Bohemian polypharmacy – with a nod to Queen

Bohemian Polypharmacy

Sit back for six minutes or so and enjoy every line of Bohemian Polypharmacy – a parody of Queen’s classic, Bohemian Rhapsody. This time around, it’s a song all about polypharmacy – which is what we call it when we are taking more medicines than we need to.  This is yet another brilliant gem from Canadian pharmacist and professor Dr. James McCormack, with lyric help from David Scotten and creative input from Pete McCormack.  Great vocals are by local Victoria band Aivia members Liam Styles Chang (lead) and Shae Scotten (background).

Dr. James McCormack is half of the brains behind Therapeutics Education Collaboration (TEC), home of the highly entertaining (and educational) BS Medicine podcast (the BS stands for, of course, Best Science). His partner in crime is family physician Dr. Michael Allan. Here’s how they describe TEC:

“The best way to describe us is that we are the ‘mythbusters’ of drug therapy.”
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The cardiac miracle cure? Vitamin C, lysine and Dr. W. Gifford-Jones

It all started with a simple question from one of my blog readers at Heart Sisters.  Another heart attack survivor asked me if I’d heard about the use of high-dose vitamin C and lysine to prevent or reverse coronary artery disease, a treatment duo often touted in health food stores. It turns out that almost any Canadian who reads any daily newspaper across our great country has likely heard of these particular supplements, thanks to a syndicated health columnist named W. Gifford-Jones MD whose columns have been published in over 70 newspapers in Canada and beyond.

He’s a University of Toronto- and Harvard-trained MD and author whose bio also includes “family doctor, hotel doctor and ship’s surgeon”. (That’s not his real name, by the way – which is Ken Walker).  In one of his columns published in the Windsor Star in December, the 89-year old Gifford-Jones/Walker described his own personal experience taking this vitamin C and lysine combo:   Continue reading

Can I change my mind about docs on social media?

As regular readers already know, I’ve told some embarrassingly cringe-worthy tales about how some health care professionals are using social media (here, here and here, for example).  In Doctors Behaving Badly Online, I cited studies by Washington, DC researcher Dr. Katherine Chretien and her findings of physicians’ unprofessional” posts on Twitter featuring “very naughty words, potential violations of patients’ privacy, and discriminatory statements.”

Two years ago, when the British Medical Association warned U.K. docs and med students NOT to make “informal, personal or derogatory comments” online about their patients, I became even more alarmed. Why, I wondered at the time, is it even necessary to issue this warning to intelligent, educated brainiacs with the letters MD (or rather, in the U.K., the letters MBBS) after their names?

There are still regrettable cases coming to light about Doctors Behaving Badly Online, but lately, I’ve been rethinking my former suspicion that many health care providers simply have no business wading into social media. And the reason for the rethink is this: physicians are, in essence, abdicating their role as our medical educators. Continue reading