Medicine and Pharmaceuticals

Despite the public shaming of anti-vaxxers, the anti-vaccine movement remains fairly strong in America. Yet, it has nothing on the anti-vaxxers in France, a country where over 40 percent of its citizens believe vaccines are unsafe, according to a global survey published in EBioMedicine.

A group of universities commissioned the survey of 66,000 people across 67 countries to discover their views on whether vaccines are important, safe, effective, or compatible with their religious beliefs.

The European region contains 7 of the top 10 vaccine denial populations. French anti-vaccine sentiment (41 percent) was over 300 percent higher than the global average (12 percent) so even uneducated peasants...

Andrew Silver, Inside Science -- Tiny robots taken into the body and controlled by brain patterns could someday help deliver medicine on demand.

The payoff would be tremendous if the technique could be perfected.

"You can get only the dosage you need only at the time you need," said lead author Shachar Arnon, a former computer science graduate student at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.

In the distant future, Arnon believes a doctor might prescribe self-destructing nanobots, carrying a cargo of medicine. When your thoughts indicate you need a boost, the bots in your body would activate and release just enough of a drug that counteracts the detected symptom.

There are many questions...

Do you know what a "bezoar” is? Probably not, but you have likely heard the term "psychosomatic," which means an ailing mind can actually physically bother or impair your body.

Sometimes the primary disease is truly in your head, or at least it seems to have started there.

First, in answer to the question. A bezoar (1) is various masses of material that can't be digested - "calculi" - usually found in the gastrointestinal organs. As a result, it becomes like a rock in the body prompting mechanical obstruction and nutritional problems to occur.

In olden days, such a "bezoar stone" was considered to possess magical properties, especially if it came from animals. One belief was that they were mystical and could cure poisons. In the 16th century, the famous surgeon,...

A purportedly serious publication in a serious forum that was published this week has given rise to a bunch of breathless CAM-related headlines in my news feed. CAM being Complementary and Alternative Therapies.

I presume that this is what the authors and their employer wanted, as the supposed good news story is in fact one of the most blatant examples of quackacademic...

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among women (second to skin cancer) accounting for 29% of newly diagnosed cancers. Additionally, breast cancer is responsible for the second highest rate of cancer deaths among women (lung cancer is the first.)  

In 2015, the numbers of diagnoses and deaths were approximately 

  • 231,800 cases of invasive breast cancer 
  • 60,300 cases of in situ breast cancer (a less invasive form of breast cancer) 
  • 40,300 deaths 
  • 2,350 men diagnosed with breast cancer and 440 deaths 

Early detection is key for the best chance at recovery. The screening recommendations from the American Cancer Society, which seem to be a constant point of debate, are:

  • Women ages 40 to 44...

  “What is that you express in your eyes?  It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.”  Well envisioned, Walt.  Whitman, that is.  

  I won’t claim the follow-up to my first piece on foreign bodies in the body will be as eloquent, but it will affirm this sentiment: Preservation of vision should be a cherished, lifetime goal.  So, let’s talk high velocity projectiles -or, their avoidance -chemical splashes, particle fragments, and creepy crawlers.  

  Whether occupationally, recreationally, or run-of-the-mill induced, ocular insult by inanimate objects can be catastrophic.  Unlike other organs, periorbital damage has a critical cost. Our eyes subsume memories, capture still life and moving images, enhance our other senses, and absorb our stories.  Our...

Most people have never heard of glutathione (GSH) but for some it has become the latest fad - for skin bleaching, of all things.

Why skin bleaching to become lighter when a whole lot of other people are instead getting spray-on tans? We're not psychologists, we are just here to talk about the health issues.

Glutathione is an antioxidant our bodies produce, a combination of three amino acids — glycine, glutamate and cysteine — which the body packages together. It helps prevent damage to cells by heavy metals, free radicals and such; exogenous GSH, both oral and injectable (intravenous, intramuscular), has been used for a...

Over the past couple of decades, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer throughout the world.  This phenomenon is mainly seen in “high income” countries of North America, Europe, and Asia.  In the United States alone, the annual incidence has tripled between 1975 and 2009.  The upsurge involves papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), which comprises 90% of all thyroid cancers.  It is also the least aggressive, as evidenced by no increase in death rate from its surge.   

Why is this happening? A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine ( NEJM, August...

There has been substantial publicity about the MINDACT trial, which could lead to changes in breast cancer treatment. The study’s results suggest that women with a certain genetic profile would have a good chance of survival and cure regardless of chemotherapy.

While the results are encouraging, breast cancer treatment decisions are complex, and this study does not necessarily provide a clear yes or no answer about the need for chemotherapy.

As oncologists, we see this latest scientific development as yet another powerful tool in assessing a patient’s risk of developing cancer recurrence.

However, the study results cannot be used as a sole tool to help guide treatment...

Location.  Location.  Location.  Everything in medicine comes down to real estate.  The closer to a vital structure in the body, the more precarious the consequence— especially when considering foreign objects where nature did not intend them to be.

As I think more about inanimate items in familiar orifices, I realize how truly boundless the possibilities are for mass education and insight.  There isn’t a field of medicine that doesn’t address these issues; or, one I can think of anyway.  So, buckle up, as we journey through the initial in a series taking a top down approach.  

We'll go from the top down. So that means beginning with the ear, nose and throat.

For the pediatrician, it is a semi-routine occurrence to remove alien entities from known apertures.  There...