Thursday, December 7, 2017

Buddy up to lose!

While there are many ways to lose weight, having a buddy lose with you can be most helpful.  Here is a little piece I did for Ivanhoe Communications, a national media outlet that screens these clips on TV stations across the country.  Kudos as well to Dan Collins, who served as the patient for this piece.  You can watch the video here, entitled: 
Losing Weight with Peer Pressure

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New thoughts on a serious medical issue

Recently, new guidelines were published on the management of an old medical problem, hypertension.  High blood pressure is responsible for strokes and heart attacks across all strata of the population.  With these guidelines, physicians will try to maintain tighter, healthier, control to help their patients.  Here is a video from MedPage Today where I was asked to comment on this new method of blood pressure management.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Do you have to blow off the candles?

Of all the things to fear in this world, are germs spread by blowing out birthday candles high on the list?  Apparently, to some people, they are!  Here is a look at the question from the NBC Today Show website, where I join with the voices of reason to protect this time honored tradition.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Don't forget this on your trips to the mall

Catching colds and other infections may not be on the top of your list when you go shopping, but it may well be the bargain that you bring home that you were not bargaining for!  Turns out that germs on your hands may be the major vector for viruses to gain entry into your system.  While washing your hands with soap and water is clearly the best way to wash your hands, using a hand sanitizer prudently can also help prevent these infections.  Here is a little article from the magazine with a quote on this topic.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A Foggy Brain Can Get You Down

Brain Fog is not a meteorologic phenomenon, but that feeling of just not being able to think clearly.  It can roll in after sleep deprivation, difficult work, or just for no good reason at all.  Here is a little article, which includes some tips by me, about ways to clear out that foggy feeling.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

When "Take Two and Call Me In The Morning" is not the best advice

It's a cliche, calling the doctor and being told to take a pain reliever, and call in the morning.  But what if you've already taken some?  What if you have been drinking?  What if you have a disease or underlying condition that would be impacted by a particular medication?  Clearly, this simple directive may have far reaching consequences.  Here is a short article from the site which looks at one such problem.  If there is interest, I will publish another posting with more about pain relievers, cautions and advice.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Where Is Medicine Today?

I was privileged recently to take part in a documentary dealing with the changing face of medicine.  Told through the aspects of practices across the country, our Lutherville practice, Mercy Personal Physicians at Lutherville, was one of those highlighted.  Yes, I am part of the story with two of my patients.  This hour long documentary is airing on PBS stations around the country, but you can also watch it on their website.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Is Healthy Obesity for real?

Many people have felt that carrying a few extra pounds is good for your health.  Sometimes a few can become a lot, and where one draws the line has been the question.  Recent studies have shown that have a body mass index (BMI) over 25, which is the line between normal weight and overweight, puts one at increased risk for cardiovascular events and other ills.  Here is a little piece that I did for our local NBC Affiliate to highlight this problem.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Does your water lose something on the bedstand overnight?

Is is safe to sip from the glass out overnight?  How about the bottle in the car?  The pitcher on the porch?  I mean, it's only water, right?  Well, turns out that there are a variety of factors that could spoil that special sip, and here is a little article from the Reader's Digest website where I was asked to expound on the topic.  Have a look, then take a drink!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Doctor, Doctor -- It hurts when I do that!

The Most Painful Everyday Injuries—And Why They Hurt So Much

While our bodies seem able to take abuse in so many ways, there are little injuries that cause pain out of proportion to their sizes.  When one of our more sensitive areas is hurt, one often wonders just what makes that part of the body so sensitive.  Here is a little article that delves into the why and how of some of those painful areas.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Can you aid sleep without a sleep aid?

Lots of people, perhaps more than half, have trouble sleeping.  The huge industry in over the counter sleep aids, and the push by many at the doctor's office for prescription sleeping pills, speaks to that need.  But do you always need a pharmacologic assist to sleep?  Here is an article with lots of suggestions, including mine, from the NBC website, on how to get a good night's sleep without resorting to pills.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer or Winter - Colds are Colds

The question of whether summer colds are worse than winter colds hinges on the definition of a “cold.”  In this little article from MEL Magazine, a rather different periodical indeed, I was asked about one health writer’s view that other viruses join the party in summer colds.  I try to take a more balanced view in this piece, entitled:

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Different strokes for millennials

A study in scientific American examined a disturbing rise in strokes, brain attacks that can lead to serious disability or death. Obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise have been identified as some of the risk factors. Here is a brief interview from WJZ-TV, our local CBS affiliate, that highlights this issue.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How Ya Gonna Get Off At Your Stop When You're Sawing Wood?

The predicable, routine ride on the subway seems to breed a population of people who, seemingly, can get on the train, sit down, fall asleep, and wake at the right stop.  Training?  Not really sleeping?  Incredible time sense?  There are all kinds of theories, and this article from the New York Magazine looks at some, with my input on some medical thoughts.

