Journalist and Medical Writer. As seen in: Fox News, Salon, Medscape, Healthline, and The Epoch Times
People with narrow arteries who take statins can cut their risk of heart attack or stroke in half. But new research finds that only 6 percent of these patients are taking the drug as recommended by a doctor. So, researchers set out to determine: If statins are so effective, why are so many people failing to take them? The answers weren’t easy to come by. The recent study included 5,468 people first diagnosed with cardiovascular disease between 1999 and 2013. They all received a statin prescription to reduce cholesterol within the first year of being diagnosed.
Relief is on the way for teenagers who have eczema. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved injectable dupilumab (Dupixent) for eczema patients aged 12 to 17 years who don’t respond well enough to topical treatments. The drug, initially approved for adult use in 2017, is self-administered every other week after the first dose is given by a healthcare provider. “For patients with really severe eczema, up to now we didn’t have anything to give them that’s safe for long-term use,” Dr. Emma Guttman, vice chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York whose research and clinical trials helped lead to FDA-approval, told Healthline.
For people in the United States living with diabetes, the cost of the medicine they need to survive continues to go skyward. Eli Lilly has brought them a little hope, offering a half-price generic version of their insulin brand. However, they might be asking if this less expensive insulin is as good as the brand-name version and who exactly will benefit from it. Eli Lilly executives announced early this week that a generic version of their insulin injection Humalog will be made available at half the brand-name price.
A new study released today from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, details how prostate cancer can be transformed into an aggressive and incurable disease — by the treatment that’s supposed to save lives. Hormones called androgens stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow. Newly developed anti-androgen therapies for prostate cancer are a major advance in the fight against this disease.
Patients are often anxious when seeking medical care. Could my symptoms be serious? Do I need a second opinion? How much is this going to cost? Compounding these worries, transgender and gender-diverse patients experience a unique type of anxiety: the fear of gender-related discrimination. These patients can be misgendered or unintentionally "outed," or they may find themselves having to educate their providers about their healthcare needs.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore examined spinal fluid in 168 patients hospitalized to repair hip fractures. The patients ranged in age from 65 to 102 and almost 80 percent were women. Spinal fluid was collected before hip surgery and participants also completed two routine tests used to determine mental state, memory, and thinking ability. The tests were the Mini-Mental State Exam and the Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly. Only four of the patients showed signs of moderate dementia while 81 patients demonstrated mild cognitive impairment. Another 70 showed no cognitive problems at all. These are the patients the researchers focused on.
It’s the second most diagnosed cancer in men, just behind skin cancer. It’s typically slow growing and there are life-saving treatments available. But, sometimes the cure can make more deadly. A new study released today from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, details how prostate cancer can be transformed into an aggressive and incurable disease — by the treatment that’s supposed to save lives. Hormones called androgens stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow. Newly developed anti-androgen therapies for prostate cancer are a major advance in the fight against this disease. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are the main androgens in men. Lowering androgen levels or stopping them from getting into prostate cancer cells can make those cells shrink or grow more slowly. However, men who receive these new treatments are also more likely to develop a deadly, treatment-resistant cancer called neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC). There are no effective treatments for this type of cancer.
Eating disorders (EDs) in women may worsen if their significant other regularly watches pornography, new research shows. A study led by investigators from Ohio State University is the first to look at how a partner's porn viewing habits may be associated with the likelihood that a woman will experience guilt about eating, as well as her preoccupation with body fat, binging, or purging.
It may be the easiest way to calm restless or misbehaving kids, but handing over a phone or tablet could be doing children long-term harm.
When considering the dangers some chemicals can present to children’s health, we’re usually concerned with pesticides and air pollution. But what do we do when the danger is part of our homes?
Alzheimer’s disease is reaching epidemic proportions, with more than 5 million people in the United States now living with the condition. Federal officials say some supplement companies are capitalizing on the fear and uncertainty about Alzheimer’s disease to promote unproven and possibly unsafe solutions. So the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking action. The products identified by the FDA range from “safe” substances such as vitamin C and fish oil to potentially life-threatening substances such as mineral, herbal, and chemical mixes.
Watching your child suffer from a bad case of strep throat is heart-wrenching, but it’s a nightmare when the infection occurs over and over. There are many theories why some kids get strep throat repeatedly and lots of advice on how to prevent it. But according to a recent study, this could be something that can’t be controlled.
