Category Archives: Medicine

Be a Smart Shopper When Looking for Health Care

According to a survey, nearly 90 percent of Americans have health insurance, a huge jump from previous years. With Obamacare, it makes it virtually impossible not to have health care in the United States–requiring that all have access to health insurance. In 2015, nearly 11.7 million people signed up for health insurance under Obamacare, according to NBC News. In some cases, people may be receiving free coverage through Medicaid or subsidized insurance, but then there are those select few that are shoveling out more than $10k a year in health care expenses. While some people may have some coverage through employer-sponsored health insurance, their portion of the bill might still be a bit of a shock.

The FingerReader, a Life Changing Tech Innovation

The next innovation in technology is not a fancy smartphone, robotic mouse, or app that makes you coffee, it’s something a little more influential. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a device that can helped visually impaired people read.

Big Data Could Save Your Life

Healthcare companies have turned to Big Data and analytics in order to improve the quality of their services and lower overall operating costs. More efficient use of patient information could lead to lower operating costs, and the money saved could be redirected towards new research and treatments. Big Data is useful in many applications, but this is one in particular that could use a huge overhaul with the help of data and analytics.

The Road to Surgery

General surgery is defined by the American Board of Surgery as “a discipline that requires knowledge of and familiarity with a broad spectrum of diseases that may require surgical treatment.” Because it is of an all-encompassing nature, general surgery requires that surgeons have a vast knowledge of the body’s systems, ailments, and the surgical techniques that will correct them. We’ve researched general surgery residency at some of the most prestigious schools of medicine in the country. Here’s a look at what it takes to become a general surgeon in the United States today.

Coping with Back Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy and back pain can be a strenuous combination for most women. Fortunately, pelvic girdle pain or PGP, which occurs during pregnancy, is manageable and there are ways to alleviate the discomfort and prevent long-term problems.

Pregnant women who have gained a lot of weight and are not having their first pregnancy are more likely to experience back pain. The pregnancy hormone “relaxin” also contributes to a woman’s back pain. The hormone causes the pelvis to expand as the baby grows. However, the ligaments in the spine also widen and force back muscles to make more effort. Extraneous factors, such as stressful work, previous pelvic injury, or standing for long periods of time, can also lead to back pain.

When Antibiotics Do More Harm Than Good

Doctors have a professional responsibility to know about any potentially adverse side effects of the prescription drugs they prescribe. In some instances, drugs known to have negative side effects must be endured. Sometimes, however, there may be alternative drugs or treatment options that have fewer negative side effects.

The Cycle of Salmeterol

Salmeterol emerged as a promising new therapy for Asthma in the late 1980s. This was a novel long acting beta agonist (LABA), a bronchodilator that could control asthma symptoms for at least 8 hours. Because of its long lasting effects, it was used for treatment of nocturnal asthma, and put to rest the last uses of Theophylline, an oral asthma agent with potential life threatening toxicities such as cardiac irregularities and seizures.

Clinical trials for Serevent (Glaxo’s salmeterol product) started up in 1990. They looked at the efficacy of Serevent in a 12 hour period by monitoring pulmonary function tests and symptom scores in the office setting. These 12-hour days were done on Saturdays, and they camped out with study participants, who were fed pizza and treated to great movie classics such as “Conan the Barbarian” (starring the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger). Even though this was a blinded placebo-controlled trial, the effects of the active drug Serevent became obvious during the trial period. Lung function and symptom improvements lasted even throughout the 12-hour study period. This was destined to be a truly revolutionary therapy for asthma. 

Women’s Health and Bone Health Studies

In the past two weeks, the federally funded Women’s Health Initiative (a kind of 21st century Framingham Study) has published two studies, which have tipped the medical apple cart.

One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, called into question the benefit of a low fat diet. Over an 8-year period, post menopausal women aged 50 to 79 were either placed on a supervised low fat diet or maintained on a regular diet. The study found that there were no differences in cancer rates or cardiovascular disease rates between the two groups. In addition, the study found that women who were on a high carb diet did not have increased blood glucose or triglyceride levels (with apologies to Dr. Atkins). What do I think of these findings?

An Overview of Vaccines

A few days ago, a friend kindly broke my long writer’s block (so many subjects, so little time), with a question about vaccines. She had heard a radio ad for a study in which a new AIDS vaccine candidate would be tested. The ad stated that the vaccine was perfectly safe. Is that possible, she inquired? While I can’t speak to that particular vaccine in question, I thought I’d provide a dose of my knowledge on the kinds of vaccines and how they might (or might not) be safe, effective, useful, and so on.

Vaccines are a rapidly expanding field of the medical world, and there are many family practice jobs like the ones from Leap Doctor and research jobs available specifically in vaccine study. Most of us have a working definition of vaccine: that shot they give you so you don’t get sick. This is a good generalization for the everyday person. Of course, vaccines can be given orally (polio), nasally (mostly experimental), by gene gun (also experimental), as well as via injection. And there’s different types of injection from the “stab-and-jab” of the subcutaneous (aka: anywhere under the skin) injection, to the more carefully poked intravenous (aka: into the blood) injection. Beyond that, vaccines are indeed supposed to prevent illness, in essence, by giving you a little bit of what could ail you in an attempt to get your body on the permanent alert.

Veterinary Medicine: Animals Need Supplements Too!

Typically, when one thinks of what types of animals veterinarians treat, one’s mind goes to dogs and cats, also known as canine and feline medical specializations. Many natural health supplements are can be used in canine patients. However, there exists an extended list of other types of animals veterinarians can specialize in treating. Some are very large, some much smaller and some are very exotic.

One type of veterinary discipline, which focuses on large animals, is bovinae medicine. This biological subfamily consists of a group of 10 large animals, which include bison, cattle, water buffalo, American buffalo, antelopes and yak. Although these animals can be very different in size and characteristics, they all fall under this category despite the obscurity of the relationships between each animal. Although they are similar to horses in some ways, it is not suggested that they be given horse supplements. They are generally classified by characteristics including cloven hoofs and horns, which are often noted in males but sometimes less noticeably in females as well.