As a family physician whose practice deals exclusively in the treatment of obesity, it strikes me as remarkable how little we understand about the disease, which is Canada’s second-leading cause of preventable death. In every region of the developed world, obesity doubled in the twenty years between 1988 and 2008, according to World Health Organization, which now count more than a half-billion of Earth’s population as obese. The Public Health Agency ...

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Recently I was the only witness to testify against local medical marijuana legislation.  The bill, already endorsed by all members of the Council of the District of Columbia, would allow use of marijuana for “any condition for which treatment with medical marijuana would be beneficial, as determined by the patient’s physician.”  As I waited hours for my turn to highlight the medical evidence about marijuana’s health effects, I sat silently, taking in ...

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My heart sinks each time I see the subject line in this too common email I receive in my medical practice: “Sad news: Matthew was fine when he went to bed last night but his mother found him dead in bed this morning.” Matthew (not his real name) had epilepsy with seizures that persisted despite use of currently available antiseizure medications. We started Matthew’s evaluation when the latest antiseizure medication had been ...

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"The Eastern medicine revolution?" These were the words emblazoned across the screen behind Dr. David L. Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, as he discussed the growing popularity of holistic integrative medicine on a recent edition of the Katie Couric Show. The conversation centered on the opening of Cleveland Clinic's Chinese herb therapy ward in January of this year, the first of its kind at a major U.S. hospital. ...

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A health research company just released a list of the 100 top drugs in America according to sales. 29th on the list, with sales of over $1.8 billion, is the cholesterol lowering drug ezetimibe, brand name Zetia. This drug was released over 10 years ago because it worked really well in combination with statin drugs such as Zocor (simvastatin) to lower LDL cholesterol levels. It was released as a single agent and combined ...

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Over the past few months, more attention has been paid to the prescription drug epidemic, with increasing rates of accidental deaths noted across the country. Legislatures in different states are currently considering laws to provide first responders access to reversal agents, such as naloxone, to treat people found on the scene who have likely overdosed on these medications. With increasing media coverage, the public is becoming more aware about the ...

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Comedian John Oliver with a must-see takedown of Dr. Oz, after his disastrous performance at the recent Senate hearings: "It's easy to fill a show with shameless pandering without dangerously misleading medical information."  And at the 13:44 mark, he shows us how it's done.  Epic.

I’m 34 weeks pregnant and working hard to keep this baby inside me for as long as possible. As with my last pregnancy, there’s a real risk that the baby could come too early. But we’re both holding on so far, thanks to a combination of luck, modified bed rest and medical science. The science is my biggest concern right now. I will spare you much of it because, man or ...

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There is a new emerging health threat to our children: nicotine poisoning. The number of nicotine exposures in children reported to the National Poison Data System has more than tripled in the last year. Here’s the fact every parent should know: 1 tablespoon of nicotine oil can be lethal to a 60-pound child! When doctors were campaigning against tobacco companies through public health legislation, we did not foresee a resultant new market for ...

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There are plenty of examples of direct-to-consumer advertising that the pharmaceutical industry use to lure new customers. These ads almost universally make emotional appeals to the consumer, as well as focusing on the benefits rather than presenting any real discussion of risks. What if someone used a similar concept, but instead of trying to get people to take a drug, they try to convince patients to stop one. That’s just what ...

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