Giving Thanks for Health
On Thanksgiving Day we had a gathering of family and friends for a feast.
Before the meal we all prayed together and then one by one- old and young -answered the question. “What are we thankful for?” Read More
A can a day will keep fitness away
It’s 7th grade math. One 12 ounce can of soda has 150 calories. There are 365 days in a year. One can of soda per day will add 54,750 calories in a year (150 x 365). One pound of body fat has 3,500 calories. So, if one can of soft drink is added to a typical diet this will lead to 15.6 pounds (54,750/3500) of weight increase in a year. Read More
Aspirin the wonder drug
Have you ever wondered how the wonder drug works? What magic does aspirin have that allows it to reduce pain and fever, save 110,000 lives globally per year, save the muscles of the heart, and the working power of the brain? Read More
Canadian drugs for Seniors
My dad gets his beta blocker (high blood pressure medicine) from overseas, but my wife insists on carrying an entire course of antibiotics when we fly out of the country. Read More
Resistant Staph Infections Disguised as Spider Bites
Mrs. Scott insisted she had been bitten by a spider as she caressed a deep ulcer on her right thigh.”
“Did you see the spider?” I asked.
“No, but it looks like a spider bite” she said.
When we got the wound culture report back, we realized it was not a spider bite, but a new strain of a drug-resistant staphylococcus (commonly called staph) infection that had caused the infection. Read More
Covering my Behind
It is not the calls from patients or the hospitals that keep doctors awake at night, but it is the risk of a potential malpractice lawsuit. Read More
Fast Food Needs To Change Fast
We went to McAlister’s Deli for lunch last Saturday. As my daughter and I peered at the four columns of menu items above the counter, she noticed one column entitled “Vegetarian”. “Daddy, one-fourth of the meals are vegetarian”, she said. (She is learning fractions in her 5th grade class.) Read More
Forgiveness –it’s healthy for you
Many Christmas dinners have come and gone and you still have not talked with Uncle Stan. Since that heated family argument ten years ago, neither has apologized and neither has forgiven. Read More
Disease management program - a new strategy
Last Thursday I along with 20 other physicians met with Governor Bredeson for over an hour and a half. He was selling his TennCare reforms. Most of us listened. Some of us praised him. Some griped and others gave him new ideas, which he jotted down. Read More
Happiness and health – are they linked?
During morning rounds at the hospital I examine Mr. Jones. He had a lung transplant a year ago, and has made more visits to the hospitals than to the supermarket. Read More
Health report cards
This school year in addition to getting a scholastic report card on your child, imagine receiving a health report card, which would tell you how overweight or underweight your child is. If you lived in Cambridge Massachusetts, that would be the case. Read More
How healthy are our restaurant menus?
Last week we dined at a restaurant, we have been frequenting for the past 10 years. The young polite waiter asked for the order. I looked at the menu, then I paused and asked for something completely out of the ordinary. “Do you have a menu that lists the nutritional content of the items you serve?” Read More
How much to drink?
My wife is a drinker. She drinks 7-10 glasses each day – of water that is? She wants me to be like her, but I refuse. Read More
American Cancer Society Reaffirms the Benefits Of Mammography
If you are confused about the screening recommendations for a mammogram, you are not the only one – so are many doctors. A few months ago, the American Cancer Society updated its recommendations for breast cancer screening, hoping to iron out the controversies and make mammography the mainstay of breast cancer screening. Read More
Mark your calendar – Flu shot
On Monday you have a hair salon appointment, on Wednesday it’s dinner at Martha’s place and Friday morning is your flu shot appointment at the pharmacy. If the last appointment is missing you better mark your calendar. Read More
Medicare drug bill – a step towards privatization of Medicare
The Medicare legislation being voted on by Congress this week hopes to bring the greatest change to Medicare in its 40 year history. The plan is sure to effect our health, our pocket books, and the future of our health care industry in America. Read More
Meditation – not just for the mind!
