Dr. Berinstein, also a Sunnybrook Research Institute scientist, had a long-standing interest in how to harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer. He was approached by Jean LaMantia, his former patient and a registered dietitian, to consult on the book to help patients optimize their diet to deal with cancer treatments with the hopes of staying cancer-free afterwards.
Dr. Berinstein believes there’s evidence that the right nutrition plan may boost immunity – which is a key factor in achieving these objectives.
“It is very rewarding to provide practical, research-based advice that may boost the body’s immune system to support reduced cancer risk,” says Dr. Berinstein. “It is also rewarding to help patients during treatment, to recharge their immunity and energy levels through a diet that is flexible to the individual.”
Jean remembers a drastic loss of appetite and severe nausea after her first chemotherapy treatment. Reassuring advice from the doctor (nutritional tips and simply the encouragement to drink and eat what she could) helped
Dr. Berinstein has recently taken the position of director of Translational Research at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. His research includes working with global teams on therapeutic vaccines for cancer. He also has a long-standing research interest in novel immune-based therapies for non-Hodgkins lymphoma and has initiated multiple trials through the Advanced Therapeutics Program, of which he was the founding director.
The book is available online through most major bookstores and can also be purchased at the Patient and Family Nutrition Resource Centre (TG 261) at the Odette
Cancer Centre. – Natalie Chung-Sayers
THE NEONATAL NURSE
Amanda Squires gets as excited about helping others as she does about travelling, and last November she did both. With the help of Tiny People Matter and Helping Babies Breathe, Amanda visited Zambia for two weeks, where she trained medical staff in resuscitating babies born in clinics or villages with limited supplies and skills.
As a neonatal nurse practitioner at Sunnybrook, Amanda’s specialization is in resuscitating high-risk, premature and extremely low-weight babies. She had already brought those skills to Saudi Arabia and Ukraine, where she’d started a Neonatal Resuscitation Program for local medical staff, but Zambia was a different story.
“Regular neonatal resuscitation programs are good for hospitals that have equipment, but will not help nurses in clinics where the equipment necessary isn’t available,” explains Amanda.
That’s where Helping Babies Breathe steps in. The program was developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, in keeping with their goal of lowering infant mortality worldwide by 2015. Resuscitation is taught using a self-inflating resuscitation bag without oxygen and can be used when high-end equipment isn’t available.
It was at a Helping Babies Breathe training session that Amanda met the founder of Tiny People Matter, the organization which later helped get her to Zambia in a group of North American medical professionals. In Lusaka and Ndola, they trained staff in several hospitals, orphanages, clinics and a midwifery school. Local staff were also taught how to train others and given the medical supplies to do so.
Amanda was inspired by the optimism of the Zambian people and in awe of the camaraderie among her colleagues as they worked together. She speaks just as highly about Sunnybrook’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she values the team spirit and the fact everyone is passionate.
Her experience abroad is invaluable in helping Canadian families and refugees coming from Zambia. “I know how to approach them. I understand better the things that really affect them, and that helps me do my work here. I love what I do, I love my job, but I also want to go to the frontiers.”
Amanda will return this year to Zambia, visit India next year, and hopes to one day organize her own trip with her fellow colleagues to Namibia. – Dana Iliescu
IT REALLY ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE