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Kidney Disease And High Blood Pressure

Most people who have kidney disease are not aware of it. In fact, nearly half of people with severe kidney disease don’t know it. Kidney disease is often silent, and one of its main risk factors, high blood pressure, is silent as well. The head of the NIH’s kidney research organization discusses this major public health issue and what people should look for to receive early intervention.

Easing The Stress Of Working At Home

Millions of Americans are suddenly having to work from home for the first time as a result of coronavirus. Many do not have a good home office setup, tech skills, family makeup or the temperament to do it. A remote working expert discusses the do’s and don’t’s of working from home without going crazy.

Medical Notes: Week of March 29, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 29, 2020, including: A treatment combining radiation and chemotherapy could be much more effective for colorectal cancer. Then, scientists have discovered that a World War One helmet is actually better when it comes to protecting its wearers from shock waves. And finally, doctors can tell whether you’re rich or poor through urinalysis.

The U.S. Takes On Coronavirus

In the past 10 days, the US has finally begun to institute aggressive tactics against coronavirus that may limit its spread and the death toll. But many Americans remain confused about what they should do and why. One of the nation’s most authoritative infectious disease experts discusses.

The Effect of Public Policies on the Coronavirus Fight

The effectiveness of efforts to contain coronavirus often depend on governmental policies determined years or even decades ago that, at the time, had nothing to do with public health. A health policy expert discusses some of these policies and what they mean for coronavirus testing and treatment.

Medical Notes: Week of March 22, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 22, 2020, including: It’s getting much more dangerous to walk where you’re going with pedestrian fatalities up by more than 50 percent in the last decade. Then, a report that an experimental urine test has the potential of accurately finding prostate cancer while eliminating false positives. And finally, is your smartphone giving you a headache?

Intermittent Fasting

Studies show that by this time of year, most of us have failed new year’s resolutions to lose weight. A noted expert discusses how most people get in trouble with obesity and a more reasonable way to try to lose weight than most people follow.

Medical Errors, 20 Years After “To Err Is Human”

The Institute of Medicine report “To Err Is Human” in 1999 shook health care with the finding that as many as 120,000 Americans die each year due to medical mistakes. A noted researcher re-examines how far we’ve come since then and the difficult cooperation it will take to make patient safety more certain.

Medical Notes: Week of March 15, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 15, 2020, including: There is a higher risk of heart disease for women who’ve experienced domestic abuse. Then, a study that shows that the pulse can vary wildly between people. Then, can being tall protect men from dementia? And finally, if you make a lot of typos when you text… your thumbs may be too long.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects about 10% of American women, but has such a wide variety of troubling symptoms that it’s often misdiagnosed. Experts discuss the disorder and what women should know.

Medical Notes: Week of March 8, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 8, 2020, including: The chemical known as BPS can pass through the placenta of pregnant rats and hindered brain development in their offspring. Then, for those under age 50 who develop Parkinson’s, the seeds may have been planted in the womb. Then, Men who use marijuana may have a higher risk of fathering children with brain abnormalities. And finally, if you fill out paperwork when you arrive at the doctor’s office, you’re using something with 46,000 times more germs than the average toilet seat—a shared pen.

Food Deserts, Eating Habits, And Health

Public policy is built on the food desert theory: the lack of neighborhood supermarkets drives people to eat less fresh food and more junk food. New research is challenging that theory, but finding values of grocery stores in other, unexpected places. Experts discuss how nearby supermarkets change people and the neighborhoods where they live.

Medical Notes: Week of March 1, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 1, 2020, including: A study showing that a molecular switch governing chronic inflammation can be turned off. Then, a study that shows that few of us are taking advantage of the great outdoors. And finally, Doctors are reporting a strange, rare side effect of the active ingredient in Viagra—intensely blue-tinted vision.

Big Data In Medicine

Big data is changing the world, but it’s been slow in coming to healthcare. An expert in healthcare IT explains how that’s changing and what it could mean to treatment.

Genes And High Cholesterol

More than 100 million Americans have high cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease. Most people think of their diets as the main cause, but genetics also play a role in both good and bad ways. A noted expert discusses how scientists are harnessing cholesterol genes to lower the risk of heart attacks.

Medical Notes: Week of February 23, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of February 23, 2020, including: A study that finds water chlorination may also be unsafe. Then, children have a much higher risk of becoming obese if a home is cross-generational and grandparents are raising the kids. And finally, another reason to eat your Brussels sprouts.

Coronavirus: What Does It Mean To Us?

