National Public Radio (NPR) reported on a fascinating theory of Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London. He points out that we human beings all started out being unable to digest milk's dominant sugar, lactose, after childhood. In fact, most adult mammals do not drink milk. But 20,000 years ago, people of Northern and Central European descent and certain African and Middle Eastern populations began developing lactose tolerance. He theorizes that there was a strong natural selective pressure to allow those lactose tolerant genes to survive. Drinking milk was an advantage to our species.
Yes, you read it right. I said "Fecal Transplants". It may sound disgusting but there is increasing evidence that placing a healthy patient's feces inside the GI tract of a patient with Clostridium difficile gut infection may be the wave of the future. And it shows just how important our normal gut microbe flora is for good health. Here is how it works:
New information has come out on what works and what doesn't work for lateral epicondylitis...aka: tennis elbow. A new study published in JAMA will change how we have treated this condition for decades.
The baby boomers are strictly identified as being born between 1946-1964. The boom lasted 19 years and delivered 76 million total births. "Leading Edge" boomers were between 1946 and 1955. They were the generation that were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation that had ever lived. They were special and expected to have better lives than their parents.
Primary Care Blog
Medical training programs should take notice of a new study that was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. It listed the top ten reasons why people see a doctor. Keep in mind these were people who lived in Rochester and Olmsted County, Minnesota, but I suspect the conditions are not too different across the United States. As I review the main reasons patients visit me, it seems like they got the list right. Here are the conditions that bring people to visit the doctor:
The United States is higher in its use of computed tomography (CT) scans than any other industrialized country. There were about 3 million scans done in the U.S. in 1980. By 2007 that number had risen to 70 million. A number of articles published in medical journals over the past few years have reported that excess radiation delivered by these scans will cause cancer deaths in some patients they were meant to help. One study from The National Cancer Institute estimated there would be about 29,000 future cancers related to scans done in 2007 alone. Experts have estimated that as many as a third of all imaging exams do not help the patient or contribute to better outcomes. Let me repeat that:
According to a new study in JAMA, knee replacement surgery could reach 3.5 million a year by 2030 in the United States. Wonder why health costs are rising? We have new expensive technology that improves quality of life but may also break the Medicare bank!
I will start with full disclosure. I still use paper charts. While I think my practice of medicine is "uber"-up-to-date...the truth is it could be 1950 when you look at my patient records. Charts are huge and some patients I've seen for decades are on volume 3, just to make them manageable. So this very week I am coming on board with a full blown, state-of-the-art Electronic Health Record.
The end of August is West Nile Virus season in the United States and this year has been a bad one with the most reported infections and deaths from the disease. By August 30 there were a total of 1,590 cases nationally with 66 deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). That is a 40% rise in just one week!