Sunday, May 31, 2009

Malkin avoids suspension for instigator penalty

Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, left, takes a shot at Henrik Zetterberg late in Game 2.Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, left, takes a shot at Henrik Zetterberg late in Game 2. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin will not be suspended after receiving an instigator penalty in the closing seconds of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final, the NHL announced after Sunday's contest.

Malkin was hit with a five-minute major for fighting, plus the instigator penalty and a game misconduct after fighting with Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg during a melee with 19 seconds left in the Penguins' 3-1 loss.

NHL rules state that "a player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes or at any time in overtime shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident."

Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive in charge of discipline, decided that a one-game ban for Malkin wasn't warranted.

"Suspensions are applied under this rule when a team attempts to send a message in the last five minutes by having a player instigate a fight," Campbell said in a statement. "A suspension could also be applied when a player seeks retribution for a prior incident. Neither was the case here and therefore the one game suspension is rescinded."

Campbell made a similar ruling earlier in the playoffs, electing not to suspend Carolina Hurricanes forward Scott Walker after he punched Boston Bruins defenceman Aaron Ward in the face in the third period of Game 5 of the teams' second-round series. Walker was fined $2,500 US.

Malkin, who leads all playoff scorers with 30 points, had his team's only goal in Sunday's defeat in Detroit, which put the Penguins in a two-game-to-none hole in the best-of-seven series.

Game 3 is set for Tuesday night in Pittsburgh (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).

Friday, May 29, 2009

N.B. paramedics union raised ambulance concerns before report

New Brunswick's paramedics union says it raised many of the concerns more than a year ago that were outlined in an independent report released on Thursday into an ambulance mix-up in Fredericton Junction.

The report written by Richard Brady, a senior Ontario health department official, indicated the delay in arriving at the home of Cody Jones, 14, was caused by road closures in the area and a lack of communication between the emergency vehicle and the dispatch system.

Ralph McBride, the co-ordinator for Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4848, said many of these issues have been highlighted by the union since Ambulance New Brunswick took over the province's ambulance service in December 2007.

"The paramedics in the field have identified these issues to Ambulance New Brunswick EMS, through management meetings with the union," McBride said.

"There's nothing that hasn't been brought up. It's very unfortunate that they had to have a tragedy in Fredericton Junction for the government to finally listen."

Jones died on April 2 after it took 57 minutes for a second ambulance to get to his Fredericton Junction home after the original emergency vehicle went down a road closed due to flooding and got stuck on a different back road.

ANB working on reforms

Arnold Rovers, the interim chief executive officer of Ambulance New Brunswick, agrees that the union did raise concerns about support systems to orient paramedics to rural areas. Rovers said Ambulance New Brunswick has been working on improvements to the system.

"We were in the process of developing those support systems in the ambulances," Rovers said.

"The mapping books that are in the ambulances are part of the process. They need to be improved and we were working on that process. We've escalated that process obviously as a result of this particular event."

Rover said a global positioning system will soon be installed in all emergency vehicles that will provide maps of where the ambulance is and where the call is coming from.

He said that should help eliminate problems that led to the incident in Fredericton Junction.

4 new faces to join Sask. cabinet

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said he'll be appointing four new people to cabinet Friday, while four others will leave their posts to make room for the newcomers.

"It's important for us, if we want to have a strong bench as they say, to give others a turn," Wall said.

The word from Wall that there would be "four replacements" appeared to slip out Thursday while he was talking with reporters.

"Did I say that?" he said. "Well that's one of the numbers I'm looking at. I've already said between three and five."

Wall said because he doesn't want a cabinet that's any bigger than it is now вЂ" 18 people, himself included вЂ" four people will give up their ministerial titles and other perks.

The alternative, moving to a bigger cabinet, would send the wrong signal when he's trying to ensure the rest of government finds "some efficiencies," Wall said.

The NDP's Pat Atkinson thinks that means new cabinet ministers will be presiding over cuts to government services.

"They have a problem. They're spending beyond their means and I think the problem is significant," she said.

Of the ministers who remain in cabinet, Wall says about half of them will get new jobs.

That's as important as bringing in new people, he said.

The swearing-in ceremony is set for 10 a.m. at Government House in Regina.

Venus falls, Ivanovic advances at French Open

Venus Williams fell in the third round at the French Open for the third straight year. Venus Williams fell in the third round at the French Open for the third straight year. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Venus Williams was eliminated from the French Open on Friday, losing in the third round of the clay-court major for the third straight year.

The third-seeded Williams, who reached the 2002 final at Roland Garros, lost to No. 31 Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-0, 6-4.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion was playing for the third straight day. She lost the first set of her second-round match against Lucie Safarova on Wednesday before play was suspended because of darkness. Williams saved a match point before beating Safarova on Thursday.

She was also stretched to three sets in the first round.

Ana Ivanovic had little trouble in her match, advancing to the fourth round by dominating another opponent in a 6-0, 6-2 win over Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic.

The defending champion from Serbia has lost only eight games since being taken to a tiebreaker in her opening match.

"[The] score doesn't indicate how hard I had to work for some points," Ivanovic said. "She started playing much, much better in the second set, and started hitting the ball much heavier. I just played really good and stayed in the moment and did what I had to do out there."

Ivanovic, a former No. 1-ranked player, won her only Grand Slam title at last year's French Open. She lost in the final at Roland Garros in 2007.

Djokovic advances

Novak Djokovic reached the third round in the men's tournament, quickly completing his suspended match by easily winning the final set and beating Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

The fourth-seeded Djokovic won the first two sets Thursday, but the match was stopped because of darkness. He broke Stakhovsky to open the third set and had little trouble the rest of the way.

"It's not pleasant when you don't finish a match in one day," Djokovic said. "But I was lucky to come back and be two sets up."

Djokovic won his only Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open, but the Serb has reached at least the semifinals at all four major tournaments.

No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany also advanced to the third round, beating 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3 in another match suspended by darkness Thursday night.

Later Friday, top-seeded Dinara Safina was scheduled to get back on court, as were four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal and third-seeded Andy Murray.

Dokic unable to continue

On Thursday, Jelena Dokic's professional comeback took a painful turn.

The Australian was leading fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva in the second round of the tournament when she twisted her body into position for a backhand. Not too long after that, she retired from the match in tears.

"Don't know what it is yet," said Dokic, who reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open after a three-year absence from Grand Slam tennis. "It was very painful, and I just hope it's not too serious."

The withdrawal, with the unseeded Dokic leading 6-2, 3-4, sent Dementieva into the third round at Roland Garros along with Serena Williams, and Jelena Jankovic.

Roger Federer also made it through, rallying from a 5-1 deficit in the third set on his least favourite surface to beat Jose Acasuso of Argentina 7-6 (8), 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-2. Fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and No. 6 Andy Roddick also advanced.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ont. families in court seek more disability funding for religious schools

The mother of an Ontario boy denied disability funding because he attends a Jewish school had her day in court Wednesday, two years after a lawsuit was launched claiming the province discriminates against disabled children who attend private religious schools.

Max Greenberg, 13, has a non-verbal learning disorder, but does not receive funding from the government for special computer resources, said his mother, Missy Hecker.

"What bothers me is my son sees the discrimination and how unfair it is and how unjust it is," Hecker said outside court.

Hecker and Max are among eight families taking the Ontario government to court because it does not fund services at private religious schools for blind, deaf and learning-disabled children.

Parents are instead forced to pay for the programs or move their children to a public or Catholic school вЂ" both of which are publicly funded in Ontario вЂ" where students with similar disabilities do receive support.

Yet children with other disabilities, such as speech impairments, can still receive government-funded therapy and services at private religious schools.

In 2000, the province began funding students in faith-based schools who required nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy.

That list left out children with other disabilities, Raj Anand, one of the lawyers representing the families, told the court.

"You're left with under-inclusiveness," Anand said. "We are talking about people who are equally disadvantaged."

Anand used the example of a 10-year-old student who is non-verbal, has a neurological impairment, and is attending a private Jewish school.

While the student was approved for funding for a speech therapist, Anand said the boy could not get help for his language delay problems, even though the therapist was capable of helping him in both areas.

2 different ministries provide funding

The issue of funding support is further complicated by the fact that two government ministries provide funding for disabled children.

The Health Ministry delivers services for children medically diagnosed with a disability, while the Education Ministry provides services for kids who have undergone an educational assessment.

This means children who come into the publicly funded educational system will have their educational needs met if they are blind, deaf or have a learning disability.

"How can being deaf or blind be an educational matter rather than a health matter?" Anand said.

Court also heard the government has a $14.4-million annual budget to assist students with a disability, but only uses about $4.5 million of that amount.

Anand said that shows it's not a matter of cost and there is no rational basis for refusing the funding.

