Research

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I just did one of those continuing medical education courses — in psychiatry, my very own field no less. It says that people who get a bout of depression are twice as likely to get a bout of back pain. What I read is a meta-analysis.  That means some clever person who probably needed the publication on his (or her) resume did a statistical (and critical) analysis of research other people did. This a noble attempt to asymptotically approach “the Truth and the Light” on a subject. It is also a delightfully erudite way to do research and get a publication without using a lot of time and money that the author had to scrape up.

Look, the relationship between depression and low back pain is something I have seen from every imaginable angle. As a neurosurgeon, it did not take me terribly long to figure out that surgery was not a very good solution for back pain. Of course, we rigorously restricted ourselves to operating focalized sciatica.  Cases where we could reasonably infer that an intervertebral disc seemed to be compressing a distinct (lumbar) nerve root that formed part of the sciatic nerve (plexus) that descended from the spinal cord to the leg and foot. There was the physical examination.  If someone were lying flat on his (more rarely, her) back and their straight leg was raised toward the ceiling, pain would appear on a trajectory anatomically consistent with one of those nerves. This was the sign of Laseque.  And we took it to be as solid as money in the bank. Read more on Depression and Low Back Pain…

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I find a lot of things I like in the New York Times. This article resonated with me as few others. First, there is the purpose of the human profiled.  Changing medicine into data science?  God save us all.

Sometimes I feel the best thing I do for a patient is to be human.  Just to have the pretension (a pretension which I do not take lightly) of being one human being in a room with another human being, trying to make them feel better.  This does more, I think, to make most of my patients “better” than all of the pills I have spent years studying about. All those years studying normative use of medications on large populations of humans.  And they work enough to please the powers that be.

Read more on Human Beings Are Not Computers…

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If you were alive and in America in 1971, you probably heard John Denver sing “Take Me Home Country Roads.”

The lyrics start:

“Almost heaven, West Virginia…”

Read more on Almost Heaven West Virginia …

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“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

Read more on Remembering The Words Of Anne Frank…

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Sleep is a complex function.  it is not just biological, but also psychological and social. Your “daily residue;” everything that happened at work or whatever that day, combines with past traumas (which may have been dragged around since childhood) to create what may be disturbing dreams. Read more on Ways I Get Patients Off Of Sleeping Pills…

Filed under News, Research, Sleep by on . Comment#

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I was about three years old when I enjoyed tending our backyard with her.  I had been a marvel to her, since she was a little girl, earning her keep as an agricultural worker in the Ukraine, it what was then known as Russia.

Read more on What You Eat Makes You Who You Are (Smart!)…

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You’ve seen me write about EMPowerPlus many times. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to conduct independent research on this about ten years ago and I use it extensively with my private practice patients.

Read more on No More “Bye-Bye Brain Cells”…

Filed under Alternative Medicine, Brain, News, Research by on . Comment#

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The easiest ways to spot trends is to age. Not that I noticed I was aging.  Somebody pointed out to me I should be a “poster child” for senior citizens.  This left me a bit confused, since I did not notice I had become one. Gevalt!  I am 64, which means in one more year, I will become eligible for Medicare. Better check my pulse. Read more on Maybe You CAN Fool Mother Nature…

Filed under Aging, News, Research by on . Comment#

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Research marches on.

I have more than one patient now, and many patients in the past, who are women whose men have cheated on them.  It has run from the one night stand to the entire family kept elsewhere in the state or nation, unknown to these long-suffering women, who invariably come to me more than a little bit depressed.

I have been sometimes asked ahead of time if and how a woman can avoid this.  For many years I have been recommending pre-marital evaluations to friends as well as patients.  Many years ago women were shocked and shrugged their shoulders.  I was “ruining” romance.  I always told them that it was their call how they chose to live life.

Read more on You Can Change Your Jeans But Not Your Genes…

Filed under Family, News, Psychology, Research by on . Comment#

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I have been friendly with and received referrals from homeopaths. and taken care of patients who have sung the praises of that art.  Since I am known to most folks as an “alternative physician,” this is understandable.  All homeopaths have been gentle folks, and I supposed that they were doing people good, in some way, be it placebo or something else.  I had no reason to fight them. I cannot remember ever actually referring someone to a homeopath.  Some people have told me it did not work for them.  And even though I use alternative methods,  I do things that are scientifically proven to my satisfaction.

I have never told anyone to stop seeing a homeopath who was helpful to them.  I decide on the basis of safety and efficacy for every treatment, as best I can.  Even if I sometimes have wondered about efficacy, I will admit. But for safety, homeopathy is off the charts.  I know of no down-side. I remember looking at the “dilution” level of the remedies.  In general, they are so dilute that they could not possibly have any of the “substance” that was used to make them, not even a molecule.

Read more on The Current State of Homeopathy…