Sometimes as a travel medicine doctor you feel like Red Riding Hood’s mother. Your patients come in asking for advice about upcoming travels. Much like Red’s mother you want to wrap your patients up in a protective cape and guide them on safe travels. You want to teach them to avoid any wolves that may be lurking out there. Like impetuous teenagers, your patients don’t always listen. And Zika virus just made it worse ...

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To many, the extent to which Charlie Sheen tried to keep his HIV status from becoming public knowledge came as a surprise -- and suggests that HIV-related stigma and discrimination remains pervasive despite strides that have been made in fighting the disease. Diagnosed nearly four years ago, Sheen reported paying more than $10 million in bribes to keep his HIV status secret. Sheen decided to go public, he told Matt Lauer ...

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The clues are usually there, even in the hardest of cases. They just aren’t presented to you on a silver platter. Gwen Stephenson had an ill-defined polyarthritis and had been on methotrexate for some time. Her rheumatologist, Norm Fahler, had tapered her off the medication while keeping an eye on her inflammatory markers and they had leveled off at just above the normal range. Seven or eight years ago, Gwen had suffered ...

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An infectious classic for the holiday season!  Yuletide greetings from ZDoggMD and his adorable kids.

It was recently World Antibiotic Awareness Week and Get Smart About Antibiotics Week. According to the CDC, 2 million people in the United States become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and 23,000 people die from such infections each year. What's worse is that antibiotic resistance continues to increase. "To give you an idea of how high the pressure is to prescribe antibiotics, I didn't get a job once because during the interview ...

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Vox's Julia Belluz wrote a nice article explaining why doctors overprescribe antibiotics.  She essentially gives two reasons: doctors unsure of the diagnosis want to be "safe," and patient demand. But there's a third reason that's an extension of demand: patient satisfaction. More patients have to take time off work to see their clinician, only to spend a few minutes in the exam room.  Those who take that inconvenience likely won't want a lecture on ...

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An August, 2015 study in Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine is being touted as evidence that homeopathy is as effective as antibiotics for respiratory infections in children. It doesn’t show that at all -- in fact, it doesn’t show anything, except that crappy studies in crappy journals can nonetheless be used to manipulate opinion. Beware. First, the study itself. Researchers in Italy looked at about 90 children with ordinary colds. All ...

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Recently, public outrage over Daraprim’s price hike from $13.50 to $750 was loud and clear -- so loud that its CEO Martin Shkreli had to rescind it. In the business world, he might be praised as a savvy investor. He saw a product that was drastically undervalued and priced it at a level that the market was willing to bear, reaping huge profits. This type of mentality is a trait many ...

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Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that causes opportunistic infection in helpless people. It may have met its match. The cost of treating toxoplasmosis, a rare but extant infection, just shot up exponentially. Drug-resistant strain, you ask? Have physicians in infectious disease gone mercenary, you wonder? No. A change in ownership. Daraprim (pyrimethamine) is a nifty drug that kills parasites. It’s been around for eons. I still recall its name from my ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 22-year-old man is evaluated for diarrhea and weight loss. The patient has a 3-week history of foul-smelling, large-volume, watery stools associated with abdominal bloating. There is no visible blood or mucus in the stools. He reports a 4.5-kg (10-lb) weight loss, which he attributes to a poor appetite. One month before ...

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