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Active Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
A Healthy Balance
Ankle Sprains
Active Kids, Healthy Kids
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Children, Nutrition & Exercise
Beat the Heat!
Cold Weather Workouts
Concussions
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Exercise is Medicine
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FITT Prescription
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From Surviving to Thriving
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Get Motivated
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Jump Start Weight Loss
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Live Actively
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Prehistoric Workout
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7 Wonders of Walking
Adolescent Health
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Acne
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Chronic Diseases in Teens
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Female Physical Exam
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A Woman's Physical
Your First Job
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Childbirth
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Advice from the Maternity Clinic
Advice from the Maternity Clinic (Part 2)
Alcohol in Pregnancy
Building a Better Baby
Birthing Etiquette
Birth Plans
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Bleeding in Pregnancy
Breastfeeding Benefits
Caesarean Section by Request
Care for the New Mother
Cord Blood Banking
Delaying Motherhood
Blue after Baby or Postpartum Depression
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Evolving Ideas about Pregnancy and Birth
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Folic Acid in Pregnancy
High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Getting a latch on breastfeeding
Group B Streptococcus
Induction of Labour
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In-Vitro Fertilization
Low Birth Weight Babies
Medication & Pregnancy
Miscarriage
Managing Your Own Labour
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Nausea & Vomiting in Pregnancy
Pain Relief in Labour
Prenatal Classes
Preterm Labour
Planning a Pregnancy
Pregnancy Weight
Prenatal Care Providers
Postpartum Repetitive Strain Injuries
RH Disease
Rupture of Membranes Before Labour
Sex During Pregnancy
Skin Changes in Pregnancy
Smoking and Pregnancy
Support During Labour
Travelling While Pregnant
Ultrasound for Fun & Photos
Natural Remedies in Pregnancy
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
Vacuum & Forceps for Delivery
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
When Baby Comes Home
Childhood
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Asthma in Children
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Choosing A Babysitter
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Introducing Solid Foods
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Feeding Your Baby
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How Children Grow
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Heart Murmers
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Children and Sports Injuries
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Learning Disabilities
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Not Just Baby Fat
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Preparing for Lab Tests
Recognizing Learning Disabilities
Red Rashes
RSV-Childhood Respiratory Virus
Safe Summer Fun
School
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Vaccinations
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When to go to the Doctor
Whooping Cough
Worried Sick
Yeast Infections in Children
Chronic Pain
Full Listing with story descriptions
Introduction
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
Moving Forward
Nutrition
Opioids
Pacing
Pain Medications
Prevention
Returning to Work
Understanding and Goal Setting
When Pain Doesn't End
Dental Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Antibiotics and Dental Surgery
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Teeth
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Children's Dental Injuries
Choosing a Dentist
Cosmetic Dentistry
Mouth Guards
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Dentures and Healthy Jaw
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Fluoride
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First Dental Visit
Headaches
A Healthy Mouth
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Keeping it Clean
Laser Use in Dentistry
Mouth Protection Equipment
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Oral Healthcare
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Oral Health Care Products
Orthodontics
Orthodontist First Visit
Painless Dentistry
Periodontal Disease
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Root Canal
Seniors Oral Care
Sensitive Teeth
The Smile You Want
Sore Mouth, Aching Jaw
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Smiling through the Senior Years
Teeth for Life
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Tobacco Risks to Oral Health
Tongue Piercing
Tooth Whitening
Travel Dentistry
Water Fluoridation
Wisdom Teeth
Your Healthy Smile
DIABETES
Full Listing with story descriptions
10,000 Steps
A1C Test
Accurate Blood Glucose Testing
Alchohol and Diabetes
A Diabetes Success Story
ABCs of Diabetes Management
Alternate Site Testing
Artery Health
ASA Therapy
Benefits of Insulin
Benefits of Breakfast
Blood Glucose Medications
Blood Glucose Myths
Blood Glucose Testing
Blood Glucose Testing Tips
Blood Sugar Lows
Blood Glucose Monitors
C-Peptide Testing
Canada Food Guide Revisited
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Celebrating Health
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
Cholesterol-lowering Medications
Colds and Diabetes
Constipation
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Dangers of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Debunking Diabetes Myths
