Category Archives: Comics

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

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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.

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How to make a clinical trial say whatever you want

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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.

 

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5 sticky myths about sunscreen

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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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Let’s put an end to the GLUTEN-FREE trend

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After toxins, vaccines, and milk, I’m ready to face another worthy opponent: Gluten.

Or rather the absence of gluten, as many people seem to believe that it’s a good idea to remove it from their diet. Truth be told, for some people, avoiding gluten is a necessity, especially for those who suffer from celiac disease.

Because celiac disease is strongly under-diagnosed, it would be cool to hear more about it… but nowadays, we constantly hear stuff like:

  • Gluten is a useless toxin
  • Eating gluten-free is healthier
  • Eating gluten-free makes you lose weight
  • Gluten causes digestive disorders in all people
  • Gluten-free food is more organic
  • Wheat was genetically modified, resulting in more gluten
  • Eating gluten-free is easy

Yet all of these statements are pretty much FALSE.

Do you want to hear more about the topic? You’re in luck: I made a comic that contradicts each of the aforementioned statements! What a coincidence.

To make this project possible, I have had the privilege of collaborating with dietitian Sarah Le, a nutrition scientist specializing in weight management and sports nutrition. She also taught me tons of new words, like “sorghum” and “manioc”!

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This comic strip is not intended for two types of people:

  • People suffering from celiac disease, as diagnosed by a physician. Gluten is toxic for you, so removing it completely is your only option.
  • People who have stopped eating gluten for any reason and deem their health is much better since. I don’t intend to change your mind; after all, you know your body better than anyone else.

This comic is rather intended for the vast majority of people who ask themselves:

‘‘Why is everyone tripping about gluten?!’’

Translation by Hadrien Laforest, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

 

Common statements about the gluten-free diet

 

 

Gluten is a useless toxin

 

 

Eating gluten-free is healthier

 

 

Eating gluten-free makes you lose weight

 

 

Gluten causes digestive disorders

Gluten vs FODMAPs

 

 

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Gluten GMO wheat and Monsanto

 

 

Eating gluten-free is easy

 

 

Conclusion if you're not celiac

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How to make your milk NONTOXIC

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You’re probably aware that milk is a disgusting, toxic, white poison filled with blood and pus, threatening mankind every day.  I read that online.

If you drink milk, you will have cancer, osteoporosis, divorce and your credit card debts will increase significantly. You’ll also die one day because of dairy.

Chances are that you’re lactose intolerant too, because everyone is. So if you give milk to your kids, you’re basically a criminal.

But fortunately, I’ve found a way to make milk slightly better for you. Here’s how.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

 

How to make your milk nontoxic

Milk is white poison according to the Internet

I share my findings about milk on Facebook

Lactose intolerance mammals and the milk industry

You are lactose intolerant and also an idiot

Adding lemon juice to milk makes it less poisonous

Curdled milk with lemon kicks ass

The ultimate testimony about sour milk

 

A note from the author (me):

You think that the arguments brought forward in this comic are too good to be true, overly simplified and unproven? Well done! You should do the same with most of what you read on the Internet.

I created this comic in order to provide something more entertaining than all the propaganda articles found on the web about milk. Really, I believe it’s better to read the above-written crap than anything found elsewhere, because at least my crap doesn’t take itself seriously.

A few things to consider about milk:

  • Milk is not unhealthy. But you don’t “need” to drink milk to be healthy. Dairy is an excellent source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, but if you can find those nutrients elsewhere, go for it.
  • Milk does not have positive, negative or otherworldly properties. It’s a food… and you shouldn’t choose foods according to whether they allegedly have special benefits (because they don’t).
  • Milk does not make your bones weaker. What studies actually say is that milk is not enough to prevent fractures, which comes to no surprise.
  • No, there is no pus, blood or bacteria in milk… if it’s pasteurized. As for antibiotics, the industry is (fortunately) under a lot of public pressure to stop using them routinely in livestock.
  • 9 to 23% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant, compared to 60 to 100% of African-Americans and Asians, so we’re very far from the “epidemic” that some people speak about; it has more to do with genetics. Also, lactose intolerant people can still consume dairy moderately.
  • Some large-scale, well-built studies suggest that people who drink a lot of milk have a higher mortality rate and a higher risk of developing some types of cancer, but these studies cannot conclude that milk is the cause. People who drink more drink may have other risk factors, such as having more sugar or fat in their diet. People who consume a moderate amount of dairy don’t seem affected by this.

In the end, my impression is that the anti-milk panic exploding online right now comes from activists trying to stop the exploitation of livestock. I am 100% with them regarding the need for ethical treatment of animals, but if this requires demonizing milk, telling outright lies and making me feel guilty to drink it… no thanks.

 

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5 lies about detox and toxins

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Have you heard about toxins? 

I know a few. Let’s see: snake venom, the botulinum toxin, the tetanus toxin… well, that’s it. I can’t name any more of them. 

Unfortunately, the word “toxin” has entered the popular language and is now used for pretty much anything: pollutants, heavy metals, fecal matter, microbes, gluten… hell, even stress supposedly generates toxins. 

According to some shady individuals, toxins are everywhere. They also talk about “metabolic waste” that accumulates and must be eliminated from our bodies; otherwise it’ll make us sick. 

At the holistic shop (and at the pharmacy, sadly), you’ll find a range of products that promise to eliminate these toxins and “clean up the system.” They often carry statements such as: 

  • Detox
  • Cleanse
  • Internal cleansing program
  • Supports a healthy liver
  • Protects and eliminates liver congestion
  • Promotes fat burning and weight loss (yeah, because that’s the real goal)
  • Etc. 

