The Great Canadian Fart Survey

He advises patients to pass flatus whenever necessary. But he makes no mention of whether he’s ever invited a second time to dinner parties. How much flatus collects in the bowel depends on the type of bacteria present, the speed at which gas reaches the rectum and the amount of undigested carbohydrate in the lower bowel. Genetics plays a role. If your Mother produces methane gas there’s a good chance her children will also manufacture it. A lighted match once placed near the trowsers of a friend expelling gas turned royal blue due to methane gas. But please don’t try this experiment. Novartis, the company behind this study, believes it has a flatus buster called Gas-X (simethicone). This is a silicone-based substance included as an antifoaming agent in many other medications for the release of excess gas and digestion. So it’s nothing new. The company claims it works by joining gas bubbles together for easier passage. Not being an expert on farts I can only speculate that this may mean one big explosion rather than a series of little ones!

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Waits are excessive for digestive checkups

The association’s study of 5,500 patient visits to nearly 200 Canadian gastroenterologists shows that 70 per cent of patients referred by family doctors wait more than two months to see a gastroenterologist and have a diagnostic test, while 50 per cent wait more than four months and 20 per cent wait more than 10 months. Continued Below Among these patients, more than one-third have alarm symptoms, which may indicate serious underlying disease such as cancer. Even patients classified as urgent are waiting two to five times longer than best practice targets recommend. Dr. Desmond Leddin, the association president and an associate professor of medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, calls the situation “unacceptable.” “We are able to see patients in a time frame that expert review would suggest is only appropriate 20 per cent of the time. There really is a severe problem in terms of wait times for gastroenterology and consultations.” Based on the results of the study, Leddin has asked Prime Minister Paul Martin to incorporate gastroenterology as a priority into the federal government’s program to reduce waiting times. “Patients are suffering while they’re on wait lists,” Leddin says. “And we quite frankly don’t understand why the first ministers and the federal government have identified five areas as a priority for wait time management but gastroenterology is not on that list.” Those five key areas are: cancer treatment, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, joint replacements and sight restoration. A simple cash infusion to bolster human and technical resources will not remedy the current wait list situation, Leddin says. “Canadian gastroenterologists will need to work hand-in-hand with federal and provincial governments … and move toward the improved use of these resources.

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