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Showing posts from September, 2011

Plastic Surgeons Behaving Badly

What is it about "Patient Privacy" that some doctors don't understand?  A St. Louis, Mo. plastic surgeon is being sued by 5 patients after she posted "before" and "after" photos of their bare breasts and torsos on her website to show the benefits of their breast implants.  To make it worse, she also posted their full names with the photos and several of the women are prominent in their communities as lawyers, teachers and CPAs.  A google search of their names brings up the breast photos!

The lawsuit, which claims the plaintiff suffered shame, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety, nervousness...etc, is for $25,000.00.  An apology and a check from the doctor are in order.

What is Listeria?

If you have watched any news over the past week you know there is a listeria outbreak from contaminated cantaloupes that has been traced to Jensen Farms in Colorado. The CDC has confirmed 72 illnesses, including 13 deaths linked to the melons and three other deaths may be involved.  By now most of the cantaloupes should be gone as they usually last only a couple of weeks.  The recalled cantaloupes were shipped between July 29 and Sept 10.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.  It causes fever, muscle aching and sometimes diarrhea.  It feels like a bad flu with headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and in severe cases, convulsions.  As with many infections;  babies, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems and older adults are more likely to have severe illness.  There are about 1,600 cases annually reported in the United States.  The largest outbreak occurred in 2002 and the culprit was co…

Land Mines Around the World

We must not turn a blind eye to the shocking facts about land mines and the damage they cause to civilians and our own troops.  The fact that modern warfare involves buried explosives that are completely untargeted  should shock the conscience of the world.  The number of severe wounds that affect our servicemen is on the rise and the Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany is filled with casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan.

There have been 79 cases of multiple amputations this year for our U.S. soldiers...more than any previous year and through July, 134 servicemen and women lost limbs.  The year is only 1/2 over!

Doctors treating the troops said there is often damage to lungs, kidneys and livers from massive blood loss and shock.  Infection is rampant and 90 solders lost genitals from the blasts.  This is despite heavyweight chaps and Kevlar underwear and ground penetrating radar systems and increased armoring of vehicles.

Twenty-five percent of the world's unex…

Chocolate May Benefit the Heart and Reduce Stroke

In case you missed it, I'm happy to report something that should please most everyone.  A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that consumption of chocolate (candies, candy bars, chocolate drinks, cookies and deserts) lowered the rates of stroke, coronary heart disease and blood pressure.  It seems that chocolate is good for you!

The study (which did NOT receive funding from the chocolate industry) included 114,009 people and performed a meta-analysis of the medical literature.  They found that people who ate the most chocolate reduced their risk of heart disease by as much as 37% and their risk of stroke by 29%, compared with those who ate the least chocolate.  Having chocolate regularly, rather than binging, seemed to bring the most benefit.  They did not confirm the difference between dark, milk or white chocolate, nor were they able to say what amount is of most benefit.

Before you run out and eat a chocolate decadence cake or a bag of Hershey's kisses, th…

Cocaine Smuggler Swallowed Drugs

This CT scan reveals reddish capsules that are intertwined through out this man's intestines.  The 72 capsules are filled with almost a kilogram of cocaine.  The man was arrested in Sao Paolo, Brazil, as he was getting ready to board a flight to Brussels.  He was an Irish guy and he was taken to the hospital for removal of the baggies.  We don't know how they were removed but usually they are expelled with laxatives.

If one of the capsules ruptures it can be life threatening to the "human mule".  Last week a Colombian woman, Sorlinda Vega,  died in a New Zealand hospital after a bag of cocaine burst in her body.

Approximately 5 people a day are arrested for drug smuggling in San Paolo International Airport.  The airport has connections to 53 countries.

Doctors Improving Quality

I spent the day today with 60 physicians and nurses at a symposium focused on quality improvement and reducing mortality from sepsis.  Sepsis (overwhelming infection) is the number 1 cause of hospital deaths and the mortality rate can be as high as 60% if the patient goes into shock from infection.  Survival depends upon thousands of independent pieces coming together in an organized way.  A patient doesn't come to the emergency department and say "I have sepsis".  He may arrive by ambulance or be brought in by a relative and simply feel weak, or confused or have a fever.