Driving and Diabetes
Diabetes and Menopause
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Diabetes Care Team
Diabetes and Celiac
Diabetes and Depression
Diabetes Diet
Diabetes Distress
Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring Budget
Diabetes Etiquette
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes and Thyroid Disease
Diabetes and Your Mouth
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes Management ABCs
Diabetes Meter Technicians
Diabetes Myths
Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic Retinopathy
Diet Tips for South Asians
Dining Out
Drinking and Diabetes
The Discovery of Insulin
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eating Well During Shift Work
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise Excuses
Why Fad Diets Fail
Fats
Fibre
Fill Your Day with Energy
Financial Support for Diabetes
Food Temptation
Foot Care
Footwear and Foot Health
Fruits and Veggies
Gastroparesis
Gestational Diabetes
Get Active
Get Physical
Gift Ideas
Glucose Meters
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Loads
The Glycemic Index
Going Green in the Kitchen
Grocery Shopping Tips
Guidelines for Diabetes Management
Holiday Party Survival Guide
Health Information on the 'Net
Healthy Happy Holidays
Healthy Beverage Choices
Health Benefits of Soy
Healthy Restaurant Meals
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
HbA1c Test
Healthy Eating for Active People
High Blood Lipids
Home from the Hospital
Home Alone and Sick
Hypoglycemic Unawareness
Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Immunization & Diabetes
Incretins-a Hormone Treatment
Injecting Insulin
Insulin Discovery-The Story
Insulin
Insulin Handling
Insulin - the Key to Energy Management
Insulin Pumps
Insulin Pen Needles
Insulin Pump Infusion Sets
Insulin Pump Therapy
Immunization and Diabetes
Internet Health Sites
Islet Cell Transplantation
Insurance
Ketones
Kidney Disease - Reducing the Risk
Living with Diagnosis of Diabetes
Living Powerfully with Diabetes
Low Blood Glucose
Managing Diabetes
Managing Blood Glucose
Metformin
Nutrition Food Labels
Meal Planning
Your Medication Expert
Medication Research Studies
Metabolic Syndrome
Microalbuminuria
New Diabetes Technologies
Natural Medicines and Diabetes
No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
Over-the-Counter Medications
Oral Health and Diabetes
Osteoporosis and Diabetes
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Pedicure Precautions
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Pet Diabetes
Planning for Pregnancy
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Preparing for Activity
Putting off Insulin
Reducing Stress of Surgery
Safe and Successful Travel
Schizophrenia and Diabetes
Sensible Snacking
Setting Health Goals
Setting Goals for Physical Activity
Sharps Disposal
Shorter Insulin Needles
Sleep - a Missing Link
Smart Snacking
Smart Summer Nutrition
Snack Bars
Snacking with Diabetes
Sodium
Social Media & Diabetes
Solving the Insurance Puzzle
Stress and Diabetes
Success in School
Supplements
Supporting Spouse with Diabetes
Sweeteners
Sugar, Carbs and Blood Glucose Control
Think Positive with Diabetes
Tiny Bites Equal Big Calories
Travelling with Diabetes
Tips for a Better You
Tobacco Use and Diabetes
Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Treating Low Blood Glucose
Treating Hypoglycemia - Role of Glucagon
Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes Medications
Understanding Ketones
Used Sharps
Urinary Incontinence
Vacationing with Diabetes
Vegetarian Eating for Diabetes
Vitamin D
Walking
Wise Choices About Natural Medicines
Wonderful Water
Natural Medicines & Diabetes
World Diabetes Day
Your Medicine Cupboard
Zimbabwe Hand Jive
Family Medicine
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ADHD in Children
Allergic Rhinitis
Allergies
Antibiotic Use
Arthritis
Aspirin Every Day?
Asthma
Back Pain
Back Pain Myths
Back Pain - Lower
Birth Control
Bladder Problems
Blood Transfusions
Breaast and Prostate Cancer Screening
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Check-Up
Colon Cancer Screening
Contact Lenses
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COPD
Cost of Doctor's Visit
Diabetes Management
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Diagnostic Tests
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
Doctor Visit
Driving Vision
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Does My Sore Knee Require an MRI?
Do I Need an Annual Physical?
Eczema
Electronic Medical Records
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Family Doctor
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Floaters and Flashes
Food Poisoning
5 Ways to Stay Healthy
Gallbladder
Get Active!
Glare
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Healthcare Teams
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Human Papilloma Virus
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High Blood Pressure Risks
How to Talk to Your Doctor
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Lazy Eye Blindness (Amblyopia)
Medical Digital Technology
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Opioid Myths
Primary Healthcare Reform
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Restore Your Core
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Stroke
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Vaccination Controversies (ask the doctor)
Win by Losing
Urinary Tract Infections
Vision Flickers
First Aid
Full Listing with story descriptions
Bites and Stings
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First Aid Travel Kit
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Can I see Well Enough to Drive?
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Eating Well
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Get Active!
Glaucoma
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Have Health, Will Travel
Health Tips for Seniors
Hearing
Incontinence
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Living Longer With Diabetes
