Class Act

Hirudotherapy: An Ugly Means of Avoiding Uglier Outcomes

January 22, 2016
Hirudotherapy: An Ugly Means of Avoiding Uglier Outcomes

By Jonathan Bekisz

Peer Reviewed

“Do you want to see something gross? Go into the soiled utility room and check out what’s in the jar.” Never one to pass on the opportunity to “see something gross,” I poked my head in and examined the tiny glass jar that sat on the counter. Living up to its billing, within the container sat about a half dozen leeches. Contrary to my assumption that any role these segmented worms had in the field of medicine went away with …

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The Quest for the HIV Vaccine: Are We Closer Than We Think?

January 20, 2016
The Quest for the HIV Vaccine: Are We Closer Than We Think?

By Amar Parikh, MD 

Peer Reviewed

Amidst the global panic over the recent Ebola outbreak, another well-known pathogen that has been devastating the world for decades continues to smolder—the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2013 there were 35 million people worldwide living with HIV, 2.1 million of who were newly infected that year . HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of nearly 40 million people to date, with 1.5 million people dying from AIDS in 2013 alone. Although highly …

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Lies My Patients Told Me: “I Take My Medications Every Day.”

January 15, 2016
Lies My Patients Told Me: “I Take My Medications Every Day.”

By Rebecca Sussman

Peer Reviewed

Reviewing medical evidence has become such a habit that sometimes it feels almost impossible to think independently. I’ve always been a top-down thinker; I go with my gut instinct, and then look for the evidence to support my assessment.

The problem is that very often it feels like what patients need most is not the precision of a particular etiology or the selection of a medication that is perfectly and precisely tailored to their condition and comorbidities; what they need …

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Is It Time to Reconsider Who Should Get Metformin?

December 11, 2015
Is It Time to Reconsider Who Should Get Metformin?

By Lauren Strazzulla

Current FDA guidelines for the use of metformin stipulate that it not be prescribed to those with an elevated creatinine (at or above 1.5 mg/dL for men and 1.4 mg/dL for women). It is also contraindicated in patients with heart failure requiring pharmacologic treatment, and people over age 80, unless their creatinine demonstrates that renal function is not reduced. These guidelines are in place to prevent lactic acidosis, an understandably feared complication of metformin. However, metformin is, by consensus, the initial drug …

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Supporting Evidence

October 30, 2015
Supporting Evidence

By: Amy Ou

During a weekend off at my parents’ home, the subject of this chronic cough that I had developed for the entirety of the winter season came up. My mother, noticeably more concerned about it than I, asked: “Did you get a flu shot? Did you get your cough after you got your flu shot? You know this happened when you were little, right? I just don’t know about those flu shots, I think they have some bad side effects. Your dad and …

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HDL Quantity, Necessary But Not Sufficient For Cardioprotection

September 30, 2015
HDL Quantity, Necessary But Not Sufficient For Cardioprotection

By Kerrilynn Carney, MD

Peer Reviewed

Coronary heart disease remains the leading cause of death globally despite the use of statin therapy. Although major statin studies suggest an average 31% reduction in relative risk of coronary events, a residual risk of 69% remains to be addressed. (1) The search for a medical therapy to ameliorate residual risk has become the holy grail of cardiologists and pharmaceutical companies alike. While high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (HDL) independently predict cardiovascular disease risk, interventions to raise circulating HDL levels …

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There’s an App for That: Fitness Apps and Behavior Change Theory

September 18, 2015
There’s an App for That: Fitness Apps and Behavior Change Theory

By Alyson Kaplan

Peer Reviewed

According to recent reports by the CDC, more than one-third (78.6 million) of American adults are obese. Approximately 17% (12.7 million) of children and adolescents ages 2-19 also meet criteria for obesity . Obesity-related health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and stroke are among the leading causes of preventable death. Yet, obesity is not the sole contributor to these diseases. Other health risk behaviors, including smoking, alcohol abuse, and lack of physical activity all interact to …

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The Great Marijuana Debate – Effects on Psychosis and Cognition

August 13, 2015
The Great Marijuana Debate – Effects on Psychosis and Cognition

By Kristina Cieslak, MD

Peer Reviewed 

The heavily debated gradual decriminalization and legalization of marijuana will likely result in easier access for all ages. An informed debate has been stymied, however, by a lack of prospective data examining the various long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain, particularly among adolescents who use it heavily. This year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) initiated the “National Longitudinal Study of the Neurodevelopmental Consequences of Substance Use.” This study will follow a large cohort of children …

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Chronicles of a Second Year Medical Student

August 6, 2015
Chronicles of a Second Year Medical Student

By Matthew Siow

Peer Reviewed 

Day 1 of the medicine rotation: complete. I was on long call today, which meant three things. One, the hours during which I had to pretend I knew something were longer. Two, I saw a lot of things I had never seen before, from more common things like COPD exacerbations and acute pancreatitis to more obscure things like erythrodermic psoriasis and multiple brain abscesses. And third, it’s 8 PM and I am absolutely exhausted.

As I lie down and start …

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Morbidity & Mortality for James A. Garfield – A Book Review of “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President” by Candice Millard

July 31, 2015
Morbidity & Mortality for James A. Garfield – A Book Review of “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President” by Candice Millard

By David Kudlowitz, MD

Peer Reviewed 

Last December, an unremitting sore throat led President Barack Obama to see an ENT. When the fiberoptic exam revealed soft tissue swelling in his throat, his physicians ordered a CAT scan. After a 28-minute visit to Walter Reed Hospital and a normal imaging study, he was diagnosed with acid reflux.   It is likely that the president’s doctors were acting in an overabundance of caution. Unfortunately, President Obama is not the first American president to get superfluous medical care. For …

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The Role of Fish Oil in Arrhythmia Prevention

July 29, 2015
The Role of Fish Oil in Arrhythmia Prevention

By Steven Bolger

Peer Reviewed

Omega-3 fatty acids were first identified as a potential agent to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease through several epidemiologic studies of the Greenlandic Inuit in the 1970s suggesting that high consumption of fish oil was associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease . Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), that have been shown to be beneficial in treating hypertriglyceridemia and in the secondary prevention of cardiac events .

The GISSI-Prevenzione trial, …

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UV Nail Lamps and Cancer: A Correlation?

July 24, 2015
UV Nail Lamps and Cancer: A Correlation?

By Jennifer Ng, MD

Peer Reviewed 

Beauty and suffering are often thought to be intertwined.  It is hard to have your cake and eat it too.  In the quest for beauty, women (and men) have subjected themselves to toxic and potentially deadly practices, such as applying lead-based cosmetics to whiten their faces historically , or more recently, going to tanning beds and/or laying out in the sun for prolonged periods to get a “healthy glow.”  As we have become increasingly health-conscious and vigilant, more and …

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