Class Act

Music Therapy: The Art of Healing

July 10, 2013
Music Therapy: The Art of Healing

By Chelsey Forbess, MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

United States congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head over two years ago on January 8, 2011. She was reported to be in critical condition, surviving a bullet that entered her posterior cranium, coursed through her left hemisphere, and finally exited above her left orbit. ABC News reported just a few months after her injury that the congresswoman was already finding ways to communicate, despite permanent and significant damage to her speech center. Through the use of …

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Primary Care for the Transgender Population

June 26, 2013
Primary Care for the Transgender Population

By Ishita Aggarwal

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Ms. B is a 60-year-old female transsexual patient with a past medical history of asthma who presented to the clinic with a dry cough. While at first glance I had not questioned that she was a woman, as I continued the interview I noticed her broad shoulders and masculine hands. Not having worked with transgender or transsexual patients before, as I was gathering her medical history I found myself consciously trying to use the correct pronoun in addressing her …

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Is There Evidence to Support a Vegetarian Diet in Common Chronic Diseases?

June 20, 2013
Is There Evidence to Support a Vegetarian Diet in Common Chronic Diseases?

By Christopher Graffeo

Faculty Peer Reviewed

In the age of prevention, primary care is more empowered than ever to educate patients on reducing their risk for common chronic diseases by promoting behavior modifications early in the natural history. In the clinic, this means a focus on hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes—risk factors that play synergistic roles in causing a wide array of diseases with tremendous morbidity and mortality. Given the large number of risk factors that co-exist for so many patients, astute clinicians are aiming for …

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Too Much of a Good Thing: The Evidence Behind the Need for a Bisphosphonate Holiday

May 9, 2013
Too Much of a Good Thing: The Evidence Behind the Need for a Bisphosphonate Holiday

By Jenna Piccininni

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Bisphosphonates are a relatively new medication having only been approved to treat osteoporosis in the US since 1995 . In addition, large placebo controlled trials have, at most, 10 years of follow-up data. Thus, there are still questions regarding the long-term use of these agents. There are a few well-established side effects of bisphosphonates including rare osteonecrosis of the jaw and more common esophageal irritation. However, several more recent case reports suggest a correlation between prolonged bisphosphonate use and …

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Health Care: Do Celebrities Know Best?

April 25, 2013
Health Care: Do Celebrities Know Best?

By Emma Gorynski

Faculty Peer Reviewed

The power that celebrities have over Americans is undeniable. We look to them for guidance on what to listen to, what to wear, and even what to name our children. Celebrities even affect the decisions we make about our own health care. With the increasing popularity of direct-to-consumer advertising, celebrities are promoting pharmaceuticals and other health-related products.

Is there a role for celebrities in health advocacy? On one hand, celebrities can increase public awareness of medical conditions and encourage …

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Did Abraham Lincoln Have Marfan Syndrome?

April 19, 2013
Did Abraham Lincoln Have Marfan Syndrome?

By Anna Krigel

Faculty Peer Reviewed

The iconic image of Abraham Lincoln is ubiquitous in our lives, from his small face on the penny to his large figure looming over the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Lincoln fascinates historians because of his significant role in American history when our nation was bitterly divided, but he intrigues physicians because of his remarkable stature. A reporter once described the 16th president as a “tall, lank, lean man considerably over six feet in height with stooping shoulders, long …

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Have a Cow? How Recent Studies on Red Meat Consumption Apply to Clinical Practice

April 12, 2013
Have a Cow? How Recent Studies on Red Meat Consumption Apply to Clinical Practice

By Tyler R. McClintock

Faculty Peer Reviewed

“Red Meat Kills.” “Red Meat a Ticket to Early Grave.” “A Hot Dog a Day Raises Risk of Dying.” Such were the headlines circulating in popular press last year when the Annals of Internal Medicine released details of an upcoming article out of Frank Hu’s research group at the Harvard School of Public Health . Analyzing long-term prospective data from two large cohort studies, researchers found that individuals who ate a serving of unprocessed red meat each day …

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The Effect of Bariatric Surgery on Incretin Hormones and Glucose Homeostasis

April 4, 2013
The Effect of Bariatric Surgery on Incretin Hormones and Glucose Homeostasis

By Michael Crist

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Until recently, little thought was given to the important role played by the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum in glucose homeostasis. The involvement of the gut in glucose regulation is mediated by the enteroinsular axis, which refers to the neural and hormonal signaling pathways that connect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract with pancreatic beta cells. These pathways are largely responsible for the increase in insulin that occurs during the postprandial period. In 1964 McIntyre and colleagues first reported the phenomenon of …

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How to Get Your Patient a Kidney

September 28, 2012
How to Get Your Patient a Kidney

By Ilina Datkhaeva

Faculty Peer Reviewed

We give hope to patients with advanced kidney disease that a transplant will save them from their Monday, Wednesday, Friday trips to the dialysis unit. But how certain are we that they even qualify to be a recipient? And if they do, are they going to live long enough to get their new lease on life?

Kidney donation has received its fair share of publicity recently, from the allocation of organs to illegal immigrants to Good Samaritans starting a …

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What Is Andropause? Is Testosterone Supplementation the Answer in Older Men?

September 20, 2012
What Is Andropause?  Is Testosterone Supplementation the Answer in Older Men?

By Kylie Birnbaum

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Women have long bemoaned menopause and its physiological, psychological, and sexual effects. Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy has provided relief for symptomatic women. Less attention is paid to men, who also experience declines in their sex hormones. Decreased testosterone may explain many symptoms experienced by elderly men, such as poor sexual function and libido, decreased bone mineral density, fatigue, and decreased muscle mass and strength. Should physicians treat elderly men with testosterone replacement therapy?

Late-onset hypogonadism, or “andropause,” is the …

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Vancomycin Resistance in Staphylococcus Aureus: A Dangerous Dent in Our Armamentarium?

September 13, 2012
Vancomycin Resistance in Staphylococcus Aureus: A Dangerous Dent in Our Armamentarium?

By Bryan Stierman

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Staphylococcus aureus, first discovered in the 1880s, is one of the most widespread human pathogens. It is also a commensal organism, with about 20% of the population permanently colonized and 60% of the population intermittently colonized. There is a wide variety of potential diseases that may develop when S aureus further invades the body, necessitating the use of antibiotics. Since the introduction of antibiotics into clinical practice, S aureus has developed unique ways to combat them. The evolution of …

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Atherosclerosis

August 17, 2012
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Atherosclerosis

By Michael Malone

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been popularized in recent years as beneficial nutrients with cardioprotective effects. Omega-3 PUFAs are so named because of a double bond between the 3rd and 4th carbon of the polycarbon chain. They are “poly-unsaturated” with hydrogen atoms, as their carbon chains contain multiple double bonds. Three omega-3 long chain PUFAs are typically discussed in the context of medical therapy, the first being alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an essential precursor omega-3 …

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