"These are not experimental or untested therapies," he said, describing the support that many children need, such as computers to print out large print items if they are visually impaired.

The lawsuit was launched in June 2007, a few months before the issue of religious schools funding became a political hot potato during the provincial election campaign.

Former Progressive Conservative leader John Tory put his party in jeopardy during the campaign after he promised to extend funding to faith-based schools, upsetting voters and costing him the election.

The case continues Thursday with arguments from government lawyers.

European commission to hold talks on GM plants

The European Commission says it will host talks on Friday to co-ordinate government efforts to save General Motors Corp.'s European operations.

EU spokesman Ton Van Lierop said finance and industry ministers from EU countries have been invited to share information about potential plans to save jobs.

GM officials will not be present.

The U.S. carmaker has operations in Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, Italy, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Spain, and Hungary.

The EU is increasingly worried about the company's fate and job losses at its European brands Opel and Vauxhall.

All-night talks in Berlin on the future of Opel failed to make headway before ending on Thursday. Some 25,000 people work for Opel in Germany, nearly half of GM Europe's total work force.

OPEC to maintain production levels

OPEC has decided to keep its production targets unchanged, oil ministers said Thursday at a meeting in Vienna.

The 12-country oil cartel appears to be counting on a recovering world economy to lift crude prices without their having to cut back output.

The decision had been widely anticipated, with most oil ministers saying ahead of the meeting they expected the status quo to be kept unchanged.

Even Oil Minister Golam Hossein Nozari of Iran вЂ" one of OPEC's price hawks вЂ" said Wednesday he expected OPEC to keep output at present levels.

Asked about a formal decision as ministers streamed out of their closed meeting Thursday, Nozari said: "Unchanged."

And Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had decided to "stay the course."

An OPEC statement formally confirming the decision said the organization "reiterated their firm commitment" to their quotas вЂ" organization members under quotes are still producing more than 800,000 barrels a day above the group's overall target level of just under 25 million barrels.

The move to keep to the status quo appeared due to optimism that the U.S. вЂ" the world's largest oil consumer вЂ" is gradually emerging from a severe recession.

A barrel of crude already fetches more than $60 US compared to levels near $30 just four months ago. And that spike has come despite continued anemic worldwide demand, plentiful supply, and gloomy future forecasts.

Benchmark crude for July delivery was up 13 cents at $63.58 US a barrel after earlier getting as high as $63.93.

Greater demand

Naimi on Wednesday suggested greater demand later this year would come only from Asia, with the U.S. and Europe continuing to lag.

Instead of being powered by demand, analysts say oil prices have risen because of international stock markets. But although stocks normally rise 6-9 months before the actual economy starts growing again, a series of economic reports have recently suggested that the recession is bottoming out, if not yet ending.

Some investors have been pushing up the price of oil by buying it as a hedge against a weaker U.S. dollar.

About 74 per cent of the forecasters in a survey by the National Association for Business Economics in the U.S. expect the recession, which started in December 2007, to end in the third quarter. Another 19 per cent predict the turning point will come in the final three months of this year and the remaining seven per cent believe the recession will end in the first quarter of 2010.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Balsillie offer for Coyotes expires at end of June

Jim Balsillie has offered $212.5 million US for the Coyotes. Jim Balsillie has offered $212.5 million US for the Coyotes. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

Jim Balsillie's bid to buy the Phoenix Coyotes has an expiration date.

According to court documents filed Tuesday by Coyotes majority owner Jerry Moyes, Balsillie will withdraw the offer to purchase the financially troubled team if the sale isn't approved in bankruptcy court by the end of June.

"If a decision on the proposed sale of assets is not made by the end of June, the debtors have been notified that PSE Sports [Balsillie] will withdraw its offer," Thomas Salerno, Moyes's lawyer, said in the document.

"Neither PSE Sports nor any other known entity will fund another year of significant losses … sustained by Coyotes Hockey," Salerno noted.

Moyes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 5, a move intended to facilitate the sale of the franchise to Balsillie for $212.5 million US, but on the condition he can relocate the team to Hamilton.

A formal application from Balsillie was filed Monday with the NHL seeking a transfer in ownership from Moyes to the Canadian billionaire, who is the co-chief executive officer of Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the popular BlackBerry mobile device.

Salerno said in Tuesday's document that completing the sale by the end of June is critical because Balsillie needs "adequate time to, among other things, get

the new arena ready for the 2009-10 season, obtain and line up sponsors and television contracts, and sell tickets to games."

But the NHL is, first and foremost, committed to trying to keep the team in Glendale, Ariz., so has challenged Moyes's legal authority to file for Chapter 11 protection, arguing it has assumed control of the franchise and removed him as majority owner.

Judge Redfield T. Baum, who is presiding over the bankruptcy hearing, ordered mediation between Moyes and the NHL to determine who is in control of the team.

Baum is expecting a status report on mediation on Wednesday.

'A sale cannot drag'

Balsillie's representatives told Baum at a May 20 bankruptcy hearing that he expected to file the application to purchase the Coyotes early this week вЂ" which he did.

If the NHL's board of governors rejects Balsillie's application, Baum has scheduled a hearing for June 22 at which time he is expected to rule on whether the team can be relocated to remove it from bankruptcy.

After that, a court-supervised auction will likely be held, with Balsillie's bid expected, by far, to be the biggest.

"A sale cannot drag through the summer of 2009," Salerno said.

Moyes has claimed to have lost more than $200 million US in equity and more than $100 million US in debt since buying the Coyotes with developer Steve Ellman for $90 million US in 2001.

Court documents detail $73 million US in team losses between 2005 and 2008.

Forbes Magazine figured last fall that the Coyotes were worth an estimated $142 million US вЂ" lowest in the NHL.

With files from The Canadian Press

Canada's Munro wins international Booker prize

Canadian author Alice Munro has won the Man Booker International Prize, an award honouring her lifetime of work.

The nearly $103,000 prize, which is awarded every two years, honours a living fiction author writing in English, or whose work is widely translated into English.

"Alice Munro is mostly known as a short story writer and yet she brings as much depth, wisdom and precision to every story as most novelists bring to a lifetime of novels," the three-judge panel said in a statement.

"To read Alice Munro is to learn something every time that you never thought of before."

This year marks the third edition of the young prize, which was founded in 2004 and has been awarded to Nigeria's Chinua Achebe and Ismail Kadare of Albania.

Authors E.L. Doctorow, V.S Naipaul and Joyce Carol Oates were also among this year's finalists.

Munro, 77, is among the most accomplished writers on the Canadian literature scene and the author behind short story collections such as Lives of Girls and Women, The Love of a Good Woman, Runaway and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. She was also nominated for the international Booker in 2007.

Munro, who is originally from the small southwestern Ontario community of Wingham, has garnered praise for her tales of women living in small towns.

She is a multiple winner of both the Governor General's Literary Awards and the Giller Prize.

Pair beat man to train for contest, then left him to die

A man and his nephew who drunkenly beat a man to death as a training exercise for a fight contest have been sentenced in Battleford to lengthy prison terms.

Anthony Wapass, 47, was jumped without warning by Russel Clifford Paddy and his nephew Jamie Lindsay Paddy in June 2007 on the Thunderchild First Nation, near the community of Turtleford, about 230 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

Court was told the two attackers had been talking about how the younger one could train to become a fight-night champion, and the attack followed.

They were originally charged with first-degree murder, but their cases recently concluded with convictions for lesser offences. Jamie Paddy, now 22, entered a guilty plea to manslaughter during a court appearance in February.

His co-accused and uncle, Russel Paddy, now 40, opted for a trial before a jury. After a three week trial in April and May, the jury returned a verdict of guilty to second-degree murder.

Crown prosecutor Nicole Leinenweber told CBC News on Tuesday that she presented evidence to the jury that Wapass suffered a vicious beating. A pathologist said Wapass had 26 fractures on his 24 ribs. There were massive head wounds that left bruises on his brain and his liver was damaged in the attack.

The prosecutor said the uncle and nephew had been drinking on the day in question and were talking about the younger man participating in a fight contest.

Attack was unprovoked

Leinenweber said the men came upon Wapass, who was walking along a reserve road, and jumped him. The younger man was bragging about being tough. She said Wapass did not fight back and was knocked cold by the first blow.

The Crown said the attack, which included kicking, stomping and punches, was severe but Wapass was still alive. The two men left him in a ditch beside the road.

Later, according to the Crown, the men returned to show off the victim to two teenage girls.

That group also left Wapass behind, still unconscious.

Then, the two Paddy's returned to the scene and dragged Wapass 100 metres to a shallow slough. He was left, face down, in a pool of water less than half a metre deep.

Leinenweber said it was likely the men moved the victim over concern that the girls would report what they saw. In fact, one of the girls did call 911.

