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Latest Posts

Does Lumigan Grow Eyelashes?

Last year I blogged about a new FDA approval for Lumigan (Bimatoprost) ophthalmic solution for glaucoma to be used as a safe way to grow eyelashes. I thought the readers of EverythingHealth would enjoy seeing if it really worked.

You be the judge..the before photo shows eyelashes (with mascara, of course) before using Lumigan. The 2nd photo shows eyelashes after 6 weeks of use. The manufacturer states it takes 8 weeks for full benefit.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Playing Tennis In Prison

I spent this morning on the “yard” at San Quintin Prison, playing tennis with the inmates. The prison has a tennis court, built right in the middle of the yard with hundreds of inmates shuffling about, shooting hoops, playing dominoes, working out or just milling about.

The guys who play tennis are a remarkable bunch. They are serious about their game, play whenever they can during the week and are really happy on Saturday morning when authorized “outsiders” come to play with them.

We play round robin; first team to 4 wins and a new foursome takes the court. They seem to have an understanding among themselves about who plays when. It is competitive but, believe it or not, very gentlemanly. Everyone is encouraging, with lots of high-fives and there is no cheating or bad line calls. The best part is when I am not playing, I am sitting on the bench with the guys, just chatting.

The tennis players in San Quintin are without attitude or posturing. Some do yoga or go to school. Some work in various prison jobs like making furniture, or stocking or cleaning cell blocks. Keep in mind some of these guys are there for life and they look pretty young to me.

In case you are thinking they have a soft life there, playing tennis and hanging out with civilians, think again. One guy showed me his lunch. It was 2 slices of white bread, a piece of bologna and mustard with a handful of corn chips. They can not receive gifts from the outside. If they have the money, they can order things from a catalog (tennis shoes, clothes, food items, personal supplies) every three months up to 30 lbs. There is no internet, no ipods, no electronics, no cable TV.

People ask if I feel “safe” there and I must say I do. Certainly the tennis players are respectful and warm. The other prisoners in the yard watch us but keep a respectful distance and no-one has ever made a comment or shown any aggression. Of course there are 4 guard towers with guns pointed down at all times.

One of the tennis inmates told me this cell block is less troublesome and there is less gang activity or fighting. Most of them are long timers or even lifers. I was told that “Bert”, one of the guys I played with before was finally released after 23 years. I hope he is playing tennis on the outside.

For a look at how it is playing tennis in San Quintin, watch this.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Why Cancer Is Difficult To Detect

I sat with non-medical friends last night and the discussion turned to “health”, as it often does. One guy related the terrible story of a woman who went to her doctor with a certain pain which turned out to be cancer that had spread and she died within a week. The inevitable question; “How do you detect early cancer, so you can catch it and cure it?”

The answer I gave was less than satisfactory for my friends. In fact, they were a bit incredulous with the answer.

All cancer is genetic, in that it is caused by genes that change. Only a few types are inherited. Most cancers come from random mutations that develop in body cells during one’s lifetime – either as a mistake when cells are going through cell division or in response to injuries from environmental agents such as radiation or chemicals.

Different types of cancer show up differently in the body. We have screening tests for some types of cancer. We can detect early breast cancer with mammography. We detect early colon cancer with colonoscopy and hemocult stool tests. We do screening for cervical cancer with pap smears. Early prostate cancer can be detected with PSA, but it is not very specific. Skin cancers can be found early with visualization and biopsy.

What about brain cancer, testicular cancer, leukemia, sarcoma, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and a number of other less common malignancies? We have no screening tests for these diseases. Perhaps we will discover some gene test or imaging test or breath test in the future, but right now, a person would need to have symptoms that would point to the disease.

This is a scary thought for people…especially those who try to live healthy lives.

It is the randomness of life that has always made us feel vulnerable to things we cannot control.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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