I knew it was more than a tragic coincidence when two of my friends, middle-aged men without the usual risk factors of tobacco and alcohol use, developed late stage (IV) tongue cancer, reportedly the identical condition with which actor Michael Douglas was diagnosed last year. Cancers of the mouth and throat are growing so quickly that experts in the medical and scientific community are calling this an “epidemic,” for which middle aged men appear most at risk.
New guidelines that recommend cholesterol testing for all children between the ages of 9 and 11 and again as young adults 17-21 years of age are likely to surprise most parents and stimulate vigorous debate among physicians.
Yes, pumpkin carving is fun. But it can turn Halloween into a nightmare, too. Just ask Brad Gruner, starting quarterback for the University of New Mexico’s football team. Last year, his season ended when he cut a tendon in his throwing hand while carving a pumpkin. And for Anita Lo, owner of the West Village Restaurant Annisa, a similar accident in her teens reportedly dashed her hopes of becoming a pianist. Such injuries come as no surprise to emergency room physicians and hand surgeons who see them in droves this time of year.
For the first time ever, thanks to the health reform law, we will soon have a standard definition of the “essential benefits” that insurance plans must cover. But how, exactly, should those benefits be chosen and defined? An expert panel of the Institute of Medicine just tackled that question at the behest of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The number of Latinos with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has increased by nearly 30 percent since 1992, according to a study in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology. The main reasons? A false sense of security against the cancer, which leads to excessive sun exposure and inadequate use of safe-sun practices.
On a recent sunny day—the first after a long stretch of rain—Timothy Strobel decided to mow his lawn. Within minutes he was stuck in the mud. Pulling hard while leaning back to gain better leverage, he struck his head so hard on a window air conditioner that he knocked himself out. When he woke up he was unable to move his arms or legs. He’s just one of many who have suffered a mowing-related injury. In 2010, more than 200,000 Americans were treated for a lawn-mower injury, a rising tally, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and three other medical societies.
For several decades now, Harvard researchers have tracked the effect of various “lifestyle factors”—that’s diet and physical activity to you and me—on the health and well-being of more than 120,000 volunteer doctors and nurses from around the U.S. Their latest report is just out in the New England Journal of Medicine and it tells us in no uncertain terms to lay off French fries and potato chips if we don’t want to get fat. But it’s apparently ok to eat cheese and drink diet soda.
The Boston vs. New York rivalry isn’t just the Red Sox vs. the Yankees. It’s which city, each known for its prestigious hospitals, has better medical care. Well, when it comes to preventing hospital-acquired infections at least, Boston wins, according to our updated hospital Ratings.
When you’re really sick you’re best off in a large teaching hospital in a big city, right? Not necessarily, at least when it comes to patient safety, according to our new hospital Ratings. What they found: While many well-established teaching hospitals do well at preventing potentially deadly hospital-acquired infections, others don’t.
The medical community was shaken last week by news that raising HDL (good) cholesterol with drugs did nothing to protect against heart attacks, strokes, and death. Since high HDL levels have been linked to better heart health, it seemed a given that raising HDL would help prevent heart attacks. But the new study found that t’aint necessarily so.
Many healthy patients undergoing CT angiography—a high-tech and widely advertised test increasingly being used to screen for heart disease—are being lured into a prevention trap. That’s one of the conclusions I draw from a major study and editorial being published online today by the Archives of Internal Medicine.
No, Amoxilina is not the antibiotic amoxicillin. It’s a dietary supplement marketed mainly to Hispanics. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration said that four children in Texas were hospitalized after parents mistakenly gave the supplement to their children. While the product has now been recalled, the experience highlights the lax regulation that plagues the supplement industry in this country—and why you need to be vigilant when buying dietary supplements.
Heart-failure patients who practice tai chi report better mood and overall sense of well being, according to a study published in the April 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. That’s one reason I often recommend it to my patients.
Today the federal government, with much fanfare, unveiled a new plan to make health care safer that could save 60,000 lives and as much as $35 billion over the next three years. One important issue conspicuously missing from the rollout: any mention of letting patients know how things are going.
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