Medicine and Pharmaceuticals

Of the multitude of problems associated with developing new antibiotics, finding a way to provide financial incentives to companies doing the research is especially crucial. This is because antibiotics are not used like other drugs. Unlike a statin, which will be taken for life, they are used for a limited period of time. And they will not be "thrown around" as were the dozens of oral antibiotics that once came routinely from the pharmaceutical industry. We have learned this lesson the hard way. New classes of antibiotics will be controlled carefully, and be used mostly in hospitals. So, there is now little incentive for any company to remain in, or reenter the field, knowing that it will either make little money (or more likely, lose it) even if they come up with a successful drug....

I was a clumsy child and had more than my fair share of bumps and knocks. As a result, I was the recipient of a considerable amount of repetitive advice to “rub it better”. My younger self did not regard this as helpful; I wanted the pain gone, now.

A bit of a brat, perhaps, but if you ask people with pain – any kind of pain, be it acute pain after a fall or operation, a headache, or chronic pain like arthritis – what they want from treatment, it is the same as I wanted all those years ago. Pain gone, now.

There may be something in the idea that rubbing a painful area might actually help. We rub the skin over a painful area almost instinctively. Touch applied at particular frequency can be pleasant. And while...

In an ironic twist, after recently writing about an insensitive sketch entitled Saturday Night Live” Skit Mocks Infertility, it was just reported sextuplets were born to parents “overcome with joy” who tried to conceive for 17 years. 

Though my previous article reflects my dismay over Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s skit making fun of those struggling with infertility, this one will shift the discussion to the risks of multiple birth gestations in general—spontaneous or otherwise. This current example, however, serves to underscore the wide spectrum of challenges individuals...

Cancer treatment is generally thought of as location based - targeting the cells in a lump or tumor by removing them completely and/or through chemotherapy or radiation. But, more recent thinking suggests that the location of the cancer cells may not be as important for treatment as the characteristics of the cells themselves. Instead of treating cancer cells based on where they are - researchers hope to treat the cells based on what they are.  

That is just what a new immunotherapy cancer drug, Keytruda, from Merck & Co. is designed to do. This week, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) became the first cancer drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that targets cancer cells based on their genetics - not their location. In fact, the drug was granted accelerated approval...

When we think of the word cure, we think of it as the end when, in fact, it is often the end of a beginning. For those surgically “cured” from cancer, enduring amputation from sepsis or receiving a transplanted organ, the story —though different and uncharted—begins anew.

Why? Because we live in extraordinary times of tremendous medical advances where life’s quality is considered more and more on par with one’s survival. The result is often trading in one life-threatening condition for more manageable ones.

I use the example of basic pharmacology. At this point, we tend to laugh in unison at the endless litany of side effects and seemingly random symptoms certain advertised medications list in their television commercials. So much so, they are now frequently...

With Memorial Day weekend and peak drowning season upon us, there is no better time than the present to debunk some myths about how we drown.

And, it isn’t how you would think.

An average of 3,536 fatal unintentional (non-boating) drownings occur each year in the United States inflicting anguish that could, in many cases, be prevented. Add on to this the 332 who succumb annually to boating-related incidents. Since over half of drowning victims get admitted to the hospital or transferred for comprehensive care, the often long-term devastating consequences of nonfatal drowning events will be elucidated here as well. (1)

Buzzwords abound these days even in the drowning arena. It seems the topic has gotten branded. Terms like “silent drowning,” “secondary drowning” or...

Two decades after new antibiotic research came to a screeching halt, we find ourselves in a gigantic mess. Hardly a day goes by without a news story about "superbugs"—multi-drug resistant bacteria, and how difficult it is to kill them.

This will only get worse. Bacterial resistance is a one-way street. Once an antibiotic stops working against a particular pathogen, it will not work again. 

But, thanks to an unexpected observation, finding new antibiotics may be a whole lot easier, because, in a Nature paper, chemist Michele Richter and colleagues at the University of Illinois tell us what to look at and what to avoid. This one is mighty strange, but it could also be exceedingly...

A new article in JAMA isn't going to make either knee specialists or their patients very happy. And that "cortisone shot" you're scheduled to get? Might want to reschedule that until... never, thanks to this article: "Effect of Intra-articular Triamcinolone vs. Saline on Knee Cartilage Volume and Pain in Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis A Randomized Clinical Trial." The paper pretty much closes the door on the controversy that has surrounded steroid injections. Not only did they not help, but they may have even made arthritis worse.  

In a two-year randomized control trial, patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were given injections of either ...

The decision to undergo gastric band surgery is a difficult one in itself to make. But findings from a new study have now made that decision even tougher, because an additional surgery – or two, or three, or more – may also be necessary.

Nearly 1 in 5 morbidly obese patients who underwent the weight-reduction surgery were forced to have another operation to correct problems related to the initial surgery, states the authors of a paper published today in the journal JAMA Surgery. Among the malfunctions are incidents when the band that wraps around the stomach slips, or the band erodes into the stomach itself.

The study involved more than 25,000 Medicare beneficiaries who opted for a gastric band operation between 2006 and 2013. Researchers discovered that...

Without fail, when the topic of water birth resurfaces in the media it is often done so irresponsibly. The latest recurrence doesn’t fail to disappoint.

Fox News Health just published an article “What it’s really like to have a home water birth” that was originally featured in Women’s Health. Though acknowledging the practice is “controversial,” it neglects to showcase that when negative outcomes take place they have ranged from significant to catastrophic. Among them is a case I published in Neoreviews of a near drowning of an infant via water birth— a few teaspoons inhaled...