $14.6 billion per year. After tobacco, booze is the substance that causes the most harm in the country, the centre says.

Dr. Catherine Paradis, the lead alcohol expert at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, previously told Global News that Canadians lack education around the harms of alcohol.

“Alcohol literacy in our population is extremely low,” Paradis said. “According to some data we have, no more than 20 per cent of the population is aware that alcohol can cause seven different types of cancer.”

READ MORE: Not a drinker? Here’s how to date if you’re sober

Given the fact that 78 per cent of Canadians in 2017 reported consuming an alcoholic beverage in the past year — and 21 per cent of those drinkers were at risk for chronic effects — it’s important that people are aware of health repercussions.

Paradis says that if Canadians are going to consume alcohol, it’s best to follow the country’s low-risk drinking guidelines.

“According to those guidelines, to reduce your risk of long-term effects, men should never take more than three drinks per occasion, and no more than 15 per week,” she said.

WATCH BELOW: Some signs you may have a drinking problem

“For women, it’s two per day and 10 per week. That means you need to have at least two days of abstinence a week, and you can’t have 10 drinks on a Saturday.”

While the low-risk guidelines indicate best practices around regular alcohol consumption, the most you should ever drink in one day is only slightly higher, Paradis said.

“To reduce your risk of accident and injury, it is recommended that men should never have more than four [drinks] per occasion, and women should never exceed three drinks,” she said.

— With a file from Katie Dangerfield  

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Will eating peanuts dull your child’s allergy? Experts are divided – National

by BBG Hub

Exposing a child with a peanut allergy to a small amount of peanuts over a period of time has long been considered an effective way to lessen the impacts of the allergy, but a recent study has found that oral immunotherapy (OIT) can increase a child’s risk of severe allergic reaction by three times compared to if they were to avoid peanuts altogether.

“We’re not outright saying that this treatment doesn’t work for anyone or that this treatment should be abandoned … but right now this is an experimental treatment,” said Dr. Derek Chu, a fellow in clinical immunology and allergy at McMaster University.

READ MORE: Half of adults who think they have food allergies actually don’t — study

Led by Chu, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 12 controlled studies of peanut oral immunotherapy. Altogether, the analysis involved more than 1,000 patients between the ages of five and 12.

The results were clear: the frequency of anaphylaxis was 7.1 per cent for those on a placebo or practicing avoidance (which is the practice of avoiding exposure to the allergen at all costs).

For those undergoing a peanut treatment, it rose to 22.2 per cent.

An allergy to peanuts is different from other allergies, according to Chu. It’s thought to be lifelong and it’s often associated with severe allergic reactions.

“It’s one of the most common causes of food-induced anaphylaxis presenting to the emergency room,” said Chu.

WATCH: U.S. teen with peanut allergy dies after accidentally eating cookie parents deemed ‘safe’

The severity of the allergy has long perplexed doctors, which is why OIT as a possible way to mitigate those omnipresent and often life-threatening symptoms has excited the medical community.

As both a doctor and someone who has had a peanut allergy his entire life, Chu hopes OIT will one day be an effective way to manage symptoms. However, he is skeptical about the practice as it stands. 

“(OIT) may work for some, but we don’t know who and we don’t know how to optimize that yet. We need to make improvements,” Chu said.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t suffer in silence’ — How to treat your seasonal allergies

Food allergies are extremely common, and peanut allergies even more so.

According to Food Allergy Canada, more than 2.6 million Canadians self-report having at least one food allergy, and peanut allergies affect two out of 100 children in Canada.

Depending on its severity, a peanut allergy can cause a range of symptoms — from hives and nausea to shortness of breath and trouble breathing.

Severe allergies can make everyday activities difficult

Burlington mom Hiromi Okuyama has a four-year-old son with food allergies so severe that they affect her entire family.

“Our grocery bill is much higher than the average family. We hardly ever eat out, (and) fast food isn’t in his vocabulary,” said Okuyama. “We pack his food all the time, we’re nervous about eating at restaurants and travelling is hard.”

Okuyama’s son has anaphylactic reactions to dairy, wheat and eggs so she needs to watch him almost constantly.

“He is so sensitive that he reacts just by touching something with the allergen,” she said. “We have to clean all surfaces before he eats. When he goes to public places and there is carpet, I can see rashes appear sometimes because the carpet probably has food particles in it that he’s allergic to.”

READ MORE: Unvaccinated — Should vaccinations be mandatory for school-aged kids?

For Okuyama, her son’s allergies can be extremely stressful — especially when her family wants to do something relatively “normal,” like join their extended family at a restaurant for a special event.

“We usually bring his own food because we worry about cross-contamination,” she said.

“Some people may think my husband and I are overprotective, but they don’t understand how lethal dairy, wheat and egg is to my son. (They) can have fatal consequences.”

In the view of Dr. Harold Kim, president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI), OIT could be an effective way to ease some of the anxiety that often accompanies severe allergies.

He believes the treatment could lead patients to a “more normal life where they don’t have to be paranoid about trace amounts of food.”

“Some patients can have quite a lot of anxiety around eating out … I would say, on average, it does have a big impact on quality of life,” said Kim. 

OIT can have positive outcomes

That’s why Kim believes OIT should be offered to patients.

“The science behind it is very good … but, of course, we want to warn people about the potential side effects. You could extrapolate that to any medical therapy that we have,” he said.

“If we use a blood thinner to treat blood clots, there’s an increased risk of bleeding for those patients, but the benefit is that they won’t have life-threatening problems with blood clots.”

Kim believes that Chu’s findings were to be expected.

“(During OIT) we’re giving children the food they’re allergic to,” Kim said. “We warn all patients that there is an increased risk of systemic side effects and milder effects as well.”

Despite these side effects, Kim thinks OIT still helps people with severe peanut allergies lead more normal lives.

More research is needed

The outcomes of OIT treatment can be unpredictable, which worries doctors like Dr. Elana Lavine, a pediatric allergist and immunologist at Humber River Hospital.

“I have been avidly following the oral immunotherapy research and I would hope to be able to provide this service to my own patients in the future, but I’m still working on concerns regarding the pragmatics of how to operate in a safe way,” said Lavine. 

Her concerns are mostly about how to provide patients with around-the-clock care in case of an anaphylactic reaction — which can happen, since they’re consuming their allergens on a regular basis.

“The real-life application of this therapy does carry certain risks,” said Lavine. “Parents and patients would have to be given appropriate informed consent before they began this process.”

WATCH: Is it worth it to get a food sensitivity test?

There’s also the chance that OIT could have a negative impact on your quality of life, as it can come with several side effects.

“The most common side effects seem to be discomfort associated with ingesting the food that you’re allergic to,” said Lavine.

This can include but is not limited to stomachaches, abdominal pain and problems with the esophagus. There’s also, of course, the risk of have an anaphylactic reaction. 

Add peanuts to your child’s diet as soon as possible

One way you can reduce your child’s risk of developing a severe peanut allergy is to introduce peanuts at a young age — ideally, between four and six months of age.

For this preventative measure to be effective, your baby should be ingesting peanuts regularly.

This is the official stance of the Canadian Pediatric Society, and it’s one both Kim and Lavine wholeheartedly endorse.

“That’s absolutely something I recommend to all of my patients, and it’s not altered at all by the recent publications about oral immunotherapy,” said Lavine. 

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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