The nephew, Jamie Paddy, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. His total time behind bars will be reduced by three years and four months, after the judge gave him credit for pre-trial custody time.

His uncle Russel Paddy was sentenced on May 13 to life in prison with no chance at parole for 14 years. He has 30 days in which to appeal his conviction.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Police search for Tori Stafford's body enters its sixth day

Victoria (Tori) Stafford disappeared after she left her school in Woodstock, Ont., on April 8. Victoria (Tori) Stafford disappeared after she left her school in Woodstock, Ont., on April 8. (Canadian Press)

The search for the body of Victoria (Tori) Stafford entered its sixth day Monday as Ontario provincial police combed the Guelph Lake Conservation Area in boats and on horses.

The officers, who have been looking for the eight-year-old girl's body after two people from Woodstock, Ont., were arrested and charged last Wednesday, began the search of the conservation area early Monday, the CBC's Stephanie Matteis reported.

"It's slow going," Matteis said. "The Guelph Lake Conservation Area is huge вЂ" hundreds of hectares, the size of more than 2,000 soccer fields."

Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, and Michael Thomas Rafferty, 28, face charges in Stafford's disappearance.Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, and Michael Thomas Rafferty, 28, face charges in Stafford's disappearance. (Facebook/Canadian Press)

Police also sifted through rocks on a nearby county road and throughout Wellington County on Monday with the help of Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, who was charged last week with abduction and being an accessory for allegedly helping her boyfriend Michael Thomas Rafferty, 28, elude authorities.

Rafferty faces charges of first-degree murder and abduction in Stafford's disappearance.

Since the arrests, officers have been searching rural areas north of Guelph, with the help of McClintic. A court order allowed her to assist investigators in the field but that ended Monday, Matteis said.

Police released pictures Friday of a 2003 blue and black Honda sedan believed to be involved in the abduction.Police released pictures Friday of a 2003 blue and black Honda sedan believed to be involved in the abduction. (Oxford Community Police)

On Sunday, police released a photograph of a 2003 Honda four-door car that they say was the vehicle used in Stafford's abduction and murder.

They hope the public in Woodstock, Guelph and surrounding area can help locate the entire back seat of the car, which is missing.

Stafford disappeared April 8, the day the Grade 3 student was captured on surveillance video leaving her school with a woman who police now allege is McClintic.

McClintic and Rafferty are scheduled to make their next court appearance on May 28.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Oxford Community Police at 519-537-2323 or toll free at 1-877-537-6277.

Tagliani named Indy rookie of year

Alex Tagliani makes a pit stop during the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Alex Tagliani makes a pit stop during the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. (Seth Rossman/Associated Press)

Canadian Alex Tagliani has been selected Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year.

The 37-year-old driver from Lachenaie, Que., for Conquest Racing started 33rd as a late replacement for veteran Bruno Junqueira and steadily improved to an 11th-place finish, the biggest gain by any of the 33 drivers in Sunday's race.

He received a prize of $295,305 US at the victory dinner Monday night, including a $25,000 bonus as the race's top newcomer. The other first-year drivers were England's Mike Conway, who wound up 18th; Brazil's Raphael Matos, who ran as high as fourth before a late crash left him 22nd; France's Nelson Philippe, who was 25th; and Robert Doornbos of the Netherlands, who was 28th.

The 2008 rookie of the year, Ryan Hunter-Reay, crashed on the 20th lap Sunday and finished 32nd.

The race was won by Helio Castroneves, the third Indy victory for the Brazilian.

GM workers in 4 Ontario cities vote in favour of new deal

GM workers in four Ontario cities voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new collective agreement, the union said Monday.

Workers at GM plants in Oshawa, St. Catharines, Windsor and Woodstock ratified the deal struck late last Thursday by 86 per cent, the Canadian Auto Workers union said in a release.

"This has been a grueling restructuring process, and no one has felt that more than our members and retirees," CAW president Ken Lewenza said in a release. "Although we were forced to make a number of important sacrifices, the support we received from our members is proof that they recognize the incredible challenges the industry is facing."

The agreement would slash annual labour costs by more than $8,000 per worker, but wages and pension benefits are protected.

Under the deal, the company is also committed to addressing a shortfall of more than $6.5 billion in the pension plan, the CAW said.

The union said the agreement will lower GM's hourly labour costs by $15 to $16 per hour per worker. That is in addition to the $7 per hour in cuts reached through a labour deal between the company and the union in March.

Union members will forgo a $3,500 lump-sum payment to each worker for lost vacation time. That money, said Lewenza, is expected to be funnelled toward the pension fund.

Pension issues were one of the major items, with Lewenza saying Friday that the union has agreed to a pension benefit freeze extending through 2015.

He pointed out that the pension plan for the workers is only 39 per cent funded on a windup basis.

Union pension official Sym Gill said the pension shortfall is roughly $6.5 billion to $7 billion, adding that the pension is expected to be back on a fully funded basis in 10 years.

A money-saving deal between the automaker and the union is a key requirement of General Motors Canada getting financial backing from the governments of Canada and Ontario.

The tentative deal came just a day after General Motors reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers, a development that seemed to spur both sides in the Canadian negotiations.

Lewenza said he expects GM will file for bankruptcy protection in the United States, although he was unsure if GM Canada will file for court-ordered creditor protection.

He said the new labour agreement is protected even if the company files for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Winnipeg Strike musical staged on Main Street

It was a scene reminiscent of a day in June in 1919 as thousands crowded onto Main Street in Winnipeg and watched as mounted police charged into a group of striking workers вЂ" all staged as a history lesson about the Winnipeg General Strike.

Playwright and composer Danny Schur put on an abbreviated version of his musical Strike! for the public in front of City Hall on Saturday afternoon, attracting a crowd of 5,000. Schur's play was first staged in 2005.Street scene during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. (Collections Canada)Street scene during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. (Collections Canada)

"It was a logistical nightmare," admitted Schur, who needed to close off the southbound section of Main. "It took [Mayor Sam Katz's] personal intervention."

In the re-creation of what many consider a seminal moment in Canadian labour history, dozens of actors dressed as the North West Mounted Police herded the audience around.

They watched as a group of police charged into a crowd of striking "workers." One officer on horseback drew his pistol and shot a worker вЂ" dramatizing the death of striker Mike Sokolowski, a Ukrainian immigrant.

"The performance was just stunning for me. I saw people looking on in wonder," noted Schur. "It exceeded my expectations."

Families, cyclists and seniors all stared on as the play unfolded вЂ" many observing in silence.

"It's kind of surprising that nothing has been done before this. It's 90 years," said high school student Anna Currie who volunteered to play a striker. Currie says she had never heard about the event until her Grade 11 history course.

30,000 workers leave their jobs

In May 1919, the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council called a general strike after talks broke down between management and labour over the contract for building and metal trades.

Some 30,000 workers left their jobs, including firemen, telephone operators and utility employees in a massive display of solidarity.

On June 21, the mounted police charged into the demonstrators, injuring 30 and killing one. The day ended with federal troops in the streets, with the strike ending four days later.

NDP member of the legislature Rob Altemeyer says the musical should be staged outdoors every year: "It's the arts that are teaching us."

Schur says he would like to stage it annually outdoors, not on the street but rather at The Forks вЂ" the city's downtown park area.

A full version of the play is being staged this summer at The Canwest Performing Arts Centre from July 30 to Aug. 5.

With files from The Canadian Press

Jays continue search for missing offence

Toronto Blue Jays clean-up hitter Vernon Wells has gone 15 games without an RBI.Toronto Blue Jays clean-up hitter Vernon Wells has gone 15 games without an RBI. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

With all the rookie pitchers the Toronto Blue Jays have sent to the mound, it should come as no surprise that the team is sputtering after a strong start to the season.

But pitching isn't the reason the Jays are on a season-high five-game losing streak. Lately, the Jays offence has been, well, offensive.

After averaging more than six runs a game for most of April and May, the Jays have managed just eight runs in their last five games вЂ" all losses.

Toronto manager Cito Gaston cautions followers from pushing the panic button.

Gaston presided over the 1991 Blue Jays club that lost seven in a row in August, and still went on to win th

Ignatieff has fighting words for Harper

Provincial Liberals in Newfoundland and Labrador brought in some star power to their weekend convention in Gander, with federal party leader Michael Ignatieff issuing a warning to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Michael Ignatieff, seen here Saturday night on the convention's final day in Gander, said he's personally unfazed by the Conservative TV ads.Michael Ignatieff, seen here Saturday night on the convention's final day in Gander, said he's personally unfazed by the Conservative TV ads. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

"If you mess with me, I will mess with you until I'm done," Ignatieff said Saturday.

He said the new Conservative TV ads attacking his commitment to Canada don't bother him on a personal level. Ignatieff said they're offensive because they attempt to define who is and who isn't a good Canadian, based on the amount time they've lived in Canada.

