Sympathy: The Gut & Brain Connection

“So it does make sense that when our body and our brain are putting together this feeling of, ‘How am I, as a whole body, doing?’ that the gut has something to contribute to this process. And it also makes sense that people who have conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease have a higher risk of having anxiety or depression. I think this is good information to share, because many people will think, ‘I have this gut thing, and maybe I also have this mental health thing.’ And maybe–because science is not clear on that right now–it’s really just that the brain is feeling sympathy with their gut.”

Dr. Guilia Enders author of Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ (2015)

On Democracy

Michiko-Maruyama-Spirit-of-The-Heart.jpg“The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up–ever–trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?”

~Terry Tempest Williams

*Illustration by Dr. Michiko Maruyama

UBC’s Indigenous MDs

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UBC’s Executive Associate Dean of Education Dr. Roger Wong with UBC Indigenous Physicians

Many Indigenous people are wary of doctors. Yet familiarity begets communication, and understanding improves care. I have family on reserve, so patients don’t need to tell me their whole story for me to understand. Like the program graduates before me, who work in communities up north and cities across the country, I hope to help bridge that gap and improve Indigenous access to health care, which will improve health outcomes for Indigenous people.

~ More on UBC Program Graduates Indigenous MDs to Bridge Health Gap (May 19, 2019) by Rebekah Eatmon, UBC medical undergraduate and post-graduate resident specializing in family medicine via Times Colonist.

On Results

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

~ Thomas Merton

Improving Access to Contraception

“In BC in 2015, 828 babies were born to mothers under age 20.[9] There are social, educational, and physical risks associated with unintended pregnancy in adolescence.[10] Unintended teen pregnancies are associated with poorer educational achievement and lower income for the mother. Babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be born preterm and small for gestational age, which increases the risk for a stay in a neonatal intensive care unit.[11]

At sexual health clinics across the province, oral contraceptives are often the only contraception choice available for free, despite evidence that LARC is more effective and cost-efficient.[12] While it is laudable that a hormonal IUD is on the Fair Pharmacare formulary, there remain potential barriers for teens whose families may qualify for Fair Pharmacare—the family may not be signed up, or they may not have met their annual deductible yet. For teens from families who do not qualify for Fair Pharmacare, the burden is on the teen to either buy the IUD or ask for financial assistance from their family. Because confidentiality is a foundational aspect of adolescent care,[13] and sexual health care in particular, it is problematic to rely on adolescents to communicate with their parents about covering the cost of an IUD in order to receive the protection.

LARC is now the first-line recommended option for contraception among teens. It is time for the province to follow evidence-based practice by removing barriers to LARC and funding it for youth under age 25 across the province.”

Learn more at It is Time to Improve Access to First-Line Contraception for BC’s Youth (2019) by Kelly Anne Cox, MD, MPH Eva Moore, MD, MSPH via BCMJ, 61(4), pp. 178-179 Premise