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The S word - All about sleep training

Three things you never talk about in mixed company: politics, religion and sex.  I'm about to talk about something that should have been added as the fourth - infant sleep training.  Log onto any mommy blogger website or forum and you will see what I mean, both sides are vehemently dedicated to what they think is right and seemingly no amount of discussion or rationale will convince them other wise.

Now I have had the honour or experiencing parenthood first hand this past year and my son Bennett is now just over 10 months old.  This gives me the unique perspective of speaking not only as Naturopathic Intern with a keen interest and vast experience in medical research, but also as a father.  I remember my wife Amanda coming home and telling me how she wasn't sure about sleep training and wanted to know my thoughts on it.  She would tell me all of the things she had read in the various online mommy forums about sleep training such as "it will shut down your child's nerv…
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Raising Children on a Plant Based Diet - A way to thrive or child abuse?

This topic has come up many times over the last few months I figured I'd go there.  It's a touchy subject but that hasn't seemed to stop me from writing about a topic in the past so why now?  I have seen this question more now likely because I have a child but also in clinic it has come up often in conversation.  This is a good thing as it is a topic that should be better understood by physicians helping to treat these patients and help educate parents on the topic.

With the above said this topic has been popular for the past year or so and it seemed to all stem from Italy's recent move to propose a law that could incarcerate parents for feeding their children a vegan diet.  Read that again slowly, proposed.  Yes, an Italian MP proposed the law, it has not actually become law.  The amount of comments stated that Italy has made it illegal and has claimed it as child abuse is nothing more then emotional reactions and bandwagon rhetoric that makes it easy to bash a specif…

Evidence Based Medicine - What is it and how does it apply to patient treatment?

Yes, that term that people love to throw around in conversations sometimes as a defence for a treatment but more often times as a way to decry another.  The problem is very few people know what is actually means, or better written - very few people are actually aware of the evidence.  Evidence based medicine (EBM) as a term has become analogous with the cliched "mike drop" sort of how people like the new catchy term "because science".  As funny as these can sometimes be, what does EBM actually mean and how does it apply to a patient?

According to a 2008 discussion published in the Journal of the Academy of Medical Sciences in Bosnia loosely paraphrased, it is the conscientious and reasonable use of best modern evidence when making a decision about the care of individual patients.  Plainly stated it is using available empirical evidence (RCT's, meta analysis, etc.) to determine the treatment for a patient.


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This doesn't mean that clinical eviden…

Why I Decided to Become a Naturopathic Doctor - My approach to health

My apologies for the lack of posts over the past week, it's been busy.  I was away with the family at the cottage for a week and I've been making a point of leaving my phone or internet at home to unplug.  I've been much more conscious to disconnect when ever I can, especially when I am spending time with my son Bennett.  The last thing he needs to see is his dad on his phone and anytime I have with him the phone is the last thing I want to be looking at.  Once I got back home from the cottage I continued construction on our basement which has been a ridiculous task.  With the huge help from my dad I have managed to haul six cubic yards of clay up the stairs and out of our basement so I could run all new plumbing lines to fix some water and sewage issues we've been having this past winter.  Quite possibly the most grueling manual labour I've decided to do to date, however I've learned a new skill and in a couple weeks will have a clean smelling and dry basement…

The Placebo Effect - Is it really all in your head and does it really exists?

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Ahh yes, the infamous placebo effect, often talked about but rarely understood.  When it is discussed it usually is in the context of condemning some sort of treatment as in "It's probably just placebo any ways".  I've often said that the placebo is one of the most poorly studied treatment phenomenons which is a shame for reasons I'll discuss in this article.  But the reality is that the placebo is actually one of the most studied topics by far compared to any other treatment.

How so?  Well, every randomised controlled trial (RCT) - essentially the gold standard of assessing any treatment due to its ability to prove cause and effect - studies the placebo.  The control in an RCT is the placebo and therefore you can examine data on how the placebo changes the patients condition.  In the case of subjective symptoms you have nothing to compare the placebo to as baseline and same with when things are studied that the body almost always heals from on its …

Coconut Oil - Friend or Foe?

I'm sure by now you've all seen the sensationalized media reports bashing coconut oil and placing it alongside or even inferior to butter for it's ill health effects.  You may even be questioning your own use of coconut oil and thinking that corn or canola are better options.  So what exactly happened?  Did scientists suddenly stumble across some new information about the dangers of coconut oil?  Did groups of people who ingest high amounts of coconut oil end up developing disease?  The answer to these questions are a resounding no.

Coconut oil is still the exact same substance that it was a few years ago.  The same substance that has caused people to make all sorts of health related claims about - many of which are sensationalized themselves - has not changed.  Nothing really happened at all except that a review was funded to examine previous studies performed with coconut oil.   You read that right, no new study or randomized controlled trial (RCT) was performed, instea…

Detoxes and Cleanses - Panacea or Catchy Phrase?

To kick off my first article in a while I figured what better way than to jump right into it with a hot topic like detoxes?  This has been something that I am consistently being asked about and something that many people are choosing or are thinking of choosing to do.  When I used to work at a natural dispensary I would constantly be asked what is the best detox or what should I do to detox?

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The word gets thrown around quite a bit but have you ever stopped to think about what it means?  What are you really trying to achieve when you say you want to do a detox?  This is the same question I would ask these customers - why do you want to do a detox?  Almost every time I was faced with blank stares and the answer was typically "I don't know" or "I just want to cleanse myself and feel better".  Now wanting to feel better is well understood, usually people feel sluggish, tired, foggy.  Often times people want to detox after a vacation down South where …