It’s only been a little over fifty years since vaccinations became routine for the childhood killers like polio, measles, mumps and whooping cough.  People my age and older had no choice but to suffer through childhood infectious diseases given how effectively and quickly they spread through a community. Most of us survived, subsequently blessed with life long natural immunity.  Some did not survive.  ...

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An excerpt from Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke: Its Ethnobotany as Hallucinogen, Perfume, Incense, and Medicine. by Marcello Pennacchio, PhD Few plants have generated as much debate and controversy as cannabis (Cannabis sativa). Throughout the ages, it has been labelled both a dangerous drug and potent medicine. Where the former is concerned, law-enforcement agents and governments spend millions ...

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Have you ever opened a prescription bottle to find the wrong pills inside? If so, you may have found it to be an expensive mistake. Whatever the reason for the error (and there are numerous possible causes), here is how to best handle the situation. Of course, it is always smart to confirm the medications, quantities and dosages at the pharmacy checkout.  A mistake recognized at the time of purchase can be easily ...

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Americans spend an astounding 34 billion dollars on alternative medicine annually.  Given that so many of us put our faith in alternative care, I wanted to clear up some common misconceptions about it to help people make wiser choices when and if they turn to it. What is alternative medicine? In general, alternative medicine is used to describe practices outside the bounds of conventional medicine.  ...

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A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. by Arnold J. Berry, MD, MPH Drug shortages continue to impact patients across the nation. Over the past year, anesthesiologists have been faced with the challenge of finding alternatives for several unique drugs needed to safely provide anesthesia for patients having surgical, diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. Anesthesiologists have ...

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by Earlexia M. Norwood, MD The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is second only to the Department of Defense in its total budget, but first in the Federal government in terms of its influence on most American’s daily lives. The most important agency within HHS is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which protects our food supply and keeps tabs on new pharmaceuticals to ensure they are ...

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I decided to dedicate a medical blog on  smoking cessation after realizing that too many people in Douglas County (Omaha, Nebraska) smoke. Did you know that despite a smoking ban in restaurants and bars, 18.3% of people in Nebraska are smokers? That's one in five people. And this number contributes to Omaha's health ranking of 142 out of 182 cities in ...

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That there are some serious misunderstandings out there about the difference between name-brand drugs and generics, as well as some bizarre assumptions about the merits of newer drugs.  So here’s a quick primer on how you (and everyone else) are sometimes not getting accurate information about your pharmaceuticals. As a society, we’re addicted to drugs.  Almost all of them are legal, and we’re not abusing them per se, but we want ...

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Recently, I spent a few days in California when both my parents ended up in the hospital with different issues.   They're home, settled and doing well at this point. Just as when I first wrote about experiencing healthcare with my family, there are important lessons to learn about this trip. As we strive to achieve meaningful use and create health information exchange in the US, the ...

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As a primary care doc, I have compiled several tips to help patients save money on prescriptions. All the prices quoted in the following examples are from Costco. 1. Patient assistance programs (PAP). Try to get free meds from the pharmaceutical company that manufactures your medication. Most of the time this service is only offered if there is not a generic available for your medicine. I heartily recommend you check out NeedyMeds.org and ...

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