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Maintaining Quality of Life as You Age
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New Corneal Treatments
Nutrition for Seniors
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Skin Over 50
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Travel Tips for Snowbirds
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Modern Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
Abuse
Acupuncture
Adult ADHD
Aging and Memory
Alcohol and Your Health
Anger Management
Antidepressants
Barbecue Basics
Bathtub Safety
Binge Drinking
Bisphenol A
Canada's New Blood System
Caring for a Loved One Dying at Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Computer Stress
Coping With Change
Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Pesticides
Depression
Diabetes Epidemic
Discipline
Diseases from Pets
Downsizing
Dying at Home
Erectile Dysfunction New Treatments
Exotic Travel
Fertility Issues
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
Grief
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Healing Through Music
Healthy Computing
Humidex
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Ice Safety
Indoor Air Quality
Lymphedema
Mature Student
Melamine in Food
Middle Age Health
Mind-Body Connection
Mom Time
Money Matters
Outdoor Workers and Sun Safety
Patient Safety in the Hospital
Pets and Health Benefits
Pet Therapy
Physiotherapy Visit
Planning for End of LIfe
Reproductive Freedom
Safe Drinking Water
Schizophrenia
Smokeless Tobacco
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Soy
Stigma of Mental Illness
Street Drugs
Stressed or Depressed?
Stress in the Workplace
Stress Leave
Swim to Survive
Sunburn
Time Management
Travel Health Protection
Travel Comfort Tips
Travel Immunization
Understanding Change
Unplugging
Whiplash
Wind Chill Index
Workplace Drug Testing
Workplace Health
Nutrition
Full Listing with story descriptions
5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Breakfast is Important
Bowel Health
Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter & Cheaper
Energy Drinks
Food Allergies
Food for Active Kids
Fast Food
Food Labels
Giving Up Gluten
Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits & Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fats
Fat Phobias
Fats & Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Fibre
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Iron
Kid's Food
Liquid Candy
Meal Planning with Planned Overs
Mercury Levels in Fish
Night Snacking
Night Shift Eating
Nutrition on the Net
Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition Questions Top 5
Nutrition for Menopause
Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
Picky Eaters
Power of Fruits & Veggies
Portion Control
Power Lunch
PMS and Nutrition
Preparing for Surgery
Probiotics
Reducing High Blood Pressure
Replacement Meals
Sensible Snacking
Sodium
Sodium and Blood Pressure
Sports-Minded Nutrition
Sugar Substitutes
Survive and Thrive
Teen Nutrition
Tips for a SuperDiet
Understanding Food Biotechnology
Vacation Eating
Vitamins D
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetarian Diet
Weight Loss
Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
Full Listing with story descriptions
After a Heart Attack
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adult Vaccinations
Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
New Anticoagulant Medications
Inhaled Asthma medications
Arthritis Medications
Biologics
Biological Response Modifiers
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood Thinners
Calcium and Iron Supplements
Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
Choosing Sunscreens
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Cold Sores
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals
Drug Interactions
Emergency Contraception
Erectile Dysfunction
Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heartburn
Heart Health
Insomnia
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Obesity Medication
Over-the-Counter Drugs
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Pregnancy
OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
Quit Smoking
Skin and Cosmeceuticals
Sports & Nutrition Supplements
Sunscreen
Taking Medication
Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
Viagra
Vitamin D
Yeast Infections
Your Best Shot
Your Medicine Cupboard
Prevention
Full Listing with story descriptions
Accident Prevention
Alcohol
Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Bedbugs
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Caffeine
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
Cancer Prevention Tips
Chronic Disease Prevention
Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
Injury Prevention
Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
Meningitis
Norovirus
Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
Sun Safety
Surviving Disaster
Sushi Preparation
Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
Travel Tips
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Water Smarts
Vision Damage
Water Wisdom
West Nile Disease
Whooping Cough
Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Women's Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Anemia
Approaching Menopause
Birth Control
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
Breastfeeding Myths
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception
Contraception for Mature Women
Cosmetic Procedures
Cystitis
Endometriosis
Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
Fibroids
Heart Attack
Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The IUD
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
Menstrual Bleeding - Heavy
Menopause
Menstruation Myths
Menstrual Pain
Third Generation Birth Control Pills
Osteoporosis
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts
Oral Contraction (The Pill)
Pap Test
Premenstrual Syndrome
xx
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
Vaginitis
Varicose Veins
Viagra for Women
Yeast Infections
Your Pelvic Floor
Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway
Family Health Magazine - PHARMACY CARE

