Wednesday, July 17, 2024

What have readers, and pediatrician discovered after 25 years of recommendation?

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Towards the tip of 1999, the Calgary Herald invited me to write down a month-to-month column. Right this moment, I look again, nearly 25 years later, and stay amazed on the privilege it has been to contribute to the native newspaper

As an creator, marathon runner and community-based pediatrician, writing places me within the zone (these moments after we lose observe of time as a result of we’re totally dialled in).

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As we are saying goodbye to 2023, and ponder our future, I’ll use this month’s piece to look again a bit and establish patterns.

My standards for mentioning numerous previous subjects is straightforward: what number of readers determined to hunt me down and provides me a chunk of their thoughts, or posted what I wrote on social media?

On the very prime, the matter of fluoride within the metropolis’s water will get the gold medal for probably the most “hits”. I filed the piece from Mexico whereas on trip there, and after I bought again to Calgary there have been a number of emails telling me how poisonous fluoride is and the way dare I discuss any advantages. Two years in the past, Calgarians voted to have fluoride again. That has not occurred but.

The opposite shock was an pressing name from my editor saying that she was contacted by Harvard, no much less, and that my column should be retracted. I wrote about how the ache of caries (cavities) in early childhood could impression the mind improvement of a toddler. Harvard recommended that early childhood stressors, reminiscent of pain-induced-caries, is stretching it a bit. I known as a dependable and trusted dentist, Dr. Lenny Smith, who advised me the science backs my column up. The editor trusted me and we by no means apologized for what was written. Later, Harvard bought on board. I need to admit that was humbling and nerve-racking abruptly.

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Vitamin stays a sizzling matter all the time. I as soon as made the purpose that not all mothers are in a position to breastfeed regardless of getting all of the assist on the earth. I attempted to make these mothers really feel much less disgrace and guilt. The following week I bought a name from the top of pediatrics on the Kids’s Hospital, attacking me for selling components.

Dr. Nieman column
Dr. Peter Nieman has been writing about youngsters’s well being for the Calgary Herald since 1999. One of many subjects that generates a number of reader suggestions is fluoride, reminiscent of this column from July 2014. Postmedia archives

On a latest snowy afternoon, I dug into copies I’ve saved of all my columns since 1999. I noticed these tendencies by way of what “winds” readers up probably the most:

• Early mind improvement.

• Vaccines; particularly the HPV vaccine which pitted a bishop in opposition to the medical group when it first got here out.

• Any perceived or confirmed toxins reminiscent of mercury, lead, marijuana’s impression on the rising mind … and as soon as once more … fluoride in any type. (ADHD medicines are sometimes feared, however that could be a matter for 2024).

• Burnout amongst lecturers, docs and social staff, even fatigued dad and mom who’re changed by grandparents as major caregivers.

• The cultural onslaught on youngsters who get rushed by childhood due to early intercourse, incessant display occasions and media, compounded by new applied sciences (reminiscent of AI).

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• The necessity to discover options to the very fact self-harm is at an all-time excessive.

In that vein, when my son died by suicide on Jan 1, 2020, the editors on the Herald had been supportive. That was the one month I failed to write down. Later, when readers found why, they too had been supportive. I discovered that people are inherently good; they simply overlook to be good after they endure. I ended up writing a ebook on how good individuals sustained my household. That ebook, Sustained, has now been out for a couple of weeks on Amazon and so far I’m humbled by the suggestions.

About two months in the past, after I lined each the pluses and minuses of parenting a gifted youngster, I bought an e mail from a former editor, Valerie Berenyi. Val made my writing higher and began her e-mail by questioning if I nonetheless remembered her. In fact, and eternally extra I shall always remember any of the editors I used to be honoured to work with since 1999.

I’m reminded of a ebook I hold in my examine, Invisibles. The creator, David Zweig, celebrates the unsung heroes of the office. One instance is the ghostwriters who write books for a lot of celebrities and get no credit score. My many editors fall into that class

I thank the present editor, Michele Jarvie, herself a courageous mom, for doing an amazing job modifying what I’m attempting to share.

For anybody eager about digging round within the archives, the Herald’s on-line model permits entry to a lot of the previous items.

What about 2024? We will see. Maybe what Yogi Berra stated rings true:  It’s laborious to make predictions –particularly concerning the future.

Dr. Nieman, on Dec. 16, accomplished 14 years of operating each day (5,113 consecutive days). He sees sufferers in Centre 70 Pediatrics and continues to keep up numerous streaks.

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