shutterstock_30088927

There are plenty of things we don’t know about health and illness. Sure, we know a lot more than we did fifty or a hundred years ago—but every day, still, I have questions that aren’t yet answered. I read a dozen or so journals each month. (I know. Nerd.) Each one has at least ten or so good quality studies—good, ...

Read more...

shutterstock_93793456 Young children are naturally petulant, noisy, and self-centered. We’re all born with ourselves in the center of the universe, an impression reinforced by parents who must cater constantly to their young babies. But babies become toddlers, and toddlers become children. Sometime during this transition, parents have to teach their children that they are part of a family. For a family to function ...

Read more...

shutterstock_94207294 Medicines and other treatments need to be tested. We want reliable proof that something works and is safe before we recommend it. We don’t like the false dichotomy of “alternative medicine”. If there is good evidence that it works, it’s medicine. If it doesn’t work, it’s quackery. It doesn’t matter who’s doing the quacking. A quack is a quack, even if ...

Read more...

Add to the growing list of reasons antibiotics might not be good for you and your children: a recent study showing a statistical link between early ear infections and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Researchers in the UK analyzed data from about a million children, looking specifically at the 750 who developed IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, mostly.) They then compared the kids with IBD to children without that ...

Read more...

We pay a lot of attention to hearing. Newborns get their hearing tested in most states, and periodic hearing screening is part of regular checkups. We know which children cannot hear. So why is it that so many kids don’t listen? When we’re raising little kids, we know that we’re supposed to talk all the time. We yammer on in the grocery ...

Read more...

Let me tell you a secret. Examining eardrums in a squirming, angry child is really difficult—if not impossible. If the doc in your screaming, struggling child’s ear for a half-second, it’s unlikely that anything useful was seen. Sometimes, it is just impossible to get a decent exam. But there are ways that parents (and doctors!) can help at least increase the chance ...

Read more...

The biggest problem with health care delivery in the US is cost, which seems to have taken a back seat to other issues meant to be addressed by health care reform. We spend about $2.5 trillion dollars a year on health care—that’s over eight thousand dollars a year for every man, woman, and child. What’s that getting you? According to the government, about 30% goes to hospitals; 20% ...

Read more...

The Dr. Oz show recently featured a scary show about deadly arsenic in apple juice. On his own web site, he trumpets "Dr. Oz’s Extensive National Investigation," and claims "After testing dozens of samples from three different cities in America, Dr. Oz discovered that some of the nation’s best known brands of apple juice contain arsenic." His show further claimed that based on his independent testing, many brands of apple juice ...

Read more...

Tracy has a good question: "My 4 year old is not in day care – he stays with Granny. I heard that once you get a cold, you never get that cold again, and I am worried he isn’t exposed to enough germs now to keep him healthy later. Should we be trying to infect him with more colds now that he has the luxury of staying in PJs all ...

Read more...

The Cochrane Collaboration is a very well-respected international non-profit whose 28,000 volunteers review the best, solid evidence to help determine if medications or other health interventions really work. They are, in short, da bomb. When Cochrane speaks, people listen. Cochrane recently released a review of studies examining the effectiveness of zinc supplementation on preventing and treating the common cold. They found that there was good ...

Read more...

Beth wrote, “I plan on having my daughter vaccinated against HPV when she’s the right age (which is what by the way?). Recently, some friends were saying they were planning to have their sons receive the vaccine as well because although males obviously don’t get cervical cancer, they can spread HPV and put their future partners ...

Read more...

They’re everywhere, all of a sudden: little medical kiosks tucked into the back of drug stores, grocery stores, and big box outlets. With names like “Minute Clinic” or “RediClinic,” they stress speedy, in-and-out service. And of course, you’re already there in the store, ready to buy whatever has been prescribed. A win-win, no? No. Everyone knows that if you’re ...

Read more...

I am licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Georgia. But that doesn’t mean I should, or that you ought to let me—at least not the surgery part. I’m actually pretty good at carving a turkey, but that’s pretty much the only kind of surgery that I’m qualified to do. Don’t let the license fool ya, I’m no surgeon. So what, exactly, does a doctor have ...

Read more...

“Dr. Roy, you’ve got to help me!” The most heartfelt pleas I ever hear from parents are for three things:

  • The three year old who won’t use the potty—so can’t register for school.
  • The 15 month old who still isn’t sleeping through the night.
  • The school-aged girl(s) with recurrent lice.
Parents hate the idea that their child has lice. They’re icky, they’re crawly, and even talking about them makes everyone in the room start scratching. ...

Read more...

A simple study from the March, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association illustrates something important about the way we perceive the effectiveness of medication. 82 adult volunteers were recruited. They were told they were taking part in a trial of a new pain medication, testing its effectiveness using a standardized, well-established protocol using low-voltage shocks as a painful stimulus. All ...

Read more...

A reader wrote, “A friend sent me a link to information regarding the pertussis vaccine for adults. I have a 6 month old. What are your thoughts?” I wrote about vaccines for parents of newborns last year, but recent news about several outbreaks of pertussis make this question especially important. It’s time for an update. Pertussis, also called “whooping cough,” is bad news. For children and ...

Read more...

Summer has already begun, and LeeAnn has already had enough of mosquitoes. She wants to know, “Does taking Vitamin B1 really help keep mosquitoes from biting? How much is safe for children?” I remember a trip to the Florida Everglades as a child with school—surrounded by mosquitoes, alligators, and miles of swamp, our teachers told us that mosquitoes are a vital part of the food chain, and essential to the ecosystem. I ...

Read more...

“I’m worried about my daughter’s posture. What can I do about it other than constantly nagging her to stand up straight?” You’re probably talking about “kyphosis,” which is the rounded-shoulders, hunched forward kind of posture common in children and many adults. It’s often called “postural kyphosis” because it can be corrected if the child tries to stand straight up. Rarely, there’s a genuine spinal deformity, called Scheuermann’s Kyphosis or Scheuermann’s Disease, ...

Read more...

I’ve recently posted about the insane costs of health care, and about how defensive medicine is a big contributor. Prescription drugs are another huge cost, accounting for about 11% of the 2 trillion spent each year on health care in The United States. And it turns out that the marketplace for prescriptions is also rife with bizarre sources of waste and sneakery. First, some good news: prescription medications are ...

Read more...

Radiation. Powerful enough to turn Dr. Bruce Banner (Bill Bixby) into The Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferrigno), or meek Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) into The Amazing Spider-Man (still Tobey Maguire, but more buff and spandexed). It also obliterated two cities in Japan, and continues to contribute to cancers near Chernobyl. It’s sciency, strong, and scary. No wonder it creates so much apprehension. We’re all living every day surrounded by radiation sources, and ...

Read more...

Most Popular

Join 150,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.