Life Over Cancer

Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment
by Keith I. Block, M.D.
Bantam, April 2009, 978-0-553801149

Dr. Keith Block is at the global vanguard of innovative cancer care. As medical director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Evanston, Illinois, he has treated thousands of patients who have lived long, full lives beyond their original prognoses. Now he has distilled almost thirty years of experience into the first book that gives patients a systematic, research-based plan for developing the physical and emotional vitality they need to meet the demands of treatment and recovery.

Based on a profound understanding of how body and mind can work together to defeat disease, this groundbreaking book offers:

  • Innovative approaches to conventional treatments, such as “chronotherapy”–chemotherapy timed to patients’ unique circadian rhythms for enhanced effectiveness and reduced toxicity
  • Dietary choices that make the biochemical environment hostile to cancer growth and recurrence, and strengthen the immune system’s ability to attack remaining cancer cells
  • Precise supplement protocols to tame treatment side effects, relieve disease-related symptoms, and modify processes like inflammation and glycemia that can fuel cancer if left untreated
  • A new paradigm for exercise and stress reduction that restores your strength, reduces anxiety and depression, and supports the body’s own ability to heal
  • A complete program for remission maintenance–a proactive plan to make sure the cancer never returns

Also included are “quick-start” maps to help you find the information you need right now and many case histories that will support and inspire you. Encouraging, compassionate, and authoritative, Life over Cancer is the guide patients everywhere have been waiting for.

For more information, visit You can also become a Facebook Fan of Life Over Cancer at

Other Resources

Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition  by David Servan-Schreiber MD PhD Hardcover, $17.79

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery  by Rebecca Katz, Hardcover, $18.39

Integrative Oncology (Weil Integrative Medicine Library)  by Donald Abrams, Hardcover, $26.42

Beating Cancer with Nutrition, book with CD by Patrick Quillin, Paperback, $16.47

Discussion also continues at Psychlinks Forum.

Free app for Crohn’s and Colitis patients

Free app for Crohn’s, colitis patients
CBC News
July 25, 2011

Toronto’s SickKids creates myIBD to monitor bowel diseases

The myIBD phone app helps patients track their food, stool and bathroom breaks.

Teens and parents dealing with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis now have a mobile app that will help them manage their disease and seek help sooner if something is wrong courtesy of staff at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

The free app helps patients track their pain, food, stool and frequency of bathroom visits on their mobile devices. It also provides access to educational tools and the latest information on managing their symptoms.

More than 200,000 Canadians suffer from Crohn’s or colitis, known as IBDs or inflammatory bowel diseases, which can be debilitating.

“Some days I’d go to the washroom up to 20 times,” says 18-year-old Calandra Carkner, who has Crohn’s. “I was exhausted, in constant pain and afraid.”

Staff at SickKids say they noticed that patients and families of young children with IBD were missing “red flags” when it came to symptoms and flare-ups. That led Karen Frost and her colleagues, Dr. Johan Van Limbergen and Meaghan Wright of the Department of Gastroenterology at the hospital to create the app.

“MyIBD offers a visual tracking system so patients can monitor their disease activity and seek help when necessary – sooner, rather than later,” said Frost in a statement released Monday.

Calandra says the app helps her understand the triggers such as stress or a particular food and gives her some control and lets her focus on her life.

SickKids has arranged for myIBD to be available in the APP Store for iPhones, iPad and the iPod touch and will be available to Android devices later this year.

Discussion continues at

Blockheaded research, blockheaded conclusions

When you do simple-minded research, expect to draw simple-minded, blockheaded, and just plain wrong conclusions. What’s worse is the potential damage reports of such research can do to those with mental health conditions in need of treatment.

Case in point… the following description of a McMaster research study from TriCity Psychology Blog:

Anti-Depressants Raise Relapse Risk?
TriCity Psychology Blog
July 20, 2011

Patients who use anti-depressants are much more likely to suffer relapses of major depression than those who use no medication at all, concludes a McMaster researcher.

