Flu Vaccine

This medical student at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens told LE, 1/12, that he had not received a flu vaccine this year — nor any other year. A registered nurse we spoke with, on the #7 subway, said the same thing. Commentary: The (health care professionals) opting-out of getting a flu vaccine seem more knowledgeable and trustworthy than those who are compelling people to take…

Prozac Nation

Commentary: No analysis of the Newtown shooting will be complete without serious consideration given to the role antipsychotic drugs may have played. The worst thing you can do to someone is take away their consciousness. And yet millions of Americans with developmental disabilities (some as young as 1 year old) are being forced to take consciousness altering drugs, with adverse effects. “Monster drugs” as…

Cancer in Children

Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center held a symposium, 12/5, titled: Environment Chemicals and the Developing Brain. The presentation addressed how chemical exposures effect a child’s ability to learn and reason, and are linked to problems in child development, including ADHD. In his talk, Program Director Philip Landrigan MD mentioned that childhood leukemia is on the rise, including brain cancer. He said that radiation…

Life and Death Struggle

These two woman wouldn’t let this guy die on the #7 train platform in New York’s Times Square Station today. He was on the ground unconscious with a massive head injury lying in a pool of blood and urine. An MTA worker called for an ambulance but after 10 minutes none had come. At one point the man looked like he had died. People…

‘Affordable Care Act’

Commentary: The Affordable Care Act, designed to reform the health care system in the U.S., will instead undermine public health — especially women’s health, by pushing activities that have proven to be harmful to women — from birth control to screenings and abortion services.

Who’s Protecting the Children?

This week has seen Penn State Football and the legacy of Joe Paterno collapse in shambles, as well as a Catholic priest sent to prison for failing to protect young people from sexual predators. Referring to the priest, the prosecutor in Philadelphia said that he “enabled monsters in clerical garb.” Commentary: With the nation focused on protecting young people, hopefully attention will be given…

Damaged Children

The Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) has developed a list of ten chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected of contributing to autism and learning disabilities. Published in Environmental Health Perspectives July 7, 2012, they are: lead, methylmercury, PCBs, organophosphate pesticides, organochlorine pesticides, endocrine disruptors (BPA), automotive exhaust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, brominated flame retardants and perflorinated compounds. The paper’s authors are Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, director of…

Matcha

Maeda-En, out of Japan, makes a Matcha green tea powder — loaded with healthful properties — 10x regular green tea, but with one-third the caffeine of regular coffee. The tea is described as ‘an energy enhancer and mood relaxer’ — also helpful for colds and the flu.

FDA Under Siege

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is facing enormous pressure from industry lobbyists, Wall Street, Congress, and even the White House, to make compromises in standards and practices critical to public health and safety — anything for a ‘buck’, all in the spirit of innovation. Stephen P. Spielberg (center), Deputy Commissioner, FDA and formerly of Merck, was joined by industry lobbyists and Wall Street…

Boomers & Alzheimer’s

At the recent BIO CEO conference in NYC one of the panelists said that in the coming years Baby Boomers will come down with Alzheimer’s disease at the rate of 10,000 per day. Recent industry focus on beta-amyloid as the cause of Alzheimer’s was debated — in light of recent setbacks in the developmental process of drugs targeting amyloid. Several people we spoke with…

$11 Billion Molecule

Back in November, Gilead Sciences acquired Pharmasset and its PSI-7797 anti-HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) drug — for $11 billion. They paid an 89% premium to the share price for a drug that still hasn’t received final FDA approval. Gilead CEO John Milligan (red tie in photo) talked about the deal at the recent BIO CEO conference in New York. Also at the conference was Moncef Slaoui, Chairman,…

Rare Diseases

Jean-Jacques Bienaime, Chief Executive Officer of BioMarin, a biopharmaceutical company that manufactures drugs for ‘rare diseases’ — including one that sells for $400,000/year. Photograph: Stephen Wise

Psychoanalysis — PTSD

Are veterans more likely to suffer from PTSD if the wars they fought in were ‘unjust’? The answer is a resounding “yes”, according to a number of the psychoanalysts and therapists we spoke with (including Dr. Claudio Eizirik lower photo), this week at the American Psychoanalytic Association 2012 National Meeting. Some said it needs further study. Dr. Eizirik (with wife Mariza) was one of four recipients…

Turmeric & Milk

For those who have yet to discover the regenerative powers of turmeric, may we suggest warm milk with turmeric before bed. It’s good for digestion and brain health and even tastes good. In a pot combine 8 oz of milk with 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. grated ginger and 1 tsp. maple syrup. Bring to a boil and strain. Cheers!

