George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
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Health Alerts


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Rapid Response for SUNDAY, July 16, 2017

Our families are products of the free market system. Nobody gave us anything. Nor did we expect it. In that system, there were always winners and losers. Then that was allowed, even expected - like the tides. Given the last two or three generations, losing is not allowed. Everyone must be a "winner", with "participation awards", with diluted grades at both levels of the spectrum, and above all with ENTITLEMENTS. The word itself indicates the mind - set: we don't have to earn or be responsible...we are Entitled. The concept has now altered the genetics of hundreds of millions of voters and potential voters and illegal voters. The Democratic and Republican and Republicrat politicians have done their job well.
Thus, whether we are dealing with what the author N.N.Taleb has coined "IYY" ("Intellectual yet idiot") or just with run of the mill hypocracy  / cynicism, THERE MUST BE NO LOSERS, as is inevitable in a free market system.
And there is another problem. The "Free Market System" (aka. Wall Street in many minds) is simply not to be trusted. Washington is considered not the only "swamp". I think you will agree that some of this has been earned.
So, what to do?
For that, you need to read or re-read my many commentaries regarding HEALTH CARE REFORM" which populate my web site. They are all designed to re-inject Personal Responsibility into the Health Care System. They are all doable, given the legislative will. And they will all be attacked: "YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, JUST GIVE ME MY ENTITLEMENT".
The end-game of that unsustainable scenario: with or without "medical care", prepare to suffer and die.
"In a democracy, the people always get what they deserve".

GS

Although there are of course bad actors in the free market, they are held accountable for their actions. Bad actors in government are much more dangerous because they have the ability to use force over others (that is the essence of government) and the government just throws more money at problem programs and departments while private companies are decimated by the market, the SEC, and the DOJ when the do something fraudulent (as they should be).

The Failure to Repeal Obamacare Is an Intellectual Failure

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Rapid Response for SUNDAY, July 2, 2017

IMPORTANT:
HEALTH CARE COVERAGE, "PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS", AND GENETIC TESTING.
A genetic pre-disposition is Not a "pre-existing condition". I argued that years ago, including on this web site. But I then cautioned patients and the public not to undertake genetic testing unless and until iron-clad safeguards for their equal insurability were in place. Those safe-guards eventually came in the form of a Federal Law: GINA.
See the article published in ctmirror.org July 2, 2017:
"Safe Under ACA, Patients With Pre-Existing Conditions Now Afraid", by Charlotte Huff / Kaiser Health News.
Of course, when dealing with lawyers and paid-off legislators, "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is".
Any new Health Care legislation MUST safeguard the equal insurability of persons who might seek information about genetic pre-dispositions before any "manifest disease" is diagnosed. The alternate - no protection or weasel-word "protection" would effectively eliminate this important method of avoiding "manifest disease" in time.

GS

MORE, EVER MORE, ON HEALTH CARE. 
This report has it exactly right.

GS

Elizabeth Warren Came Up With An Insane Idea That Would Destroy America

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The Difference Between Crohn’s, UC, and IBD - HealthLine.Com

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Rapid Response for SATURDAY, May 6, 2017

IMPORTANT HEALTH INFORMATION FOR US OUTDOOR TYPES...
especially the part about possible transmission of this severe tick-borne disease within 30 minutes of a bite - and no treatment.
BEWARE.

GS

Powassan Virus: the Tick-Borne Disease That Can Be Worse Than Lyme - Yahoo.Com

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Rapid Response for WEDNESDAY through FRIDAY, March 1 through 3, 2017

"OBAMACARE LITE".
Is that the best that Republicans controlling the House of Representatives, the Senate and most Statehouses can do?

Conservatives Fight to Stop ‘Obamacare Lite’ - Lifezette.Com
See also the article entitled: "Leaked ObamaCare Bill Fires Up Debate", in doximity.com, Health Affairs, Feb. 25, 2017.