Manufacturers of these products make a fortune after the holiday season as they manage to convince people that they must “find balance after this period of excess“. 

Unfortunately, detox is a huge scam. So-called “cleanses” contain nothing but obscure herbal mixtures with no real purpose, as well as diuretics and laxatives that make you go to the toilet more frequently. Sounds like fun, huh? 

For educational purposes, let’s laugh a little at these ridiculous products. Let’s also examine the key deceits their manufacturers use to extort money from people. All statements found below were taken directly from their websites.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

 

5 deceits about detox and toxins (intro)

 

Toxins and pollutants exist since the industrial revolution

Life expectancy and health in the past and today

 

You must cleanse your system after the holiday season

 

Toxins prevents vitamins and nutrients from being absorbed

What naturopaths say about cleanses

 

 

You must help your organs to eliminate toxins and waste

My test to assess whether your organs are functioning or not

 

Food and waste accumulates in the intestines

Detox cleanses contain laxatives
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5 badly informed opinions about vaccines

Initially, I wanted to create a comic about the influenza (flu) vaccine.

My goal was to convince you that this vaccine is effective, safe and essential to modern society. Because that’s what I think.

But by doing this, I would have skipped steps … because before trusting the flu vaccine, you must first trust vaccines.

You’ve probably heard of semi-famous people’s efforts to stop vaccination in USA:

But they’re not the only ones. All over the world, tons of people are opposed to vaccines. Many of them are intelligent, highly educated people who seem to know the topic extremely well. Some of them are even healthcare professionals, including physicians.

So, who should you believe? I can easily understand why you’re confused when you hear stuff like:

  • “Vaccines cause autism!”
  • “Vaccines are released on the market before we know they’re safe!”
  • “The diseases we vaccinate against are long gone!”

There’s much to do to put the record straight.

So the flu vaccine will have to wait for another comic. In the meantime, let’s start from the beginning.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

5 badly informed opinions about vaccines

Live attenuated and inactivated vaccine

Subunit and conjugate vaccine

The great paradox of vaccination

Poliomyelitis , measles , meningitis and preventable diseases

Vaccines are not 100% safe , but nothing is

Making vaccines isn't even good business for big pharma

There is no single scientific evidence that vaccines systematically cause autism

The Wakefield study , thimerosal and aluminum adjuvants

Homeopathic vaccines , gluten-free diet ... nothing can replace a vaccine

Open letter to people and parents worried about vaccines

Open letter to the anti-vaccine lobby

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Cancer, chemo, radiation and … dandelions

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My initial idea was to write a cartoon titled “5 toxic beliefs about chemotherapy”. The goal was to take 5 myths about chemo and deconstruct them. In doing this, I wanted to challenge the false notions about chemotherapy that are perpetuated over the internet.

However, along the way something became obvious: it’s absolutely pointless to attack false beliefs on chemo… when the majority of people do not know what cancer really is.

Then, by pure chance, two oncologists appeared out of nowhere and proposed to help me make a comic on cancer! It’s great how things work out.

After reading this comic, you will have a better understanding of cancer, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. And you will never see dandelions the same way.

Author’s notes:

I want to thank my two great collaborators for authoring this comic! They proposed to me the dandelion analogy, and told me they didn’t know where it came from (in short, we don’t really know where it comes from)… An ENORMOUS THANK YOU to you two for your massive help in the creation, preparation and improvements on this comic!

– Marc-Émile Plourde, MD, FRCPC (Radiation Oncology)

Marc-Émile is a radiation oncologist, meaning his specialty is radiotherapy. He is also the author of the blog radiotherapie.ca (in French) and he develops medical apps for mobile devices.

– Vincent Éthier, MD, FRCPC (Hematology Oncology)

Vincent is a hematologist and oncologist, meaning his specialty is chemotherapy.

– And the two generous doctors who translated this cartoon to English : Pierre-Yves McLaughlin, MD with the help of Martin Korzeniowski, MD.

 

* Note: This comic explains what cancer is, and how it is treated. I do not address prevention, not because it’s not important (to the contrary), but simply because it’s a very vast subject that I indirectly bring up all the time when I promote healthy living habits on this website.

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Feeling depressed vs. Suffering from depression

Feeling depressed VS suffering from depression

Feeling depressed? It happens to everyone: bad day, fight with a loved one, difficulties at work, visiting relatives for a week … there are tons of reasons for feeling “down”.

Suffering from depression, however, is a completely different thing. The person loses interest in activities they love. They no longer have fun. They are deeply tired, anxious and not sleeping well. Sometimes, they think it might be better if they weren’t alive anymore. It’s a serious health condition that requires quick medical and psychological intervention.

Unfortunately, many prejudices exist about depression. How many times have you heard comments such as:

“He’s not really depressed … he just pretends to get a sick leave!”

“Depressed, is she? We work 10 times harder and we’re not depressed! She’s just weak and she doesn’t want to get a hold of herself. She likes it when people pity her.”

While it’s true that fraud in sick leaves constitutes a real problem and that depressed people often have to make changes in their lives in order to heal, prejudices of the sort do nothing to improve the situation.

This comic tries to.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

 

Feeling depressed VS Suffering from depression (title)

 

People with depression don't want to go on vacation or socialize

 

Work for people with depression becomes a mountain to climb over

 

Depression involves brain chemistry and thought patterns

 

Antidepressants are not always the solution ... but sometimes they're necessary

 

Missing work and sick leave

 

Depression and suicide

 

Getting help for depression

 

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