And this is not just a United States phenomenon, as the UK Metro site picked up the story and ran an abridged version:

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

1 in 10 have this deadly disease - do you?

Current estimates are that one tenth of the world's population suffers from obesity.  This is not just being a bit overweight, this is being overweight enough to seriously impact your health.  From diabetes to heart attacks, strokes to knee replacements, obesity impacts essentially every aspect of your health.  Here is an article from the website that takes a brief look at the issue.  If there is interest in more information, I would be happy to append this article with some more on the topic, just ask!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Iron - Too Little or Too Much is a problem

Here is a little segment done for WBAL-TV, our local NBC affiliate, about the problem with iron deficiency as well as having too much iron.  People are commonly taking supplements, and the point here is to check with your physician to find out if you really need extra iron or, in some cases, may have too much in your system already.  And, by the way, although directed at women, this applies equally well to men, also!

Friday, May 19, 2017

No Blood in Guacamole

We've all seen the chefs on TV expertly open an avocado and pop out the pit, all with a large, sharp knife.  Turns out that there is a real talent to that, and the legions of folks in emergency rooms with lacerations of their hands, some quite severe, attest to that.  And it's not limited to avocados; slicing anything can be dangerous if you are not careful, even bagels.  Here is a little article from the Self website that looks at the issue, with some tips for those setting out on the culinary path.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Preventing Boomers from crashing

Baby Boomers are not old, but we are getting older, while with those years comes continued vitality and activity.  Many Boomers are in the thick of sports events, competing with those half their ages.  There are some needs that need to be addressed with an older population involved in events, and here is an article that I wrote for the March/April 2017 issue of Sports Destination Management magazine that addresses those topics.  Not just for mega-events, any gathering these days might do well to consider some of the information discussed in this article.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

That lucky old sun can burn you!

Years ago, teens spent hours under the sun getting just the right tan, helped by iodine and baby oil.  Those teens today, now middle aged baby boomers, are often visiting their dermatologist to help with aging skin, dots and blots on their bodies, and, unfortunately, skin cancers.  Using adequate protection against the sun can mitigate these problems, and here is a little article in the Elko (Nevada) Free Press, looking at this, and other hazards of the summer.  Moderation and common sense are the secret weapons!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Is Perception Reality - or does it really hurt?

There is little doubt within the medical community that statin drugs, medications used to lower cholesterol, save lives.  And yet, many people resist taking the drugs fearing side effects, the most common of which is muscle cramping.  A new study casts doubt on that side effect’s origin, whether from the drug or something called the “nocebo” effect.  Here is an article from MedPage Today in which I join several other physicians in looking at the situation, with a variety of opinions being expressed.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Celebrity returns to having a schvitz for health?

Back in the day, it was common to enter a hot, steamy room, which was called a “schvitzbad” in Yiddish, and sit and sweat for your health for a short time.  Even Al Jolson was a fan of such activities.  Time and fashion passes, and few do this any more, other than the occasional sauna, which is usually dry heat.  Well, Selena Gomez talked about her way of having a schvitz, and how it makes her feel.  But is there a real benefit to it?  I joined a few physicians in sweating out the answer.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bad choices make bad disease worse

The ache or pain that is common, wear and tear, arthritis is an annoyance, but to those people with an inflammatory arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis, that destroys the joint, not paying attention to simple things can have severe consequences.  Here is an article from the Everyday Health site that looks at a group of issues.  Although directed at those with psoriatic arthritis, these tips would be well advised to be incorporated into just about anyone’s practices

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Check oil every 3000 miles? How about blood?

The uneasy fact is that most men, and likely some women, pay better attention to their cars than their bodies.  We all know you have to take that car in for servicing, fill the gas tank, and check the tires.  But how about that body of yours?  Is there a need for periodic checks on this or that?  Here is a little article that explores the need to check a few things as prevention.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Giving B&B A New Meaning

In the scheme of things, Boxers v. Briefs may not sound like much of a problem, but to many guys, it is one of those vexing issues of life!  Here is a little article from Community Health Magazine that allows me to expound on the topic, along with another physician, to try to debunk some myths.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Up your nose - just be careful

It's not common, but it is dramatic.  Maybe you've read about the brain eating ameoba and maybe not, after all, your risk of getting hit by lightning while being eaten by a shark are probably higher than contracting this rare disease, but it is scary.  Other organisms can be problematic, though, and using non-sterile water in a Neti Pot is one way to push your luck.  So, here is a practical article from the website which looks at the practice, with some good advice.

Friday, April 14, 2017

So "three daily" is every 8 hours, or is it, and for how long?

As a physician, I find myself directing people every day to take this or that medication.  Sometimes for a long term regimen, others more limited.  But what does the patient think?  Do you really have to take them all, exactly as prescribed?  Is twice a day really needed, or do you have to take all ten day's worth?  Here is a little piece from the Reader's Digest Online that addresses some of these issues.  I would happily expand the discussion if there is interest.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Early To Bed, Early To Rise?