To make the diagnosis, the doctor or nurse has to be thinking sepsis is a possibility and it is critical to get the right tests and treatments within a very short time frame.  There are complicated steps that must be taken quickly and the entire hospital team (lab, pharmacy, transport, doctors and nurses)  must act in a coordinated way to treat the patient with the right tests, antibiotics, and massive …

Medicine Prices in 1900

This looks like a pretty good deal.  Physicians in attendance, large, well ventilated rooms and food.  Medicine and nursing by caring nuns included.  All for $7-$10.00 a week.  If that is too expensive you can opt for a ward for $4-$6.00/week.

Of course, you will likely be prescribed arsenic and be bled via a slice in your arm vein.  Enemas and purgatives are the treatment of the day.  And the guy next to you on the ward will be coughing with tuberculosis.

Remember 9-11-01

We Remember

Sjogrens Syndrome Slows Venus Williams

I was lucky enough to see Venus Williams play her first professional tennis match when she was a teenager.  It was obvious she was something special and her coach-father said "If you think she's good, wait until you see her little sister." (Serena Williams).

Venus and her sister, Serena have dominated women's tennis over the past decade but she is currently sidelined with a diagnosis of Sjogrens Syndrome. (pronounced Show-grins).  It is a chronic auto-immune disorder where white blood cells (immune function cells) target the body's moisture-producing glands.  Symptoms include dry eyes, dry mouth, extreme fatigue and joint pain.  Sometime it co-exists with other auto-immune diseases like thyroid disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms can wax and wane and getting the right diagnosis can take time.  I can imagine Venus going to her doctor and complaining of fatigue and dry mouth.  Considering her athletic schedule, she was probably told to get some rest and fluid…

NSAIDS May Increase Risk of Miscarriage

A new study of more than 52,000 pregnant women in Canada shows that miscarriage rates were more than twice as high for women who took a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) compared to women who did not.  The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that women who used prescription NSAIDS for just 4 days during early pregnancy had an increased risk for miscarriage.

These medications are commonly prescribed for pain,  cramps, headaches and fever and can be bought over the counter as Advil, Aleeve or Ibuprofen.  We have thought they were safe in early pregnancy but this study shows that may not be the case.   Of the women who filled a prescription for an NSAID in early pregnancy, 7.5% suffered a miscarriage compared to 2.6% of those who did not fill a prescription.  Prescriptions filled were Diclofenac, Naprosyn, Celebrex and Ibuprofen.  The researchers controlled for other miscarriage risks like diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and u…

Foods that Lower Cholesterol

All physicians recommend dietary (lifestyle) changes for patients with high cholesterol (aka: hyperlipidemia).  But this dietary advice which focuses on low fat intake is often confusing for patients and physicians can be pessimistic that it will even work.  Many rush into prescribing statins because we know they will "get the numbers down".  New evidence published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that diets high in plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fiber and almonds was more effective than a low fat diet  in reducing cholesterol after 4 weeks.

The researchers called the cholesterol lowering foods a "dietary portfolio".  They included soy protein, sticky types of fibers like oats, barley and psyllium, vegetables, nuts and plant sterols.  These plant sterols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine.  Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds have plant sterols as does some of the new enriched margarine found in …

Summer Fresh Tomato Pasta

The farmers market in my area is bursting with fresh tomatoes now.  If you are lucky, you have tomato plants that are producing fruit.  Here is a healthy way to use tomatoes that your family will love.

Summer Fresh Tomato Pasta

Serves 4-6
6-8 tomatoes chopped
5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1 chopped clove garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
1lb spaghetti pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowel mix the tomatoes in the olive oil. Add lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper.
Cook the spaghetti al-dente in a large pot of water
Drain pasta and immediately toss with the tomatoes.
Top with cheese and enjoy

EverythingHealth tips:
You can make this recipe even more healthy by adding 1 cup of chopped zucchini
Olive Oil and Canola Oil are the only cooking oils you will need in your pantry.  Both are heart healthyIf you are dieting or want to avoid the 225 calories in 1 cup of spaghetti, substitute spaghetti squash (only 40 calories/…