FDA warns consumers
Nothing makes me angrier than unscrupulous companies (owned by unscrupulous individuals) marketing products advertised as “miracles” to cure illness.
These modern-day snake oil salespeople prey on fear and suffering by selling false hope. Worse, the products they sell can sometimes harm rather than heal.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently put out a new warning on their Consumer Updates page: Products claiming to “cure” cancer are a cruel deception
Frequently advertised as “natural” treatments and often falsely labeled as dietary supplements, such products may appear harmless, but may cause harm by delaying or interfering with proven,
… Continue reading
How rudeness affects your healthcare
I just read an article in the New York Times by Perri Klass, MD: Rude Doctors, Rude Nurses, Rude Patients.
Rudeness all around!
Dr. Klass, a pediatrician, refers to a recent study published in a pediatric medical journal. The study looked at how rude or disparaging comments (by an actor playing the part of an infant’s mother) affect the performance of doctors and nurses.
The study’s conclusion?
Rudeness has robust, deleterious effects on the performance of medical teams. Moreover, exposure to rudeness debilitated the very collaborative mechanisms recognized as essential for patient care and
… Continue reading
“An American Sickness”
I love Elisabeth Rosenthal’s work.
She’s a medical journalist (an MD, but no longer practicing) who wrote a brilliant series of articles on the high cost of healthcare for the New York Times a few years ago.
Now she’s has a book on the same topic. Because, of course, our healthcare system with its punishing costs for services, drugs and insurance has not improved. If anything, it’s worse.
As a physician, Dr. Rosenthal has experienced first hand the perverse incentives—illness being more profitable than health, after all—and lack of price transparency in our healthcare system. Her book … Continue reading
Another post related to seasonal allergies, because 2017 is apparently going to be a nasty spring for allergy sufferers! Like me. 😥
As I said in my last post, I prefer to use a neti pot over taking medication (and it works great for me!), but I know a neti pot won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
Over-the-counter allergy medications can be expensive, though, even the generics. Know what you need before you buy. Then shop for the best price. I always recommend buying the store brand.
Here is some information about the various types of drugs marketed to … Continue reading
Seattle has had an unseasonably cold and wet spring (even for us!), but that hasn’t stopped my seasonal allergies from arriving on cue.
Time to rinse off my neti pot.
When the pollen counts are high, I use my neti pot every day and it really, really helps.
I prefer using a neti pot rather than antihistamines to treat spring allergies for a couple of reasons.
One, it’s inexpensive. Over-the-counter allergy meds are anything but! Even the generics are pricey.
Two, there are no side effects. I don’t like how antihistamines or decongestants make me feel, and I definitely don’t … Continue reading
How will you use the information?
Home genetic testing kits have been available for several years now.
With a drop of spit and a couple hundred bucks, you can learn a lot about your genetic ancestry and your risk for developing certain diseases.
Although I’d accept without question a report that told me which continent my ancestors hailed from, I’d be much less willing to make decisions about my health based on one of these home genetic testing kits.
Why? Isn’t all information good?
Only if you know what to do with it after you have it.
Dr. … Continue reading
HIIT for better health— and lower doctors’ bills
A few months ago my husband and I joined a local gym. We wanted to be a little more serious with our exercise routines.
Aging can be expensive. I believe one way to save money on health care as we age is to exercise. Exercise can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and possibly dementia.
I also want to keep my muscles and bones strong, to prevent falls and fractures.
I’m no exercise fanatic (quite the opposite, in fact), but aging healthfully is important enough to me that I worked with … Continue reading
Younger is better, but…
The HPV vaccine protects against the most common types of viruses that not only cause cervical cancer, but mouth and throat cancers, as well.
It’s most effective when given before a child becomes sexually active.
But what about all the 20-somethings out there who didn’t have access to this vaccine? After all, it’s only been available since 2006, and before 2011 it was only offered to girls.
Is there any benefit, especially for young men, to getting vaccinated in your twenties?
I found an interesting article written by a journalist who asked the same question—because … Continue reading
An eternal battle
I have always been fascinated by the history of medicine and disease. I minored in medical history in college and have probably read dozens of books on the subject.
If you’re interested but don’t have that kind of time to invest, I just ran across a couple of short (very short!) videos on YouTube that I found to be remarkably good overviews of a complex topic.
The first is from Crash Course World History:
If only my history teachers in high school had been so entertaining!
I especially loved his statement: “You … Continue reading
Papillary thyroid cancers are overtreated
In 2010 my husband almost died while being treated for a small papillary thyroid cancer.
Papillary tumors are by far the most common type of thyroid cancer, and are typically very slow growing. Most doctors I know say that if you have to get cancer, papillary thyroid cancer is the one to pick!
My husband didn’t choose to get thyroid cancer, of course, but once his primary care physician found the lump during a routine physical, he was put on a fast track to being overtreated.
Back then, we just didn’t know any better.
I … Continue reading
The debate over screening ECGs
When my son was a teenager, he participated in several school sports, including track and field.
And it always freaked me out when I heard a news report about a young teen athlete suddenly dying on a track or a basketball court.
The stories were similar: young, seemingly healthy teenagers died because no one knew they had a problem with their hearts.
Every time I wondered if I should immediately take my son to his pediatrician and demand an (electrocardiogram) ECG to make sure his heart was OK.
I had to remind myself that these … Continue reading
Colon cancer on the rise in young adults
I recently read a disturbing report that colon cancer is on the rise in Millenials and GenXers.
People born in 1990 now have double the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer, compared with those born around 1950 when the risk was lowest, the researchers said.
The overall risk is still very low for that age group, but the study certainly suggests that lifestyle factors—obesity, diets high in processed foods, sedentary habits—could be a factor.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month!
A healthy diet and exercise are … Continue reading
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just released a warning about keeping hand sanitizers out of the reach of small children. Because more people use hand sanitizers during cold and flu season, there are more reports of children being poisoned by the main ingredient, either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol. About 90% of these poisonings were in children younger than five.
Anyway, here is a re-post about preventing childhood poisonings in general, and links to Poison Control and other resources.
Stay safe! FN
A rising number of childhood poisonings
I don’t know much about e-cigarettes and vaping, but a recent study … Continue reading
Newer drugs are not necessarily better drugs
A few days ago at the gym, I was leafing through an issue of Health magazine.
What caught my eye was not the article about preventing stress injuries, or the recipe for a zingy, low-fat curry, but rather the pages devoted to ads for prescription drugs. Drugs to treat psoriasis, hepatitis C, dry eyes, depression, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, and overactive bladder, to name but a few.
Each ad took three pages. After doing a little mental math, I discovered the ads for these new prescription drugs made up more than 30% of the … Continue reading
Homeopathic remedies don’t cure, and they can harm
I’ve posted before about homeopathy and homeopathic remedies. In short, they don’t work. There is absolutely no sound scientific evidence that supports homeopathy.
Related post: A homeopathic parody
At best they’re a waste of money; at worse, homeopathic remedies may be harmful, especially to infants and small children.
In recent months, certain homeopathic remedies for teething babies have been targeted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These products, Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Hyland’s Teething Gel, contain very small amounts of a well-known poison—belladonna or “deadly nightshade.”
How can poison be a … Continue reading