The
Med Skull
medical information page



Don't wait to be dead before doing something!


This page contains a short list of sources from which you can get medical information. It does not pretend to be exhaustive, but just a bit cynical. :-)

Caution: Although I have almost twenty years of schooling (most of them in science), I am not an MD. In fact, my background is in Physics and Maths and, believe me, I have much more fun doing work in these fields than reading medicine stuff. Nevertheless, out of necessity, because of the Quebec crisis in health care and in education, I have, over the years, accumulated quite a bit of medical information. I am just sharing part of it with you here. If you are new to this process, this should give you, at least, a starting point. For the rest, explore, learn as much as possible, and trust your own jugment, not mine.

Remark: Quotations marks indicate that the text was taken verbatim from the Web page itself.


Acknowledgements:
I would like to thank the following visitors for sending me some of the links listed below
Maggie Danhakl, Barbara, Chloe Pearson, Patricia Sarmiento, Jasmine Dyoco, Cathryn Weaver, Sara, Stephanos Anastasiadis, James Pierce, Kelly Campbell, Reese and Keri Evans, Jessica Johnston, Rebecca Preston, Laura Pearson, Sandra Beals.


Important remark for visitors

I want to thank all visitors who send me lists of links to be added to the Med Skull page. I need however to keep this Web page to a manageable size.

Some of the projects I am now working on are keeping me quite busy so I certainly no longer have the time to preriodically recheck all the links on the Med Skull page. Furthermore, some of the Web sites may be only temporarily unavailable so I would need to check a link more than once to be convinced that it is actually broken and thus needs to be removed. Given the current number of links, this would require too much time.

I am not too keen of adding more links to the Med Skull page. In fact, I think I should consider removing many of them. When I started this project in the late 1990s, I did not realize then how dynamical the Web was and how rapidly links can become obsolete. Also, now that we have Wikipedia and Google, I am much less certain that my Med Skull page is really that useful. Nevertheless, if I find an exceptional Web site, I will add a link to it.

For now, I intend to restrict the Med Skull links to Web sites which are major sources of information. Good examples of these are the Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center, PatientsLikeMe.com, CureTogether, ACOR, RateMD.com, WorstPills.org.

Since each news service (BBC, CBC, ABC, ...) has its own list of health related articles, I cannot include all of them. If I want the Med Skull page to be a unique ressource, I need to restrict it to sites where people have the greatest probability of finding the information they need when they have a medical problem and have to make some major decision.

Articles with the "health tip of the day" are great and I read many of them to take on good habits and have a healthier life. There are however now so common that I find links to them on almost every Web site that I visit. Centralized medical information in a given subject is, on the other hand, more difficult to find, especially when it documents the dangers or inefficiencies of some current medical practices. And this is what I now would like to concentrate on.

For all these reasons, I have to limit the number of new links I will add to the Med Skull page.

Added note [2016-06-04]: The Med Skull page will remain as is for now. No new links will be included, at least in the foreseeable future.


Good starting points

To find information, references, and links on any subject, including health and health Web sites, the two best starting points are, as usual

Living healthy

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada contains various tips on how to stay healthy. This is also where to look for health warnings and travel health notices. The site is bilingual (English/Français).
  • PasseportSanté est un site subventionné par la Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon. On y trouve de l'information sur la nutrition, sur la médecine conventionnelle et traditionnelle ainsi que sur les médecines douces.
  • Another source of information on healthy living is the Cleveland Clinic Web site.
  • Here is a nice summary: 10 Tips for Living a Longer, Happier Life from Kanetix.ca Insurance.
  • The blog of Patricia Sarmiento on the PublicHealthCorps Web site contains short articles giving useful advices on how to stay healthy and have an enjoyable life.
  • GoodGuide for information about safe, healthy and ethical products, based on scientific ratings.
  • Running is not a sport requiring expensive equipment. It is also fun to run with friends in a neighborhood with lots of trees and green spaces. Runner Rescue is a great Web site to learn how to keep in shape, avoid injuries, and heal from previous ones. There is also information there for joggers and walkers.
  • Cool Running is another site for runners where you can find some useful info and links.
  • JustStand.org gives information on why sitting too much is bad for your health and why it is better to stand up at your desk or, even better, to walk.