In a paper that is likely to ignite new controversy in the hotly debated field of depression and medication, evolutionary psychologist Paul Andrews concludes that patients who have used anti-depressant medications can be nearly twice as susceptible to future episodes of major depression. Andrews, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, is the lead author of a new paper in the journal Frontiers of Psychology.

The meta-analysis suggests that people who have not been taking any medication are at a 25 per cent risk of relapse, compared to 42 per cent or higher for those who have taken and gone off an anti-depressant. Andrews and his colleagues studied dozens of previously published studies to compare outcomes for patients who used anti-depressants compared to those who used placebos.

Andrews believes depression may actually be a natural and beneficial — though painful – state in which the brain is working to cope with stress. “There’s a lot of debate about whether or not depression is truly a disorder, as most clinicians and the majority of the psychiatric establishment believe, or whether it’s an evolved adaptation that does something useful,” he says.

This is seriously blockheaded research.

1. Patients who take antidepressants also tend to be more seriously depressed and probably more prone to depression via personality factors and coping skills than those who don’t.

2. Patients who take antidepressants and discontinue them prematurely, typically at about 6 months when they start to feel better, are unquestionably at risk for relapse. They mayu be feeling better but that doesn’t mean theyc are ready to discontinue the medication. Prior research has already demonstrated quite convincingly that those who remain on the antipdepressant medication for 1-2 years are significantly LESS likely to relapse.

“There’s a lot of debate about whether or not depression is truly a disorder, as most clinicians and the majority of the psychiatric establishment believe, or whether it’s an evolved adaptation that does something useful,” he says.

Oh, really? Maybe in the seriously ill-informed world of Andrews and his immediate colleagures. Out in the real world, I’ve never heard of this so-called debate.

Discussion continued at


Ask-a-Vet: Online Veterinary Help for Your Pets

Ask A Vet Question

Ask Ottawa veterinarian Dr. Marie a question about the health of your pet online. Then continue to converse back and forth with her until you feel your question is answered satisfactorily.

Online veterinary advice

Dr. Marie has been practicing small animal medicine for over 10 years now. She is compassionate and cares for the animals and the wonderful people who own them. She is experienced in treating dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice. She is skilled in surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, dentistry, behavior and medicine. Dr. Marie has taken courses in Orthopedic Surgery as well. She really enjoys solving complicated medical cases such as animals with difficult diseases like Cushing’s Disease, Addison’s, and those frustrating itchy dog cases that are hard to figure out.

She also has an interest in oncology and gives compassionate and knowledgeable advice whether you are interested in chemotherapy, radiation or simply palliative care.

Her latest venture, this online vet advice site has helped many people who have veterinary questions and need to ask a vet a question and get a response quickly! Need to ask an online vet? Veterinarian, Dr. Marie is here to help.

You can also browse her growing selection of free articles on pet health, including cats, dogs, and hamsters (“pocket pets”).

Please note: I am a psychologist, not a veterinarian. If you have questions about your pet, please do not post them here. Contact Dr. Marie directly at

Royal College of Psychiatrists gets it wrong again

Royal College of Psychiatrists Disappointed At Government’s Failure To Recognize People’s Capacity To Make Decisions For Themselves

(04 Jul 2007) The Royal College of Psychiatrists is deeply disappointed that government has failed to recognize that most people who suffer from mental illnesses are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves, and present no threat to anyone. Yet, under the mental health bill, they will still have their choice of treatment overruled.

Nonetheless, the College welcomes a number of significant amendments that were made during the Bill’s passage through the House of Commons, including:

  • no patients can now be detained in hospital for a purpose other than to improve, or prevent, a deterioration in their health;
  • all detained patients will have access to an advocate
  • children will be treated in services which are appropriate to their age.

We welcome these amendments and others which are also beneficial to the care and treatment of mental health patients.

It is essential that sufficient resources are now provided for mental health services to ensure that the legislative changes can be made to work properly.

The College looks forward to continuing to work with Mental Health Alliance to ensure that the Code of Practice guides clinicians and others as to best practice.

