Earlier in June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) won a major legal victory by getting an injunction to prevent Florida-based US Stem Cell Clinic from offering its treatments. The company claimed to create stem cells from patients’ body fat and use these to treat a variety of serious illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and chronic lung disease. This company is just one of many that have sprung up ...

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With the recent FDA approval, Zolgensma became the world’s most expensive medication. Priced at $2.125 million per patient, the one-dose gene therapy is a potential life-saver for children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Now, the treatment is at the center of an intensifying debate over the rising price of medications.

Industry watchdogs are outraged. They say Zolgensma is merely the latest example ...

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I know what kinds of things I'm supposed to tell you. I know that your other would be advisors will usually stick to the same basic messages: "Keep reaching for your dreams" or "your hard work is all worth it in the end" or "your education will lay the world at your feet." These platitudes are all well and good, but honestly, they're forgettable. And pretty words don't always translate ...

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Two recent patient experiences prompted this post. In the Wall Street Journal, Dana Hawkins-Simons described several years of being seen by specialist after specialist for her complaints of tiredness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, palpitations, shortness of breath and “brain fog.” She finally researched her symptoms and demanded that she be checked for vitamin B12 deficiency, which turned out to be the cause of her symptoms. Recently, the ...

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When I served as president of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society, I met a lot of people from around our great state.  One question that I heard from many parents and coaches was, “After a concussion, when is it safe to let a student-athlete return to play?” It is an important question because hundreds of thousands of high school students in the USA suffer concussions annually.  I have given this question ...

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As a college freshman in 2012, my life seemed perfect. I was attending Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, with the dream of becoming a pediatric oncologist. To that end, I was serving as a volunteer, researcher, and clinical intern at the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I was thriving in my classes and building incredible relationships with my peers and professors. I had never been happier. Everything changed when I ...

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Stress! It is a fact of life for all human beings. Stress is a normal reaction — psychologic and physiologic — to the everyday demands of life. When your brain perceives a threat, the body reacts with a fight-or-flight response, releasing hormones, increasing heart rate, and blood pressure. When the situation is over, your body returns to a normal, calm state. But sometimes, in our overly-stimulated world, the stress response button ...

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It was the last week of my EMS elective. I was incredibly lucky to ride with one of the EMS captains who was eager to take me to any call that sounded interesting. We were called to a possible stroke. An 82-year-old woman with sudden-onset unilateral weakness and expressive aphasia. The paramedic and EMT on scene were two I had met before. We actually talked earlier that day about the ...

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In medical school, you’re not taught how to give stellar patient presentations. Yes, you’re shown the traditional order of things: “Give an effective one-liner first, then tell the HPI [history of present illness] but only give pertinent info, etc.” Just exactly how to deliver the punch that impresses your attending is an art. And it’s an art that takes some time to perfect. My very first time presenting a patient was ...

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As my patients aged along with me, I noticed both the expected increased numbers of people with some form of dementia and even more patients who were worried about this topic. Unless you have been away on a ten-year safari, you are very aware that dementia is a growing problem. Some 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and similar numbers occur in most western countries. The incidence goes ...

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