    Nutrition

    Food safety

    Here are three important articles on food safety from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Website: ABC Health & Wellbeing From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site:

    The healthy home

    The following Web sites give some useful information on how to avoid indoor pollution and contaminants in your home. Here are also links to pages on fire prevention and safety.

    The healthy environment

    Mental well-being

    Sometimes, we feel full of energy and enthusiastically take on too many responsabilities, underestimating the difficulties ahead. Then something unexpected happens and we no longer have enough time to fulfill our commitments. We can try to cut on sleep but then chronic fatigue sets in, focus becomes more difficult to maintain, intellect is no longer as sharp as it used to be, and tasks take longer to accomplish. No gain here.

    This road can lead to stress, exhaustion, burnout, and depression. It is possible though to learn how to become more resilient while things are still relaxed. You might want to explore the following Web site for some advice on how to cope with the difficulties of life:

    Hygiene

    From the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

    Downloadable mp3 audio files

    General medical information

    Alternative medicine

    Free access to medical databases

    Diagnose Me sites

    The two following are the only commercial Web sites that you will find on this page.

    Taking control

    Recovery

    For military personnel

    Parenting

    The following Web sites should help parents keep their children safe and healthy.

    Rehab toward independence

    In the early 1970s, I had some friends who got into the habit of heavy drinking. I vividly remember a end-of-celibacy party in which two of them got quite sick, one of which had to spend most of the night kneeled on the floor, his face over a toilet bowl, feeling miserable and vomiting from time to time. This was definitely not my idea of having great fun.

    I have never liked the effects of alcohol, so I just tried it a few times. And I am not the kind of guy who yields to the authority of peer pressure (or, in fact, to any authority). I remember being called "stubborn" on various occasions (even by my teachers) and, to be frank, I am rather proud of this.

    There are times in life when you have to decide if you prefer being by yourself learning more about what you like and doing what you really enjoy or if you prefer following the crowd, doing some boring stuff, just to be in the gang.

    Anyway, you might have a friend who, because of booze or of some other hard drugs, is a bit messed up and would like to regain control and some independence. Then, the following Web site may contain useful tips. Nothing prevent your friend from having a look, thinking about the situation while sipping a strong coffee, and then, maybe, deciding to take charge and ask for advice along the way, whenever needed.

    Seniors health

    Geriatry

    Oncology and cancer treatment

    On the lymphatic system

    Heart health and heart problems

    Microbiology

    Rare chromosome disorder

    Arthritis

    Dermatology

    Obesity

    Medical information for non-human animals

    Avoiding medical errors

    Health and health risk calculators

    Evaluating medical information

    Evaluating your health services

    Evaluating your doctor

    Evaluating your treatment

    Evaluating your need for surgery

    Evaluating your prosthesis

    Evaluating your medication and your medical devices

    Patient advocacy

    Medicine of the future

    Almost everyone agrees that Gene Therapy and the use of stem cells will be the next medical revolution. But the really big medical revolution will come after that. Serious work on the new technology has already begun: it is called Nanomedicine.

    The idea is to make nanomachines (a billionth of a meter in size) capable of repairing cells at the molecular level. In my view, this new technology should bring the practice of medicine out of its Dark Ages. And for the long run: how about living over 100 years, young and healthy? But, for now, the question is: will we still be around when this revolution comes about? Probably not, unless we really move ahead and push our stupid politicians and bean counters out of the way. And now is about the time to do it. Our future starts with the present.

    If you are not immortal (yet)

    If you're too far down on the medical waiting list and you really think that you will not make it, then you might want to consider Cryopreservation.

    Medical breakthroughs

    The following sites are not, strictly speaking, medical Web sites. However, they are worth watching for scientific and medical breakthroughs.

    Humour for the fearful and the depressed

    If you are sick or burned out, you probably need a little something to lift your spirit.