The television ads point out that Ignatieff spent 34 years outside Canada and accuse him of having "no long-term commitment" to the country.

In a video posted on YouTube last week, Ignatieff dismissed the ads as "spite and spin."

More than 300 people attended the Liberal gathering in Gander for the biggest convention of its kind in years. The Liberals may be the official opposition at the provincial level, but they have only three out of 48 seats, so this is a time of rebuilding.

Leader Yvonne Jones said Ignatieff offered her some good advice.

"You know he looked at me this evening and he said, 'Yvonne, I have been where you are. And I know what it's like, and I know that it's tough, but you hang tough and you keep doing what you're doing, because you're making a difference.'

"To me that's very inspiring when it comes from a man like him, who I know today, will be the next prime minister of this country," she said.

Both Jones and Ignatieff stressed the importance of united politics as a strong way to gain the public's trust. In a province where the relationship with the federal government is strained, Ignatieff extended an olive branch.

"The prime minister of Canada has only one job, and that is to unite Canadians and neve

Friday, May 22, 2009

Patients anxious to get results in radiology review

Joanne Sigurdson, from Canora, Sask., is considering traveling outside the province to get a new mammogram test. Joanne Sigurdson, from Canora, Sask., is considering traveling outside the province to get a new mammogram test. (Photo submitted by Joanne Sigurdson)

The review of thousands of diagnostic tests in Saskatchewan is creating anxiety for some patients who have been told their exams are being rechecked.

The review was ordered because of questions raised about the work of Yorkton radiologist Dr. Darius Tsatsi. Some 70,000 mammograms, X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasound exams are being looked at, a second time.

On Wednesday, the Yorkton-based Sunrise Health Region announced it suspended Tsatsi from privileges at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre on May 14 after serious problems were found in cases he had been involved in.

Tsatsi has agreed to stop practicing medicine while the review is underway.

Joanne Sigurdson, from Canora in east-central Saskatchewan, told CBC News on Friday that she contacted a toll-free free information line, to learn more about two mammograms performed on her in September 2008.

She said Tsatsi examined her test results and determined there was nothing to be concerned about. However, Sigurdson is anxious to learn if that was a reliable finding.

Sigurdson said that she was told, in her call to the information line, that she would be contacted only if a problem was detected in the review of her file.

She said that she is on pins and needles, wondering what news she will hear. She added she is considering travelling outside the province to get another mammogram test, to put her mind at ease.

Flagman dies in Holyrood industrial accident

One man is dead after an industrial accident Friday in the eastern Newfoundland town of Holyrood, 52 kilometres from St. John's.

RCMP Sgt. Wayne Newell didn't have many details except to say the victim is a flagman who has died from his injuries

The accident happened between the town hall and Route 60 вЂ" the Conception Bay Highway. Police expected to reopen the road by 4:30 p.m.

Police and Occupational Health and Safety investigators have been at the scene since 1:30 p.m. Newell said the investigation is ongoing.

U.S. prosecutors drop remaining tax charge against Castroneves

Helio Castroneves has the pole position for Sunday's Indy 500. Helio Castroneves has the pole position for Sunday's Indy 500. (Ben Margot/Associated Press)

U.S. federal prosecutors dropped the remaining tax evasion conspiracy charge against two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves and his sister on Friday, clearing the Brazilian driver of all the charges that once threatened to derail his career.

The pole sitter for Sunday's Indy 500 and his 35-year-old sister, Katiucia, were acquitted of other tax evasion charges by a jury April 17. His tax lawyer, Alan Miller of Michigan, also was cleared of all wrongdoing.

The jury failed to agree on the conspiracy charge, resulting in a mistrial on that count. Now prosecutors have decided not to pursue a retrial on that charge, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Castroneves, 34, one of Indy racing's most popular and successful drivers, vaulted to even greater worldwide fame in 2007 when he won the television competition Dancing With the Stars.

Lawyers for the Castroneves siblings, Roy Black and Howard Srebnick, said it would have been illogical to try them again on a conspiracy charge when they were found innocent of the underlying tax evasion counts.

"The jury finds him not guilty, then he wins the pole position at Indy, and now the government drops the case completely. All he has to do now is win the race and climb the fence," said Black, referring to Castroneves's Spiderman-like practice of scaling racetrack fences after his victories.

Faced six years of jail time

The Castroneves siblings and Miller would have faced about six years in prison had they been convicted in the tax case.

The Internal Revenue Service claimed they plotted to evade some $2.3 million US in taxes using a Panamanian shell corporation and supposedly crooked dealings with a former Castroneves sponsor, the Brazilian firm Coimex.

Castroneves's lawyers contended all along that the Coimex deal was legitimate and that he simply set up a deferred income account in the Netherlands for $5 million US he was paid by Penske Racing under a contract signed in 1999.

When that account comes due, Black said Castroneves will pay his U.S. taxes as he intended to do all along.

Castroneves resumed racing immediately after the court case ended, finishing seventh in Long Beach, Calif., and second at a race in Kansas. Now he's a favourite at the biggest race of them all.

"This is part of me," he said at a recent Indy 500 media event. "This is where I belong."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

City grieves as police continue search for Victoria Stafford's body

Sarah Ditchfield writes \Sarah Ditchfield writes "We will miss you Tori" on the sidewalk near Victoria "Tori" Stafford's home. Charges of murder were laid in court today, May 20, 2009 in Woodstock, Ontario in the case of the eight-year-old girl has been missing since April 8. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

Grief counsellors returned to Oliver Stephens Public School in Woodstock, Ont., on Thursday hoping to help the grade school students deal with the emotions over the death of their classmate, Victoria Stafford.

The Grade 3 student was abducted as she left the school on April 8. Police said Wednesday they believe she was killed that day, or shortly after, by her abductors.

The search for the child's remains continues in a number of locations and a command post has been set up in Fergus, just north of Guelph. Police say they won't stop looking until they can reunite the eight-year-old with her family.

Victoria's father, Rodney Stafford, said he needs to see his daughter's body before he believes she is dead.

Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, and Michael Thomas C.S. Rafferty, 28, have been charged in Victoria Stafford's death. Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, and Michael Thomas C.S. Rafferty, 28, have been charged in Victoria Stafford's death. (Facebook/Canadian Press)

"I love her with all my heart and until I see her, I will not lay this to rest," Stafford said Wednesday.

Tori's brother Daryn, 11, is devastated and bewildered, he said.

On Wednesday, a man and woman from Woodstock were charged with the abduction and killing of Victoria, known as Tori to her friends and family, who was last seen on a security camera leaving her school alongside a woman with dark hair and wearing a white coat.

Michael Thomas C.S. Rafferty, 28, and Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, have been charged. Rafferty was charged with abduction and first-degree murder, while McClintic is charged with abducting the child, assisting Rafferty in escaping the area and being an accessory to murder after the fact. They make their next court appearance on May 28.

Children told of events, mother 'holding up'

At Tori's school, the children were told about the events.

Police officers use a dog to search through a pile of debris in a rural field north of Guelph, Ont. on Wednesday, the day a man and a woman were arrested in connection with the abduction of Victoria Stafford. Police officers use a dog to search through a pile of debris in a rural field north of Guelph, Ont. on Wednesday, the day a man and a woman were arrested in connection with the abduction of Victoria Stafford. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

"We've basically been saying to the children ... that Tori won't be coming back to school," said Bill Tucker, the director of education for the Thames Valley School Board.

"It's a very difficult situation for us to explain вЂ" and my experience is that children take the news differently. So we're trying to be as sensitive as possible. It depends on the age group of the children. Some are able to comprehend and understand the situation better than others. We just don't know how

Accused in N.Y. bomb plot case intent on holy war: top police official

Four men who were arrested late Wednesday after allegedly plotting to bomb two New York City synagogues and shoot down nearby military aircraft were bent on waging holy war, but weren't associated with any terrorist organization, officials said Thursday.

David Williams is led by police officers from a federal building in New York, early Thursday, after being arrested on charges related to a bombing plot in the Bronx district of New York City.David Williams is led by police officers from a federal building in New York, early Thursday, after being arrested on charges related to a bombing plot in the Bronx district of New York City. (Robert Mecea/Associated Press)The four were arrested after planting what they believed were plastic explosives in one car outside the Riverdale Temple and in another outside the nearby the Riverdale Jewish centre, an orthodox synagogue in the Bronx district of New York City. The explosives were fake.

The men вЂ" James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen вЂ" also planned to shoot military planes at the New York Air National Guard base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles, authorities said.

They were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, the U.S. attorney's office said. If found guilty, the men face life imprisonment terms.

"They stated that they wanted to commit Jihad," police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference outside the Riverdale Temple. "They were disturbed about what happened in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that Muslims were being killed."

Kelly quoted one of the men as saying, "If Jews were killed in this attack … that would be all right."

All four men were Muslims and hailed from Newburgh, N.Y. The defendants are due in federal court later Thursday in suburban White Plains, N.Y.

Informant infiltrated group last June

New York Senator Charles Schumer said if there can be any good news out of this case it's that "the group was relatively unsophisticated, penetrated early and not connected to any outside group."

An FBI informant gave the men inert plastic explosives and inactive surface-to-air missiles. The informant first contacted Cromitie in June 2008. Cromitie told the informant that his parents lived in Afghanistan before he was born and that he was upset that Muslim people were being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by U.S. military forces, officials said.

James Cromitie, right, is led by police officers from a federal building in New York, early Thursday.James Cromitie, right, is led by police officers from a federal building in New York, early Thursday. (Robert Mecea/Associated Press)Cromitie told the informant that he wanted to "do something to America," prosecutors said.

From October 2008, onward, the informant met regularly with the four men at a house in Newburgh otufitted with hidden federal surveillance cameras.

Beginning this April, the four men selected the synagogue and the community centre they intended to hit, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint. They also conducted surveillance of military planes at the Air National Guard Base, the complaint said.

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, issued a statement praising law enforcers "for their efforts in helping to prevent any harm to either Jewish institutions or to our nation's military."

"We repeat the American Muslim community's repudiation of bias-motivated crimes and of anyone who would falsely claim religious justification for violent actions," the statement said.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights group, said in a statement that the plot "is dramatic proof that the dangers from such fanaticism have not passed and that American Jews must maintain their vigilance."

With files from The Associated Press

Canadian Olympic gymnastic champion Kyle Shewfelt retires

Kyle Shewfelt, seen here competing in Beijing, announced his retirement from gymnastics on Thursday. Kyle Shewfelt, seen here competing in Beijing, announced his retirement from gymnastics on Thursday. (Matt Dunham/Canadian Press)

He broke both legs 11 months before the 2008 Olympic Games and then accomplished the unthinkable: he came back and competed for Canada.

In 2004, Kyle Shewfelt made Canadian history with a gold medal performance in the floor exercise at the Athens Games, capturing Canada's first-ever Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics.

Now, the 27-year-old Calgary native and three-time Olympian, is calling it a career, announcing his retirement Thursday on his blog.

"After much thought and consideration, I have come to the decision that it’s time to hang up the grips, put away the stinky gym shoes, remove the singlet, take my hands out of the chalk bucket and start embarking on new journeys," he wrote.

"Today is a bittersweet day. I am really overwhelmed with feelings of nostalgia, excitement, sadness and anticipation."

Shewfelt is a three-time world championship bronze medallist, four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and three-time World Cup Finals silver medallist.

More to come

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Delta, Air France, KLM team up on transatlantic venture

Delta Air Lines Inc., Air France and KLM signed a deal Wednesday to combine two separate joint venture agreements into one to create a more integrated transatlantic powerhouse that they said will generate $12 billion US in annual revenue.

The airlines said they will share costs and revenues, as well as co-ordinate branding at airports and global advertising.

Air France-KLM Group and Delta also will share governance of the joint venture. An executive committee consisting of the three CEOs and a management committee including representatives from the three carriers will work together on strategy.

The joint venture represents approximately 25 per cent of total transatlantic capacity.

The co-operation agreement between Europe's largest airline and the world's largest airline operator will mean the carriers will operate more than 200 daily flights and offer about 50,000 seats per day.

The joint venture covers all the airlines' flights between North America and Europe, between Amsterdam and India, and between North America and Tahiti, the companies said.

'Unprecedented' agreement

The joint venture will not lead to the creation of a subsidiary, the airlines said at a news conference in Paris that was broadcast on the internet.

No new routes were announced beyond what the two previous agreements provided for separately.

Delta chief executive Richard Anderson called the joint venture agreement "unprecedented."

Anderson said there will be seamless booking, single contracts of carriage, co-ordination through sales and distribution, and more access to frequent flier upgrades and other redemption opportunities.

KLM signed a joint venture agreement with Northwest Airlines in 1997, while Air France and Delta signed a joint venture agreement in 2007. Following Atlanta-based Delta's acquisition of Northwest in October 2008, the carriers decided to work on forming a single joint venture.

Alliances between U.S. and foreign carriers are not new. They allow the carriers to offer more options to passengers, while allowing the carriers to share revenues and costs.

Antitrust laws

There's a pending bid by American Airlines and British Airways to co-operate on transatlantic flights without fear of breaking antitrust laws. Regulators are looking at the issue.

American and BA have been thwarted twice before in seeking closer ties, but their prospects appear brighter this time because of changes in the airline industry over the past several years.

American and its partners in an alliance called oneworld argue that they should get antitrust immunity because two competing alliances already have it вЂ" Star (Lufthansa, United, and beginning this fall, Continental) and SkyTeam (Delta, Air France-KLM).

American also notes that the U.S. and Europe have signed an open-skies treaty, increasing competition at Heathrow, since its last failed effort to work more closely with BA.

The Delta-Air France-KLM joint venture is structured around six main hubs: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York-JFK and Paris-CDG, together with Cincinnati; Lyon, France; Memphis, Tenn., and Salt Lake City.

NFL star Vick released from prison

Michael Vick will spend the last two months of his prison term on electronic monitoring at his home in Hampton, Va.Michael Vick will spend the last two months of his prison term on electronic monitoring at his home in Hampton, Va. (Rob Carr/Associated Press)

A person familiar with the release details says suspended NFL star Michael Vick has left a Kansas prison to begin home confinement in Virginia.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no public announcement has been made, said Vick left the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth before dawn on Wednesday.

He had been serving a 23-month sentence for financing a dogfighting ring. Vick will spend the last two months of the term on electronic monitoring at his five-bedroom home in Hampton, Va.

The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback is expected to be released from federal custody July 20, but he will be on probation for three years.

He hopes to persuade NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to reinstate him.

N.B. MLAs sign up to new rule allowing online petitions in assembly

The right to petition the New Brunswick's legislative assembly appears to be heading for a hi-tech overhaul, opening the door for citizens to table online petitions.

House leader Michael Murphy said it is about time to modernize the rules after Bill Fraser, the acting Speaker, was forced to reject on Tuesday a petition from more than 7,400 New Brunswickers demanding government funding for a cancer drug.

Murphy said the antiquated rule overseeing how petitions are collected will be discussed the next time the legislature's procedures committee convenes.

"I'm not sure exactly how it'll be done. The rule can probably be changed quicker than the technical aspect, but I don't know," Murphy said.

"I don't see any objection coming from anywhere. The time certainly has come, sure."

Blaney's petition denied

The shortcomings in the legislature's rules were exposed when Conservative MLA Margaret-Ann Blaney tried to present the petition calling on the government to fund the cancer treatment Avastin.

Blaney acknowledged that many of the names were gathered online.

Blaney referred to a recent high-tech ranking of Fredericton as she acknowledged to Fraser that gathering names online was contrary to the legislature's rules.

"Although we live in one of the smartest cities in the world, apparently we in the legislature are not set up for an online petition, and perhaps you can advise me on that," she said.

Legislature rules require that petitions tabled in the chamber include signatures, so Fraser was forced to turn down the petition.

"Currently there is no rule in the house that would allow the acceptance of online petitions," he said.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sex Life After Menopause

QUESTION: I often read magazine articles offering advice about sex to older men.
They are of little use to me, for as I advance in age and pass my menopause, I could use some information too.
How about giving us older gals some help and advice?

ANSWER: I am truly pleased to answer your question.
Actually, I get more letters from older women about this subject than I do from the fellows. An older woman can indeed have a wonderful, healthy sex life after menopause.
Despite some physical changes, an older woman's sexual response cycle usually remains in good working order.
Multiple orgasms can still be achieved, although in some cases the intensity and duration may be slightly less than in the premenopausal woman. The physical changes that might hamper sexual activity include atrophy of parts of the vagina, which increases the risk of trauma, infection and vaginitis.
The pH factor rises and necessary secretions diminish.
Elasticity is lessened in the vaginal wall, and the cervix shrinks.
However, most women are still very capable of achieving sexual pleasure, and should consider it a healthy part of their lives.
Aging ovaries produce less estrogen than they used to, and many doctors recommend estrogen replacement therapy.
In many cases, the added estrogen helps relieve or reduce hot flushes, atrophy of the genitals, and osteoporosis.
The therapy may also promote a sense of well being.
There are some possible negative side effects though, and every patient must discuss the benefits and risks with her doctor before estrogen is prescribed. Another factor that may impede the sex life of an older woman includes the availability of an acceptable partner.
Because women statistically live longer than men, many elderly women are either widowed or their husbands are seriously ill or disabled.
The woman herself may have nonsexual physical ailments such as arthritis, neuromuscular disease, or osteoporosis, which can impair sexuality. The older woman may sink into depression because of her own or her partner's physical ailments and lose interest in activities that are pleasurable, such as sex.
It is important for both older women and men to continue to develop hobbies, interests, friendships and loving relationships, so that their self-worth remains high and interest in their own sexuality will be maintained.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Sneaker Foot

QUESTION: I caught a look at grandsons feet the other day, while he was on holiday with us.
His feet looked red and seemed to be covered with little blisters.
I tried to caution the boy, but he laughed it off, called it "sneaker foot", said a lot of the kids had the same thing, and that he was curing it with some powder.
Do you know anything about this, and would you please tell us?

