Saturday, December 6, 2014

Glitter poop? Really?

Please don't take glitter pills to help you poop rainbows

So I got this questions that I thought was invented, but really, there are people out there that think this way. So, having been asked, my answer was in this online article:

This one just shows how far some people will go. Other than the fact that the product website itself declares the product should not be eaten, one must remember that “non-toxic” and “edible” are not synonymous. The plastic wrap that encloses your lunchtime sandwich is non-toxic, but your unwrap the food before eating it. While there is food grade glitter, nominally made from starch and food-certified colors, this product, and other like it, likely has tiny plastic shards coated with glitter paint. Not toxic, per se, but certainly not edible. Look, you can kiss under the mistletoe, but don’t take a bite of it. Enjoy glitter’s look, don’t look for it’s taste!

Friday, November 21, 2014

New Cholesterol Drug Questions Raised

A new study of cholesterol treatment, called IMPROVE_IT, has raised a question about the choice of medications to use, and whether or not physicians should embrace the new data.  I was asked to comment on this on the MedPageToday website:

Friday Feedback: Will IMPROVE-IT Trial Affect Primary Care?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bad food choices we all make

Our diets are littered with foods that taste good, but are hardly good for us.  Part of that is due to our craving for certain foods, and part of the problem is manufacturers who have learned to tailor foods to our liking, and that encourage us to buy more and more.  Here are a few examples that I have come across, and my thoughts about these products:

DIET SWEETENERS: Just about anyone who has “gone on a diet” has used one of the several products out there to provide sweetness.  The problem is that many put the sweetener in their beverage, while eating a high calorie meal.  The 16 calories that the teaspoon of sugar may have supplied is more than offset by the hundreds or thousands of calories in the food eaten alongside.  Further, that the artificial sweeteners taste “sweeter” than sugar promotes continued sweet seeking behavior, which only leads to further calorie gain.  Better to avoid the artificial sweeteners altogether, use a modest amount of sugar, and eat sensibly.  And, by the way, there is no advantage to “raw” or “turbido” sugar, it is just marketing.

FRUIT FLAVORED YOGURT:   These taste so yummy not because of the fruit, but the added calories with sweetener that accompany the processed fruit.  Studies have suggested that adding your own fresh fruit to fat free yogurt is healthier, lower in calories, and does not promote overeating.

SALADS:   Whether a Caesar salad at a restaurant, or a fast food green salad with chicken or such, just because it is a salad does not mean it is low in calories or fat.  Some of these dishes pack more than 1000 calories, about half a day’s requirement, in one salad.  Added cheese, croutons, meats, and oils can quickly escalate the calorie count into the unhealthy range.  Better to have a garden salad, if it does not grow from the ground you can’t have it on the salad, with some light dressing.  That’s a healthy alternative!

GRANOLA and TRAIL MIX:   With a wonderful healthy facade, these two seemingly natural snacks share one thing, calories.  Most granola is laden with fat and sugar, even if it is honey.  And trail mix may have all kinds of calorie bombs in the mix.  There are many simple home recipes for granola that are low in sugar and calories and high in nutritional value, ditto for trail mixes.  Make it yourself, save some money, and end up with a better product.

SUSHI:   Here’s a food that is popular among the beautiful people, and again, perceived as a healthy alternative to older hors d’oeuvres.  But with the added sauces with mayonnaise or cream cheese, and the wrapping of white rice, or maybe tempura fried, these can reach 500 calories a piece.  Better to forgo the white rice for sashimi, or brown rice, and avoid the sauces and frier.

MUFFINS:   How about a nice bran muffin for breakfast, rather than the eggs and meats so often consumed?  Okay, but you still will get about the same number of calories.  Just because it is made with bran, or granola, or blueberries, does not mean that it is healthy.  An English muffin with jam, or toast and a little Nutella may be a better alternative.  Even that big bagel and cream cheese is problematic, and needs to be downsized from its usual opulence.  

DRIED FRUIT:   These are just little calorie bombs.  When you dry fruit, you remove the water, not the sugar.  So one cup of raisins, dried grapes, contains almost 500 calories, compared to a cup of grapes, at about 60.  You figure this one out on your own!

WHOLE MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS:    The only difference between whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, and skim or fat-free milk is the fat content and its resultant fat calories.  That’s it.  Same protein, same Vitamin D, same calcium – just the fat.  And foods made with low or fat-free milk carry that attribute.  So low fat cheese, fat free yogurt, fat free pudding, and such are all good alternatives to the whole fat variety.  Yes, sometimes there is a taste difference, but life is like that.

