Storytelling and Asperger Syndrome: A Key for Social Integration

Author: Alain Nathan Sahin

Abstract

Storytelling is a universal way of communication between human beings. It is inhibited when neurodevelopmental disorders hinder human reciprocity, the understanding of body language, and nuances of language. Asperger Syndrome (AS), one of these disorders, is characterized by social impairment and repetitive patterns of behaviour. Messages cannot be conveyed through storytelling, which causes social isolation and withdrawal of individuals with AS from society. The development of the mirror neuron system in the brain, which incites imitation of peers, might be altered in AS by a mechanism that is not entirely understood. Because mirroring the emotions of others is key to understanding their feelings and perceptions of the world, the “theory of mind” is not formed in individuals with AS as it normally would be. While studies have suggested this impediment, current views and evidence show that people with AS may use storytelling as a powerful tool to integrate themselves into society. Future research should investigate storytelling as an intervention to increase social interaction of individuals with AS.

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Climate Change and Health Inequities: Contribution of the Interventional Approach in Population Health in a Quebec Context

Authors: David Buetti, Rana Annous

(The article is available in French only)

Abstract

In a globalized world, climate change is yet another complex problem faced by public health. This article explores the consequences of climate change on vulnerable populations and the measures to mitigate them from an interventional perspective in population health, in a Quebec context. A literature review was conducted using seven databases related to disciplines in social sciences, health sciences and environment. Given the contribution of non-government agencies to population health, the literature review was complemented by reports from activist and community organizations. Results show that many sectors can collaborate with public health agencies and community-based organizations to reduce climate change and health inequities. In Quebec, three fields of activity seem especially promising: territorial development in urban settings, sustainable transport and mobility, and urban and suburban agriculture.  Arguing for a social ecological framework and a multisectoral collaboration, interventions focused on population health mitigate the consequences of climate change on social and health inequities. Some challenges and research avenues linked to their implementation and continuation are discussed.

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Critique of a Community-Based Population Health Intervention in a First Nations Community: Public Health and Medical Anthropology Perspectives

Author: Selim M. Khan

Abstract

Launched as a community-based partnership endeavour, the Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes Project (SLHDP) aimed to prevent diabetes in a First Nations community (FNC) in Northern Ontario. With active engagement of the key stakeholders, SLHDP conducted a series of studies that explored public health needs, priorities, and the contexts. These led to the adoption of a variety of culturally appropriate health interventions, addressing several health determinants such as health education, physical environments, nutrition, personal health practices, health services, and FNC culture. SLHDP built reciprocal capacity for both the community stakeholders and academic partners, thus evolved as a model of population health intervention. The school components are being scaled-up in other parts of FNCs in Canada. This paper presents a critique from public health and medical anthropology perspectives and draws evidence-based recommendations on how such programs can do better.

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A Healthcare Lesson: Comparing Chaoulli v. Quebec (2005) and Cambie Surgery Centre v. British Columbia (2016)

Publicly insured healthcare in Canada, also known as Medicare, is currently being reviewed in a judicial case in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The lawsuit filed by Cambie Surgery Centre is calling for allowing “medically necessary services” – those covered by public insurance – to be privately insured in order to improve access to care. Health services researchers, policy makers and citizens alike, are worried of the outcome of this 8-month provincial trial, as it is suggested that an outcome in favour of Cambie’s position would lead to a complete overhaul of Canada’s public healthcare system. In the midst of heated debates, we tend to forget that just over a decade ago, a similar legal battle challenging the extent of public insurance in Canada occurred in the province of Quebec. How are these two cases similar or different? What are the implications of each? What are lessons that can be learnt?

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Call for Bloggers

The RISS-IJHS is currently looking for students and researchers interested in contributing original content to the IJHS Blog. The ideal candidate should be able to produce monthly articles that are equally informative and stimulating, and will generate conversation among the health science community.

Blog posts must be:

  • Written in either French or English;
  • Between 300-800 words (although word count is flexible depending on the subject matter);
  • Written in accessible language to reach a wider audience.

Topics/ideas include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing and creating article series (e.g. healthcare financing in Canada – a retrospective, etc.);
  • Commenting on recent study releases, other academic journals and blogs (e.g. OECD, WHO, UNICEF and MSF);
  • Commenting on current news and events;
  • Interacting with readers by launching poll surveys, asking questions about issues, collecting opinion pieces, etc.

How to apply:

If this interests you, please send a brief summary of who you are (your motivation for doing this, writing/blogging /website experience, links to any current blogs you may have) along with a sample blog post to editor@riss-ijhs.ca.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Choice in childbirth: VBAC

Childbirth is a ubiquitous experience among mothers. Birth can occur in many ways, from medication-free natural labour, to cesarean section. Mothers in Canada can, for the most part, choose how they want to deliver. However, women with a prior cesarean section have a more difficult choice to make. They can choose to have a repeat cesarean section, or to attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean – a VBAC. How do women make this decision, and how can healthcare providers support them?

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Coffee Does Not Cause Cancer, but Hot Drinks Might

Coffee drinkers can sip a little easier now that the World Health Organization has downgraded coffee’s cancer risk. Due to inadequate evidence and inconsistent findings, consumers no longer need to worry about their morning cup of Joe. In fact, drinking coffee may actually protect consumers from several chronic diseases.

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Obesity Begins in the Womb

If you were asked “how much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy?” you might posit a guess around 15 or 20 pounds. In reality, it’s not that simple. The amount depends on her pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). As such, in 2009, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released gestational weight gain recommendations for each BMI category (Table 1). These recommendations were published to promote adequate foetal growth and reduce the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes (Rasmussen & Yaktine, 2013). Total recommended weight gain during pregnancy ranges from 28-40 pounds for underweight women and 11-20 pounds for obese women (Rasmussen & Yaktine, 2013). However, many women are not meeting these guidelines and 58% of Canadian women are surpassing them (Ferraro et al., 2012). Currently, obesity is recognized as a global public health concern with no signs of slowing down (NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, 2016). Is gestational weight gain a contributing factor?

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Ins and outs of cancer screening

 

It’s estimated that approximately 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer during their lifetime, and that 1 in 4 will die from the disease1. Cancer affects or touches almost everyone in this country in some way, and a lot of research has gone into preventing and treating the disease. The overall 5-year survival rate for all cancers in Canada was 63% for 2006-20081. It’s well known that cancers that are caught early have a higher chance of successful treatment and survival. One of the ways that we can diagnose these early-stage cancers is through screening.

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