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  • George Washington’s Health and Death

    George Washington was tough. Unbelievably tough. Everybody back then was, or they died. In his younger years, he had malaria, small pox, tuberculosis, and dysentery, to name a few. He lost all his teeth by middle age and wore various poor-fitting dentures made from ivory or different animals’ teeth, never wooden.

  • Good Sleep Boosts Immunity, Prevents Common Cold

    The real question about one recent study may be, did these “volunteers” undergo torture as defined by the Geneva Convention?

    Past studies have shown that poor sleep habits weaken your body’s natural immune function. A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine gets more specific. In it, researchers directly exposed volunteers to a cold virus to see if sleep made a difference in fighting it off.

  • B Vitamins Prevent Macular Degeneration

    A recent JAMA study is fascinating for two reasons. It gives us hope for preventing a leading cause of blindness in the United States, but it’s also a great example of why, while the popular “association” studies give us valuable information, they never prove causation. You need more-focused studies for that.

  • Death of a Child: Learning from the Travolta Family’s Tragedy

    No one should have to bury a child, a universal truth that will never be cliché. Nothing is worse than the death of your son or daughter. It haunts you forever.

    I know from secondhand experience, after my parents had to do just that when my sister died in an auto accident in her twenties. The Travoltas know firsthand. You can only try to cope. But how? What common lessons can be learned from such an unthinkable tragedy?

  • Secondhand Smoke Harms Your Pet

    Would you quit smoking for your pet’s health? New survey findings suggest that 28% of adult pet owners would try. The study is from the Henry Ford Health System Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and appears in Tobacco Control.

    Of interest to me were the cited studies that linked pet health and secondhand smoke. (Sorry, no word on pets who actually smoke.)

  • Veterans Deserve the Best Mental Health Care

    It is difficult to imagine the sacrifice and horrors our heroes, past and present, have faced, but we must never forget. They have protected and taken care of us. It’s inconceivable that we would not do the same for them.

    After our vets come home, the physical and mental scars do not go away. In fact, they affect the family they come home to also.

  • The FDA and Tobacco: Questions About the Landmark Regulation Bill

    On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed a bill that gave the FDA regulating authority over tobacco. It is supposed to be a blow to the tobacco industry and its advertising efforts. No more flavored tobacco or “light cigarette” claims.

    But I have a few questions:

  • Does Alcohol Increase or Decrease Your Risk of Cancer?

    Well, here we go. Many recent studies, including one I referenced recently, have lauded drinking alcohol for its heart and stroke benefits. Now comes a large British study advising caution: any alcohol at all may increase the risk of cancer.

    The study followed women, but I don’t see why its conclusions wouldn’t apply to men too. 

  • Is It Safe to Split Pills?

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a public statement that pill splitting may be hazardous to your health. They advise against the growing practice of asking your doctor for a tablet twice the strength you need, then halving it to make two doses. My Family Doctor has advocated this in the past as a way to save money.

    They FDA cites four reasons “why splitting is risky.”

  • The New Surgeon General Is Overweight

    President Obama’s pick for the new surgeon general, Regina Benjamin, MD, is generating some controversy. She appears overweight.

    Surgeon General Regina BenjaminHere at My Family Doctor we have a little argument going on whether this should matter.

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