Systems

West Nile Virus: Just How Bad Is It?

March 5, 2014
West Nile Virus: Just How Bad Is It?

By Julian Horwitz

Peer Reviewed

As of mid-August 2012, the CDC had reported 1118 cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infections and 41 related deaths, which, pro rata, made 2012 the most prolific year for WNV in the United States . Although West Nile’s classification as a public health crisis remains debatable, the lack of treatment and vaccination options make associated severe infections a real threat.

West Nile virus, a single-stranded RNA virus of the Flavivirus family, was first isolated in Uganda in 1937 .…

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The Yolk Or The Egg

February 27, 2014
The Yolk Or The Egg

By Nicole A. Lamparello, MD and Molly Somberg, MD, MPA

Peer Reviewed

You hear it wherever you eat, whether at the deli ordering a breakfast sandwich or at the diner for Sunday brunch, “Egg whites only, please.” For the last decade, there has been a strong movement toward avoiding egg yolks; instead people are opting for only the ‘healthier’ egg white when ordering or cooking their breakfast.

However, are egg whites truly ‘healthier’ than eating whole eggs? What is the basis for this decision being…

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An antidote on the horizon? An update on the progress toward achieving reversibility for the new oral anticoagulants

February 21, 2014
An antidote on the horizon? An update on the progress toward achieving reversibility for the new oral anticoagulants

By Gabriel Schneider, MD

Peer Reviewed

The new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are an appealing alternative to the burdensome vitamin K antagonists such as warfarin. These novel agents include direct thrombin inhibitors such as dabigatran (which inhibits thrombin) and factor Xa inhibitors such as rivaroxaban and apixaban (which prevent thrombin generation). Compared to warfarin, NOACs have fewer food and drug interactions, as well as a more predictable pharmacodynamic profile that serves to obviate the need for the frequent outpatient monitoring in most patients. In addition…

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Mammograms in the News, Yet Again

February 13, 2014
Mammograms in the News, Yet Again

By Miguel A. Saldivar, MD

Peer Reviewed

Mammograms are far from strangers to the paparazzi. It was only recently that a television news reporter from a prominent broadcasting company reluctantly agreed to have a mammogram performed on live television to promote breast cancer screening and help “save lives” . That same study diagnosed her with breast cancer, which was followed by the impressive statement from her physicians: “that mammogram just saved your life”. But over the last day or two several major newspapers are presenting…

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Should Beta-Blockers Be Used In The Setting Of Cocaine-Related Chest Pain?

February 5, 2014
Should Beta-Blockers Be Used In The Setting Of Cocaine-Related Chest Pain?

By Matthew A. Haber

Peer Reviewed

The following is a hypothetical example of a classic exam question that one might come across as a medical student:

A 50-year-old male presents to the emergency department with severe chest pain. His past medical history is significant for congestive heart failure and stent placement. His vitals are significant for a blood pressure of 220/110 and a heart rate of 170. On physical exam he appears to be profusely sweating, and his pupils are markedly dilated. Troponin I is…

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From The Archives: Forgoing the Fear: Contrast Nephropathy

January 30, 2014
From The Archives: Forgoing the Fear: Contrast Nephropathy

Please enjoy this post from the archives, dated June 15, 2011

By Mario V Fusaro, MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

There are certain laws in the universe that are just not meant to be broken.  One is gravity.  Another one is relativity.  The third, don’t give contrast to people with bad kidneys.   Perhaps the last one is not so much a law as something we seem to be terrified of doing.  While recently on service, I had a patient with unexplained right lower quadrant pain.  The…

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How Much Do We Know About HDL Cholesterol?

January 29, 2014
How Much Do We Know About HDL Cholesterol?

By Gregory Katz, MD

Peer Reviewed

As levels of HDL cholesterol increase, rates of heart disease go down. It’s this fact that has given HDL its reputation as the “good cholesterol,” serving a crucial role in reverse cholesterol transport. According to our models, HDL ferries cholesterol away from our arteries – where its buildup leads to heart disease and stroke – and back towards our liver, safely out of harm’s way. The epidemiology backs this up: people with higher levels of HDL tend to…

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Can Young Patients Get Diverticular Disease?

January 23, 2014
Can Young Patients Get Diverticular Disease?

By Aaron Smith, MD

Peer Reviewed

Case: A 35 year-old, overweight female presents to the emergency room with five days of left lower quadrant abdominal pain. The pain is 10/10 in severity and accompanied by nausea, bloating, and loss of appetite.

Diverticulosis, the presence of small colonic outpouchings thought to occur secondary to high pressure within the colon, is an extremely common condition in elderly patients. Recent data suggests that up to 50% of people over the age of 60 have colonic diverticula. When…

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From The Archives – The Hangover: Pathophysiology and Treatment of an Alcohol-Induced Hangover

January 16, 2014
From The Archives – The Hangover: Pathophysiology and Treatment of an Alcohol-Induced Hangover

Please enjoy this post from the archives, dated May 27, 2011

By Anthony Tolisano

Faculty Peer Reviewed

The sunlight forces its way into your eyes, stabbing at your cortex. Suddenly, a wave of nausea and diarrhea grips your stomach, threatening to evacuate its contents. You rush to the bathroom, tripping over the clothes that speckle your apartment. Your heart pounds inside your chest and your hands shake ever so subtly. Your mind is in a fog and the details of last night’s party are…

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Is it Time to Skip the Gym?

January 15, 2014
Is it Time to Skip the Gym?

By Robert Mocharla, MD

Peer Reviewed

No. Sorry. Despite such reasonable excuses as – “I forgot my iPod”, “It’s pouring rain”, or “Game of Thrones is on” — an exhaustive literature search will not reveal a shred of evidence that you or most of your patients should skip daily exercise. However, a subset of your patients should indeed be skipping workouts regularly. The group referred to consists of endurance athletes (e.g. cyclists, swimmers, long-distance runners, competitive athletes). While this may not describe the majority of…

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The Prevention of Post-ERCP Pancreatitis

January 10, 2014
The Prevention of Post-ERCP Pancreatitis

By Shivani K Patel, MD

Peer reviewed

A 61-year old male with chronic epigastric discomfort presented to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain radiating to his back. He had similarly presented and been hospitalized two weeks prior to this admission at an outside hospital, where he underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) with placement of a pancreatic duct stent. His pain initially improved, but quickly recurred after discharge. Admission labs showed only mild leukocytosis with slight elevation in serum lipase. Computed tomography (CT) of the…

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From The Archives: Fast Hearts and Funny Currents, Part 2: Is Tachycardia Part of the Problem in Heart Failure?

January 9, 2014
From The Archives: Fast Hearts and Funny Currents, Part 2: Is Tachycardia Part of the Problem in Heart Failure?

Please enjoy this post from the archives dated May 25, 2011

By Santosh Vardhana

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Please review Part 1 of this article here.

Mr. M is a 63-year old man with a history of coronary artery disease and systolic congestive heart failure (ejection fraction 32%) on lisinopril, metoprolol, and spironolactone who presents to the Adult Primary Care Center complaining of persistent dyspnea with exertion, two-pillow orthopnea, and severely limited exercise tolerance. His vital signs on presentation are T 98.0˚F, P…

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