As doctors we have a fairly sophisticated definition. Scientifically we define meditation “as stylized mental technique from … (Eastern Traditions)… repetitively practiced for the purpose of attaining a subjective experience that is frequently describes as very restful, silent and of heightened alertness, often characterized as blissful.” Read More
Memphis - First in Addressing Childhood Obesity
Who would have imagined that the first interactive national conversation on childhood obesity would begin in Memphis? Read More
Norfleet Forum- Focuses on Diabetes and Obesity
For several months I have been on the planning committee for the Norfleet Forum, which is an annual meeting in Memphis of health care providers, to be held on November 13-14. Read More
Only in America …dietary guidelines
Only in America do we order a big double cheese burger, large fries and a diet coke from the drive-through and the government tells us this is wrong. Read More
Patients and Family are Part of the Healthcare Team
Few weeks ago my wife, also a physician, and I attended a medical seminar on teamwork. A Navy pilot, Steve Harden, was teaching us teamwork skills from the aviation industry so that we could reduce medical errors in the healthcare setting. Read More
Feel the power of prayer
Last month I spoke to students at Rhodes College on “Does Prayer Really Work?”.
I am not a preacher or a pastor but a doctor. Why would a doctor be talking about prayer?
A controversy has brewed in the field of medicine- whether doctors should pray with their patients or encourage patients to pray to improve their health. Read More
The ballooning cost of prescription medications
Nearly 84% of the elderly take a prescription medication regularly. Each year we pay 10% to 17% more than the previous year for our medication, which is a rate higher than the rate of inflation and even higher than the overall rise in cost of healthcare. Read More
Remembering the mad cow disease epidemic of 1990s.
History repeats itself, and so do epidemics. Yet, over time we have become better prepared to handle epidemics. Read More
When patients and doctors don’t agree…
Mrs. Johnson refused to have her second leg amputated. She lay on the hospital bed with her one prosthetic leg leaning against the wall, the straps dangling; the dark skin of the prosthetic leg matched her skin color. The leg almost looked life like. Read More
“We should go to Africa for our next vacation.” said my friend.
“Africa?” I questioned. Imagining exotic diseases, I shuddered at the thought, while my friend was contemplating an open-jeep safari in the grasslands of Kenya racing a zebra. Read More
What to do – I got the flu?
You have a fever of 100 degrees and a runny nose, but you still manage to go to work. So you think you have the flu?
Nope. You don’t have the flu. Relax, it’s just a common cold. Read More
Education of mothers helps reduces infant mortality
Last week I along with several of my public health colleagues sat with Governor Bredesen during lunch.He pointed to us and asked “I need a simple message. Just as children we learned that ‘we must brush our teeth daily and visit the dentist,’ what message can I use to help reduce infant mortality in our state? "Read More
Herbal Therapy and the Common Cold
As a doctor I rarely recommend herbal or alternative therapy for the common cold to my patients, but as a parent I use it all the time. Why such different behaviors? Read More
Eating Soy Foods Can Reduce Bone Fractures
In our society soy foods do not get special preference, in fact some people find them disgusting. However, a recent study that showed that eating soy foods could protect us from getting bone fractures may change our minds. Read More
Cell Phones Don’t Cause Tumors, But They Do Cause Accidents
My brother called me several months ago and asked, “do you know if cell phones cause brain tumors?” He was calling from his cell phone with a hands free headset while driving.
“I don’t know.” I said, “but, I will look into it.”
Holiday Candies Expanding Waistlines
Each fall Halloween kicks off the candy eating season- still to come are Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines Day. By the end, an average American would have gained an extra pound of weight. Thought this may not seem much, we never shed this extra pound, and it accumulates through the years. Read More
New Orleans Last Week – Not Unlike Bombay Last Month
I was stranded overnight in a car and then waddled 5 miles through hip deep dirty brown water. This was not in New Orleans last week, but in Bombay, India a month ago when 38 inches of rain fell in one day (Memphis receives 48 inches in a year).Read More
Married adults live longer. but why?
I told my wife about a recent study, "Honey, married people live nearly
a decade longer than unmarried people."
