Category Archives: Consumer health info

Examples of consumer health information blogging.

Closure of the Consumer Health Information Service

I did not write the post that follows, however it was a sad day for all of us and I want to ensure that this post survives.

The Consumer Health Information Service at the Toronto Public Library provided invaluable assistance to Ontarians across the province, in both official languages, helping them to find reliable health information that they could understand.

CHIS began in a very much pre-Internet era, a testament to good, old-fashioned librarianship and dedication to service. Susan Murray, the heart of consumer health information at TPL and in Canada in general, was the driving force behind a comprehensive and proactive information service that it was a privilege to be part of. Susan’s mission was and remains the provision of health information people can understand, exactly when and where they need it. To fulfill that mission, Susan literally moved mountains. Continue reading

Locating reliable health information on the Internet

Can you trust Internet health information?

More and more, people are using the Internet to find information on all topics, including health information. A recent article  by the PEW Internet & American Life Project estimates that 75-80% of Internet users have searched for health information online, and that most reported high levels of satisfaction with the information they found.

That said, not all sites on the Internet provide reliable health information. And, as Mark Twain famously said: “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint”.

Libraries can help you locate reliable health information on the Internet, by providing classes, electronic resources or by answering your questions in person or online. There are also a number of sites you can check to see if that alarming e-mail you just read is a hoax or fraud.

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Colorectal cancer: Cancer of the colon or rectum

March is colorectal cancer awareness month.

What is colorectal cancer?Support-colorectal-cancer_mod
Colorectal or colon cancer, which affects the last six feet of the small intestines and rectum, is one of the most common type of cancer in Canada.

Overall, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer (men and women combined). On average, 413 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer every week, and 171 Canadians will die of it. (source)

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Teens in Canada: Sex, contraception, pregnancy and STDs

Are Canadian teens having sex?

Of course they are!

CondomThe latest available StatsCan report about sex, condom-use and STDs among young people in Canada was published in 2005. The study looked at youth aged 15 to 25, finding that about 62% of young people in this age category had had sex at least once in their lives. The proportion was the same among males and females, and once they began sexual activity most remained sexually active.

Of course, the older the young people were the more likely they were to have had sex: 28% of 15-17 year-olds stated they were sexually active, compared to 65% of 18-19 year-olds and 80% of 20-24 year olds. The average age at first sexual intercourse for both males and females was 16.5 years. The survey found that older people were more likely to have long-term, monogamous relationships and that youth aged 15 to 19 were more likely to have had multiple partners in the past year.

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Alzheimer’s disease: What is it and can it be prevented?

© Flowers Florist Link 2009 By J.O.E. Innovations.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License. First described in 1906 by German psychologist Alois Alzheimer, Alzheimer’s disease is incurable, degenerative and fatal. It attacks the brain and it is the most common cause of dementia. It is most commonly diagnosed in people over 65, although early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur much earlier.

Prevalence

Over 300,000 Canadians suffer from some type of dementia, over 60% of these have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (source). The government estimates that, by the year 2031 — when most Baby Boomers will reach 60 — over 750,000 Canadians will suffer from dementia. (more Canadian statistics)

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Post-holiday blues

The holidays are over for another year and we are all back to our everyday routines: guests have left, get-togethers are over, and the cold, bleak, very long winter stretches Depression Jessia Hime Nov17_2008before us with no respite until (for some) Family Day in February. And even THEN it’s not over!

Feeling a little blue? That is very common this time of year. Shorter days, colder temperatures, post-holiday financial debt… January is a hard month for many people.

Positive steps

  • Exercise (help shed those festive pounds you might regret in the cold light of January)
  • Eat well
  • Volunteer (helping others makes us feel better about ourselves)
  • Learn something new Continue reading

‘Tis the season: Can holiday stress affect your health?

It seems as though stress is an unavoidable part of modern life, particularly at this time of year, and this year in particular. You, your friends, family, co-workers and neighbours may be coping with stress on a daily or even hourly basis.

What is stress?
Stress is your body’s way of reacting to the demands of the world. The stress response is sometimes called the “fight or flight” response.

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HIV and AIDS: What they are and how to avoid them

PLEASE NOTE: THIS POST WAS WRITTEN IN 2008. SINCE THEN, MANY THINGS IN THIS FIELD HAVE CHANGED. WHILE THIS INFORMATION WAS RELIABLE AT THE TIME, IT MAY NO LONGER BE SO. IF YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR HEALTH INFORMATION ON HIV/AIDS IN PARTICULAR, PLEASE CONSULT A RELIABLE RESOURCE WRITTEN IN THE PAST YEAR OR TWO. THIS POST HAS BEEN PRESERVED AS A WRITING SAMPLE ONLY.

This December 1 marks the 20th World AIDS day. On this day, people from around the world come together to draw attention to this global pandemic and to encourage HIV and AIDS prevention. A primary focus for this day is to encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world.

What is HIV/AIDS?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a type of virus that attacks our immune system, causing it to function less well or not at all. In the early stages of infection (the first 5 to 10 years), there are often no obvious symptoms: many infected people do not know they are infected. However, as the virus continues to attack the immune system, the infected person starts to get sick. This is because all kinds of “opportunistic infections”, which their bodies would have normally fought off, attack their weakened immune system. (source)

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Crohn’s disease, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome: What is the difference?

November is Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Month. Both diseases are types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which can involve either or both the small and large bowel.

Crohn’s disease occurs mainly in the large intestine (colon) and in a part of the small intestine called the ileum. It is not usually fatal, but there is no definitive cure. Medications and a good diet go a long way to controlling the symptoms of this disease. Unlike ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s can’t be completely cured by surgery.
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