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Leery On Lockdowns

We all remember watching Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio in the early days of the COVID epidemic when they proposed temporary lockdowns to “flatten the curve.” They claimed to be “following the science.” Well, here we are, more than a year later, and we still have partial lockdowns. So, did they really follow scientific recommendations and did the lockdowns prevent COVID deaths? Growing research tells us that the answer is no. The lockdowns destroyed a booming economy, forced many small businesses to close, and put many people out of work and into a financial nightmare. Locking healthy people...

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EKG Info

Last month, the publisher (Kevin Boyle) received an email from a reader asking me to do a column about home electrocardiograph (EKG or ECG) machines. The reader specifically mentioned the KardiMobile EKG device. Before I get into that device, allow me to mention some basics about the science and technology of EKGs. An EKG machine measures the tiny electrical currents generated in the heart before, during, and after a heartbeat. To begin a heartbeat, an electrical impulse is generated in the sinoatrial node, the heart’s intrinsic pacemaker located in the upper left chamber, known as the atrium....

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RX Needed For Healthcare Systems

The U.S. government created two programs to care for Americans as they get older. In 1935, FDR created the Social Security system, which was intended to be a source of income for people once they retired. In 1966, the Johnson administration created Medicare. Prior to that, most Americans did not have health care plans, especially once they left work and retired. Both programs had a similar design, namely that workers would fund their accounts through payroll taxes while they were working and draw on the accumulated savings once they retired, much like a deferred compensation savings plan. Predictably,...

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Lazy Eye

Amblyopia, informally called “lazy eye,” is the leading cause of decreased vision in children. It is caused by abnormal visual development, usually in one eye and rarely in both eyes, as a child. Vision in the affected eye is decreased, causing the brain to stop communicating with that eye. This causes the affected eye to wander, or drift. The eye does not track with the “good,” or stronger eye, and eventually the affected eye wanders inward (toward the nose), or sometimes outward. The brain then relies on information sent only by the unaffected eye. It can be present at birth, however amblyopia...

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Courts and Pandemics

With all the hype and drama associated with the recent Presidential race, late last year the Supreme Court did something that few of us noticed. What they did may very well affect how pandemics are treated, and that includes our current pandemic. As you know, many state governors, including ours, placed arbitrary limits on the rights of people to assemble, to dine, to shop, to work out in a gym, etc.… While they claimed to be “following the science,” many of their orders and edicts had little to no basis in real medical science. Naturally, people affected by these edicts sued the state governments...

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Oh That Aching Knee

Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is common and affects over 35% of persons 60 years of age and older. As the U.S. population ages, its prevalence is expected to rise. It results from the joint’s failure to repair damages that occur as a result of stress on the joint. While cartilage (the padding in the center of every joint) loss is fundamental, OA is a disease of the whole joint. The rate of disease progression over time differs from person to person. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, reduced joint motion, and muscle weakness. Long-term consequences include reduced physical activity, deconditioning,...

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IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune disorder that manifests as a chronic, intractable activation of the intestinal immune system. There are two types of IBD – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These subtypes are differentiated based on disease location and microscopic findings on biopsy, although considerable overlap exists between the two subtypes. Typically, Crohn’s affects the small intestine while ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine. The peak incidence of Crohn’s disease is among patients aged 15 to 25 years, but all ages are affected. In North America, Crohn’s...

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GERD is The Word

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is defined by its cardinal symptoms (recurrent and troublesome heartburn and regurgitation) or by its specific complications (esophagitis, peptic strictures [scarring and blockage of the esophagus], and Barrett esophagus). GERD is caused by stomach contents, which include very potent acids and digestive enzymes, reaching the esophagus. The stomach has a mucosal barrier that prevents its contents from digesting the stomach itself, but the esophagus does not have such a barrier. In GERD, gastric juices can reach as high as the pharynx, mouth, larynx, and...

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TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is an ancient disease that was relatively uncommon here in the U.S until the 1980s. Despite the fact that it was rare, there were some famous historical figures, for example Doc Holliday, who suffered from it. It gave rise to sanitariums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as it was thought that fresh air, rather than the highly polluted air then present in cities, would help cure it. There was no treatment for it until the advent of antibiotics in the mid twentieth century. Because those who had it lost a great deal of weight, it was called consumption. TB is...

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