WRAPS:    What could be better than a wrap, and who needs all that bread?  Turns out that the amount of “stuff” in the tortilla or other dough used for the wrap is often more than two full slices of bread.  And with extra area to spread the mayonnaise, butter, and fillings, that fancy wrap can easily surpass a plain old sandwich for calorie count.  That is not something to be proud of.  Sometimes a sandwich is really what you need, make it with thin bread to keep it under control.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My continued thanks to you all

Three months ago, I posted a note to my readers that the blog had hit 4000 views, only five months after hitting 3000, with increasing views all along.  Well, now 5000 views have passed.  I hope the articles I have been posting are of interest to you, and perhaps you have shared some of them with others.  There are more in the queue, waiting to be published, and you never know when another will be posted.  So thanks to you all, and please keep reading along.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

You want me to do what????

healthAmidst and among all of the cures and potions that we doctors recommend are lots of products steeped in folklore.  Some of them may work, others not so much.  So here is an article I helped with that looks at a few such remedies.  

These home remedies sound pretty disgusting, but they work

Now, if anyone is interested, I may be convinced to expand on this a bit with even more information about some of these, and other, "cures."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Joan Rivers' final lesson for us all

The events of Joan Rivers' final illness and passing seemed sudden, and left many reeling at the news. But from her passing, we can all learn and take action to help our loved ones, and ourselves, should tragedy befall us or a member of our families. Here is an article from Newsmax which looks at the plans we all need to understand, take to heart, and follow through.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Last thoughts on Rivers' passing

No doubt about it, the sudden illness and death of comedienne Joan Rivers grabbed our attention.  She seemed larger than life, and to have her still vibrant career cut short so suddenly made many of stop and take notice.  In a third article in the series, Charlotte Libov asked me about my thoughts of those final days of the star, the question of suffering, and the aftermath.

Joan Rivers Didn't Suffer: Doctor

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hope for Rivers...

As this is posted, entertainer Joan Rivers remains in a medically induced coma, with her condition generally unknown.  My friend Charlotte Libov asked me my thoughts about her situation, and her prognosis in this update appearing on the Newsmax site:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Can we talk about even minor surgery?

The tragic events involving entertainer Joan Rivers with recent outpatient throat surgery highlight the need for caution whenever anesthesia is needed.  Here is an article from Newsmax with some of my thoughts on the need for caution when you are planning to undergo such a procedure.

Joan Rivers: Sedation Gone Wrong?

Friday, August 29, 2014

When you bruise more than your ego

Purple may not be the best color for everyone.  Here's a little article from Women's Health Magazine which include some comments of mine on the how and why of bruising.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dr Oz quoted with Dr Leavey ... really!

Yeah, I didn't believe it either, but right there, in a column with Dr Oz on osteoporosis, quotes from my interview with WBAL-TV.  Hey Dr Oz, give me a call, we'll chat!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Real danger in e-cigarettes

Recent regulations have been discussed to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes, those electronic vaporizers that deliver nicotine without the flame, to prevent sale to minors, and to restrict advertising.  From a medical standpoint, this is a very good thing, as the devices can serve as an entry port for young people to begin smoking.  Here is a feature on MedPageToday, including my comments on this proposal:

Monday, August 25, 2014

A few words about your bones ...

I was fortunate to appear on WBAL-TV, our local NBC affiliate, tonight with a two minute health segment about osteoporosis.  There are a few take home points from this video, which may help prevent this disease which many assume to be inevitable.  Watch and enjoy.  If you have any questions, feel free to post!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Medication Information you can use!

Pills1.jpgWe all see those paper sheets with prescriptions or the teeny tiny print on medicine bottles that tell us all kinds of important information that don't, or can't read.  What if there were a way to present that information in a form that would be both easier to read, and of more overall use?  That was the question behind this Fox News piece, with my input of course, on:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is salt still a factor?

Several recently published studies have suggested that salt may not be as central to blood pressure management as we have all thought, but these studies also all admit that there are potential flaws in their methods, and that much more research is needed.  Whether or not a change in therapy is needed remains the question, and I was asked to comment on that for the MedPageToday website:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

You touched what?

I received a question recently alluding to the fact that many things around the house and office are more encrusted with germs than the toilet seat.  Here's a little elaboration on that subject:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Advice for troubles in the sack

Here's an interesting little article on the website that asked me to contribute some ideas about problems that both men and women may be having in bed.  If there is interest, I could be convinced to post all of my suggestions, along with those that made it into this article.  Just leave some comments and tell your friends!

