Medicine and Pharmaceuticals

The prevalence of dementia in the United States significantly declined from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012.  A new study by JAMA Internal Medicine attributes this, in part, to an increase in educational attainment. 

Dementia has multiple causes and types.  It reflects damage to the nerve cells of the brain which can appear in varying locales.  Symptoms of memory loss and cognitive changes manifest differently depending on the individual, medical history and etiology.  

Alzheimer’s is the most common culprit in those 65 and older.  Right behind is vascular damage of the vessels that...

By now, everyone concerned about cholesterol and heart disease knows about statins — the family of drugs that can effectively lower blood cholesterol levels, especially the levels of so-called bad cholesterol, the LDLs. And by lowering cholesterol, and perhaps by also decreasing inflammation, statins have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people with previous heart attacks — which is called secondary prevention. The question has arisen, should people with no previous history of atherosclerotic heart disease (in which cholesterol deposits in the arteries form plaques) also be given one of these drugs for primary prevention? In particular, should our expanding population of elderly people — those 75 years old and up — be treated, or is this just an example of...

Melania Trump and son Barron are to hold off on an immediate move into the White House.  According to The Wall Street Journal, President-elect Trump told reporters they would join him “very soon.  After he’s finished with school.”

And, the media onslaught began with imprecise headline clickbait aplenty.  

“Melania and Barron Trump won’t be moving to the White House” (The New York Post)… “Melania and Barron will move to D.C., eventually, but many Trump family questions remain” (NBC News)…”Melania and Barron Trump might not move to the White House” (Fortune)…  “Melania and Barron Trump will not move to the White House” (Daily Mail)

Regardless of your politics—when speaking of a ten year old child in the context of an...

The famous singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, as per his manager Robert B. Kory’s statement, “died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on November 7th.  The death was sudden, unexpected, and peaceful.” 

Ironically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released their estimates of preventable deaths from the five leading causes.  With preventable cancer, stroke and heart disease deaths down, it is unintentional injuries that surged 23% —mainly due to drug poisoning and falls.  

Entertainment Weekly reported “According to recent interviews with the New Yorker, Cohen battled cancer and came to...

A new study just presented at the meeting of the American Heart Association investigated the possible effect of weight cycling (repeatedly gaining and losing weight) on heart disease and death from heart disease in older women.

Lead investigator Dr. Somwail Rasla from Memorial Hospital in Rhode Island analyzed the weight history reported by nearly 160,000 postmenopausal women; follow up was about 11 years. Participants were categorized as underweight, normal-weight, overweight or obese at the start of the study. Then they were further listed as weight cyclers — those who repeatedly lost and regained weight, weight stable, steady weight gainers, and maintained weight loss.

There was an...

The arbitrary nature of many school requirements always baffles me.  Cancel soft pretzel day out of caloric concern, but permit pie bake sales.  Have your doctor independently complete a formal asthma action plan in addition to the entire health form that already covers it; but, not one for other diseases like diabetes, for instance.  

Replace vending machine soda, but sell macaroni and cheese and pizza in the cafeteria.  Offer alternatives to physical education, but be concerned about health and well-being.  Make an entire school nut-free, but don’t teach basic emergency services, first aid and CPR. 

The world isn’t nut free, so arming our communities with essential tools to save lives seems a no-brainer as a requisite component to the formal education system’s mission...

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is on a recent publishing push with respect to cancer prevention efforts, promotion of current statistics and encouragement of comprehensive plan implementations on all governmental, personal and public fronts.

Pediatrics’ — the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics — November issue included a companion supplement entitled “Opportunities for Cancer Prevention During Early Life.”  The cover disclosed its sponsorship by the CDC, an Agency of the Department of Health and Human Services under the Cooperative Agreement CDC RFA OT13-1302: Building Capacity of the Public Health System to Improve Population...

In thinking intensely over what I can write about the election that is health-related and apolitical, I realized that maybe focusing on intentional, unintentional injury could be informative, distracting and, at the very least, make the case for some common ground.

Whether elated, neutral or forlorn this week, you will step away from this piece with knowledge of what not to do.   Or, when to seek help if you do anyway what might not have been in your best interest.

Let’s examine further what it means to be human.  

In my We’re Killing Ourselves piece, I wrote about unintentional injury and its traumatic effects.  If intrigued to uncover how many deaths by cow occur in the U.S. annually...

Excited to report that a new study in Health Affairs provides us with another metric that we have previously known and repeatedly been shown in the literature (and in medical practice):  Life expectancy and well-being are positively linked.  

If you have ever practiced medicine, then you are used to constant email or text alerts from hospitals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Department of Health, to name a few.  Most say urgent or emergent in the header.  Since patient results and inquiries are nonstop, being tethered to the phone is a modern reality for the practicing physician.  Often, while running between patients, procedures, facilities and electronic medical...

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics investigates a possible association between planned birth before 39 weeks gestational age and early childhood development.  It concludes that an early, scheduled delivery is linked to poor childhood development at school age.  

A population-based record linkage cohort study of those born in South Wales, Australia between 2002-2007 was performed on 153,730 live-born infants of greater than or equal to 32 weeks gestation with assessments of development in their first year of full-time school 2009 or 2012.  The five avenues interpreted: ...