Medicine and Pharmaceuticals

Last week I wrote about exercise and the young — now I want to go to the other end of the age spectrum and provide some evidence that not only is physical activity good for older folks, it can even help with rehabilitation.

A major downside to aging for many people is loss of independent mobility. For example, having to be bedridden for an extended period can  make it difficult for a person to regain the ability to walk as independently as they might have done previous to their illness. This disability can negatively influence  a person's quality of life, and increase the probability of depression and social isolation.

The question of how best to help such individuals regain...

This holiday season, as tempting as it may be, don’t give the finger!  Or, a hand or any part of your upper extremity, for that matter.  

An uptick in catastrophes involving these body parts occurs every year as our fingers navigate the treacherous time between Halloween and Christmas.  Who knew pumpkin carving and opening gifts could be such a minefield?  I will still assume the risk, so if a present is en route, obviously, I can’t be ungracious.

Speaking as someone who unwittingly sliced her own finger to bone while blindly searching through luggage, I enabled a tumultuous battle between my own hand and an uncapped razor.  I lost.  Ugh, of note, those suckers can really bleed!  And, avoidance of infection is crucial for a good recovery.

In 2009, there were 3,468,...

People who have a propensity for artery-blocking blood clots are at risk for potentially fatal strokes and heart attacks. These may be folks with a family history of clotting disorders, high blood pressure, recent heart surgery or a history of cardiac atrial fibrillation. Fortunately, there's a treatment for that — the anti-clotting agent warfarin, or coumadin. Coumadin acts by blocking the action of vitamin K, which is needed for production and activity of several clotting factors. But there are plusses and minuses to coumadin. The negative aspect is that coumadin levels have to be checked fairly frequently because if it's too high, the blood may not clot when needed. Another problem is that foods containing vitamin K (such as leafy greens) can counteract the action of coumadin —...

Monday night marked the first debate of Secretary Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump.  Though no fits of any kind - coughing or otherwise - were thrown, the two gave jabs as expected.  Mrs. Clinton stated, “You live in your own reality, Donald.”  Later, Mr. Trump asserted that while he has been campaigning she has been noticeably absent on the trail- “You have been at home.”    

She thwarted any attempted health discussion or resurrection of her recent pneumonia as a topic by responding “I think Donald Trump just criticized me for preparing for this debate… and I will prepare as President.”  His subsequent discourse included, “I have better judgement and much better temperament… I have a winning temperament…She doesn’t…She doesn’t have the stamina.”

And, though...

In January, U.S. Marshals, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, raided Dordoniz Natural Products of South Beloit, Illinois, to seize almost 90,000 bottles of a drug the company called RelaKzpro, valued at around $400,000. What it really was about was kratom, a drug being sold as a supplement, but which slides under the radar because it is a "natural" product derived from the leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa tree.

Kratom is instead, in plain terms, an opioid, like codeine or hydrocodone, plus components of a psychoactive drug. For that reason,...

The U.S. FDA has approved the MiniMed 670G system developed by Medtronic, which sounds a little arcane in its description - a hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system - but is actually intuitive in concept. It's a computer algorithm working with a continuous glucose monitor to learn an individual’s insulin needs and adjust their insulin pump all day, every day, to keep the lows from being too low and the highs from being too high.

That's a big step on the road to a true fully automated, closed loop system - an "artificial pancreas" that can provide the proper continuous background (basal) insulin, for Type 1 diabetics.

It sounds like it's pure technology...

If the photo attached to this article does not make you smile, then I question whether you have a soul.  The act alone contributes to such known positive health benefits.  So, take a little look inside and find your joy - whether it is with animals or an activity.  Your world and the one around you will be enhanced.

We always hear that pediatric and veterinary medicine are similar, but is this true?  I often thought there were commonalities, but after becoming a pet parent and experiencing the other side I am certain.  Let’s journey through the lessons I have learned.

I always wanted an English Bulldog.  They made me laugh.  I crossed the street and was perpetually diverted whenever I encountered one.  But, the refrain was always ‘you are in medical school you won’t have...

Earlier this year, I wrote about GEN-003, the world's first effective genital herpes vaccine (1). Since that time, our readers have expressed considerable interest in the clinical progression of this vaccine. So, as your "one-stop herpes resource supercenter" (probably not something you'd want inscribed on your gravestone), we have been following this vaccine and other developments in the field.

This week, there are some preliminary, but nonetheless very interesting developments; this time with a different vaccine (two, actually). Rational Vaccines (RVx), a biotechnology startup founded in 2015, focuses on vaccines for both genital and oral herpes...

The first debate between businessman Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will take place at Hofstra University Hempstead, N.Y. this evening and it has gripped news media. Some wonder if Trump can switch from dealmaker to debater, while George Stephanopoulos, current Chief Political Correspondent for ABC News and former White House Communications Director for President Bill Clinton, said on ABC yesterday that Hillary Clinton simply can't have a coughing fit.

This is in reference to pundits (and even a few doctors) speculating about her health, a topic which I covered using evidence-based thinking here.

There are ways to ensure that Clinton won't cough - narcotics - but those are prescription medications and would unlikely be used during a debate, for...

By now everyone knows that smoking damages the lungs, causing bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer. Along with that goes heart damage, with smokers at a greater risk of heart failure than non-smokers or ex-smokers. A new report in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging provides insight into one possible mechanism by which smoking interferes with normal heart function.

Dr. Wilson Nadruz Jr. from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston,  and colleagues studied nearly 4600 participants in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study. At the time of the study, these people were free of coronary artery disease, heart failure and heart valve disease. They were categorized with respect to...