Reports on side-effects of Gardasil still sketchy, says York drug expert

The US Centers for Disease Control has issued its first report on adverse reactions to Gardasil, reported CBC News July 8. Between June 2006 and April 2008, nearly 8,000 patients who were given the vaccine reported side effects ranging from pain at the injection site to more serious reactions including temporary paralysis. In almost the same period of time, 212 people in Canada reported side effects; most were minor.

“If you see reports based on voluntary systems, you have to remember that they’re really incomplete, that they may reflect the real safety of a drug or a vaccine, or they may be missing really important information,” said Dr. Joel Lexchin, professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health. “The problem is we don’t know.”

New Osgoode grad competes to become Miss India-Canada

Faranaz Siganporia, 25, one of 16 finalists competing to become Miss India-Canada, has just completed her law degree at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School with an eye to becoming a criminal defence lawyer, wrote The Toronto Sun July 9.

“My mom randomly suggested, ‘Why don’t you try it as it will be a good exposure?’ I took her seriously. I went ahead and applied,” recalled Siganporia (LLB ’08). “Here I am among the finalists: All set to sing – part of the talent competition.”

York student’s idea started OCAP nutrition campaign

York alumnus Jonah Schein (BA ’02, MSW ’06), was a York graduate student working on placement at the Queen West Community Health Centre in 2005, when he discovered a little-known provision of Ontario’s welfare regulations that allowed individuals with health-related nutritional needs to apply for a special dietary allowance of up to $250 a month, wrote the Toronto Star July 9. All they needed was a note from a doctor, nurse, nutritionist or midwife attesting that there was a genuine medical need.

It occurred to Schein that this was a way to raise welfare incomes, if willing medical practitioners could be found. He took his idea to the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). It approached sympathetic health-care providers and asked them to participate in special diet clinics, where welfare recipients could get help registering for the nutritional supplement. Several dozen agreed. In Toronto, applications for the benefit increased fivefold, prompting Ontario cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello to declare thousands of applicants ineligible.

Seven-sport star heads for York

Seven-sport athlete Kishanth Kirupanantharajah of Scarborough’s Pope John Paul II is off to York University after having won every major award offered at his high school, wrote the Toronto Star July 9 in its annual feature on the GTA’s top high school athletes.

On air

  • Pat Armstrong , sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and an expert on nursing, spoke about standards of care in Ontario’s nursing homes on CBC Newsworld, July 8.