Medical Community Split Over Opioid Treatment

After seeing a record number of deaths from prescription opioid medications in the U.S., physicians and regulators are sharply restricting access to drugs like Oxycontin. Patients who truly need the drugs to manage their pain fear for their future treatments. One side of the pain community wants to cut back on all opioid prescribing, while … Continued

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A Real “Buzz-kill”: Running out of Insecticide

Summer has begun in the southern hemisphere and the Zika outbreaks persist. The arsenal of mosquito insecticides is running thin. There soon may not be enough effective chemicals. Zika was recently found in several people in Brownsville, Texas, prompting CDC travel warnings. Miami is still detecting new cases. The market in the United States for … Continued

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Female Physicians: Shaking Up the Boys’ Club?

A new study by Harvard researchers, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, finds that older patients with female doctors are less likely to die or be readmitted within a month. Earlier studies found that female doctors spend more time with patients, communicate better, and follow clinical guidelines more often than male doctors. The study examined over … Continued

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Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015

Seniors Can Be Organ Donors Too!

My late grandfather was blessed with an extra, small yet functional, kidney. We always said he could have donated one to someone in need, but thought he was too old. When 76-year-old Diana Teller of San Diego died last year of a sudden brain hemorrhage, her age did not prevent her from becoming an organ … Continued

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Can Childbirth be a Laughing Matter?

Laughing gas has long been used for pain relief, most commonly at the dentist office. Women used it to ease labor pains during the early 20th century, but its use declined as other pain killers became available. A small group of midwives is bringing it back to the mainstream. Before the 1950s, nitrous oxide was … Continued

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The Debate over the White Doctor’s Coat

The white lab coat, the semi-official uniform of the physician going back a century, has come under attack by the infection control community. Until the late 19th century, surgeons wore black coats in the operating room. German doctors were the first to trade the black coats in for white ones. The white coat became a … Continued

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Galactic Travel Makes Astronauts into Real “Space Case”

A recent study by UC-Irvine found harmful effects of long term space travel on the human body. Galactic cosmic rays cause cognitive problems, including chronic dementia. Space radiation can damage neural tissue and hurt cognitive function. The brain recovers slowly from exposure. This is a real concern for NASA. Space is filled with high-energy particles … Continued

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After the Storm, Hidden Dangers Remain

For the last four days, I have been glued to the Weather Channel watching the field reporters braving the elements surrounding Hurricane Matthew. This massive storm trekked up the southeastern U.S. coastline after blasting its way through the Caribbean nations of Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. Although most of Florida was spared from the forecasted … Continued

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Is Taking “The Pill” Bringing You Down?

Oral contraception has been widely available for decades. The side effects of nausea and headaches are nothing new to users, but now a new Danish study published in JAMA has found that the pills increase risk of depression. Pills that had a combination of progesterone and estrogen increased the rate of women taking antidepressants by … Continued

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