Coronavirus has sickened tens of thousands in China and killed hundreds, but few cases have reached the US. Experts explain exactly what this Coronavirus is and the relative danger it poses compared to more familiar diseases such as influenza.

Medical Child Abuse

Parents who have a mental illness known as factitious disorder may fake or induce illness in their children to get attention, sometimes taking kids to hundreds of medical visits and deceiving doctors into performing numerous procedures and surgeries. Experts and a parent who got his child out of an abusive situation discuss how the legal & medical system may fail kids, danger signs and the road to recovery.

Medical Notes: Week of February 16, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of February 16, 2020, including: Studies showing physical activity helps prevent obesity virtually from birth. Then, low doses of lithium may show promise in treating dementia. Then, about half of people who are recovering from a concussion have sleep problems. And finally, a study showing that maybe the two genders are becoming more equal.

Needle Phobia

Untold millions of people are afraid of needles. Most manage by looking the other way when they’re facing an injection, but many may avoid the doctor as a result of their fear. The problem is increasingly dangerous for the rising number of people with diabetes, who must inject themselves with insulin to survive. A needle-phobic woman and doctor who’s squeamish himself discuss.

A Moral Question: Dementia, Spouses, and “Close Friends”

Spouses of Alzheimer’s disease patients often struggle with depression while caregiving and are desperate for support. Some have started new relationships while their loved one is still alive but no longer recognizes them. Acceptance of such infidelity is highly individual. Experts and a woman involved in such a relationship discuss how it can benefit even the incapacitated spouse, as long as families find it acceptable.

Medical Notes: Week of February 9, 2020

The gap between black and white uninsured rates has dropped by more than four percent. Plus, a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows that only two percent of those who are considered high risk for drug overdose have filled a prescription for Naloxone. Then, Cancer patients often receive radiation therapy over several months, but a new study shows how it could all be done in less than one second using high-energy flash therapy. And finally, a study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine shows that when we lose weight, we lose it everywhere, even in the tongue.

Music And Medicine

Pre-medical students have typically majored in science, but some medical schools are finding that liberal arts and even music majors with no science background can do well. Some admissions officers and doctors believe they may even have advantages, given the importance of communications in the doctor-patient relationship. A musician-turned-med student, an admissions officer and a musical doctor explain.

Medical Notes: Week of February 2, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of February 2, 2020 including a vaccine against dementia could be in human trials within a couple of years. Then, computers are taking over a lot of functions… and reading mammograms may someday be one of them. And finally, just about everybody knows that the normal temperature of the human body is 98-point-six. except it’s not any more.

ADHD And Sleep Disorders

New research shows that most people with ADHD have a disordered body clock, prompting disturbed sleep, sleep deprivation, and a worsening of ADHD symptoms. Experts discuss how fixing the body clock could lessen the impact of both ADHD and physical diseases that result from poor sleep.

Working While Sick

Surveys show the vast majority of employees go to work when they’re sick, risking fellow workers and slowing their own healing. Experts discuss the maladjusted workplace culture that promotes this, how to know when you really should stay home, and ways to protect yourself from illness at the office.

Medical Notes: Week of January 26, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of January 26, 2020 including A new report from the American Cancer Society finds that in 2017, the overall cancer death rate dropped more than two percent. Then, a new experimental technique using a special kind of imaging and machine learning has been developed to battle colon cancer. Then, a new machine that can keep livers alive outside the body for a week. And finally, a class of naturally occurring proteins called sestrin can possibly deliver the benefits of exercise without moving a muscle.

Crushing Medical Debt

Nearly a quarter of us owe past due medical debt, and hospitals are moving more aggressively to collect. The rise is the result of a tradeoff–Americans have avoided higher health insurance premiums only to be jeopardized by extremely high deductibles and out-of-network costs. Experts explain what unpaid medical debt can mean, how patients can escape its clutches, and how one charity works to buy and forgive debt.

Smoldering Concussions

Doctors are realizing that concussions can smolder in the brain for years with symptoms that are missed, making diagnosis at the time of occurrence all the more important. Yet a new study shows that protocols affecting the most vulnerable—young athletes—often are not followed. Experts explain why, and what people should do when they receive any blow to the head.

Medical Notes: Week of January 19, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of January 19, 2020, including: Late-stage age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of vision loss among older people. Then, long term effects of being born as a result of in vitro fertilization. And finally, people in Scandinavian countries say that taking a sauna has all kinds of benefits, and they’re apparently right.

Hand Washing And Handshake Bans

Some hospital units have set up handshake bans because too few healthcare workers wash hands well enough to keep from spreading germs. The general public is even worse at washing hands, which has caused spread of serious disease. Some experts say handshakes foster important human connections and oppose bans. Experts discuss and describe what it takes to wash hands well enough to be “clean.”

