Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

By:  Sasha Klemawesch, MD Scientists have known for a while that optimists tend to enjoy better health, and recently, a BU study came out reemphasizing just that.  Their research followed a large and varied group of people for more than a decade, and found that those with the sunniest dispositions lived 11 to 15% longer than their negative counterparts! And the results held even when they accounted for chronic diseases, socioeconomic status, smoking, et al; a Positive Mental Health Attitude…

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Ligelizumab

Ligelizumab

Ligelizumab is a “next generation” humanized monoclonal antibody to IgE.  It was designed to be a “better mousetrap” to treat people with severe chronic urticaria.  Chronic urticaria (recurrent hives) is fairly common, occurring in 1 case per 200 people.  In most cases it can be controlled with oral medications primarily in the form of antihistamines.   Many people gain control with a single H1 receptor antihistamine such as Allegra or Zyrtec.  Some patients require the addition of an H2 receptor…

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Hatfield’s and McCoy’s

Hatfield’s and McCoy’s

The “stolen pig” that set-in motion the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud may have been (excuse the pun) a scapegoat for the underlying medical condition that probably caused all the anger.   Because of rural family dynamics and inbreeding among relatives it seems many of these people, especially the McCoy’s may have suffered from a genetic disease, von Hippel-Lindau, that causes tumors on the adrenal glands called pheochromocytoma.   The adrenal glands are a normal part of our adaption to…

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Dear Dr. K – I heard that there is a new drug to treat flu. Is that true? And, does it work?

Dear Dr. K – I heard that there is a new drug to treat flu. Is that true? And, does it work?

Yes, and yes.  The new drug is Xofluza and it is the first flu drug with a new mechanism of action to come along in 20 years.  It is (hold on to your hat) a polymerase acidic endonuclease inhibitor, (PAEI).  PAEI is essential for the viral RNA messenger that allows the flu virus to replicate itself.  By shutting down viral replication, it shuts down the infection.  It is effective for both influenza A and B.   The only other available…

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Post-Lyme Disease

Post-Lyme Disease

Some compelling research on Lyme disease was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.  The focus for the research was to try and elucidate the reason that in some patients with Lyme disease they continue to have symptoms despite prompt and appropriate treatment with antibiotics.  It turns out to be caused by post-infection inflammation caused by ongoing immune response against part of the bacteria.   Lyme disease is caused by the tick born bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. …

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Q – Tips: appendix

Q – Tips: appendix

Researchers at Duke University have discovered a new and important function for the appendix. It turns out that the appendix contains special “nurturing” immune cells that protect the healthy gut bacteria.  Thus, when people suffer severe diarrheal illness the “sheltered bacteria” can be a healthy source to repopulate the colon.

Q – Tips: fire ant venom

Q – Tips: fire ant venom

Not to be outdone by Duke, scientists at Emory have discovered two beneficial aspects of a protein in fire ant venom: solenopsin. This protein helps human skin maintain its resilient barrier function and may be useful in people experiencing thinning and easy bruisability of the skin.  Solenopsin also seems to have anti-cancer properties and may provide a mechanism to lessen skin cancers.

Q – Tips: PPI’s and Cough

Q – Tips: PPI’s and Cough

If you were prescribed a PPI for chronic reflux-induced-cough, but aren’t seeing any results, be patient. PPI’s will alleviate heartburn sensation within a few days, but they can take up to a month to do the same for a cough.  This is because your throat takes time to heal and repair itself from the acid injury.  So, don’t start looking for another cause of your cough until at least a month has elapsed.

Q – Tips: Reflux and laparoscopic surgery

Q – Tips: Reflux and laparoscopic surgery

Speaking of reflux, the New England Journal of Medicine just published a research project on people with “refractory” heart burn. The patients studied were people with severe reflux that weren’t adequately controlled using PPI’s.   One group was given a second medicine: Baclofen, a muscle relaxer, the other group had laparoscopic surgery called fundoplication.  The surgical group had a much better resolution of their symptoms.

Too much of a good thing (aka – Doctors make the worst patients)

Too much of a good thing (aka – Doctors make the worst patients)

By:  Sasha Klemawesch, MD   Like many Americans, I go on and off “health kicks”.  You know, periods of time when you’re exercising, eating right and “doing everything you’re supposed to”.  On my most recent one, I decided I should start supplementing my diet with vitamins, calcium, iron, etc.  The problem is, they make those dang gummies so tasty!  For several weeks I was taking 2-3 times the recommended amount every day, and I couldn’t figure out why I had…

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