Pharmaceutical Studies
Using science to make decisions about medications

It seems like every day, a miracle drug or a newly discovered side effect of an existing one makes news. Given the rapid pace at which medicine is progressing, combined with advances in communication, this is not at all surprising. Whether in the paper, a magazine, a television program, online or by word of mouth, there is never a shortage of new health information. But with so much coming out all the time, how do you know what to believe?

The term evidence-based medicine may be new to most people. However, the idea it represents has been around for ages. Health care professionals have made decisions for their patients’ care based on scientific evidence for centuries. Today, the emphasis on incorporating scientific evidence into the practices of various clinicians is even greater.

Evidence-based medicine is a way to apply the best available scientific evidence to make clinical decisions. It helps clinicians decide what information to believe and what is useful. This process typically involves the following steps:

For instance, we would use the steps to decide whether a new drug that claims to cure a disease can actually do so. Evidence (studies) relating to this new drug would be collected. Then the evidence gathered would be evaluated based on the quality of the study or trial.

Different types of scientific studies exist, and they must be judged differently. Pharmaceutical (medication) trials are a type of study often talked about in the media. Generally, these provide the strongest level of evidence. Observational studies and case studies are examples of other types of scientific studies. The evidence from these is not as strong.

Pharmaceutical trials are judged on aspects like:

Done properly, pharmaceutical trials are the gold standard because they always use at least two groups of participants. One group takes the drug in question, while the other does not. Other aspects of the trial are kept the same for all participants. This ensures that the results of the trial are due to the treatment, not from other factors that might interfere. Finally, any conclusions found about the new drug are assessed for value and use in real life.

As you can see, health care professionals consider many factors when evaluating drug claims. However, most people who hear about a new drug or new side effect cannot go into this much detail. And so the last two questions of the process are the most important. Ask yourself if what you are hearing can be trusted. If so, does it apply to your situation? Consider these questions the next time you see or hear something about a drug or treatment.

Where is the information coming from?

When you hear new drug claims, you often do not immediately know who supplied the information. Looking at that source can often tell you how reliable the information is. Essentially, there are two sources for much of the drug information — the one that you hear it from, and the source that actually generated the information. The source that you hear it from (a friend, magazine, article, the news) can give you an idea of whether the information is trustworthy. However, you must look at the original source of the information to know how reliable it really is.

If the information is from the news, check where it is coming from – which scientific study, journal, or institution. If you hear something from a friend, ask where they heard it from and have a look yourself. Magazines and articles should, and often do, have sources for their information. If you cannot find a source, that should be a warning sign. When you do find the source, ask yourself if it seems reliable. Is the institution where the study was done well known? Is the scientific journal that published the study credible? Is information on how the pharmaceutical trial was done easily available?

What do the statistics mean?

Statistics can be a powerful tool in both a positive and negative way. Used correctly, they give a fuller understanding of the information being presented. However, statistics can also be misleading. Those who publish studies sometimes try to phrase statistics in ways that make results sound more significant than they may be.

For instance, consider the following claim: drug A has been shown to reduce the risk of developing disease B by 50 per cent. On the surface, drug A sounds like a miracle drug, and maybe it is. However, ask yourself a few questions. In this example, the claim refers to reducing risk of disease B, but what is the normal risk of getting disease B? If two people out of a thousand are normally at risk, and drug A decreases that risk to one out of a thousand, is this significant? The risk is technically decreased by 50 per cent, but as you can see, it was never a very high risk.

This is just one example of how statistics can be misleading. When considering statistics, ask yourself what the numbers actually mean. And of course, the old saying often applies – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How does the new information fit into what is already known?

To truly assess something new about a drug, the information must be put into context. Most of the drug claims you hear about already have existing data. In the case of a new drug for a particular disease, certain facts are known about the disease. Specifically, we know what has been used to treat that disease until now, and how effective that treatment has been. If effective drugs are already available, then the question to ask is what would be the real benefit of this new drug.

In the case of an existing drug with a newly discovered side effect, there would be information about the drug to date. Here, we can look at an overall body of information about the drug, its effectiveness, and other side effects and risks. It is important to understand this new side effect in the context of the drug as a whole. Then, the question is whether and how this will change the way people use this drug.

Does this information apply to my situation?

Even if the answers to the previous questions mean the information is accurate and trustworthy, the conclusions may not apply to everyone. Evidence-based medicine standardizes making decisions, which sometimes means we lose sight of the individual. Ask yourself if the information you find is useful to your situation. Each person is unique. Just because a treatment helps participants of a study does not mean it will help a particular individual. Likewise, a treatment that did not work for participants in a study may still benefit a certain person. If the claim being made is based on a study or trial, ask whether it had participants similar to you. Participants are often selected based on age, other medical conditions, medications used, and sometimes even gender and ethnicity. Look too at whether the drug being used would be appropriate for you given your own medical history.

When considering any treatment, you must weigh the benefits versus the risks. A health care professional can help you decide, based on your unique situation.

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FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written
with the assistance of
The College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2015, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6    [PC_FHa13]
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