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Hereditary Hemochromatosis

Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is a genetic condition that may lead to a buildup of iron in tissues throughout the body and is one of five types of hemochromatosis, by far the most common type. Humans absorb iron through the digestive system, but except for blood loss/hemorrhage, humans have no way of getting rid of excess iron. This is why women with HH don’t usually exhibit symptoms until after entering menopause. Normally, the body regulates its supply of iron by raising or lowering the amount of circulating transferrin. Transferrin will bind to iron in the gut and transport it to the organs,...

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Cooking Oils

There are many different issues to consider when it comes to choosing a cooking oil. Taste is just one factor. Fat content is another factor. Obviously, in the context of this column, how the oil may affect your health is a major factor. Last January, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a research article that found that people who consumed more than 7 grams (0.25 ounce) of olive oil exhibited a significantly lower risk of death. Olive oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, a very healthy and heart-conscious diet. Saturated fat raises levels of LDL, or “bad”...

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Happy Anniversary, Doc

Our Ask the Doc columnist, Dr. Peter Galvin and his bride, Maryellen, are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary this Friday, November 25. They were married at St Vincent Ferrer Church on Glenwood Road in Brooklyn (it poured – good luck they say). This photo was taken at their reception at the Carlyle, a catering hall that once stood on Avenue D in Brooklyn (right across the street was Mahoney’s, where they all went after the reception).  At the time, Galvin was in medical school, so they put off a honeymoon until Christmas week, when they went off to celebrate the magic of their...

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When one thinks about childhood and diabetes, type I, or insulin-dependent diabetes, is usually what comes to mind. Insulin is made in the pancreas and is vital in facilitating the transport of glucose into the body’s cells, where glucose is the fuel of life. Type I diabetes, now known to be an autoimmune disease, is caused by the immune system attacking and killing the cells in its own pancreas that produce insulin. The inciting factor that triggers the immune system is thought to be a virus, which is as yet unidentified. The onset of type I symptoms is often sudden, resulting in the child...

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Medical Developments

The practice of medicine has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. Consider that from the dawn of medicine, or about 400 B.C., the time of Hippocrates, until the American Civil War, the practice of medicine did not change very much. During the Civil War, the basics of infectious disease and dietary insufficiencies were as yet undiscovered. That is why only one third of Civil War deaths were attributable to battlefield injuries. Two thirds of Civil War deaths were from illness and disease, running the gamut from gangrene, dysentery, and cholera to scurvy and beriberi. Today, a...

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Type I Diabetes

Type I diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, occurs as a result of the pancreas’ loss of the ability to make insulin. Insulin facilitates the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into cells where it is metabolized to create energy. Without insulin, the glucose accumulates in the blood. Current thinking is that in Type I, the person’s own immune system is activated by some as yet unknown viral infection to attack the Islets of Langerhans, the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Treatment of Type I has long been problematic, in part because of human nature. By that I mean that...

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Unfortunately, we live in an age of increasingly common gun violence. So much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, has gotten involved. They have defined the types of firearm injuries as follows: Intentionally self-inflicted – includes suicide or non-fatal self-harm by a firearm Unintentional – fatal or non-fatal firearm injuries without evidence of intention (playing with or cleaning a firearm) Interpersonal violence – includes homicide or non-fatal assault injury by firearm Legal intervention – includes firearm injuries inflicted by law enforcement agents acting...

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Evusheld for Covid

Last month, President Biden announced that the COVID-19 pandemic was over. Amazingly, he was vilified by his own people while most Republicans agreed with him, a turn of events rarely seen in today’s hyper-partisan political climate. Of course, he was right. COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic nor an epidemic. Rather, coronavirus is back to being endemic, meaning it’s always around, just like influenza, the common cold, and many other viral diseases. Remember, before it was COVID-19, the coronavirus was a known cause of the common cold, like rhinovirus. Deaths will still occur from COVID, just...

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This past summer saw one case of paralysis due to the polio virus. The case occurred in an Orthodox Jewish community in Rockland County. Polio had been eliminated in the U.S. and the last reported case was in 2013. Initial reports that the patient, who was unvaccinated, had been infected by contact with someone who had travelled out of the country, turned out to be incorrect. Genomic testing found that the case was caused by a vaccine-derived poliovirus. According to the CDC, the virus had been circulating locally for at least a year. Infection with poliovirus, an enterovirus that primarily...

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