Last August an infant was rushed to the hospital after having prolonged seizures at home. She had no medical issues or allergies but had recently been given homeopathic teething tablets for the first time. The pills, which contained the poisonous plant belladonna, were the only medication she had taken. Luckily she survived but her father filed a MedWatch adverse event report with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That report triggered an FDA investigation, which found more than 400 reports of adverse events in infants and children associated with homeopathic products over the last six years. The events included seizures, tremors, fevers, shortness of breath, lethargy and sleepiness, constipation, vomiting, agitation, and

Herpes zoster (shingles) is a nerve and skin infection that occurs as a result of reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus (VZV). Approximately one million cases of shingles are diagnosed each year in the U.S. People with a history of a primary varicella infection (chickenpox) have a 10 to 20 percent lifetime chance of developing shingles. Shingles is more common in older adults as immunity to VZV declines over time, however shingles in younger persons does occur. Usually the likelihood of

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a huge burden on global health despite decades of focused research and intervention. Multiple large studies have demonstrated that low HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels and high LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels are both strongly associated with an increased risk of CVD. One large study showed that there was a five to six percent reduction in vascular events for every 10 mg/dl decrease in LDL. It is on the basis of this and other studies that major international

Every few years there is a new fad in medical testing. A while ago it was homocysteine, then it was high-sensitivity CRP (C - reactive protein). Lately Vitamin D testing is all the rage.  Everyone, it seems, is ordering 25 hydroxy (OH) Vitamin D levels. But is there really a need to do Vitamin D screening on healthy patients? Unnecessary screening can lead to vitamin supplements and other testing, which raises the costs of health care.

Vitamin D is necessary for proper bone health. The most

Recently a study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) was published in which they analyzed the participants' use of coffee, tea, and caffeine and compared that to their risk of developing heart disease and the amount of coronary artery calcium as seen on cardiac CAT scans. The participants were followed for 11 years. Those who regularly drank tea (more than one cup per day) had less progression of coronary artery calcium and less heart disease than those who rarely drank tea (less than 1

At present, 29 states plus Washington, D.C. have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes while overall attitudes towards marijuana have become more permissive. There is increasing evidence for the use of marijuana in treating pain and spasticity, plus there is evidence for its use in treating nausea caused by chemotherapy. There is even a website that touts the use of marijuana to treat nausea caused by pregnancy, which just goes to show that much information on many websites cannot

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, or narcotic, that is posing an increasing worldwide public health risk. First synthesized in 1960, fentanyl was and still is used for general anesthesia in operating rooms. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is also used in hospice settings for pain relief. It is available as an injectable liquid, pill, spray, oral lozenge, white powder, and patch (Duragesic). Unfortunately it is appearing in the illegal street drug market where it is

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