Category Archives: Comics

TOP 10 useless remedies for the common cold

The cold season has begun.

But there’s something worse out there: the plethora of esoteric remedies to allegedly prevent and cure the common cold, like…

  • Rubbing Vicks on your feet
  • Sticking your face above a bowl of hot, scented water
  • A swig of gin and/or cayenne and/or oregano oil
  • Sweating out the virus
  • The mustard plaster
  • Flu busters
  • Putting something in your bum (like suppositories)
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Cough syrups
  • Antibiotics

Being a pharmacist, I get asked about those all the time. And really, I don’t care if people wanna use medication, natural health products or home remedies… as long as what they do is safe, effective, evidence-based and science-based.

Would you like to know what works and what doesn’t? Here are the TOP 10 useless remedies for the common cold. Please laugh at each of them. They deserve it.

Translated by Valentin Nguyen; edits and proofreading by Robyn Penney.

 

 

Rubbing Vicks on your feet

Rubbing Vicks on your feet continued

 

 

 

Sticking your face above a bowl of hot, scented water

Sticking your face above a bowl of hot, scented water continued

 

 

 

The mouth-burning contest

The mouth-burning contest continued

The mouth-burning contest continued even more

 

 

 

Sweating out the virus

 

 

 

The mustard plaster

The mustard plaster continued

 

 

 

Flu busters

Flu busters 06b

 

 

 

Putting something in your bumPutting something in your bum continued

 

 

 

Chicken noodle soupChicken noodle soup continued

 

 

Cough syrups

Cough syrups continued

 

 

Antibiotics

Antibiotics continued

 

 

Conclusion

 

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4 Half-Truths about the Acid-Base Balance and the Alkaline Diet

4 Half-Truths about the Acid-Base Balance and the Alkaline Diet

The other day, during an unplanned visit in a raw food and detox smoothies store…

Alkaline water to restore body pH

What a wonderful premise for a comic about Evil Acid and the Mighty Alkaline Diet!

According to some people, our bodies are full of acid and constantly fight to preserve the acid-base balance, which wear us out and make us sick. It is said to cause illness, such as osteoporosis, eczema and even cancer.

Acid-base balance and blood pH do matter a great deal in medicine. There is also available research on how diet can impact those.

Unfortunately, we only hear half-truths on the matter. As an example, you can read online about a so-called “alkaline diet”, made out mostly of fruits and vegetables, which allegedly prevents multiple illnesses. Websites and books supporting that diet are full of claims like:

  • “Meat increases the levels of acid in the body!”
  • “Fruits and vegetables are alkalizing!”
  • “Acid excess is unhealthy! ”
  • “Cancer cells cannot grow in an alkaline body! ”

Those statements are more or less true… but more often than not, they’re part of a discourse which has no scientific ground, spread by people who don’t seem to understand how the human body works.

hippie meme acid-base balance

Let’s sort this out! This comic strip examines 4 half-truths regarding the acid-base balance… and adds the missing pieces of information that make up the whole picture.

Translated by Patricia Rainville; proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.

 

4 Half-Truths about the Acid-Base Balance and the Alkaline Diet (header)

Some foods are acidic

 

Some foods are acidifying or alkalinizing

Too much body acid is unhealthy

 

The body fights to maintain the acid-base balance

 

Boring conclusion

 

Better conclusion

 

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The NO-PANIC Guide to the Birth Control Pill – Part II

The no-panic guide to the birth control pill part II (header)

Have you read Part 1 of my No-Panic Guide to the Birth Control Pill? If not, please do so before scrolling down.

I’ll continue in the same line of thought with the second (and last) part: my goal is to make you UNDERSTAND the risks associated with the Pill so that you can look at what you read and hear from a different angle.

I won’t tell you what to do: what I hope is to offer you a place to start and give you the necessary tools to promote enlightened reflection.

While deciding on what to incorporate, I took into account the myriad comments and suggestions I received after the publication of Part 1. Obviously, I couldn’t cover everything. I would’ve gladly added a section dedicated to cancer and depression, discussed the alternatives to hormonal contraception, provided more practical examples… but I decided to limit the scope of the last comic in order to keep everything “digestible”.

