Recognizing and treating disorders of gut-brain interaction
Dr. Freeman: “Mr. Vargas, great news on the biopsy results: all negative. It means the workup we have done, including imaging, blood work, and endoscopies, is all normal. You’re all set.” Mr. Vargas: “How can that be? I feel miserable!” What are disorders of gut-brain interaction? The clinical scenario above (names altered for privacy) is […]
Blood donations are down — so why restrict blood donors by sexual orientation?
The blood supply in the US is critically low. Donations dropped off so dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic that the American Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis. And since donated red blood cells only last about six weeks, supplies cannot be stockpiled in advance. A severe shortage could require difficult decisions about who […]
Even low-level air pollution may harm health
A new scientific report supports research suggesting that even low levels of pollution — well below the current national regulatory cutoffs — may harm our health. Outdoor air pollution stems largely from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil), which generate noxious gases, smog, and soot. Smog, which makes air look hazy, is created […]
Long-lasting healthy changes: Doable and worthwhile
I’ve been a physician for 20 years now, and a strong proponent of lifestyle medicine for much of it. I know that it’s hard to make lasting, healthy lifestyle changes, even when people know what to do and have the means to do it. Yet many studies and my own clinical experience as a Lifestyle […]
Primary progressive aphasia involves many losses: Here’s what you need to know
When you think about progressive brain disorders that cause dementia, you usually think of memory problems. But sometimes language problems — also known as aphasia — are the first symptom. What’s aphasia? Aphasia is a disorder of language because of injury to the brain. Strokes (when a blood clot blocks off an artery and a […]
What is alopecia areata and how is it managed?
Alopecia has been in the news recently. But what does it mean to have alopecia? Alopecia is a catch-all term that encompasses all types of hair loss. Hair loss is a common problem for many men and women, and most people will experience some type of hair loss during their lifetimes. Alopecia areata (AA) occurs […]
French fries versus almonds: Calorie for calorie, which comes out on top?
In a perfect world, indulging in a daily portion of French fries instead of almonds would be a simple choice, and no negative consequences would stem from selecting the salty, deep-fried option. But a Harvard expert says we should take the findings of a new study supporting this scenario with, er, a grain of salt. […]
Tick season is expanding: Protect yourself against Lyme disease
In parts of the United States and Canada, warming temperatures driven by climate change may be contributing to a rise in tick-borne illnesses. Ticks are now thriving in a wider geographic range, and appearing earlier and sticking around later in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. That means we need to stay vigilant about […]
Moving to wellness while practicing body neutrality
Most people want to feel energized and experience a sense of vitality. In the 1970s, Dr. John Travis created a spectrum of wellness, with illness on one side, a point of neutrality in the middle (when a person has no signs or symptoms of disease), and on the other side wellness. Wellness is a state […]
Repeating the story: What to expect in the emergency department
Hospitals across the country are still scrambling to recover from the toll of an ever-shifting pandemic. What does that mean if you wind up in an emergency department (ED) due to an illness or accident? What should you know and what can you expect? As an emergency medicine doctor at a large teaching hospital, here […]