While this advice is interesting, gorging on Halloween candy is not exactly good for your weight or cardiovascular health. In my opinion, the best solution is not to gorge on Halloween candy or eat a bunch of candy throughout the day but to eat a little bit of Halloween candy here and there and keep the teeth clean regardless of what is eaten.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Medical compounds with questionable effectiveness were known as nostrums or patent medications, even though most were never actually patented. Some patent medications actually worked but had toxic/negative side effects, such as slow death from mercury poisoning when mercury was used treat syphilis or addiction from treating colicky infants with opium. After 100 people died from a drug tainted with an untested solvent in 1937 (known as the Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedy), Franklin Roosevelt signed the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which increased regulation over medication, required pre-market testing of all new drugs, and banned false therapeutic claims in drug labeling.
These days, suspicious claims of supposed miracle medical cures still exist. The people most vulnerable to trying these treatments are those who are faced with an incurable disease that modern conventional medicine cannot effectively treat or those who have not responded to curable diseases via conventional medicine.
These supposed treatments can now be easily discovered with a quick internet search, but how are consumers supposed to evaluate their effectiveness and how should healthcare providers respond to patient questions about these treatments? Below I will offer some tips on how to do this by using a modern example: the claim that Alzheimer’s disease can be effectively treated or reversed by using coconut oil. This is based on the theory that coconut oil will provide the brain with an alternative source of energy (ketones) due to an impaired ability to use its usual energy source (glucose).
STEP 2: EVALUATE THE QUALITY OF PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH: Although peer reviewed research is generally higher quality than non-peer reviewed research, there are many peer reviewed articles than contain significant design flaws, limiting the conclusions that can be drawn. The best research evidence comes from studies in which patients were randomly assigned to treatment groups, in which neither the treater or patient are aware of the specific treatment (this is known as being double-blind), and in which one of the treatments was a placebo (a substance containing no actual medication). The less the study contains these features, the less confidence you should have in the results.
Suggested reading: A Brief History of Bad Medicine
Friday, October 28, 2011
The pine nuts story comes on the heels on another story earlier this month of 3,000 bagged salads and spinach blends from Taylor Farms Retail that were recalled due to possible salmonella contamination.
Wegmans Food Markets Inc. said Thursday it has recalled 5,000 pounds of pine nuts imported from Turkey by Sunrise Commodities of Englewood Cliffs, N.J. They were sold between July 1 and Oct. 18 at its stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based chain said the recall applies only to Turkish pine nuts purchased in bulk. Wegmans placed automated calls to just over 13,000 customers who bought the nuts using the company's Shoppers Club discount card, spokeswoman Jo Natale said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 26 people were
sickened in New York, eight in Pennsylvania, four in Virginia, two in New
Jersey and one person each in Arizona
The Food and Drug Administration said it is investigating.
The CDC said people began getting sick Aug. 20 and two patients were hospitalized in undisclosed locations. No deaths have been linked to the outbreak.
Federal officials said Wegmans has cooperated in all aspects of the recall and investigation.
Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. In some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.
Some Turkish pine nuts were eaten as an ingredient in prepared foods, such as Caprese salad or asparagus with pine nuts, according to the CDC. The median age of those who were sickened is 43 years.
Wegmans, a 96-year-old, family owned business credited with helping pioneer "one-stop shopping," has 79 supermarket stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.
The pine nuts were not sold at Wegmans' new store in Northborough, Mass., and possibly other stores with small bulk-food departments, Natale said. "On average, the quantity purchased by individual customers would have been somewhere between an eighth of a pound and a quarter of a pound," she said. "Not everybody who bought the nuts used a Shoppers Club card, but the vast majority are represented by those 13,000-plus people we called."
Wegmans has carried Turkish pine nuts from the same supplier since May 2010. "We are very sorry for the worry and inconvenience this (recall) may cause our customers," it said in a statement.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
When I write reports for patients and other healthcare providers, I always try to avoid use of casual terminology and stick to medical terminology. It looks more professional that way because the terms have a scientific basis. While the word “fat” is a colloquial term, the words “obese” and “obesity” are not. They have specific scientific meanings in the medical community. Don’t believe me? Grab a medical dictionary. I just looked up the terms “fat” and “obese/obesity” in the two most popular medical dictionaries: Mosby’s and Stedman’s. Mosby’s does not even have an entry for the word “fat’ as a descriptive term and Stedman’s only briefly noted that it is a common (i.e., colloquial) term for obese. However, both dictionaries contain extensively detailed scientific entries on obesity. Neither dictionary contains the term “unhealthy weight” which is vague since it can also apply to people who are underweight.
The terminology is becoming so diluted that I have even heard that some overweight people are being referred to as “persons of size.” That term means absolutely nothing since everyone is technically a person of size.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
MedFriendly has just entered the most comprehensive single page entry on mesothelioma on the internet, following up on the same type of entry for asbestos that was recently posted about a month ago. Please take the time to check out these articles and/or send them to a family member or friend. Decreasing exposure to asbestos decreases the risk of mesothelioma. You do not want your lung to wind up looking like the one in the picture above.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
10. Not accepting lists of signs, symptoms, or timelines from patients:
7. Not following the Golden Rule:
This is an easy one and has been addressed extensively by others, but don’t do things such as repeatedly looking at the clock, repeatedly interrupting patients, focusing more on you than the patient, talking rudely, making poor eye contact, etc. Follow the Golden Rule and you will easily establish rapport the majority of the time.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Sometimes, you will walk into a public bathroom and actually find one that looks relatively clean, although doing so often feels like you won the lottery after looking in a about eight consecutive stalls with urine covered toilets or bowls filled with brown water and/or feces. I don’t know if women have the same issues in their public bathrooms, but men’s public bathrooms can be absolute total nightmares to deal with.