ANSWER: Whether its called the "sweaty sock syndrome" or "sneaker foot" it is the same problem, found mostly in youngsters who wear sweat socks and sneakers continuously, and are not as careful as they should be.
With a long day in school and social activities, as much as 16 to 18 hours can go by while the feet sweat constantly in their wool and rubber prisons.
After a period of time the soles of the feet become dry and scaly, and then irritated, red and tender with little pin sized blisters.
The next step is an infection that could have been prevented.
Powder won't clear it up, but getting out of those sneakers into other foot gear will.
Changing into slippers at home is a start.
Use cotton socks, change them regularly and keep feet dry and clean. You had best alert his parents.
Get your grandson's attention on this before his burning and infected feet do.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

What Causes "Sweet's Syndrome"?

QUESTION: My daughter (33 years old) broke out with an extremely painful and ugly rash.
After all the tests and everything was checked, the doctors called it "Sweet's Syndrome".
Could you please elaborate on this, as no one seems to have much information as to why she has it and what causes it? Thank you.

ANSWER: Sweet's Syndrome originally described by the physician of that name in 1964, also goes by the more scientific name of "acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis".
It occurs mostly in women, usually coming on in middle age.
An infection precedes the eruption of painful plaques on the skin of the limbs face, and neck.
Later on they can change into a pus filled rash.
The cause is not well understood, but may be a reaction or hypersensitivity to the germ that caused the original infection.
Although antibiotics may be used to fight the infection, they are not effective in combatting the rash.
Steroids (cortisone-like medications) can help wipe out the rash for as long as they are taken.
The condition can last for 2 weeks or more before it runs its course, but relapses are frequent, although in each case it is usually preceded by another infection.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Inconsistent Blood Pressure Readings

QUESTION: Despite my best efforts, I keep getting different readings each time I take my own blood pressure at home.
Do you have any ideas on what I am doing wrong? Please help.

ANSWER: There are many things patients and sometimes even doctors and nurses do wrong when taking blood pressure.
The result can be inaccurate and inconsistent readings.
First of all, you should make sure you are comfortable before taking your blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends that prior to taking the measurement, you relax in a quiet room for a half hour.
During that time, avoid anxiety, exertion, eating or smoking, and be sure your bladder is empty.
Wear loose fitting clothes so that the flow of blood is unrestricted, and don't cross your legs or fold your arms.
Try to relax your arm muscles as much as possible, as muscle tension can lead to distorted blood pressure readings. Always take your blood pressure while you are in the same position, whether it be sitting, standing or lying down, and use the same arm.
Make sure you have the proper size cuff for your arm.
A cuff too narrow could give you a false high reading, while one that is too wide will give you a false low pressure reading.
Inflate the cuff rapidly (in 7 to 10 seconds) to minimize trapping of venous blood a common cause of false readings. Have a doctor or nurse show you the proper way to read your measurement. Don't be shy; if you don't understand, ask again until you get it right.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Is It Possible to Become Pregnant While Nursing a Baby?

QUESTION: I am writing to you for my daughter, for she is too busy to write. She has a newborn baby that she is nursing.
She believes that this is enough protection against another pregnancy, which would be most difficult at this time.
Is she safe now, or is it still possible to become pregnant while nursing a baby? I am sure that there is more than one young mother who would be interested in the answer to this question.

ANSWER: The long held belief that the process of nursing a new born is a safeguard against another pregnancy may not be the absolute truth that some think it is.
It makes sense that nature would provide a mechanism that allows a mother to devote all her attention to a baby, and that may lend some support to those who tell of their lack of fertility during this period, but there is more to the story.
It is clear that there are fewer pregnancies immediately after child birth in nursing (lactating) mothers then in women who do not nurse.
The period of relative infertility lasts only six weeks in nonnursing mothers, but the presence of a hormone (prolactin) that is stimulated by the baby's sucking can suppress the actions of the hormones that promote ovulation in nursing mothers for a prolonged period. However, this protection only seems to last for as long as nursing continues uninterrupted.
While total breast feeding provides protection against another pregnancy, any schedule that reduces regular nursing can reduce the amount of prolactin in the blood, allowing ovulation and a possible pregnancy to occur.
One of the overlooked reductions in nursing is the elimination of the night feeding.
This allows for a period of from 8 to 10 hours to pass without the sucking stimulus, and the levels of prolactin may return to normal.
Thus the protection your daughter seeks depends upon maintaining a timetable that most families find unacceptable, as it disturbs the sleep schedule so necessary for the rest needed to keep up with our daily occupations and activities.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Breast Implants and Breast Cancer

QUESTION: I am very concerned about my sister, who had breast surgery several years ago using breast implants.
She is now almost crazy about the reports that this could cause breast cancer to develop and wants the implants removed at once.
What information can you give me that will help me to talk with her and help her make the right decisions?

ANSWER: The recent flood of reports in newspapers and on television about these breast implants has caused many women the same distress your sister is now suffering, and to my thinking is a shame.
I am certainly for giving you all the information you need to make correct choices in medical care, but also believe that this advice must be based on substantial scientific evidence that helps bring us as close to the truth as possible.
That is not the situation in this case.
To start with, the reports were based on preliminary data in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study that was "leaked" to the press before even the FDA had a chance to examine the data completely.
Just who leaked the data or why is unknown, but even the FDA believes that some of the reports in the media "may have overstated the risk of cancer to woman who have these implants".
The source of the discussion is the polyurethane foam that is used as a coating for certain kinds of silicone gel-filled implants. It is possible that this material might break down into another substance that has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
The key word here is "might", as well as the fact that there is no evidence of cancer ever having been linked to the implants in humans. Despite this, the manufacturer of the implants, Surgitek, a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb, voluntarily stopped shipment of the implants and advised doctors to delay any surgery using these devices.
This responsible action will allow the FDA to complete its evaluation of the results of the study, and should publish its results in but a few weeks.
In a statement released by Bristol-Myers Squibb, it said that "it is confident in the safety of the product and that it deplored the uncertainty created by the anonymous reports of research results". The FDA, in a TALK PAPER issued about this question, stated "While still assessing the data, FDA believes that the statistical values expressed in some media accounts may have overstated the risk of cancer to woman who have these implants".
It also said, "It is unfortunate that preliminary FDA laboratory results reached the public before FDA's analysis of the data was complete. This has created an unnecessary climate of fear in patients who have been implanted with these products." In speaking with a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, she too agreed that the sensationalism of press reports had been a disservice to the public and suggested the following advice.
Patients with these breast implants in place should not seek surgery to remove them.
This is not always a simple procedure and the risk of removal could outweigh the risk of keeping the implant.
In fact there may be no risk for cancer at all, or possibly one that is very small.
Women considering implant surgery should delay the operation until final analysis of the results of the FDA study. And that is my advice to you and your sister, as well as anyone else now facing this situation.
Once again, it is clear that you must carefully analyze anything you learn from the media, and I am here to help you.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Need For Fiber in the Diet

QUESTION: I keep reading about fiber as a must in my diet, but even the term makes it sounds as if it isn't very pleasant to eat.
What is all the noise about? Can you please explain the need for the stuff and where I may be going wrong in my present diet?

ANSWER: To the best of my knowledge, we began reading about the miracles of fiber in the diet back in the 1960's when Dr.
Denis Burkitt began writing about the people in rural Africa.
Their diet was much richer in fiber than those in the Western world, and their incidence of bowel cancer was much less. The statistics on gallstones, appendicitis, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, some forms of coronary disease and diabetes were all in favor of the Africans. This started a lot of investigations, and turned up even more data that indicates that fiber is a very important part of the healthy diet, and that Americans just do not get sufficient amounts.
Total dietary fiber is composed of two types, soluble fiber (which dissolves in water), and an insoluble type which provides the "bulk" in the diet.
Fiber is only found in fruits and plants, and not in meat nor milk.
Soluble fiber is found in oranges, pectin, and various vegetable gums, while insoluble fiber is found in large quantities in wheat bran, brown rice, bananas, kidney beans, cauliflower and nuts amongst other foods.
Both types of fiber are found together in apples, soybeans, whole grain oats, barley, apples and potatoes.
While there are absolute recommendations for the amount of fiber needed daily, many experts feel that a total of from 20-35 grams is about right.
That means concentrating on including vegetables, fruits, and whole grain breads, and cereals in your daily diet.
Not only will you be reducing your risk for some ailments, such as heart disease, diverticulosis, certain types of cancer, and obesity, but you may find that your bowel movements are more regular as well.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Where Did the Name "Fifth" Disease Come From?