I don’t expect everyone to be engrossed by the topic, let alone read it in its entirety. Without doubt, it’s the longest comic I’ve produced so far and it’s quite stuffy… I tried to shorten it as much as possible, but under no circumstances would I cut corners on such a serious and complex topic. My goal was to give women the necessary information for them to do their own critical thinking (such as being wary of allegations made by the media) and encourage open discussion with their doctors in all matters concerning the contraceptive pill.

If you manage to read the entire thing, you automatically win a bag of 1000 gummy bears that you can claim if you ever meet me in person.

In order to make sure that my comic is accurate, I asked for the help of Lyne Massicotte, a clinical biochemist. Lyne, whose work I greatly admire, is the cofounder – with her partner Mathieu – of Nasci Biologie Médicale, a medical lab specializing in male fertility. Thanks Lyne!

Translated by Qian Li (Pharm.D. candidate), proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.

 

Comic header

 

The car analogy

 

Scary headlines about the Pill

The risk-benefit ratio

Risks and benefits associated with the Pill

The Pill and DVT blood clots pulmonary embolism

Pill generations vary in estrogen and progestin

 

Practical examples

 

Conclusion

 

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The NO-PANIC Guide to the Birth Control Pill – Part I

The no-panic guide to the birth control pill

For quite some time, I’ve been trying to put together a comic on the birth control pill (a.k.a. “the Pill”). I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about: its risks (e.g. blood clots, cancer), its benefits, available alternatives, etc.

And yet, I was staring at a blank page. Utterly stuck.

Then, at some point, I finally discovered the reason for my mental block: it’s impossible to tackle the risks of the Pill without first understanding how it works.

After all, how many women know…

  • How the menstrual cycle and ovulation work?
  • What are the purposes of the different structures of the female reproductive system, such as the ovaries and the endometrium?
  • What are the roles of estrogen and progesterone?
  • How does hormonal contraception work?

Answer: not many.

It’s easy to frighten people with a list of all the serious side effects of hormonal contraception (because they do exist), but it’s much garder to paint the whole picture.

This is Part 1 of my “No-Panic Guide to the Birth Control Pill.” The second (and last) part will specifically deal with the risks and benefits of the Pill.

In order to make sure that my comic is accurate, I asked for the help of Lyne Massicotte, a clinical biochemist. Lyne, whose work I greatly admire, is the cofounder – with her partner Mathieu – of Nasci Biologie Médicale, a medical lab specializing in male fertility. Thanks Lyne!

Translated by Qian Li (Pharm.D. candidate), proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.

 

Introduction

 

The brain releases FSH and the ovaries start working on the folliclesEstrogen appears and LH stimulates the ovaries even furtherThe ovum begins its journey and progesterone prepares the endometrium

Fertilization or period

 

How the Pill works A

How the Pill works B

 

How the Minipill works

 

Other types of hormonal contraception

 

Conclusion

 

The no-panic guide to the birth control pill part II (header)

 

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5 Bad Tips About Sugar

5 bad tips about sugar (header)

Look like sugar has become public enemy #1.

Some of the newfound concerns are completely justified, but some are not. Actually, it’s become one of these black-or-white craze, where one website tells you to cut all sugar from your diet, whereas another one claims it’s harmless.

And to tell the truth, I’m kind of pissed off about everything we’ve learned regarding the industry in the last few years, so I agree that something has to change.

(And as it happens, I’m especially irritated by the whole juicing fad, which is totally related to this, although most people don’t realize it.)

Obviously, a single comic strip can’t cover the whole subject, but I’ve selected 5 common beliefs that, I think, come from a poor understanding of the core issues we’re facing here.

Nope, you won’t have to go sugar-free.

But yep, you may have to rethink how you eat quite a bit.

Many thanks to Catherine Lefebvre, dietitian, for inspiring and reviewing this comic!

Translated by Patricia Rainville; proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.

 

5 bad tips about sugar (title)

 

Don't eat too much fruit, it's full of sugar (1)

Don't eat too much fruit, it's full of sugar (2)

 

 

Choose your sugar wisely and natural

Choose your sugar wisely like agave maple honey

 

 

Skip dessertadded sugar in processed food

 

 

Sugar doesn't cause diabetes

Free sugar is linked to obesity

 

 

Fat is more damaging to your health than sugarBig sugar strategies 1Big sugar strategies 2

 

 

Sugar recommended daily intake

Sugary drinks at the pharmacy

 

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Anxiety… prisoner of the metal collar

Stress and anxiety are helpful in life.

