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You’ve Heard Of Kidney Stones, But Did You Know You Could Get A Salivary Gland Stone?

The Doctors TV show actually produced a great (and accurate) segment on a relatively new procedure called sialendoscopy. This procedure allows a surgeon to remove a stone that may be blocking your spit gland from draining saliva into the mouth. This is analogous to a kidney stone which blocks urine from draining from the kidney into the bladder resulting in painful swelling of the kidney (causing flank pain).

How does a person know if they have a salivary gland blockage due to a stone? There is a painful swelling located right in front and/or below the ear if the parotid gland is affected, or under the jawbone if the submandibular gland is blocked.


If the blockage persists long enough, it may lead to an infection of the gland itself (sialadenitis). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

Should Home Allergy Shots Be Permitted?

DISCLAIMER: This post is not meant to condone or promote allergy shots to be given at home. It is meant to promote discussion and make patients aware of the issues involved.
Allergy shots, unlike medications like claritin and flonase, offer patients with significant allergies a way to potentially be cured of their misery without the need for daily medication use. However, there is a small, but substantial risk for anaphylaxis and even death with allergy shot administration. After all, a patient is being injected with the very substances that cause their allergies. As such, many allergists will allow allergy shots to be administered ONLY within a medical setting. Also, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) specifically forbids allergy shots to be administered at home.

Furthermore, the allergen extracts used to make the allergy vial serum used for allergy shots carry a black box warning on the medication package insert: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

19th Century “Cure” For Obesity

Fat People Ad

I really want to know what the treatment is that this “regular practicing physician” sent to the patient to reduce the surplus flesh. “Eat as much and as often as you please” and “no bandaging nor tightlacing.” Bring it on!

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Case Studies: Dangerous And Deadly Medical Experiments Conducted On Austistic Children By Anti-Vaccinationists

One of the major themes of the Science-Based Medicine blog has been to combat one flavor of anti-SBM movement that believes, despite all the evidence otherwise, that vaccines cause autism and that autism can be reversed with all sorts of “biomedical” quackery. Many (but by no means all) of these so-called “biomedical” treatments are based on the false view that vaccines somehow caused autism. I and my fellow SBM bloggers have expended huge quantities of verbiage refuting the pseudoscience, misinformation, and outright lies regularly spread by various anti-vaccine groups and two celebrities in particular, namely Jenny McCarthy and her boyfriend Jim Carrey. Most of the time, we discuss these issues in terms of the harm to public health that is done by falling vaccination rates due to the fear engendered by the message of the anti-vaccine movement and the threat of the return of vaccine-preventable diseases that once wreaked havoc among children.

There is another price, however. There is a price that is paid by autistic children themselves and their parents. It is a price paid in money and lost time. It is a price paid in being subjected to treatments that are highly implausible from a scientific standpoint and for which there is no good scientific evidence. It is a price that can result in bankruptcy, suffering, and, yes, even death. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

Living With Diabetes

Joe“Friends for Life … this conference is delicious.  It’s like the Woodstock of diabetes,” he said, pacing around the room and smiling warmly.

Meet Joe Solowiejczyk.

According to his bio on the CWD website, “He [Solowiejczyk] currently works for LifeScan, as Manager of Diabetes Counseling & Training and is a faculty member of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute. Joe is healthcare professional who has lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 47 years, Mr. Solowiejczyk has been able to translate his personal experience into patient care.”

To my untrained eye, Joe is the “guy who gets it.”  He’s a diabetes nurse educator, and a person with diabetes himself.  If he was a member of my personal medical team, he’d be the one I take most seriously because when I say, “It sucks,” he could respond, truthfully, with “I know.”

Joe hosted a session at Children With Diabetes called “It’s Not Just a Numbers Game.”  This grabbed my attention because I write constantly about how an A1C is only one part of diabetes management.  There’s all this emotional and mental stuff that comes into play.

“Ask me if I like it,” Joe said to the group of us.  He paused for a second.  “I hate it.”

I was sitting at a table with a bunch of CWD parents (including Bennet and Michelle) and I heard them all chuckle, but I just nodded in agreement.  Empowerment is being able to say that diabetes is hard and that it sucks sometimes, but still forging ahead and working towards better health.  I was glad to hear Joe telling this group of parents (and adults diabetics) that diabetes doesn’t have to be something we like.  We can hate it, openly, and still remain positive.

“I schedule my diabetes depression days,” he said.  “I plan them and then I tell everyone I know to call me every hour and tell me how courageous I am.”  He laughed.  “After about an hour, I’m sick of it and I just want to move on with my day.”

I like Joe.  I like listening to him talk and I respect him for managing diabetes for over 47 years.  I respect him for saying, “It took years for me to be able to say, ‘I’m having a hard time with diabetes,’ without it being a chip on my integrity.”  This statement resonated for me because I think people want to read blogs about diabetes and find a lot of upbeat moments and happiness.  But the truth of life is that there is an emotional gamut to be run and we have the right to run it, diabetes or no diabetes.

“You can not like it and still do it.  Hating it [diabetes] and doing it are not mutually exclusive states.”

He talked about the daily duties of a person with diabetes, from waking up in the morning and testing to all of the bits and pieces of precision management that are required along the way.  The possibility of a cure was mentioned.  And while many diabetics say “I’ll eat the contents of an entire Crumb’s Bakery,” or “I’ll drink orange juice FOR FUN,” Joe smiled gently.

“If there’s a cure?  What will I do?  I’ll sit on a park bench for three weeks and stare at the sky and do nothing.”

Counting clouds for a cure.

It’ll be 23 years for me this September.

I’d love to sit on a park bench and count clouds for a while.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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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