QUESTION: Do you know what the thinking was in giving a number as the name of a disease.
I am referring to "Fifth" disease, a recent addition to my daughter's medical history.
Where did the name come from?

ANSWER: I can see you are a bit confused, but it is easy to straighten out. Normally diseases have names that describe the condition or bear the name of the discoverer.
However, in the case of children's diseases, there are five of them that have similar rashes.
Four received names.
They are German measles, measles, scarlet fever, and roseola (once known as Filatov-Dukes disease or Fourth Disease).
When the fifth childhood rash was discovered it was simply named Fifth Disease (it's also known as Erythema Infectiosum). This disease affects school age children worldwide, infants and adults only being affected infrequently.
Only a low grade fever accompanies the infection, which characteristically produces a rash that gives the child a "slapped-cheek" appearance.
This rash fades after about 11 days, is usually itchy, and becomes worse if the child is bathed in warm water, becomes upset or rubs the skin.
No treatment is required, complications are rare, and this childhood disease is considered to be a very mild one.
Compared to some of the jawbreaking names we give diseases, I think Fifth Disease is a simple one to remember.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Different Causes for "Floaters"

QUESTION: I have two wonderful maiden aunts that have had the same problem, but each was treated in a different way.
They complained of specks jumping around in front of their eyes.
One aunt had it for years, and her doctor told her that there was nothing to worry about.
However, when the second aunt suddenly began to see the same things, her doctor put her in the hospital as an emergency and then treated her there.
Can you explain to me what happened?

ANSWER: The condition known as "floaters" is generally a simple, benign situation with little cause for alarm.
They are caused by tiny flecks of material in the jelly-like "vitreous" that fills the globe of the eye.
Many people have this experience, especially in brightly lit environments. However, the sudden appearance of floaters, particularly when accompanied by flashes of light, are entirely another thing.
They speak of an acute problem within the retina, the light sensitive tissue that lines the eye.
When a pathological condition produces a yanking on the retina, it interprets the pulling as a flash of light.
This precedes a "detached retina," a condition in which the retina is pulled away from its normal position against the wall of the eyeball.
The floaters may be caused by blood cells that have escaped from a leak in the vessels of the retina or as a result of a tear in the retina itself.
Prompt treatment can stop the progression of the detachment and preserve the vision of the patient.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What is Known About Seborrhea?

QUESTION: Please can you tell me all that is known about seborrhea? Recently I was diagnosed as having this skin problem, and there doesn't seem to be much known about the cause.
Since I have had three recurrences in six weeks, it is most depressing.

ANSWER: I am happy to tell you all I know about this distressing skin disease, but that's a long way from ALL that is known about it.
It is defined as an inflammatory scaling disease of the scalp and face, and occasionally other areas of the body.
The name comes from two words, one from the Latin "sebum" meaning "suet" and the other a Greek word "rhoia" translated as "to flow".
Sebum is a thick, semifluid liquid that is composed of fat and the remains of epithelial cells, and is secreted by the sebaceous glands located in the skin.
Despite all this, it is probable that the amount, composition and flow of sebum in people suffering from seborrheic dermatitis is pretty close to normal.
It starts in adults in a gradual fashion, showing itself as a greasy scaling of the scalp leading to dandruff, and being just a bit itchy. When the condition is severe, we can see scaling yellow-red papules (round, raised, solid elevations of the skin) along the hairline, behind the ears, on the eyebrows and bridge of the nose, and even down over the sternum (middle bone of the chest).
You're right, not much is known about its cause, but seems to appear most in the middle aged and elderly.
However children in the first month of life can also develop seborrheic dermatitis, at which time it is called "cradle cap".
It may be related to our genetic make-up, but emotional stress, diet, hormones and even climate may effect the condition. It's a condition that once started is with you for life, and each episode may last from weeks to months.
A number of treatments do exist, and the choice depends upon the location of the rash and its severity.
Dandruff shampoos containing selenium sulfide, sulfur and salicylic acid, pyrithione zinc, and coal tar may be effective when used on a daily basis.
To control the redness and inflammation, a corticosteroid (cortisone-like) cream or lotion may also be used.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Is There Some way to Live With a Pet While Being Allergic?

QUESTION: We have a pet that has been with the family for about a year now. However, my physician has found that I am allergic to the little fellow, and has recommended that I part with my pet.
I just can't! Surely there must be some way for us to exist together.
Can you provide me with any suggestions or help?

ANSWER: You haven't told me just how bad your symptoms are, probably so I won't restate your own physician's advice.
However, the only way you can eliminate all your discomfort is to bear the temporary pain of separation, in exchange for total relief.
Understanding your problem with this solution, let us try for some tips that may help you coexist with your pet.
Since your symptoms depend upon contact with a certain allergen level, keeping these low may help you avoid some discomfort.
Keep your animal as clean as possible. Have a nonallergic member of the family brush and clean your pet outside your house, thus reducing the number of hairs and the amount of dander shed with your home.
Since soiled litter may also contain some allergen sources of your trouble, it too is another task that should be delegated to someone else.
If feasible, allow your pet to spend as much time as possible outside, taking care to provide all the necessities for its comfort.
To further reduce unnecessary contact, keep the animal out of your bedroom or other places in your home where you spend a good deal of your time.
You may benefit from an air cleaner in your home, which can greatly reduce the amount of airborne allergens.
Inquire about immunotherapy from your physician or allergist. Allergy shots may be just the ticket to building up your ability to tolerate those annoying allergens.
In the meantime, antihistamines and decongestants may offer you some relief, and permit you to enjoy the companionship your pet offers.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

What is "Pheochromocytoma"?

QUESTION: At age 47, my husband has been diagnosed with a rare type of high blood pressure, for which surgery is being advised.
Although his doctor tried to explain the facts about a "pheochromocytoma," we are still confused and distressed.
We hope you will find this question interesting enough to publish an answer in your column.

ANSWER: It is certainly an interesting condition, but can also be most confusing.
Even the name is more than most people can manage to say.
Broken down to its Greek origins the word means "dusky (pheo) colored (chromo) cell (cyt) tumor (oma)", and it is in fact a tumor of chromaffin cells that secrete chemicals called catecholamines.
These chemicals produce a number of reactions in the body.
Typically a patient will experience episodic sweating, headaches, and palpitations and will be found to have an elevated blood pressure when tested.
Additional symptoms of flushing, abdominal pain, constipation, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting may occur, but not all symptoms occur in all patients.
At first the symptoms come on infrequently and last for but fifteen minutes or so, but with passing time, both the severity and frequency of the attacks increase.
Although the physical examination may be normal, a urine test will show an increased level of catecholamines.
Testing a 24 hour urine specimen for various other chemicals which result from the chemical breakdown of catecholamines will usually lead to an accurate diagnosis.
The next problem is to determine the location of the tumors.
They average 5 to 6 cm.
in size, usually weigh from 50 to 200 gm, but can grow as large as several kilograms.
About 80 percent of the time they are found in the adrenal gland, which perches on the kidney.
However they may be found in the glands on both sides of the body (in about 10 percent of the cases) and may be located in other areas of the body as well.
A variety of imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to complement scintigraphy, which uses radio active isotopes to locate the tumors.
Surgery is needed to permanently remove the tumors, and the patient usually passes through a period of medical management when various medications are used to assure that the hypertension and other symptoms are controlled before the operation is performed.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Will Brisk Walking Do Any Good?

QUESTION: I am no athlete and never have been one.
Now, in my middle years, I am considering brisk walking, something which I do enjoy, as an alternative to all the jogging, aerobics and other exercise activities that get such a play in the press.
My question to you is whether you think that this type of activity is going to do me any good?