That means the toilet seat, the flusher, the sink, the hands dryer, and the door handle on the way out. This is why you really should have a small hand sanitizing gel container with you so that you can clean yourself after you leave the bathroom. After all, what is the sense of washing your hands well and then getting contaminated by the door when leaving?
Thursday, October 20, 2011
There is an old saying that word of mouth is the best form of advertising. This is one of the best ways to find a new doctor, provided you are getting the information from a source you know and trust. While friends and family can be good sources to ask about which doctors they use and like, it is also a very good idea to ask a friend (or friend of a friend) who works in a local hospital or health care setting. Here’s why.
An internet search is another good way to research a new doctor as you may discover news articles that a doctor was interviewed for, which may give you more confidence in the doctor’s expertise. Be careful, however, of doctor review websites because they tend to be skewed towards people who had a negative experience versus a positive experience and thus may not tell the entire story. Be sure to check the website for your state’s licensing board as this can tell you if there are any disciplinary complaints pending against the doctor.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
To be precise, the correct diagnostic terms are post-concussional syndrome (PCS) per the International Classification of Diseases-10th edition (ICD-10, 1992) and post-concussional disorder (PCD) per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (APA, 1994). These criteria are listed at the end of this blog entry in Appendix A.
In fact, as McCrea (2008) summarized in his text, many of these groups report such symptoms at higher frequencies than patients with a history of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). In a fascinating study by Iverson (2006), he showed that about 90% of patients with a depressive disorder (with no recent history of brain injury) met liberal self-report criteria for postconcussional syndrome.
(2) Emotional changes, such as irritability, emotional lability, both easily provoked or exacerbated by emotional excitement or stress, or some degree of depression and/or anxiety.
(3) Subjective complaints of difficulty in concentration and in performing mental tasks, and of memory complaints, without clear objective evidence (e.g. psychological tests) of marked impairment.
(5) Reduced tolerance to alcohol.
(6) Preoccupation with the above symptoms and fear of permanent brain damage, to the extent of hypochondriacal over-valued ideas and adoption of a sick role.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
If this is happening in England, it is most certainly happening in the U.S. And not only on cell phones, but on shopping carts too. The same shopping carts that little children rub their hands all over and try to put their mouths on. Grocery stores contain hygienic wipes to wipe down a cart when you walk into the store. Use them.
Monday, October 17, 2011
The fact is that the diagnostic criteria for ADHD have already been in existence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (Text-Revision), referred to as DSM from this point forwards. This is the book, published by the American Psychiatric Association, which mental health and medical professionals refer to for making diagnostic decisions in this particular subject area.
While a primary care clinician can easily refer a patient for a sleep apnea study and order other tests to rule out a physical cause of ADHD-like symptoms, what primary care clinician is going to have the time to go over all 18 symptoms, interview teachers and other sources of information, evaluate for a learning disorder, and evaluate for psychological causes of the symptoms? None who I know of. For example, evaluating for a learning disability is going to require time intensive psychological testing and primary care clinicians simply do not administer IQ tests and test of academic achievement.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
In yesterday’s blog entry, Dr. Allen ended it with the following question: So what are some take-aways on how to increase well-being and happiness? Here are some suggestions.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
What many people do not realize, however, is that bean sprouts can be just as dangerous as raw meat. Yes, bean sprouts. Why? Because the sprout seeds can easily become contaminated in the fields where they are grown. Bean sprouts need to be grown in a warm and moist environment. Such environments are the ideal setting for bacteria to grow, including salmonella and E. coli. Some of the sprout seeds can also become contaminated by animal manure where they are grown.
To be safe, it is best to avoid bean sprouts at restaurants because you have no way of knowing how well they were cooked, unlike meat, which you can inspect. If you want to eat bean sprouts at home, health officials suggest immersing the sprouts in boiling water and cooking them thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
RECOMMENDED BOOK: The Elephant Man
He was mentally and physically tortured by his disease and was keenly aware of how his appearance affected others. He ultimately died when trying to sleep like a normal person but the weight of the tumors in his head, crushed his trachea and caused him to suffocate. An autopsy revealed a broken neck. Here is a picture of Mr. Merrick when he was alive.
I remember watching The Elephant Man movie as a teenager in my basement one evening and being profoundly affected by sadness that someone would ever have to go through such a terrible experience. It has always made me reflect on my life and deal with life stressors much easier by putting things in perspective. There is not much in life we can go through that would be worse than such an experience.
Below is a video of how he appeared before and after surgery, but it is obviously disturbing so be warned before viewing. The case is remarkable, sad, and inspiring all at the same time. If Mr. Chuncai can get through his days and find some positives (see the video) there is no reason that any of us cannot either, even when we hit rock bottom.