Beware of Supplements

Today’s dietary supplements are serious business, even a religion for some people, with psychopharmacologists getting into the act and developing formulas that effect brain chemistry, without any FDA oversight. LE caught up with Bryan Clay (“The World’s Greatest Athlete” — winner of the Decathlon gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics) and asked him what he thought about dietary supplements? He said that he…

Mission: Restore

Mission: Restore is a foundation comprised of doctors who volunteer their time and experience at home and abroad, in a global program, providing complex reconstructive surgical care to women and children in need from remote areas where even basic medical care is unavailable. Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh, the program’s director, spoke at a fundraiser in Manhattan 10/24. Photograph: Stephen Wise

Combating Non-Communicable Diseases

According to the United Nations, ‘non-communicable diseases’ — or NCDs — including heart attacks and strokes, cancers, diabetes and chronic resporatory disease account for 63% of deaths in the world today. The Clinton Global Initiative 2011 Annual Meeting, last week, brought together a consortium of leading national and international, private and public organizations looking to raise awareness in this area and make commitments that demonstrate…

Second-Hand Radiation

Parents who smoke are often derided for exposing their children to second-hand smoke. Perhaps the tables are being turned today, as young people expose their parents to second-hand radiation.

Off-Label

“90 % of health care is off-label.” Philips Sales Rep, June 11, 2011 One wonders what is less unsafe — “on” or off-label? “The dose and time are high but acceptable.” Professor Michael Wallace of Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas — commenting on Cone Beam CT scans, at a recent conference on Image Guided Cancer Therapies.

Facial Transplantation

Dr. Maria Siemionow, surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, led a team in 2008 that performed the first human face transplant in the United States. She recently addressed a gathering of Plastic Surgeons in New York at a conference called, Asthetic Plastic Surgery: The Next Generation. In a talk called “Opening Pandora’s Box,” Dr. Siemionow presented the case of Connie Culp, a woman from Ohio shot in the face at close range…

The Aluminum Summit

Global demand for aluminum is expected to increase significantly over the next 5-10 years. From aluminum-can based consumer products in China and Brazil, to airplanes and cars, the growth in aluminum is being driven by its sustainable properties — recyclability, flexibility, functionality, and relative low cost. The beverage industry considers the “shaped can” to be the holy grail of packaging. Even craft brewers are embracing the perceived…

Made In India

The outsourcing of “surrogate” motherhood to India is part of the recent growth in medical tourism around the world, driven largely by Americans seeking alternatives to their own health care system. “Made In India” is an award winning, feature length documentary — produced and directed by Rebecca Haimowitz and Vaishali Sinha. The film explores the subject of surrogacy through the experience of an American couple that hires an Indian woman to carry…

Genetic Diseases Of Children

The State of New York Department of Health just concluded a conference on how the health care system in New York deals with children and families living with rare genetic disorders. Genetic diseases in children often include nutrition related concerns. As a result, dietary treatment, including specialized “medical food,” is often the primary therapy for those born with metabolism problems (e.g. PKU).  For those in need of…

Nathanson’s Lament

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, an OB/GYN and prominent early leader of the abortion rights movement, died on February 21, 2011 at the age of 84. In a 1974 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Nathanson commented on concerns that the babies he was aborting were human lives being killed. He said he was “deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I had in fact presided over 60,000 deaths.”…

Rethinking Smoking

Is it possible for people  to be moderate smokers (<5 sticks/day)? Are there (mental) health benefits associated with moderate smoking? At the recent BIOCEO & Investor Conference in NYC, one of the sessions dealt with “novel treatment options” for Major Depressive Disorder MDD — a condition affecting more than 20 million Americans. The panel included Dr. Alexander Glassman, Chief, Clinical Psychopharmacology New York State Psychiatric Institute, along with representatives of 3 companies…

Heart Failure Therapy

Innovations in heart failure therapy are making it possible for patients to live longer with greater quality of life. Today’s Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)* and Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (CRT-D) offer customized therapy, with doctors able to remotely triage their patients. In addition, the Heart Mate II Left Ventricular Assist Device LVAD (lower photo) has been developed to augment the pumping ability of a heart that can’t…

