Disease

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Anaphylaxis is frightening — it can and does kill people. It is an acute allergic reaction that affects about 0.5  to 2% of the population, at some point in life, and the frequency seems to be rising as we speak. Symptoms include hives and itches and swelling, which about 20% of the time can affect the upper breathing system and close the windpipe.

In theory any substance that is not included as part of the body can cause it.  I have heard about it being caused by bee stings, snake bites, foods and drugs and such. I have actually treated people for post-traumatic stress disorder caused by an allergic attack.  It is a serious stress to find your windpipe closing up and not know why. The lifesaving immediate emergency treatment is injected epinephrine (adrenaline) and getting the victim to a medical center to follow up with antihistamine and steroids as needed. My own allergies have given me some weird things over the years — lots of positive skin tests.  I used to suffer through “desensitization” protocols — allergen injections that made me sick, and prize-winning hay fever attacks. Read more on The EpiPen Mess and How To Work Around It…

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I was chatting with an M.D. woman friend, and told her my medications and my natural supplements and herbs and my “numbers” — my blood sugar and my blood pressure — when I still was convinced that I had those things.

My blood sugar was 120 mg/dL. My blood pressure with medications was around 140/85.

She surprised me with her reaction. Read more on What The Heck Has Happened To Medicine?…

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The ketogenic diet is a high-fat content diet in which carbohydrates are nearly eliminated so that the body has minimal dietary sources of glucose. After depleting carbs consumed in food, the body metabolizes body fat, converting it to glucose — which is the true fuel of the body and especially the brain. However the metabolized fat also produces ketones, which are the most efficient fuel for the body and brain. The ketogenic diet has been in clinical use for over 80 years, primarily for the symptomatic treatment of epilepsy.

Read more on Neuroprotective and Disease-Modifying Effects of the Ketogenic Diet…

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It’s not that I don’t like folks who grow grains.  I mean, I am related to some wonderful folks who grow wheat for a living, who are on my husband’s side of the family. I’ve been to their church bazaars and eaten their jello molds.

In France, I went to medical school at Amiens in the Somme, the breadbasket of France, and I took care of lots of stalwart folks who grew wheat for a living. Read more on Dump the Breadbasket and Turn That Food Pyramid on its Point…

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He was just 18. He had been followed by child psychiatry with a diagnosis of depression. He had long refused to take any pills.  As far as this poor, agricultural county was concerned, I was just seeing him so I could bill MediCal and fatten up the county coffers. The previous psychiatrists had simply noted he was depressed, was not suicidal, and refused any participation in his own treatment.

He was a young man of few words, with a common Hispanic name.  He sat there and twirled one of his lush curls. It became pretty obvious he wasn’t going to give me a complete history.  He said he would never take pills, not ever. To his credit, he did say I could talk to his mother, if I wanted to, but he had to be in the room and hear what she said. Someone brought her to me, from the waiting room.  She spoke only Spanish; fine with me. I learned my Spanish mostly from my patients, who in that time and place could rarely communicate well in either Spanish or English. His mother was charming, really grateful that I wanted to talk to her. She kept complimenting my clothes and elegance. I told her it was all thrift shop.  I doubt she believed me. Read more on Diagnosis From The Guts…

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Okay, so my Continuing Medical Education Provider gave me every imaginable disclaimer on this one.

Abstracts at a meeting, so the demands were not as rigorous as for published articles. There could be confounding factors. A British study; maybe they aren’t wired the same way us yanks are. People who take a nap of at least a half hour during the day have lower blood pressure 4 mm. lower 24 hr. average systolic than folks who don’t. Espresso, on the other hand, raises blood pressure. This study was done on Italians.  Are they wired like us? Drinking enough espresso may also be increasing the incidence of type 2 diabetes, by some kind of an effect on long term glucose (sugar) metabolism. Read more on Helpful Hints From A Former Caffeine Fiend…

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I found this one in the general plumbing of news that is the delight of the internet.

If someone in the U.K. thinks that DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) is safe, then somebody is clearly worried that it is not.

Mosquitoes are very dangerous, and DEET is one of the most powerful ways we have to get rid of mosquitoes. Read more on Deet As An Insecticide…

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Can you die from a tattoo?  You betcha.

I never looked very closely at the literature since getting tattoos on your body is against Jewish law.  I remember from Jewish Religious school when I was quite young, having it reamed into y poor little noggin along with a bunch of other stuff, that when God came for the resurrection of the flesh, not only was it a really good idea that you had a little bit of earth from the land of Israel in your pocket (in Boston, tiny sacks of such alleged origin were overpriced at best) but there had to be no, absolutely no, placed-there-on-purpose marks on your body.  It would be really bad because you wanted God to know you were the right (strictly Kosher) Jewish body.

Somehow, it seemed to be possible to get by with a scar.  I figured it was because if you had an accident, an omniscient God would know about it anyway. Read more on Death By Tattoo…

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I remember the first time I saw a young patient with older person’s diseases.  I was in a public clinic, not far from the industrial waterfront in California.  She was 24 years old, weighed 380 pounds, had already had what she claimed was a “slight” heart attack.  She had type 2 diabetes which I thought was virtually impossible to get at such a tender age.  She was able to do little other than to shrug her shoulders.  She said something about health problems having been in her family.  Me, the only thing I could think of was that I was only through 3 years of so of a seven year medical school at her age.  I was quite overweight, but if I had been struck with her degree of obesity or her medical problems, I don’t think I would have had the stamina to get by.  Sure enough, she was neither working nor going to school.  When you are an adolescent, you think you are going to be strong and healthy forever.  I remember looking at patients and never thinking I would be as ill as they were. I remember seeing patients in intensive care in comas, never thinking for a moment that I would have three of them in my life before I was able to figure out the hereditary metabolic that had caused them. Read more on Patients Avoiding Hospitals and Doctors…

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Back in France, when I wished there were more hours in the day to study, two female Mormon missionaries showed up at my door.  They tried to get inside, wanting to assimilate me to that religion.  I had not yet developed the method of chasing Mormon missionaries that I used years later, when we lived in Palm Springs.  I took the bus and the Mormon missionaries would nail me at the bus stop.  I did not want to run away and miss the bus, so I yelled “Devil get thee behind me” in English and numerous Psalms in Hebrew.  This method worked quickly and efficiently for getting rid of many southern California Mormon missionaries.  This method has been replicated by me in numerous situations.

Back in France, I was less experienced.  I hit them with Genesis Chapter 3 verse 16; in French “Tu enfanteras avec douleur.”  I suppose I could have used the English standard version.  I basically convinced them not only that I knew my Old Testament pretty well, but that I had enough problems being female and a French medical student without being a Mormon.  The older of the two women, a preceptor guiding a young student, said the equivalent of “she knows Scripture; we better leave her alone,” and I hid my joy. Read more on Women’s Pains…

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