On March 10, I found myself at the front gate of the Florida State Prison, stethoscope and blood pressure cuff in hand, to examine Robert Henry at the request of his public defender. Henry is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening by lethal injection. His crime was the murder of two people during a robbery more than 30 years ago. He's a 55-year-old African-American man with hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and a history ...

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The shocking ingredient in natural medicine So you think your medicine is natural. Ever wonder what’s inside? A product can be labeled “natural” if the main ingredient is from an animal, plant, or mineral. Arsenic, horse urine, and cow brain are natural. But are they natural for you? Here are four drugs whose origins may surprise you. Insulin was discovered in 1922. Until the 1980s, all insulin was ...

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Research and development is critical to battling disease.  Now, more than ever, technology can rapidly impact a patient and their disease process in a very positive way.  The process of developing a new drug or device is expensive and can be very time consuming.  As government funding for projects continues to decline, more funding is coming from private sponsorship according to a recent New York Times piece. Another critical source of ...

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As physicians, we often write prescriptions for our patients. Where, when, and how patients fill their prescriptions are usually outside of our realm of expertise. But should we be more involved? On occasion, the cost of a medication and possible alternatives will be the subject of my conversation with a patient. I was surprised, however, when one of my patients complained about the price of an antidepressant that I had prescribed. ...

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Readers have contacted me about a recent study that links acetaminophen use in pregnancy to the later development of ADHD in children. Is Tylenol yet another thing pregnant women need to avoid? The study, titled “Acetaminophen use during pregnancy, behavioral problems, and hyperkinetic disorders” was published this month in JAMA Pediatrics. Dutch researchers looked at about 60,000 children born from 1996-2002. Their parents have been filling out questionnaires and ...

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The surprising way patients get drugs Tom is diabetic, asthmatic, and broke. He’s back for a checkup. “I take my metformin every morning with my grits,” he says, “but I don’t need no refill. I just got me some metformin XR.” “How did you get extended release? They’re super expensive.” “Well, my neighbor runs a tattoo shop. We live behind her store. Her doc switched her up to insulin, so ...

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Readers know that I am skeptical over the efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine. This is not merely a demonstration of my inborn skepticism, but doubt based on the fact the so much of their claims are untested, unproven and refuted. I don’t regard the above comment as controversial. It is factual. I’ll let readers decide if it is but another example of the arrogance of conventional physicians who worship on ...

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When I was in medical school, our nutrition researchers taught us that vitamins didn't do much good and only made expensive urine (where the water soluble ones end up).  We did learn about the classic vitamin deficiencies like scurvy, beriberi, rickets, etc.  But the evidence that healthy people should take vitamins was marginal at best. Is our search for immortality the reason that we turn to the pill or potion?  Do ...

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Bewildered, panicked, and disheartened. I watched my mother’s eyes dart back and forth as she read the pharmacy’s prescription cash price list, knowing she could not possibly dig deep enough in her faded purse to pay for her monthly medicines. In her early fifties, she did not qualify for Medicare, nor could we afford the COBRA payments that would extend coverage for our family since my father’s recent lay off. We ...

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The discovery of antibiotics is one of the most significant medical achievements of the 20th century. In the 1920s Alexander Fleming pioneered the discovery and use of penicillin, winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his work. Other pioneers built upon his success and scientific research to pave the way for even more antibiotic development. The ability to fight infections has ultimately resulted in longer life spans and ...

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