liver disease

Who among us hasn’t been tormented by the itch after a mosquito bite? This is due to the histamine release at the offending site. In some, it is a bit more exaggerated and an oral antihistamine or topical cream with the passage of time does the trick to provide optimal relief.

Now imagine that intensity and urge to scratch diffusely spread over your entire body in a constant and unrelenting fashion. Night and day. Where a more significant underlying cause won’t be benefitted and cured by time or a Benadryl, for instance.

That is called chronic “generalized pruritus” and its etiologies can range from the readily fixable to the necessitation of a liver transplant in those where treatment for the symptom might be refractory. In the extreme, sleep is impaired and even...

Finally, some worthwhile data.  

In our current culture —especially in the medical sphere, acquiring data for data’s sake has become its own illness whose insidious contagion serves further to fracture and fragment our health care delivery.  

Though I don’t routinely find good news in the topic of death, being the skeptical optimist that I am enables me to see the potential in a new study published in JAMA detailing the mortality rates for major causes of death from 1980-2014.  

Why the cheer?  Because the report is documenting United States county-level trends.  Recognize it is a tempered one, but cheer nonetheless.  Until we start to recognize that policy decisions and implementation...

World Death Rates

Death rates in the U.S. took a surprising turn last year. They rose, as compared to 2013-14, which is not supposed to be happening, and hasn't happened in ... a long time.

Heart disease topped the list of causes, according to new data just released by the CDC. Death rates from stroke, Alzheimer s disease, liver disease and Parkinson s disease also increased. On the positive side, mortality rates for cancer, diabetes, and HIV...

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 2.22.28 PMOver the past few years, the timing of the initiation of treatment of hepatitis C has taken a number of twists and turns. Now, there seems to be one more. Earlier treatment is being recommended.

Prior to 2011 there were no specific antiviral therapies available to treat the infection. A combination of interferon and ribavirin was the only option, and it was a poor option. The cure rate was as low as 20 percent (depending on the strain of the virus), the side effects were awful,...

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Courtesy of PNAS

A surprising and disconcerting new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveals a...