Ben Franklin told us this hundreds of years ago, and we still don't get it.  Adults and children alike shortchange themselves when it comes to sleep.  But with teens, the damage can result in poor grades to a traffic wreck.  Here is a little article that looks at the questions, with some solutions as well.

Nothing to sneeze at - quoted in Dr Oz Magazine

Here is a little piece from the March, 2017, issue of Dr Oz Magazine.  It's one of those questions, this one about helping to trigger a sneeze, where "Dr. Oz says" the answer.  But he does not say the answer, he quotes me!  This was only in the print magazine, so an image of the article is below for you to enjoy.

Monday, January 30, 2017

It happened to her, watch out for yourself

You might think that only someone careless might be tricked by a drugged drink, and you would think wrong.  Actress Mischa Barton found herself feeling more drunk than she thought she should be, and discovered she had been slipped GHB.  Learn from her story, and keep your eyes open

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pneumonia Turns Off The World’s Smile

When entertainment icon Mary Tyler Moore succumbed to pneumonia, we saw another star fall to this ancient killer.  Although many still picture her as the girl who “could turn the world on with her smile,” Mary Tyler Moore was an 80 year old type 1 diabetic, with both her age and her underlying disease increasing her risk for this far too common disease.  That she did so well for so long is an inspiration, with her story serving as a valuable lesson to us all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pneumonia strikes again without regard to fame or fortune

If two jumbo jets crashed every week, killing some thousand people every week, the newspapers would be filled with analyses and thoughts of how to stop the carnage.  But that is just how many people die of pneumonia, about 50,000 yearly, and for most people, it goes unnoticed.  The recent illness of former President George H. W. Bush joins a long list of celebrities who have been afflicted with various types of pneumonias, with the possibility that chronic health conditions made him more susceptible to some forms of the disease.  

Mr. Bush is just the latest high profile person to contract pneumonia.  Recent news has highlighted others, discussed here on the blog, including Merle Haggard and Glenn Frey, as well perhaps, your friend, neighbor, or relative.  Speak with your physician to see if you are at risk, and what you can do to lessen your odds of contracting this deadly disease.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Too late for a flu shot? Not by a long shot!

Influenza is no laughing matter.  Some 30,000 people die annually of this infectious disease, and it’s not just the very old who succumb.  Korin Miller of the Self website was curious as to whether January is too late to get the shot, and the answers, from a variety of sources including mine, appear to be in agreement.  If you have not yet had a flu shot, get one!

And this is nothing new.  Three years ago, right around this time, the peaking flu season again made news with my appearing on WBAL with a spot that I cited on my blog as:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kick start your health by going dry?

People are always looking for motivators, ways to get started to accomplish a goal.  With one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions being to improve one’s health, stopping, or at least cutting back, on those habits viewed as having a negative impact would seem a valid avenue for success.  One such movement is to have a “Dry January,” forsaking alcohol for the month.  Here is a little piece with some of my thoughts from the Self website:

More than just a regional thought, this piece was picked up by Fox News for its website as well, helping to promulgate the idea of starting to change your behavior with the first month of the year.

So stay with me for a couple of paragraphs as I expand on my views of this issue.  I will begin with a word of caution.  If one is a heavy drinker, suddenly stopping could result in symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.  As with any diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician before, and during, such efforts.  

Normally, reduction of a “bad” habit is always good, so there should be some benefit to be derived by a “dry January.”  There are some studies that point to benefits of modest alcohol consumption, perhaps one drink daily, so one may not want to stop that if there is such a potential.  A medical review of one’s base health and level of consumption should be a part of the decision.

But what if you are not a drinker, can this method be used to help other behaviors?  Of course, you can use a month of changed behavior as a motivating starting point to push that behavior into a healthier range, and then maintain that benefits going forward.  So while the “dry January” should result in no alcohol to excess for the rest of the year, a “Fat Free February” would see a reduction in dietary fat intake to a healthy level, or a “Marching March” would result in more exercise being started and continued through the year, and so on, so that by next December we really could be enjoying a Happy and Healthy New Year.

This idea has such traction that there was an article in the January 1, 2017, New York Times proposing a “Month Without Sugar,” another lofty goal that many of us could consider.  So take a moment, look at your health and your habits, and see if you can commit to changing just one habit during the coming month in a positive direction.  You never know where it might lead!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Had a New Year's Eve Hangover? Advice for the next one.

One has to assume that all of those New Year's Eve revelers in Times Square turned to the New York Times for a solution to their morning after hangover.  If so, they would have found this article, in which I am quoted, looking at all of the various cures offered for this morning after condition.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sepsis remains a sneaky killer

Not that long ago, we learned that Patty Duke, star of stage, screen and film, had died from an overwhelming infection called sepsis.  While not often spoken of as a common disease, sepsis remains an opportunistic killer of the very young, the very old, and those with some compromise of their immune systems; as well as sporadic cases without obvious cause.  Here is a little clip from our local NBC affiliate, where I discuss sepsis, what it is, and what to do if you suspect it.