Imagine you’re hiking in Alaska, and you suddenly find yourself in front of a Kodiak bear that’s fresh out of hibernation and looking for his first meal. You can actually see drool coming out of his mouth, and the only defense you have is a spoon…

…Okay, bad example.

Let’s say you’re allergic to wasps. Stress is what tells you to be careful when they’re nearby. When you see a wasp, anxiety is what drives you to move in the opposite direction. These are normal defense mechanisms, and they’ve allowed human beings to evolve.

However, with evolution, the causes of anxiety changed in modern times: work, family, money, health, and so on. Cavemen didn’t care about all of that… but today, these are the things that stress us the most.

Today I’m going to talk about Generalized Anxiety Disorder, like I did before with depression.  Although it’s a really common disorder, few people easily accept it or feel comfortable talking about it.

Note: You might need a little effort and imagination to get into this comic strip… but you’ll definitely appreciate it more if you try to go along with my unusual analogies. Enjoy!

Translated by Ellie Rieber with edits by Patricia Rainville; proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.

 

How the electric metal collar works

The anxiety thought experiment test

 

Panic attacks and real-life concerns

 

 

Going to the doctor and physical symptoms of anxiety

 

The psychological and chemical keys of the anxiety collar

 

The amygdala and the prefrontal cortex in the brain

Anxiety denial and how to test yourself and others

 

What to you for your family and friends and hope

 

 

CBT and a book recommendation

 

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Influenza is coming

flu-vaccine-header-600

In early 2015, medias reported that the flu vaccine had had an efficacy of 0%. Scary stuff.

And it was true : the flu vaccine, for that particular year, was ineffective.

Because of news like that, people wonder every year if it’s worth getting a flu shot. It’s a fair question.

But if you’re like me, to really understand what’s going on, you need explanations that involve swordfights, weird monsters and people getting thrown off castle walls.

So, there you go.

flu-vaccine-01flu-vaccine-02flu-vaccine-03flu-vaccine-04flu-vaccine-06-02

 

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How to make a clinical trial say whatever you want

clinical_trials_header-600

Are you under the impression that clinical trials are constantly saying the opposite from one another?

That, mysteriously, new trials with awesome results appear every 30 seconds?

That you can always find that one trial that will prove your point?

That big companies manipulate data?

That shady websites only cite the conclusions that are good for them?

If so, you’re not wrong… and it’s super easy to do, by the way.

Here’s a guide on how to make a clinical trial say whatever you want it to say!

Translation by Gabrielle Larocque.

 

clinical_trials_00 clinical_trials_01

 

clinical_trials_02

 

clinical_trials_03

 

clinical_trials_04

clinical_trials_05

 

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5 sticky myths about sunscreen

Header

Who says “summer” says “sun.” And who says “sun” says “suntanning” … or “cancer“. 

I don’t think anyone should freak out over exposure to the sun. On the other hand, if you’re gonna use sunscreen, you might as well use it properly.

After all, this is not just about cancer: UVA rays cause premature aging of the skin, while UVB cause those infuriating sunburns.

At the pharmacy, people very seldom ask me for advice when it comes time to sunscreens. I wonder what determines their choice. A nice bottle with a cute doggy on it? Statements like “Ultimate Protection Apocalyptic 3000”? Low (or high) price tag?

Here’s the truth: choosing the best sunscreen is FAR from easy, even for me. It’s not easy to use it well either.

In this comic, I address 5 beliefs about sun exposure and sunscreen that I hear all the time.

In a second comic, I’ll address the issue of allegedly toxic ingredients in sunscreen (such as nanoparticles and endocrine disruptors), vitamin D deficiency and the belief that sunscreen is more carcinogenic than the sun itself.

P.S. There’s a joke that is a direct homage to the Simpsons. Who’s gonna find it first?

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

 

Title

Sunburns and skin phototype

 

 

Shade and UV rays

 

 

About sun protection factor SPF

 

 

Amount and frequency for applying sunscreen

 

 

Bad marketing about sunscreens

How to choose a sunscreen

 

 

Conclusion and radioactive white

 

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