Compounded pain creams are no more efficacious for treating localized pain than placebo, which brings into question the high cost of these products, a new study says. Results of a double-blind, randomized controlled trial showed there were no differences in the mean reduction in average pain scores between treatment and control groups for patients with neuropathic pain, nociceptive pain, or mixed localized chronic pain.
We trust drug companies to provide us with safe medicines. Now, we’re finding out what happens when things go wrong. Since last July, we’ve seen medications for high blood pressure pulled from pharmacy shelves because of potential contamination from a cancer-causing agent.
It may be the easiest way to calm restless or misbehaving kids, but is handing over a phone or tablet doing children long-term harm? Although the occasional cartoon or video game may not be a problem, a new study finds too much screen time can seriously affect children’s long-term development. Children are growing up with unprecedented access to electronic devices. Starting as toddlers, many kids now spend part of every day staring at a screen instead of being physically active or interacting with others. A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at 2,400 typically developing children in Canada. Researchers found that greater amounts of screen time from ages 2 to 3 were associated with significantly poorer performance when their development was assessed at ages 3 and 5.
During the past couple of decades, the age of puberty onset in US girls has been declining. Although environmental causes have been suspected, the reasons for earlier puberty have been somewhat of a mystery. It is a concern because early puberty can come with significant health risks. Molly Regelmann, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, New York, said "Early menarche, the first menstrual period, is associated with higher rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and certain cancers, such as breast cancer, later in life." Regelmann, who was not associated with this study, added "The normal range for the start of puberty in girls is between 8 and 13 years."
New research finds that while aspirin does lower the risk of heart attack or stroke, it may also increase the risk of potentially dangerous bleeding. Researchers from Imperial College and King’s College in the United Kingdom analyzed 13 clinical trials involving more than 164,000 participants without cardiovascular disease between the ages of 53 and 74.
There are seven lifestyle choices we can make that will reduce our risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). And a new study finds that following as few as four of them can also help prevent diabetes. According to new research from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, adults who followed at least 4 of the 7 AHA guidelines were 70 percent less likely to develop diabetes over 10 years.
Using marijuana even once or twice can significantly alter the grey matter volume (GMV) in several parts of the developing brains of teens, new research suggests. After analyzing data from a large research program assessing adolescent brain development and mental health, investigators found that brain regions rich in cannabinoid receptors are significantly affected in teens who reported very little cannabis use.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis say that older people who spend less time in slow-wave sleep — the sleep phase you need to wake up feeling rested — show increased levels of a brain protein called tau that’s associated with Alzheimer’s disease. “Our project is the first to show an association between slow-wave sleep and tau in very early Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Brendan Lucey, an assistant professor of neurology, director of the Washington University Sleep Medicine Center, and lead author of the study.
Newborns are vulnerable to all types of infections, and some are life-threatening. Researchers now say they may have come up with a simple solution that can significantly reduce the risk.
From a controversial implant recently pulled from the US market to new rules that will limit access to contraceptives previously ensured by the Affordable Care Act, 2018 brought major developments in contraception. Essure is two small metal coils designed to cause sterilization. Once inserted into the fallopian tubes, which carry eggs to the uterus, scar tissue forms around the coils, blocking sperm from reaching the eggs.
Self-harming activities and depression are more common in sexual minority youth than in heterosexual youth, new research suggests. Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) for more than 4800 adolescents, investigators found that at age 10 years, those who identified as sexual minorities or who were unsure of their sexual orientation were more likely to experience symptoms of depression than heterosexual youth.
Crohn’s disease is a painful digestive condition that has been associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. But according to a recent study, that’s not the only worry. A 20-year study from Northwestern Medicine in Illinois finds that men with inflammatory bowel disease may have a 4 to 5 times greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic condition that tends to worsen gradually with time. Almost 2 million people in the United States experience some form of IBD. “Inflammatory bowel disease is on the rise worldwide, the exact reasons why remain unclear,” Dr. Hardeep Singh, gastroenterologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Southern California, told Healthline.