She smiled. Then asked "Who.the married men or the women?'
"Both," I said. "The data from federal death records showed that
married men lived 10 years longer than divorced men and married women
lived 9 years longer than divorced women."
Guess who turned 40 this year?
Like it or not medicare is here to stay – infact there are many who advocate it as the insurance plan for all Americas who cannot insurance from their employees or self-insured. Now that would qualify for a mid-life crisis "Read More
Meningitis Vaccine for Teenagers
Our pediatrician poked a pen in my teenage daughter’s arm and said “That’s how much it will hurt, or I will give you ten dollars” He was talking about the meningitis vaccine Read More
Nonviolence Conference to Address Racial Disparities in Healthcare
If an African-American patient comes into a doctor’s office, does he get similar care compared with a Caucasian patient? Read More
When an epidemic becomes a pandemic
A few months ago, a hospital surveyor asked me. "As an infection control practitioner, what would keep you awake at night?"Read More
Patient’s Rights- Know Them and Exercise Them
Do patients have “needs” or do patients have “rights?” When I was in medical school - a couple of decades ago – we talked about patient’s needs. Today, the concept has matured to patient’s rights. In fact, in 1997 President Clinton signed a Patients Bill of Rights into law.Read More
New Vaccine Can Save ER Visits
Parents and pediatricians can add another vaccine to their laundry list (now at 15) of childhood vaccines. Oh no…another shot, that sounds painful. But wait, the new vaccine, RotaTeq, is an oral suspension given in 3 doses to babies younger than 8 months old.Read More
Addressing Obesity at a High-Tech Town Hall Meeting
An estimated 11 million people in Africa will die of famine this year. Approximately, two-thirds of all adults and one-third of all children in the United States are now overweight; of these, nearly 50% of adults and 16% of children are obese. Though, we live in an age of globalization, our world still has incredible contradictions. Read More
Summer is fun, but it isn’t without hazards. In fact, a surprising number of people become ill or are injured during the summer months. The good news is – summer diseases and injuries are preventable. Read More
www.mypyramid.gov – an awesome resource
It’s very likely that you have visited the new food pyramid website, www.mypyramid.gov. How do I know? Because, the site was clogged for several days after it’s unveiling, due to unprecedented network traffic Read More
The world is flatter and fatter
The obesity pandemic - slowly and silently - is killing more people in the world than the bird flu may ever kill. In United States alone, an estimated 300,000 individuals die annually from obesity and its complications such as diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer. According to the World Health Organization, globally, there are over 1 billion adults who are overweight (ten to thirty pounds over healthy weight) and 300 million of them are obese (thirty pounds over healthy weight). Read More
Diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Last week, at a breakfast meeting Governor Mike Huckabee spoke about his personal battle and victory over diabetes. As the talk was interesting, one fact stuck to our minds – “every 21 seconds someone new is diagnosed with diabetes.” Read More
Dehydration from Bright Lights and Bright Sun
When Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, the newly crowned Miss. Universe, fainted on stage, she was likely squeezed by her tight dress and dehydrated from the bright lights. Read More
Improving Care for Sepsis Patients
A visit to the hospital can be traumatizing. Even more traumatizing can be when the team of doctors and nurses are not coordinated in the recognition, diagnosis and management of a critical illness such as sepsis. Read More
Sticking to It
When Ms. Landers, a 30 year old HIV positive patient, comes to my office and is failing on her HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), I wonder why.
Is it because the medicines are not working and resistance has developed? Is it because there is drug-drug interaction with her medicines?
Time for a check up
The odometer on my Toyota Avalon just passed 100,000 and soon the “check engine” light went on. It was a reminder that I needed to take my car for routine servicing.
Thought it is annoying the “check engine” light is an “in the face” reminder of needed preventive services.
To eat or not to eat: Spinach
Last week while having dinner at a hospital board meeting at the Peabody, I wondered if I should eat the salad – especially the spinach.
It is hard to imagine that spinach, the food of Popeye-the sailor, could be more harmful than healthy, yet such is the case in today’s food industry.