Category Archives: Healthcare

Processed Foods Highly Correlated with Obesity

Processed Foods Highly Correlated with Obesity Epidemic in the U.S.Jan 2020 – Source Newsroom: George Washington University

This rings absolutely true to me, but… “correlation is *not* causation.” Still…

As food consumed in the U.S. becomes more and more processed, obesity may become more prevalent.

Through reviewing overall trends in food, George Washington University (GW) researcher Leigh A. Frame, PhD, MHS, concluded that detailed recommendations to improve diet quality and overall nutrition are needed for consumers, who are prioritizing food that is cheaper and more convenient, but also highly processed. 

Many of the food trends we reviewed are tied directly to a fast-paced U.S. lifestyle that contributes to the obesity epidemic we are now facing.”   Continue reading

Naproxen shows anti-viral activity against flu

Pain reliever shows anti-viral activity against flu — ScienceDaily Mar 2013Source: American Society for Microbiology

This was a total surprise to me and, considering the specter of a new coronavirus spreading across the globe, I thought this information could be very useful.

New influenza vaccines must be developed annually, because the surface proteins they target mutate rapidly. The researchers found a much more stable, reliable target for anti-influenza activity.

The so-called ribonucleoprotein complexes are necessary for replication, and the researchers realized they could target the nucleoprotein, preventing assembly of the complexes. Because of its vital function, the nucleoprotein is highly conserved, making it a good potential target for antiviral drugs.   Continue reading

Study finds essential oil improves wound healing

Chemical compound found in essential oils improves wound healing, IU study finds – Indiana University – Dec-2019

Many alternative medicine therapies seem implausible, hopelessly “woo-woo”, and have effects for only a few specific individuals. Yet, it’s possible that science just hasn’t advanced far enough to find the underlying explanations for them yet.

Every now and then, scientists discover how some “primitive” medicinal treatments used for thousands of years (poppies) actually has a scientific basis (poppies contain opium which binds to receptors on our cells to relieve pain),

Indiana University researchers have discovered that a chemical compound found in essential oils improves the healing process in mice when it is topically applied to a skin wound — a finding that could lead to improved treatments for skin injuries in humans.   Continue reading

Undiagnosed Osteoporosis in Spine Fusion Surgery

Study: CT Scan Prior to Spine Fusion Surgery Finds Significant Number of Patients Had Undiagnosed Osteoporosis – Mar 2019

For patients contemplating spinal fusion surgery to alleviate pain, bone health is an important consideration.

If a patient is found to have low bone density prior to surgery, it could affect the treatment plan before, during and after the procedure. A study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City found that a CT scan of the lumbar spine prior to surgery indicated that a significant number of patients had low bone density that was previously undiagnosed.

And I assume they then had the surgery in spite of it.  Continue reading

Big Medicine is Putting Small Practices Out of Business

How Big Medicine is Putting Small Practices Out of Business – MedPage Today – by John Machata, MD – Apr 2019

Recently, the CEO of a large health care network stated: “Market forces don’t apply to healthcare.”

What an idiotic statement! If this were true, CEOs wouldn’t be receiving astronomical salaries while their cost-cutting leaves everyone doing the real work broke.

These CEOs manipulate their corporations to generate the maximum profit (which is actually their job) and their calculations definitely depend on market forces to raise prices by eliminating competition.  Continue reading

Numbers and Statistics still Bedevil Medicine

Go figure: In era of Big Data, numbers and statistics still bedevil medicine | Patrick Malone & Associates P.C. | DC Injury Lawyers – JDSupraSep 2019 

Big data and numbers may seem to drive the world these days, but human factors can play a dizzying role when it comes to statistics and medical treatments.

For those fascinated by numeracy in health care, writer Hannah Fry, in a readable New Yorker essay, details how medicine and patients alike have been bedeviled by attempts to quantify life-and-death decision making.

Fry shows how errors in evaluating statistics could confuse authorities investigating if Harold Shipman, a British doctor who cared for the elderly, was merely unlucky or a stone-cold killer.   Continue reading

Absurdities Arising from Indiscriminate Use of Research

Breakthrough research reveals parachutes don’t prevent death when jumping from a plane | Association of Health Care Journalistsby Tara Haelle – Feb 2019

The goal of evidence-based medicine (EBM) is to base medical care only on the best evidence: rigorous randomized controlled trials (RCTs). In general, this seems to make sense, but as an overarching objective applied to all cases, it can become absurd.

It’s been 15 years since BMJ published the most rigorous type of study there is — a systematic review of randomized controlled trials — to assess the evidence for using a parachute to prevent death and major injury when jumping from a plane.

They had to conclude, “As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomized controlled trials.”   Continue reading

Not so Inactive: Excipients in Medications

Not so Inactive: Excipients in Medications May Trigger Adverse Reactions in Some Patients – MPR – Cassandra Pardini, PharmD – Apr 2019

Despite all the strange reactions I and others have had when our pharmacy gives us a different manufacturer’s version of a familiar medicine, many medical professionals still claim that different “versions” of medication are “exactly the same”. By now, there’s evidence that this simply isn’t true.

I’ve previously posted about how generics are often not “the same” as brand name drugs, but there can also be differences between different manufacturers’ versions of the same generic drug.

For sensitive people, these differences can be critical. Continue reading

The trouble with mice as behavioral models

The trouble with mice as behavioral models for Alzheimer’s – STATBy Adam Rosenberg – Apr 2019

It is becoming increasingly obvious that rodents cannot accurately model human diseases, let alone human behaviors.

I’ve always doubted the findings of pain studies that use rodents because these animals cannot possibly model what is claimed to be a bio-psycho-social syndrome.

There’s been a lot of talk about overinvestment in interventions aimed at amyloid in the weeks since Biogen discontinued a late-stage study of aducanumab, an experimental therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

Moral injury and burnout in medicine

Moral injury and burnout in medicine: a year of lessons learned – STATBy WENDY DEAN and SIMON G. TALBOT – Jul 2019

When we began exploring the concept of moral injury to explain the deep distress that U.S. health care professionals feel today, it was something of a thought experiment aimed at erasing the preconceived notions of what was driving the disillusionment of so many of our colleagues in a field they had worked so hard to join.

As physicians, we suspected that the “burnout” of individual clinicians, though real and epidemic, was actually a symptom of some deeper structural dysfunction in the health care system.   Continue reading