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Chronic Urticaria

Chronic urticaria (CU) is defined as wheals (hives), angioedema (swelling), or both that have been continuously or intermittently present for at least six weeks. The term urticaria is another word for itching, also known as pruritis. While most patients with chronic urticaria wind up seeing an allergy/immunology specialist, many begin the evaluation of their condition at their primary care doctor’s office. It is estimated that 500,000 people in the U.S. have CU, or about 0.23% of the population. It affects people at any age but is most commonly seen in women over 40 years of age. It can have...

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A pathologist can identify the source organ of cells seen through a microscope, meaning kidney cells look different than liver cells, etc. Sometimes, however, the cells appear different than normal. This may be caused by metaplasia, where the normal cells are replaced by cells of a different type, or dysplasia, where the cells appear disordered or jumbled. Dysplasia may be mild to severe. In severe dysplasia, the cells are unrecognizable. Dysplasia is usually a sign of a pre-cancerous condition. As an example, let’s take the esophagus. The cells that line the inner surface, or epithelium or...

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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) makes recommendations on the prevention of diseases in humans. It looks at both primary prevention, which is the prevention of a disease in someone without it and secondary prevention, which is the prevention of worsening disease in someone who already has it. It makes its recommendations based on a thorough review of all studies and research. Often, the USPSTF will periodically review the same topic in order to update its last recommendation. To do this, the Task Force will review all clinical data and studies that have been published since its...

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Dry eye disease is caused by decreased tear production, excessive evaporation of tears, or both. It leads to inflammation of the surface of the eye. This inflammation typically results in a gritty or burning sensation and blurred vision. Dry eye disease affects about 5% of the U.S. population and is more common in women and individuals older than 50 years. Risk factors include the use of contact lenses, certain medications (diuretics, antihistamines, isotretinoin, and some antidepressants), connective tissue diseases like Sjogren syndrome, and a history of stem cell transplant. Dry eye disease...

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Fermented Foods

By Peter Galvin, MD Fermented foods can be an important source of certain vitamins and nutrients. But they are also a source of probiotics as they contain strains of the food-fermenting lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc. These bacterial strains are thought to improve the microbiota of the gut by getting rid of harmful strains like Clostridium and others. Fermentation is an ancient method of food preservation. Examples of fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, beer, and sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is a simple food that can easily be made at home and the kids can help. After all,...

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Since time immemorial, upon finishing their training, physicians have taken some sort of oath. Around 400 B.C. Hippocrates came out with what became known as the Hippocratic oath. By 1993 in the U.S., 98% of medical school graduates took an oath based on the Hippocratic prototype. Today, the physician’s oath has morphed into something that Hippocrates would never recognize. Woke culture and social justice have found their way into the oath. Hippocrates’s influential treatise begins, “I swear by Apollo the Healer, by Asclepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and all the gods and goddesses, making them...

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The term “stenosis” is used to describe something that has become narrowed. Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is becoming more common. It involves narrowing of the spinal canal, which extends through the spinal vertebrae, in the lower back. It may put pressure on the nerve roots that branch out from the spinal cord resulting in pain, tingling, numbness, muscle fatigue, and if severe, muscle weakness in the legs. It results from degenerative changes in the spine associated with aging. These changes include osteophyte (bone spur) formation, thickening of spinal ligaments, and degeneration of the discs...

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We live in a world full of chemicals. Contact with them is often difficult, if not impossible, to avoid. Some chemicals are endocrine disruptors. They interfere with the functioning of endocrine glands like the thyroid, pancreas, adrenals, ovaries, and testes. Some have been linked to birth defects and cancers, especially breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers. Here’s a list of the top 12 offenders: Bisphenol A (BPA) – has been used in the manufacture of plastics and resins since the 1950s. Often substituted for with BPF or BPS, both of which are nearly as toxic. Found in plastic water...

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Recently, the WHO and CDC began considering issuing an emergency declaration concerning monkeypox. This infection, unheard of by most, seemingly came out of nowhere overnight. Just as they did with COVID, news anchors are breathlessly reporting on the number of new cases. They seem to be trying to scare the hell out of everyone, even as they try to hang on to COVID as if it was still a real threat – it isn’t. To paraphrase WR Hearst, sensationalism sells newspapers. Risk of death from COVID is now about the same as it is for the common cold. Both are a risk mostly to those who are chronically...

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