Whip Smart

Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart, was part of a special symposium called Sex, Sadomasochism, and Psychoanalysis, at the American Psychoanalytic Association’s 100th Anniversary Conference. While getting an MFA at Sarah Lawrence College, ten years ago, Ms. Febos was a dominatrix at a dungeon in Manhattan. She said she did it to help pay for her heroin addiction at the time, and that telling her secrets (in…

Mentalize This

“Who is it that can tell me who I am?” Shakespeare, King Lear Act 1: Scene IV The American Psychoanalytic Association is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this week in NYC. A survey done by a reporter, of some of the nation’s leading mental health professionals, indicated a high concentration of patient issues in the following areas: anxiety, narcissism, entitlement, no father figure, computer time, video…

Autism Speaks

The Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center held a workshop today called: Exploring the Environmental Causes of Autism and Learning Disabilities. Dr Philip Landrigen, Chairman of the Department, describes Autism as “a complex, serious, biologically based disorder of brain development, first described in 1943.” The term ‘autism spectrum disorder’ (ASD) has come into use in recent years and encompasses: autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive…

Pulmonary Embolism Prevention

Striking more than half of the patients who die while hospitalized, pulmonary embolism is the single most preventable cause of hospital deaths. According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, vena cava filters (like the one shown), when used in conjunction with anticoagulants, have been shown to reduce the risk of symptomatic pulmonary embolism. But there are risks and potential…

Compression Hosiery

Each year 2 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and 200,000 die from it — more than all the people who die from HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents combined. Compression hosiery is proven to help reduce the chance of clotting in people at risk, especially those who fly a lot. Prices range from $25 – $90 for…

Depression & Internet Use

In a study titled: Depression And Excessive Computer/Internet Use Among Children, Dr. Ping Wu and her team at Columbia University are perhaps the first psychiatrists to study the effects of computer use on American youth. The goal was “to examine the relationship between depression and extent of computer/internet use among children and adolescents.” Their conclusion was that “adolescents’ levels of computer/internet use are significantly associated with their depressive symptoms…

Un-Kool 4 Kids

In 1976, the American Food and Drug Administration banned Red Dye #4 because it caused tumors in animals. Today Red Dye #40, found in various products including Kool Aid, has been found to produce adverse reactions in children, including: temper tantrums, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior and the inability to concentrate. It would be a castrophe for a child to be diagnosed as having ADHD — if in fact Kool-Aid was the root cause…

Mental Health And Children

The American Academy Of Child And Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) reports that between 7 and 12 million American youth suffer from mental, behavioral or developmental disorders at any given time. According to their press release — “AACAP is the leading national professional medical association dedicated to treating and improving the quality of life for children, adolescents and families affected by these disorders.” In their program…

The Marijuana Conference

A forum for discussion of business, legal and health issues related to marijuana as a medical therapy, just wrapped up in New York. Fourteen states and D.C. currently have marijuana laws on the books and four more states are attempting to pass bills or ballot initiatives this year. Paul Stanford, CEO and founder of the The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, talked about the IDF — Israeli…

Recessionary Hair Coloring

Gina Khan — hair care guru from San Francisco (top photo), is just back from Japan and concerned about an emerging trend there — where women get hair coloring in drug stores and apply it themselves, rather than going to hair salons.   Recognizing the economic realities that make $300 hair color treatments out of the question for most people in Japan and the U.S., Ms. Khan is…

Breast Cancer Politics

The Avon company sponsored a two day event (10/16-17) in New York City, to raise money for Breast Cancer education, research and treatment. One of the other sponsors was Genetech, maker of Avastin — the world’s best selling cancer drug, used to treat lung, colon, kidney, brain and breast cancer. In July of this year, an FDA advisory panel voted 12-1 saying Avastin wasn’t…

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

With all the talk about raising hundreds of millions of dollars to find a cure for breast cancer, one has to wonder why more isn’t being said about the choices women make — that contribute to their risk of getting breast cancer. Factors that are not genetic include: taking “the pill,” abortion, menopausal hormone therapy, and breast imaging screening tests (PEM, BSGI). Additionally, women who have breast implants are…

Stimulus II

Warning: Pork is highly addictive, especially for politicians, bankers and union bosses. “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill Photograph: Stephen Wise