5 tips for better sleep tonight

Friday, July 25, 2014

A bloody controversy!

People with a variety of medical conditions require anti-coagulation, medications that interfere with normal blood clotting.  While the most common oral medication used has long been warfarin, commonly known by the brand name Coumadin, a new group of drugs has recently been introduced, which promise freedom from the dietary restrictions and periodic blood tests that warfarin requires.  Now, an article in the British Medical Journal discusses questions about the process that brought the first of these drugs, Pradaxa, to market.  The MedPageToday website asked for my thoughts on this situation:

Friday Feedback: Pradaxa Monitoring?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A July message of thanks

Five months ago, I posted a note to my readers that after some six months, a thousand views had registered on this blog, bringing it to 3000 views.  Now, after an interval a month shorter, we have hit the 4000 mark.  To all of you who have visited this blog and read an article or two, thank you.  I hope you have enjoyed what I have posted, and maybe shared something with someone else.  Watch as we continue to grow into the future.  When will we hit 5000?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Death toll for cholesterol drug?

This past week, the medical work was shaken by the news that a drug used for cholesterol therapy for many years does not appear to be beneficial, and may, in fact, have worrisome side effects.  The Medpagetoday website asked me to comment on this, and included my comments as part of their overview article:

HPS2-THRIVE: Game (Mostly) Over for Niacin

In fact, I had given more of my personal perspective on this than printed on that website.  The Mercy Hospital website ran more of my thoughts on this topic as a news article:

Primary Care Doctor Marc Leavey Discusses Efficacy of Niacin on Cholesterol Levels

And then, a few days later, the MedPageToday website printed another story called:

where they included my quote again!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Something for women that men can appreciate, too

Although the article for which I was interviewed ran on the "" website, men can use the advice as well.  The pelvic floor dysfunction that so often afflicts women has a counterpart in male pelvic issues also, and the Kegel exercises that help her can help him as well.  So read this article with an open mind!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Much about MRSA

Once again, Sports Destination Management approached me to write an article, this one about the real story about dealing with Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in the real world where people work and play.  The result was an article in the July/August 2014 issue entitled:

Monday, June 30, 2014

Are routine pelvic exams indicated?

The American College of Physicians has published new guidelines which suggest that the routine pelvic examination in an average risk, asymptomatic woman serves no useful purpose.  This is a controversial position, and one with which many physicians disagree.  I was asked my opinion by the MedPageToday website, and responded in a video interview included on its piece on the subject, on Sanjay Gupta, MD's blog:

ACP: No Need for Routine Pelvic Exams

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Another poop question .. really?

I really do think that some, well all, of the questions that I receive from Maxim Magazine were thought up while some alcohol was being consumed.  So here is the latest, which appeared in the May, 2014, issue of the magazine

As I explained to the interviewer, there are several disease states, including infections, trauma, tumors or just congenital malformations, which create connections between the bladder and bowel, bowel and vagina, or some other combination.  You can use your imagination.  In these cases, patients can have urine coming from the vagina or rectum, or stool from the vagina, or even to a fistula to the pelvic or perineal skin.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Myth or a Mile Away?

Portrait of smiling woman relaxing on sofaMedical Myths continue to fascinate folks, and there are so many that we all know are true, only they are not.  Here are a few I debunk for the website in a nice little article.


If there is any demand, I can run a little more information on each of the points in this article.  Editing does take its toll, you know!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Leavey's Skinny on Sleeping Pills

I was interviewed for the Everyday Health website on the topic of sleeping pills.  These little darlings are used widely, but should they be?  Those who know me know that I am not a fan of sleeping pills, and a little of that attitude may come through in this article:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Giving "Hydrophobia" a new meaning?

The questions I get from Maxim Magazine are truly some of the strangest I have ever received.  So here is one I received a few months back, which is in the March, 2014, issue of the magazine.

Now, just to be complete, here is a little bit more on the question, and a fuller response:

Can humans be allergic to water? If so, how can they survive?