Broken Heart Syndrome

When a person suffers a severe emotional shock, they may suffer what looks like a heart attack but is actually what doctors call “stress cardiomyopathy.” Most patients recover but the condition can be fatal, confirming that it is possible to die of a broken heart. An expert explains.

Medical Notes: Week of January 12, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of January 12, 2020, including: Teenagers are vaping marijuana at rapidly rising rates. Then, a report on concussions and why they can produce lifelong effects. Then, another study confirming the importance of sleep, and finally, a new survey of emergency rooms p

Telling Lies—Who Does It And Why

Lies aren’t always bad. Often, they’re told to be polite, and compassionate people are most likely to tell whoppers. But as the stakes of lies rise, honesty trumps kindness. Yet few people are ever able to distinguish when they’re being told lies. Experts explain.

Avoiding Mistakes In Dealing With Aging

As loved ones age, tough decisions need to be made on finances, housing, and other concerns, and these decisions need to be made far earlier than they typically are. This is especially true if a person does not have family to act as support and caregiver. Two experts discuss managing the transition from complete independence as we age.

Medical Notes: Week of January 5, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of January 5, 2020, including two experimental drugs that show promise in women with certain types of breast cancer. Then, the federal communications commission has started the process to create a three-digit number similar to 9-1-1 that connects to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Then, it appears that teenagers aren’t very good at telling the difference between real and fake news, and finally, can magic mushrooms be used to treat depression?

Hoarding Disorder: It’s About More Than The Clutter

Hoarding disorder affects at least five percent of Americans, and despite TV programs showing its effects, it is still widely misunderstood. Experts discuss the danger hoarding poses to others, including neighbors, children, and first responders; why those with the disorder are so attached to things; and the right and wrong ways to address the problem.

Melanoma Advances

Fifteen years ago, advanced melanoma was usually lethal. But new treatments harnessing the immune system have increased survival so much that researchers haven’t completely been able to quantify it. An expert physician discusses the advances.

Medical Notes: Week of December 29, 2019

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of December 29, 2019, including: The last three flu seasons have been bad, but there’s a chance this year could be even worse. Then, sleeping too much can be a risk factor for stroke. Plus, more than 30 million people in the United States think they’re allergic to penicillin when they’re not. And finally, if you’re scheduled for surgery, ask your doctor what kind of music she listens to in the operating room.

GERD And Your Holiday Feast

During the holidays, reflux problems are magnified by big meals with trigger foods like chocolate and alcohol. But reflux sometimes doesn’t show up as heartburn. A gastroenterologist discusses reflux, how it may appear as asthma or hoarseness, and how it can be treated.

Christmas In The E.R.: It’s No Holiday

Winter in general, and the holidays in particular, are the busiest time of year in hospital emergency departments, even in places where it doesn’t snow. Experts discuss the increase in deaths of all kinds, including the “Merry Christmas Coronary” and possible reasons those deaths bounce up.

Medical Notes: Week of December 22, 2019

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of December 22, 2019, including: A new study showing an injectable could be the answer for people with food allergies. Then, people suffering from depression may find some improvement by taking aspirin or ibuprofen. And finally, if you spend your workday wearing headphones, listening to music… you may be a lot less productive than you think.

Bridging The Vax/Anti-Vax Divide

The debate over vaccination isn’t as civil as it once was, and leaves little room for common ground or even discussion. Pro-vaccine advocates often point to science showing safety and effectiveness, but as a noted medical humanities researcher explains, values common among anti-vaccine advocates lead them to reject this science, and both sides need to understand where the disconnect comes from.


Rich people receive deference that the rest of us don’t, but do wealthy kids grow up knowing they can get away with what others can’t? Research finds that all children apparently know this. Experts discuss.

Medical Notes: Week of December 15, 2019

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of December 15, 2019, including scientists may someday be able to treat alcoholic liver disease with something short of a liver transplant. Then, if you want to keep the mind alive as you age, play games. And finally, a new study shows giving buses an inexpensive engine retrofit helps not only the health of students who ride them, but also their academic performance.

Workplace Bullies

Some bullies never grow up, and just keep on bullying. Experts describe where and how it most often occurs, what workplace bullies are seeking, who they target, why it continues, and what needs to happen to stop it.

Older Dads, Younger Kids

The average age when men first become fathers has risen to 31, and more men are also becoming dads in their 40’s and 50’s. A National Book Award-winning author discusses his experience as a first-time dad at 56, and now as a 73-year old father with teenagers.


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