Researchers say air pollution may increase risk of autism - In recent years there have been a lot of studies claiming to have found a link between one thing or another and an increased risk of ASD. Acetaminophen, sold under the brand name Tylenol, is a good example. Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded there’s evidence that using acetaminophen for 28 days or more during pregnancy was linked with a 20 percent increase. Sound scary? Of course it does — but is it as bad as it sounds? Maybe not.
Paul Reiter, co-lead researcher and associate professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State University, told Healthline the study was designed to “test a mail-based HPV self-testing program for underscreened women in order to examine the feasibility and acceptability of this screening strategy.”
Two new studies have found an association between relatively low levels of air pollution and children’s risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, studied 132,000 births in Vancouver, Canada, from 2004 to 2009. Researchers concluded there was a link between exposure to nitric oxide from car exhaust during pregnancy and greater incidence of childhood ASD.
A unique brain marker on fMRI may be associated with an increased likelihood of developing schizophrenia later in life. The findings may facilitate much earlier diagnosis of the disorder. The study of more than 200 participants in China showed a threefold psychosis conversion rate for those who were deemed at clinically high risk (CHR) for schizophrenia and who displayed abnormal modular organization on baseline brain imaging.
A campaign has been launched to educate people with type 2 diabetes about heart disease and what they can do to reduce their risk.
“This app can speed a patient’s decision to seek care, enabling doctors to act immediately. Reducing the delay to treatment by even an average of an hour could cut the mortality rate in half,” Dr. J. Brent Muhlestein, lead investigator of the study and a cardiovascular researcher at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, told Healthline.
Researchers say ACE inhibitors can increase your lung cancer risk, but other experts say the benefits outweigh the risks.
Testing cytokine levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may rapidly differentiate brain infections from other central nervous system (CNS) diseases, new research suggests.
The death of a loved one is a tragic and ultimately unavoidable experience that we all eventually face. Stories of spouses dying within days or even hours of each other are not uncommon. A recent study may explain why.
Prenatal exposure to higher levels of fluoride not only impairs cognitive development but also significantly increases the incidence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, new research shows.
Obesity is harmful to everyone's health. But obesity during pregnancy places not only the mother at risk, but also the most vulnerable of all at risk—the fetus and newborn. Recent research finds that a common weight-loss surgery can significantly reduce the risk for birth complications
Transgender male adolescents attempt suicide at a significantly higher rate than other transgender groups or teens whose gender identity matches their birth sex, a new study reports. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 19 years.
The researchers found that while at least one respiratory virus was present on 10 percent of everything swabbed, the microbes that could make you sick were particularly common on items such as plastic security bins, card readers in shops, passport checking counters, staircase rails, and children’s play areas.
For the first time, researchers have identified "bridge symptoms" in childhood that could be central indicators of anxiety or depressive disorders in later life. In the population-based study, investigators examined the network structure of emotional and behavioral symptoms among elementary school-aged girls in Quebec, Canada. They discovered that bridge symptoms, such as irritability and rejection, were associated with the development of anxiety disorders or major depression in early adulthood.
Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine in Georgia studied almost 6,000 people to discover the effect of cholesterol levels on the risk of heart attack and death.
Researchers say a probiotic cocktail made from infant feces shows promise in increasing production of short-chain fatty acids in the digestive system.
Researchers say a compound in cannabis may in essence “turn off” inflammation in the gut and help with inflammatory bowel disease. There may be a substance in marijuana that can “turn off” gut inflammation. And, if true, that could offer relief for millions of people experiencing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Bath in England performed experiments on mice and human cells. They said they discovered that chemicals in cannabis, called cannabinoids, mimic a compound our bodies naturally produce to regulate gut inflammation. This process, they said, could be used to create more effective treatments for IBD, a chronic and painful illness.
An artificial intelligence (AI) platform accurately identifies acute neurologic events, such as stroke, from CT scans in as little as 1.2 seconds, new research suggests. If the findings are confirmed, this technology would radically speed the triage process by immediately alerting physicians to critical findings that may otherwise have remained in a queue from minutes to hours.
According to a new study, inducing labor at 39 weeks can significantly reduce the chances of a woman needing a cesarean (C-section) birth. The research from Northwestern University was published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The study authors said that inducing labor at 39 weeks for first-time mothers can significantly reduce the odds of undergoing this invasive surgery.
I spoke with Mara McAdams DeMarco, PhD, lead study author and assistant professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University about her new study for Healthline.