    Books

    a) In the medical libraries

    Medical library, on university campuses, are exceptionally good sources of information, especially if you want to browse through the current research papers. I suggest you first read their abstracts in the Medicus, then seek the articles you are interested in.

    If you need to get acquainted with a given subject, look for the books used by the medical students. They are easy to spot since they usually come in many copies on the library book shelves. They are also those you will most probably find in the university bookstore.

    b) In the local bookstores

    You'll also find some interesting material in the local bookstores (including university bookstores). Look in the Health section (for humans) and in the Nature section for your non-human friends.

    c) A few titles

    Among all the books I have bought over the years, here are a few titles which might be of some interest:

    Some final thoughts

    • I know a lot of people who would go to many garages before having a major repair job performed on their car. They would also consult many contractors before getting some work done on their house. Yet, they won't even ask for a second opinion when their dentist or their GP suggests some major alterations on their body. I really don't understand this. In my view, it's always possible to get another car (and even another house) but getting another body is much more difficult. If something goes wrong with the medical procedure, you'll have to live with the consequences the rest of your life. Think about it.
    • If you need a second opinion, don't ask your current MD for the name of a colleague. Instead, seek someone with a different background (e.g. someone who is part of another community, who got his degree from another university, or who even came from another country). This will increase your chances of getting a different opinion and more options. In the mid sixties, a collegue of mine went to see a dentist who had immigrated from Germany. He got the very best dental care (a lot better than what was available in Quebec then).
    • Before going to the doctor's office, make a list of your symptoms (or, better, keep a log) and learn as much as possible about your condition. Make also a list of all the questions that you want to ask. On the day of the visit, bring both lists (symptoms and questions) with you and make printed copies for the doctor. It will then be a lot easier to discuss important matters and not forget anything if you have everything written down just in front of you.
    • Leave the doctor a printed copy of your symptoms and of your questions to be included in your medical file. This serves two purposes. First, it should save the doctor the time it would take to jot down the information. Second, you will both have a (legible) record of what has been discussed during the visit.
    • If you think there is something wrong going on, keep a log book or a journal (with dates and descriptions). This will be quite useful if, later on, you need to prosecute.
    • In case of malpractice, share the information with your friends and neighboors, just to make sure they won't go see this doctor and get hurt.
    • Some practitioners are there for the money amd want to process as many patients as they can, in the shortest amount of time. They might get angry if you ask too many questions. Don't let them intimidate you. You might not have gone to med school but, if you spent many days reading about something, you stand on a firmer ground than they do with the short two-minute exam they did on you.
    • Sometimes, we have to deal with stubborn staff members of an institution who are not listening and are, instead, trying to impose some stupid bureacratic procedure. We can then threaten them that, if something goes wrong, their names will be engraved on the tombstone as the cause of death. I had to do this once in the old age home where my mother was residing and it sure got their attention. They could not just ignore what I was saying.
    Many of the above suggestions also apply if you bring one of your non-human friends to the vet.

    About the Med Skull

    Originally, this page was called The Red Skull medical information page instead of Med Skull. However, a Google search showed me later on that, out there, there were lots of Web pages about a comic book character named Red Skull. So, after considering various names like Red Bones, Red Crossbones, Smiling Skull, and Dead Serious, I have finally settled for Med Skull.

    Now, maybe you're wandering why I want to use a red skull as an icon for this Web page. This is because I just don't want to use a red cross or any other religious symbol.

    The red skull also represents someone who got badly hurt in a car accident, waited a long time for the ambulance to arrive, was brought to an hospital, covered with blood, had to wait more than 24 hours in the corridor, then got lost in the emergency room to be rediscovered many days later and to finally be given the wrong treatment."

    And, I'm sure you have noticed, the red skull also represents the cynical and Death Metal flavor I have given to this page. (But, hopefully, you found here some useful information and no tainted blood. :-)


    Les coupures dans les soins de santé,
    c'est criminel!
    Qu'on leur dise.

    -=*=-
    Et n'attendez pas d'être mort pour agir!


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  • Andre Ratel
    aratel@vif.com
    last update: 2017-06-10