ANSWER: Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of debate in the medical community over the aerobic benefits of walking versus a good hard run. Certainly walkers have fewer injuries.
But the question has always been can they achieve the all important training effect? In checking the medical literature on this one, there seems to me to be enough important evidence to warrant a big "yes" to your question.
In one study, under controlled conditions, 343 subjects, both men and women between the ages of 30-69, were asked to walk a mile as fast as possible.
The result was ninety-one percent of all the women and 83 percent of the men over 50 easily reached a training heart rate. A training heart rate (THR) is calculated using a person's maximum heart rate, which can be figured either by subtracting your age from 220 or by taking a treadmill test.
In this case, each of the people who were part of the study began by running in place on a treadmill until they reached the point of exhaustion, during which time their heartbeat and ability to use oxygen was monitored.
This record was then compared to data recorded during a 30-minute walk. The benefits of aerobic exercise depends heavily on intensity, or the ability to use the oxygen we take in while moving fast enough to maintain 70 percent of our maximum heart rate.
For women and for men over fifty, this was easy to achieve when walking at speeds just under 3.4 mph.
Younger men could only achieve a THR by walking a good deal faster. If you add it all up, it means good news for the middle aged person who wants to be just a bit healthier through exercise.
A good brisk walk that is performed long enough and often enough may be just your ticket.
And the fact that it is an activity you enjoy makes it a fine choice.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Febrile Seizure

QUESTION: This is the third time in as many months that my 4 year old son has had a seizure during an illness with high fever.
What am I doing wrong? Is there any chance that he will have some permanent damage? Please answer these very important questions for me.

ANSWER: Up to 5 percent of all children may experience a febrile seizure or convulsion (febrile means fever) by age five.
For most, the major side effect is scaring the dickens out of parents.
However, a convulsion can also be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as a brain infection.
Febrile seizures can either be simple (a single seizure) or complex (more than one or one that lasts longer than 15 minutes).
Most febrile seizures last less than five minutes and are associated with fevers above 102 F.
Removing excessive blankets and quilts may help to cool the child a bit and can help prevent seizures.
Usually, children who have febrile seizures are better by the time they see the physician; and aside from giving acetaminophen to reduce the fever, there is no treatment. Your child has had repeated febrile seizures and should be followed more closely.
Up to 40 percent of children who have one febrile seizure will have one again during a fever, usually within a year.
Your physician may discuss the advisability of your child taking anticonvulsant medications until age 5 or so to prevent future episodes. Only 2 percent of all children who have febrile seizures develop epilepsy and another 1 percent have nonepileptic seizures.
Occasionally, children are found to have mental retardation, coordination problems, or sensory or perceptual abnormalities after febrile seizures, but these problems probably existed before the seizure and are only noted because the child undergoes testing afterwards.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

What is Fibromyalgia?

QUESTION: It is a new one on me, but the frequent aches and pains I have been experiencing for some time now have finally been diagnosed as "fibromyalgia". However, even with that knowledge I have been unable to find real relief, though I have used just about everything available.
Can you tell me about this disease, and possibly suggest some treatments that may help? This has really got me down.

ANSWER: Many of our readers may not know about fibromyalgia.
It's a chronic pain condition that is thought to affect three to six million persons in the U.S., primarily women.
Also called "fibromyositis" and "myofascial pain syndrome," the complaints and symptoms may be so general and nonspecific and difficult to evaluate that fibromyalgia is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and doctors and patients alike become frustrated with the problems.
The good news is that it doesn't threaten life, deform or debilitate. Symptoms include chronic pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, especially the neck, shoulder, lower back or hip.
Morning fatigue, abdominal pain, disrupted sleep, sensitivity to temperature extremes and headaches are often reported.
Patients with fibromyalgia have many tender spots around the shoulder and knee.
Before a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made, other systemic diseases like arthritis should be ruled out. Relief can sometimes be gained with stretching exercises, improved sleep, local applications of heat and gentle massage.
The condition may disappear when some stressful life situation is resolved.
If you have tried all the ordinary pain relievers without much help, suggest the use of amitriptyline hydrochloride or a combination of amitriptyline and naproxen sodium to your physician.
Benefits reported from bedtime treatment with this combination of a low dose tricyclic antidepressant and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication include improved sleep and reduced fatigue, pain and tenderness. However, even with the hope of some improvement using these medications, you will have to realize that this is a chronic condition, and your own resolve to overcome by developing your own coping mechanisms may be the best treatment available to you today.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Can Stress Actually Bring on an Asthma Attack?

QUESTION: My young daughter is under constant care for asthma.
In general we are doing well, but when she gets off base, and I try to correct her, I'm in real trouble.
She begins wheezing, and I'm afraid she'll have a full blown attack, so I let her get away with what she's done.
Can the stress of our disagreement actually bring on an attack? Please help this distressed mother.

ANSWER: It's true that any extremely frustrating, frightening or upsetting situation may trigger some wheezing in the asthmatic child.
But discipline is essential for any child.
Start by having a good heart to heart chat with your daughter.
And pick a time when there is nothing else brewing.
Explain that you love her, but that everyone, including adults as well as children, must live by certain rules.
When we don't, we must accept the consequences. Many asthmatic children suffer from added emotional problems.
They may be afraid of dying.
They often suffer from feelings of inferiority because they can't compete in some activities or because of repeated absences from school.
These emotional problems may lead to depression. If you can't regain control of the discipline problem, I strongly suggest seeing a psychologist or social worker to help you and your daughter. Frequently, a calm voice of reason from outside the family can bring about the desired effect. Also, be sure to check that your daughter is taking her medication when she is being corrected.
Some children purposely skip medication while "grounded", knowing full well it'll spur symptoms.
It's their way of getting back at concerned parents.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Does Arthroscopy Hold the Promise of Real Help for Knee Injury?

QUESTION: I have been retired for quite a few years now, but try to maintain an active life, taking regular brisk walks each evening.
Recently however I fell, and my left knee became swollen and painful.
Despite several weeks of medication, I still can't walk properly, because my knee seems unable to straighten out as it should.
Now my doctor wants me to go for "arthroscopy", but I am very hesitant.
Do you think this is a good idea and does it hold the promise of real help?

ANSWER: I think it is a fine idea for a number of very good reasons.
If your injury had resulted in only a minor injury, the medications and the length of time you have already been taking them should have reduced all the symptoms to a near normal state by this time.
Your description of reduced motion in your knee can be caused by several situations, including torn cartilage in the knee, damage to ligaments, or loose bodies of bone and calcium broken off during the accident from the bones of a knee that was already affected by arthritis.
While x-rays, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are useful in making a diagnosis, arthroscopy will permit the physician to see the actual state of your knee and actually repair some of the damage during the operation.
The arthroscope is a telescope-like instrument which is inserted into the knee joint through a small incision.
Another incision, also quite small, is made on the other side of the knee, through which various surgical instruments can be inserted and used to perform the operations which might be indicated by your condition.
Damage to the cartilage may require that it be partially removed.
Loose bodies can be removed, and other potential areas that might become loose can be cleaned up, reducing potential irritation and giving your knee a chance to heal.
The operation is a simple one, holds few risks for someone who is in otherwise good condition, and the recovery period is quite brief, which will get you back to your regular activities in the shortest possible time.
With this information in hand, you would be wise to discuss this with your physician once again, to more fully understand your problem and the potential benefits of the procedure he has advised.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.

Is There any Medical Reason for Someone to Have B12 Shots?

QUESTION: My physician has me on a regular series of B12 shots, which he insists I need.
My friend tells me it is all hog wash and there is no such thing.
Is there any real medical reason for someone to have these treatments?

ANSWER: Anywhere from 3 to 10 percent of all people over the age of 65 are deficient in vitamin B12.
The only way to treat this problem is with injections. Detecting a deficiency of B12 isn't easy.
In fact, diagnosis of this problem is elusive and difficult, at best.
No one test can tell your doctor whether you are low in B12, and the symptoms of the problem can be confusing and vague.
Most of us consume diets that are sufficient in their content of B12.
Meat, dairy products, yeast and certain vegetables are good sources. However, some people don't absorb B12 as they should, and thus they can't depend on a balanced diet to take care of the problem.
Pernicious anemia is the most common result of the lack of B12 absorption.
People who have had extensive stomach surgery cannot absorb sufficient B12, and some people with intestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease can't absorb it either. Alcoholics are often deficient in B12, because alcohol interferes with its absorption, and because alcoholics often consume poorly balanced diets. Strict vegetarians who don't take care to balance their diets and elderly people on fixed incomes are also particularly susceptible to B12 deficiency. Symptoms of a lack of B12 in the body are a bit vague.
Fatigue, confusion, apathy and lack of appetite are common.
The skin may have a lemon yellow tint, and the tongue may be sore and beefy red.
The patient's family may report personality changes and unusual behavior.
The patient may report unusual sensations in the extremities, or a decrease in pain and temperature sensation. A reason for a vitamin B12 deficiency can usually be found.
Simply replacing the B12 with injections doesn't cure the problem; it only treats the symptoms.
If your diet is well-balanced, you don't abuse alcohol and you are truly deficient in B12, your doctor should be able to inform you as to the origins of your particular need for these vitamin injections.

The material contained here is "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" and should not replace the counsel and advice of your personal physician.
Promptly consulting your doctor is the best path to a quick and successful resolution of any medical problem.