Blog & Medical News

Sometimes medical information can be really intriguing.

A great new review and recommendations about PSA testing

2018-09-26T14:00:15+00:00

I've long been a skeptic of routine testing of the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, in most men. Yes, it's a simple little blood test, and sometimes an elevated PSA reading shows you have prostate cancer. But PSA screening most often produces a false positive result, leading to a whole host of nasty potential complications including impotence [...]

A great new review and recommendations about PSA testing 2018-09-26T14:00:15+00:00

Here are two more scientific updates on managing low back pain

2018-09-26T13:59:29+00:00

Traditional treatments for low back pain are coming under increasing scientific scrutiny to see if they're safe and effective. They aren't doing well. A New York Times article today describes some of the horrific consequences of poorly trained physicians doing epidural steroid injections ("cortisone shots") into the spine. Millions of these procedures are done every year. Pfizer is the [...]

Here are two more scientific updates on managing low back pain 2018-09-26T13:59:29+00:00

Two new reviews of acupuncture’s effectiveness in pain, addiction

2018-05-20T14:18:34+00:00

Previous research was unclear whether acupuncture helps chronic pain. Two new analyses have reviewed new studies demonstrating that acupuncture does indeed relieve chronic pain in many. It may also help with opiate addiction. I've prescribed acupuncture for decades and find that roughly a third to half of my patients find real relief. And the relief can last for weeks. [...]

Two new reviews of acupuncture’s effectiveness in pain, addiction 2018-05-20T14:18:34+00:00

A terrific vox.com article on treating pain without drugs

2018-05-20T14:55:17+00:00

Vox.com has frequently published terrific articles on medical care. This post is no exception: 100 Million Americans Have Chronic Pain. Very Few Use One of the Best Tools to Treat it. The article describes the proven effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy and other non-drug approaches. These are all coping skills. They work well if you take the [...]

A terrific vox.com article on treating pain without drugs 2018-05-20T14:55:17+00:00

Prostate cancer screening is complicated, mostly still unwise

2018-05-20T13:48:37+00:00

Prostate cancer screening is complicated, mostly still unwise The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) just updated its 2012 recommendation against routine screening for prostate cancer. Previously the USPSTF recommended against routine screening because of the high risk of false positive results that resulted in potentially dangerous medical medical procedures with some gnarly complications. If you find the [...]

Prostate cancer screening is complicated, mostly still unwise 2018-05-20T13:48:37+00:00

A comprehensive guide to the new science of treating lower back pain

2018-05-20T14:58:05+00:00

In August 2017 vox.com published the best article I've ever seen on current science for treating chronic low back pain. If you're not familiar with what's new, it will stun you. The article reviews in great detail each type of treatment. Bottom line: the traditional medical approaches of surgery, drugs, and injections are of limited benefit in the typical patient with mechanical low [...]

A comprehensive guide to the new science of treating lower back pain 2018-05-20T14:58:05+00:00

A new study showed opioids are no better than Tylenol for some chronic pain

2018-05-20T13:49:28+00:00

A new study shows opioids are no better than Tylenol for some chronic pain. A recent article in vox.com discusses a new study done on 240 patients in the Veterans Administration who had chronic pain. They compared using potent opioid pain killers like morphine, oxycodone, or Norco with just using regular over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like Tylenol, Motrin, or Aleve. [...]

A new study showed opioids are no better than Tylenol for some chronic pain 2018-05-20T13:49:28+00:00

Experts correct Secretary Tom Price on addiction treatment

2018-05-20T14:59:54+00:00

On May 9, 2017, then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price gave a speech on opioid addiction to a group in West Virginia. He decried the use of Medication Assisted Treatment with methadone maintenance or ongoing Suboxone as "just substituting one opioid for another." But this is a brain-dead statement that flies in the face of scientific reality, much like [...]

Experts correct Secretary Tom Price on addiction treatment 2018-05-20T14:59:54+00:00

Adopting five healthy lifestyle habits increases longevity by more than a decade

2018-05-01T21:53:05+00:00

Adopting five healthy lifestyle habits increases longevity by more than a decade A major free article in Circulation shows that by avoiding smoking or excessive drinking, maintaining a normal weight, exercising at least half an hour a day, and eating a healthy diet can substantially increase how long you live. At age 50, women without any of these healthy [...]