Sounds crazy, but such a condition does exist.  Called “Aquagenic Urticaria,” this is a poorly understood condition in which contact with water causes a hive like rash.  While cold water can cause a rash due to cold-induced urticaria, with the temperature being responsible, the water itself seems to be the agent in this rare condition.  Some thoughts are that trace impurities in the water, such as chlorine or fluoride, trigger the rash.  Some people, though, have been reported to react to their own sweat.  So it’s rare, and only water on the skin causes the problem, not drinking water, but it is a very real, and very troubling, condition.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I appreciate you all

Six months ago, this blog passed the 2000 view mark; as of today we have passed 3000 views.  I appreciate the traffic this site has generated, and will keep posting articles and appearances, and might add some unique to the blog content, as I have done in the past.  I just wanted to thank all of my visitors for stopping by to read what I post.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Shingles - May be more than a pain in the ...

Some fascinating research out of the UK has found a possible link between developing shingles, known medically as herpes zoster, and heart attacks or strokes.  Variables include the age of the patient developing shingles, the location of the outbreak, and many other factors, but this is one observation that clearly deserves more study.  The website symptomfind picked up on this, and interviewed me for an article called:

The Connection Between Shingles, Stroke And Heart Attack

It's neither long nor full of jargon, so don't be afraid to have a look at it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Flu peaks ... film at 11

January 20, 2014, was not inauguration day, but it was still significant, at least for me.  That day saw me on television twice.  The first one was on the Mercy Women's Doctor feature, also on this blog.  But later on that day I was called by WBAL TV's Kai Reed for a quick piece on the peaking of the influenza outbreak, now widespread in Maryland.  So, here is a piece from the 11 o'clock news:

Doctors: Flu activity peaking in Maryland

What you can do this time of year

What you can do for what?  To try to stay well, of course.  No doubt about it, this is a popular topic this winter, having been asked to appear on television several times to address the topic.  Here is my segment on the Mercy Medical Center sponsored Women's Doctor segment on WBAL TV on January 20, 2014.

Tips can help you avoid colds, flu

Monday, January 20, 2014

¿Son seguros los enemas para bajar de peso?

Did you get that?  The question is, are enemas safe for weight loss.  Specifically coffee enemas.  That's right, coffee enemas.  There are lots of people who believe in this, along with other so called "natural" treatments or procedures; although I think drinking it is far more natural.  Anyway, I was asked to comment on this for the Mi Dieta website, and you can see the result at:

Of course, it would help if you understood Spanish!  So, if you don't, here is the text from which the material on this website was taken:

Within the spectrum of medicine, diseases or conditions that are ill-defined, chronic, or difficult to treat spawn a plethora of treatments or pseudo-treatments. Obesity is certainly one such condition.

In the search for a quick cure, seemingly natural or innocuous protocols often surface as anecdotal recommendations. Fasting, purging, and bowel cleansings are some of the most popular. Enemas have a long and venerable history, dating back to Victorian high colonics, employed by people who rarely bathed as we do, and whose knowledge of medicine and physiology was primitive at best.

In the 1940s, the idea of a coffee enema as part of a natural regimen to cure cancer arose. That there was neither proof nor even controlled studies was immaterial, at the time, little else worked either. Such a natural course was one of many bad choices.

Simple treatments for complex problems have a way of being repurposed. Such is the case with coffee enemas and weight loss. The only way to lose weight is to to burn more calories than consumed. How one does this, through decreasing intake (dieting), increasing output (exercise), changing the system (surgery), changing physiology (drugs), or some combination, the common thread remains the creation of a negative calorie balance. And that works.

But for one who is looking for a method that does not require a change in overall habits, using some of the older, so called natural, methods has an attraction. This is true even if there is no evidence of efficacy.

While there are many peer reviewed journal articles addressing the dangers of thermal injury, bowel perforation, absorption issues, and other problems, there are only anecdotes and testimonials speaking to the use of coffee enemas in weight loss. The hazards and dangers are real and well documented.

Those practitioners who are honest in their use of coffee enemas and other nontraditional techniques advise use of these practices in conjunction with calorie restriction and exercise. Those practices, which create the calorie deficit necessary to lose weight, and not enemas, weight creams, vitamins, supplements, belts, bracelets or amulets, are the only safe and effective path to weight loss.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Talking about the flu again

It's that time of year when folks get a flu shot, refuse a flu shot, or don't want to talk about a flu shot.  But the truth is that influenza really is a serious disease, sickening and killing thousands, and being responsible for lost time from work and school.  So it seems like every year, I have appeared on a local TV station to discuss the disease.  Here is an appearance on
discussing the current influenza situation.  It's only about four minutes with the introduction, but I was able to get in a tip or two.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why are you asking?

There are questions, and then there are questions.  The one's I have fielded from Maxim Magazine often sound as though they were thought up between rounds of drinks at a bar, and this one is no exception.  Take a look, and you be the judge!