Diagnosis

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Natural treatment of obsessionality. “Estelle, you’re such a little worrier.  Yes you are.” When I was little, I never understood why my Auntie Charlotte always addressed me this way.  I did know that my family had “adopted” her which seemed to give her the right to “adopt” me.  Her orthodox Jewish family had rejected her because she wanted to marry a guy who had been married before, even though he was very Jewish. I was not supposed to know or care about such things.  But I did know she was the first person in my life to tell me I worried too much about things that didn’t need worrying about.

Read more on Obsessions…

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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 is hard for me to digest the events of July 14 in Nice, France, as I feel especially close to them.

I was present at seven such annual patriotic ceremonies during my tenure as a student of medicine in a French government facility.  I loved the street-fair atmosphere, where I sang at the top of my lungs and danced with a whole heart.

As a medical student in government service, a terrorist attack would have mobilized me into service of France, a nation I can only love, which gave me a medical education essentially free of charge, asking only for me to prove on an exam that I had what it takes.

I wear a tiny Eiffel Tower around my neck — I stroke it as I write. Read more on Terrorism In Nice…

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Every honest and complete psychiatric evaluation includes screening for delusions. A delusion is a strongly held belief that is totally without basis in the factual reality that we all use to live our daily lives. I have taken care of several people, institutionalized and not, who have had such beliefs.  Medications known as “antipsychotics” can be very effective on the hallucinations — the hearing voices and seeing things and such — that are the hallmark of a lack of mental “normalcy” as is generally expected and accepted in the community. The same medications may be less effective on these delusions, these beliefs.  Sometimes, in a particular kind of delusion, a kind that hits folks somewhere between 18 and 90 (average age 40) where there are no hallucinations, just beliefs.  They are less frequent.  They are also hard to treat, with antipsychotic medicines working maybe about half the time — in those who can actually be convinced to take them. Read more on Screening For Delusions…

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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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I grew up with the Reader’s Digest, although I do not think that was what my parents had in mind.

I was a very early reader. I had the activity pretty much nailed by the time I was three. I could even do phonetic “sounding out” of words, as well as the obsessional “dictionary searching” that I now do on line. I also had an obsessional interest in books intended for “bigs.”

The Reader’s Digest, to which my parents had some kind of a lifetime subscription or something, was consistently to be found on top of my mother’s bedside table — which had actually been her old “hope chest.”  I would “borrow” the current copy of the Reader’s Digest in the morning when they were still asleep, and generally return it before they would wake.

I will admit I had promised them to ask about anything I did not understand, but I have no memory of ever having to do so. Read more on Facial Diagnosis…

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This story found me in the headlines: Colts’ Jim Irsay discusses addiction.” I had never heard of and would not have been able to cite the name of the owner of the Baltimore Colts. I certainly am no fan of professional football.  I have reviewed recent problems in other posts. It seems to me that football — seemingly more than other sports — breaks brains, heads, bones and lives and may foster drug addiction to boot. Read more on Baltimore Colts Owner Jim Irsay – Too Rich To Need Help?…

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There are rich stories of human suffering all around us couched in terms of financial crisis – stories we encounter in our news media, in the streets and even in our own families.

Nevertheless things are getting worse all the time and I have been in the middle of the battle on the same losing side as the mental health patients.

I have been in the middle of mass human suffering which nobody seems to have the power to alleviate.  For many years, as the situation worsens, I have done what I could.  I have been on every front of the battle known to me and accessible to me – in community mental health centers, the VA, state prisons and private, for-profit, insurance-driven treatment centers. Read more on The Cost Of Not Caring…