Adopting five healthy lifestyle habits increases longevity by more than a decade 2018-05-01T21:53:05+00:00

Major New York Times article on heart infections from injecting drugs

2018-05-01T21:55:05+00:00

Today's New York Times has a vital article about heart infections ("endocarditis") caused by injecting drugs intravenously. In the area of Tennessee discussed in the article, some addicts return to the hospital two or more times with new infections. They are deadly. But they present the treating doctors with multiple dilemmas. What do you do if patients shoot up while in the hospital? [...]

Major New York Times article on heart infections from injecting drugs 2018-05-01T21:55:05+00:00

Heavy metals and other toxins found in popular protein powders

2018-04-24T17:39:11+00:00

A report in Consumer Reports describes a new study shows that many of the top-selling powders and drinks may contain concerning levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead, and toxins like bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in some plastic containers and food can liners. These substances have been linked to cancer, [...]

Heavy metals and other toxins found in popular protein powders 2018-04-24T17:39:11+00:00

Opioids after surgery PROLONG pain in rats

2018-04-24T21:42:33+00:00

Opioids after surgery can, paradoxically, prolong pain Giving opioids to animals to quell pain after surgery prolongs pain for more than three weeks and primes specialized immune cells in the spinal cord to be more reactive to pain, according to a new study by CU Boulder. The authors say the paradoxical findings, if replicated in [...]

Opioids after surgery PROLONG pain in rats 2018-04-24T21:42:33+00:00

Updates from the American Society of Addiction Medicine conference

2018-05-01T21:30:31+00:00

I attended the American Society of Medicine Annual Conference in San Diego the weekend of April 13, 2018. Much of the focus of the conference was on new  information about addiction and its treatment. Here are some tidbits: Drug dealers and addicts can contaminate virtually any substance with dangerous drugs. Commonly adulterated are CBD oil and vape [...]

Updates from the American Society of Addiction Medicine conference 2018-05-01T21:30:31+00:00

More than one drink/day risks premenstrual syndrome

2018-04-24T17:11:27+00:00

Heavy drinking linked to worse PMS (Reuters Health) - Women who are heavy drinkers are at increased risk of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), new research shows. “Together with other researchers, we believe that alcohol increases PMS risk by altering the level of hormones, such as gonadotropin, during the menstrual cycle,” Dr. Bahi Takkouche, the study’s senior [...]

More than one drink/day risks premenstrual syndrome 2018-04-24T17:11:27+00:00

Dying To Be Free is a powerful indictment of brain-dead addiction treatment

2018-04-25T09:10:00+00:00

A long-form article in the huffingtonpost.com website, "Dying To Be Free" details the brain-dead treatment given to heroin addicts in state-sponsored programs in Kentucky: humiliation, "tear you down so we can build you up," and an exclusive focus on abstinence. People leave with shining faces after months of inpatient care only to drop dead of an [...]

Dying To Be Free is a powerful indictment of brain-dead addiction treatment 2018-04-25T09:10:00+00:00

Wired laments the poor state of addiction rehabilitation

2018-04-24T17:13:08+00:00

In the 4/1/2018 Wired Magazine article "Addiction Rehab Is Broken. Can Technology Fix It?," author Zachary Siegal  complains that the humiliation-based treatment he received is unscientific and ineffective. You bet! He suggests using iPhone apps to resolve this problem. I disagree, even though they may work for some. Zachary was a heroin addict, treated with the old-fashioned, [...]

Wired laments the poor state of addiction rehabilitation 2018-04-24T17:13:08+00:00

Do you need a primary physician? Why?

2018-04-24T17:43:02+00:00

A gathering storm I've been seeing more stories in the news about problems with primary care. For example, since the new universal health insurance law took effect in Massachusetts, so many new patients are looking for doctors that primary physician shortages have made it impossible to get care. And for physicians who accept managed care, [...]

Do you need a primary physician? Why? 2018-04-24T17:43:02+00:00

Health reform is more than just insurance

2018-04-07T13:35:21+00:00

A story on the Internet describes how a senior IBM executive went straight to a cardiologist to treat his chest pain. Several serious complications and $200,000 later, the cardiologist cleared him of any heart problems. The patient then saw a gastroenterologist, who performed yet another big workup without finding a gastrointestinal cause. Finally he saw [...]

Health reform is more than just insurance 2018-04-07T13:35:21+00:00