No to cats? Not yet!

ACT clinicians should know some of the theories around psychotic illnesses.  For this reason it’s worth reading Andre Picard’s article in today’s Globe and Mail  The family cat is not Typhoid Tabby.

Picard Cats Globe

The possible connection between cats and schizophrenia– it’s not the cat, it’s the toxoplasmosis, a tiny parasite that many cats carry – has been posited for decades.  Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a very respected American psychiatrist, has written on this for years citing research dating back as far as 1953.  Recent re-analyses have ignited new discussion.

Picard is a respected Canadian public health journalist.  Read his article if only to be able to reassure families that they didn’t cause their child to get schizophrenia because they had a cat.

If you have time consider reading or watching Picard’s convocation talk (available on the Globe site) to the graduating med school class at U of Manitoba, delivered May 14th this year.  A short excerpt:

picard talk vid

“One of the greatest privileges in our society is to have the letters MD after your name. Those two letters confer great power. And with that power comes great responsibility, to quote Voltaire – or Spider-Man, depending on your literary predilections.

Shortly, you will be taking the Hippocratic oath. You’ve probably all heard that it says: “First do no harm.” It doesn’t actually – that’s just bad media reporting.

But it does say a lot of important things. I think the line that matters most in the oath is this: “Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient.”

Sadly, too many physicians fail to honour that part of the pledge.

We have built a sickness care system rather than a health system. We have designed that system for the convenience of practitioners, not patients.”

Read the whole thing – it’s worth it.

Shalom Coodin

PS: My friend  – and team leader – Roman Baranowski is going to be doing not 1 but 2 presentations at the Third European Congress on Assertive Outreach – in Oslo, Norway being held June 24-26.  If you’re there say hello and tell him I sent you – he’d love to meet you and to talk ACT.

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