“The College has worked very hard to try to ensure that the Mental Health Act 2007 respects the human rights of our patients, with the intention of benefiting their health and protecting them from causing any harm whilst unwell,” said Professor Sheila Hollins, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

“I am pleased with the fact that most of our advice has been heeded, although I remain concerned that so much of the detail has been left to the Code of Practice. The College is proud of its continuing membership of the Mental Health Alliance, an Alliance of 75 member organizations that remained united in representing the needs of people with mental illness and other mental disorders throughout the passage of this Act.”

“Although important and valuable changes have been made to the Bill as it passed through parliament, it is clear we ill have to wait for the next mental health act to see adequate and humane safeguards for both patients and the public,” said Dr Tony Zigmond, vice-president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

We’ve discussed the obstructionist and protectionist actions of the Royal College of Psychiatrists previously. First, the legislation does NOT make it easier to hospitalize people who “are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves, and present no threat to anyone”. That is absolute balderdash. What the legislation does is extend the number of professions who are legally able to make decisions and recommendations about involuntary treatment in cases of imminent risk or incompetence. And THAT is what the Royal College of Psychiatrists is really opposing – because it will encroach on their historical sole authority in this realm.

Second, the legislation, as the College itself notes, includes provisions to prevent abuse of involuntary treatment. How does this do anything except (1) improve the quality of life for those mentally ill individuals who lack the insight to make informed decisions themselves, and (2) reduce the risk (cf. Kendra’s Law) to other people of untreated mental illness?

Kendra’s Law, mandated treament, mental illness, politics of medicine, Kendra’s Law

The sad state of Canada’s health care system: A rant

This was inspired by a reaction to a post at the Psychlinks Forum about health care and mental health. At moments like this, I feel like Albert Finney screaming “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more” out the window.

“Why are doctors in Canada always in such a rush? Do we need more doctors? More nurses?”

Yes. We need more of both. You can thank 12 years of abject mismanagement of our nation by the Jean Chretien and Paul Martin Liberals for that. They cut back on health care expenditures, downloaded the costs to the provinces, and the provinces slashed budgets, closed hospitals, fired nurses, and drove doctors out of the country. Here in Ontario, we had the Mike Harris government laying off nurses and five years later trying to bribe them to come back from the US or other provinces when they “suddenly” discovered we had a desperate shortage. Doctors also left in droves, either out of the province or out of the country or out of the profession, and now the ones remaining are so overworked they’re beginning to physically collapse under the strain.

This isn’t a problem with the medical profession. This is absolutely and entirely a situation created by short-sighted opportunistic politicians whose sole interest was in window-dressing (“look how much money we’ve been able to save!”) and getting their sorry asses re-elected. Now in Ontario we can look forward to mass retirements of our existing nurses over the next five years or so – the governments are very aware this is coming but is anyone actually planning ahead and trying to do something to fill the future shortages? Of course not. That would require vision and a modicum of intelligence, something almost universally lacking in our politicians.

“When I do go to the doctor I wait and wait and then I am lucky if the doctor will talk with me for two minutes. Recently I was at a specialist’s office and there were actually signs that said not to mention more than one problem per visit.”

I also have seen those signs. Again, this is a function of unacceptable overwork of our existing doctors and an OHIP fee schedule that doesn’t even begin to keep pace with inflation. (Psychologists don’t bill OHIP, by the way, so this isn’t a personal axe I’m grinding.) We hear about physicians making enormous salaries but these are not our family physicians or GPs – those are specialists, surgeons, etc. The family doctor is a disappearing breed on the verge of extinction unless somebody somewhere acts to reduce the appalling stress – emotionally, phsyically, and financially – placed on their shoulders by our unbelievably stupid and toally self-serving politicians. Increasingly, family physicians and new medical students are going into other less stressful and/or more financially rewarding specialties – and the line-ups in medical clinics, urgent care clinics, or emergency waiting rooms continue to grow.

Canada health system, family doctors, family physicians, general practitioners, GPs, health care, Ontario, politicians, politics of health care