Archive for August, 2008

How Medical Records Can Save Your Life

Monday, August 18th, 2008

A few years ago, my then-73-year-old father was rushed to the hospital after my mother noticed that something was “just not right.” He had heart bypass surgery only a few weeks before.

By the time I arrived at the hospital two hours later, he was gasping for breath, suffering from a potentially lethal heart arrhythmia. Doctors on duty were at a loss as to how they should treat him when the most likely culprit — a drug he was taking called digitalis — did not turn up in the bag of medicines that my mother had brought. “He is taking digitalis!” I said, but without the bottle present, and with doctor offices closed for the evening, I was helpless to verify that fact.

How to Save Your Kids From College Health Hazards

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Attention to Shots, Medical History Crucial for College-Bound Kids

A few years ago, an 18-year-old college freshman telephoned my radio show inquiring about the meningitis vaccine. He had heard that a former high school mate had died from complications of meningitis at college. He wondered whether the vaccine was right for him.

It was an intelligent question to ask. Just last year, a college freshman died at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, from meningococcal meningitis.

Knowledge can mean survival when it comes to our children knowing their medical histories and seeing that their tests and shots are up-to-date.

Can Midlife Use of Hormones Reduce Dementia Risk?

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

As with many things in life, timing may be everything when it comes to hormone therapy.

A new study from Kaiser Permanente, presented at last week’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Chicago, reported that women who began hormones at menopause had a 24 percent reduced risk for all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Older women who started hormones at age 65 or so had up to a 46 percent increased risk of dementia.

As I have said so often before, for the millions of women going through menopause, I don’t think there is anything more frustrating than trying to make sense of all the confusing research on hormones.