Female Viagra spoof

female viagraI wrote a post last week about Addyi, the new libido-enhancing drug recently approved by the FDA. It’s being called the “female Viagra” even though it is nothing like Viagra, and both its safety and efficacy are being questioned.

But there’s been a lot of press in the last few weeks on both Addyi and the problem of low sex drive in women. I think The Onion gets my vote for the funniest: FDA Approves Female-Libido-Enhancing Man.

In an effort to address the needs of women suffering from a lack of sexual desire, the FDA announced Tuesday that it

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A different kind of hospice caregiver

File this video under “Adorable.”

I’ve posted a lot about end-of-life issues and hospice in the last few months because my father recently passed away after a short stint on hospice.

So I couldn’t resist passing along this viral video of JJ the Hospice Therapy Dog doing his thing—being a warm, soothing and unconditionally-caring presence.

JJ has his own Facebook page, so you can go there if you want to watch other videos and read some of “his” stories (his owner is a hospice nurse).

You can also find links to learn more about … Continue reading

Changes in your 2016 out-of-pocket maximum

It’s almost that time of year when insurance companies start sending out information about next year’s plans and what may or may not have changed in their policies, such as premiums and benefits.

A little-known new rule of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will take effect on January 1, 2016, and might affect your health insurance plan and health care costs.

Specifically, this rule takes away what’s been called the “umbrella limit” on out-of-pocket maximums for families.

If you currently have a family policy with a family out-of-pocket maximum (up to $13,200 in 2015), even if only one family … Continue reading

What is Addyi or “female Viagra”?

This is the kind of health care news that scares me. Another new drug has just been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it comes with serious questions about both its safety and its efficacy.

Addyi (flibanserin)—aka “female Viagra” because it will be used to treat low sex drive in women—will be available by prescription later this year, and the drug company no doubt hopes it will be as wildly popular and profitable as Viagra has been for men.

However the FDA only approved Addyi with the safety restriction that the drug be sold with a “boxed” Continue reading

ZDoggMD raps on end of life

I love ZDoggMD’s musical video parodies on health-related topics (by the way, he really is an MD, although how he finds time to make these videos, I don’t know).

His latest offering takes on the huge subject of end of life choices—or non choices, as is sadly often the case.

“Ain’t the Way to Die”


I like the line “Critical care is just hypocritical when it’s so insane.”

At the end of the video, ZDoggMD invites viewers to share their experiences with dying in the comments.

And he promises his next video will be … Continue reading

The high cost of cancer

I’ve posted before about how expensive it is to be treated for cancer.

Recently, a patient posted on the health blog KevinMD about her experience dealing with not only the stress of metastatic ovarian cancer, but the struggle to stay afloat financially.

I am one of many people today “living” with cancer. I want to focus on the impact cancer has on my personal finances, and this is probably true for any chronic illness, not just cancer.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer at 51 years old. I really

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The industrialization of health care

Have you ever felt that going to see your physician or going to the hospital is like stepping onto an assembly line?

Well, the metaphor of being a car (or a hamburger) is a pretty accurate one. Two articles I read this week discuss how health care leaders have been turning to the big manufacturers—Toyota, for example—to increase efficiency, production and profits.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) puts a positive spin on this trend:

As public hospitals…try to cut costs and make patients happier, administrators have turned to an unlikely ally: Toyota. They are adapting the car maker’s production system to

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A physician explains why vaccinations are necessary

Because of the recent outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, California passed a law this summer that will severely limit a parent’s ability to opt out of vaccinating their school-aged kids.


But I understand why some parents, especially those with infants and young children, might be fearful when they hear so many (untrue) horror stories about the safety of vaccinations.

One family practice doctor wrote an open letter to parents about vaccinations—why they are necessary and why it’s safer to vaccinate than not—and published it on the health blog KevinMD.

I thought it was very … Continue reading

The physician-patient dilemma

Here’s another video from Healthcare Not Fair(Warning: like their previous video I posted, it contains bad language!)

While I think Dr. Sorry could have gotten his point across without so much swearing, the situation he presents is very real.

Physicians, especially primary care, are routinely seeing 30 patients a day, which averages out to about 15 minutes per patient. But factor in waiting time after you are put into an exam room, and the actual face time with the physician is closer to 5 minutes.

As Dr. Sorry says, “Doctors—they have one eye Continue reading

Gadolinium – Toxic residue from MRIs

A friend of mine sent me a link to this story: Left in the Brain: Potentially Toxic Residue From MRI Drugs

Most MRIs, a common diagnostic imaging test, require you to be injected with a “contrast agent” that allows the images to be more defined and therefore more useful.

It’s been known for some time that these agents can be harmful to people with impaired kidney function, so in those cases radiologists will use a more kidney-friendly agent or do without.

But now it appears that some of these contrast agents, specifically the gadolinium agents (that just sounds toxic, doesn’t … Continue reading