Between the politics involved for  House members already preparing for their 2018 elections, and the massive cost of Health Care in general, the answer may be yes. 

But there is another way if enough of them are true  patriots and heroes: REDUCE HEALTH CARE COSTS BY ADDRESSING THE FOLLOWING PROBLEMS:
  1. Half of all health care costs are due to unhealthy health habits, "life-style related". I recently heard one politician say that "personal responsibility cannot be legislated". The Hell It Can't! Has he ever heard of motivation, of legal coercion if necessary?
  2. Drug costs are much too high and are artificially propped up by Government action. Remember the specific provision placed in the Medicare Act of 2002 by recipients of Big Pharma graft (aka "donations")...the one that PROHIBITS THE GOVERNMENT FROM NEGOTIATING DRUG PRICES?
  3. Employer provided Health Care benefits to employees, tax deductible to both, have for decades shielded both from the results of their health choices and treatments. Marvelous. Health Savings Accounts, properly structured, can restore patient consideration and decision-making into those choices.
  4. Half of all Health Care costs are generated in the last 6 months of a person's life.  Given mechanisms for meaningful choice (ie. Advanced Directives actually completed by the patient and actually followed by physicians and families), a vast amount of these costs would disappear...without any reference to "assistance in dying:". 
  5. Now we go to the doctor and "take a chance on the National Lottery", ie, Medical Malpractice suits.  Wasteful, unjust to all and simply a money machine for the Trial Bar, this situation generates about 25% of Health Care costs that are called "Defensive Medicine" ordered by health care professionals to protect themselves.  Health Care Courts, akin to Bankruptcy and Patent Courts with their special expertise, would generate more Justice at much less cost than the current "system" provides - and would obviate the need for "Defensive Medicine".
Physicians and related health care workers, by virtue of their position at the entrance to Health Care, are responsible for ordering over 20% of all such costs.  Pay them adequately (not now the case) and remove the unnecessary encumbrances on their professional expertise, and they will do a better job of triage, care, coordination and education. This is not happening now. 

SO YOU SEE, YOU DO HAVE CHOICES.
ANY PATRIOTS, ANY HEROES OUT THERE?

GS

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Rapid Response for SATURDAY, January 28, 2017

ATTENZIONE!

In recent months, several useful clinical topics - apart from the ever-present "urban legends" - have been reliably reported and deserve inclusion in standard medical practice, in my opinion.

1) Regarding Proton Pump Inhibitors (eg. Nexium, Protonix, etc), the plethora of recent warnings have been found by GI specialists to be overblown.  The most important goal is controlling GERD totally. If medications like Ranitidine (H2 antihistamines with dual effect) and Sucralfate work, fine.  If they don't, continue the use of PPI's.

2) Low Vitamin D has been found to be both nearly epidemic in the general population and important in many more areas of Health than just regarding bone health.  Thus, Vitamin D levels should be obtained on all patients (25 Hydroxy Vitamin D), and levels below 30 should be treated aggressively with Vitamin D replacement.
3) Sleep Deprivation is clearly an epidemic in today's society. There are many causes, including addiction to phones and gizmos used to and through bedtime, and the inordinate and inhuman demands of some employers to have employees "on call" at all times.  But an easily diagnosable and treatable cause is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, also present in epidemic form if looked for.  I use a Sleep Questionnaire and a Nocturnal O2 Saturation Test (performed at home) as screening devices. If either or both of these and the patient's initial history are suggestive, I order an Overnight Sleep Study, preferably performed in a formal Sleep Lab.  If that test is positive for OSA, the patient is placed on CPAP and/or on O2 during all hours of sleep. Untreated OSA  contributes to or causes obesity, GERD, high blood pressure, diabetes...and sudden death during sleep!

4) The following is an "oldie but a goodie": THE PROPER EVALUATION AND TREATMENT OF BRONCHIAL ASTHMA.
Notwithstanding the resistance and temerity of too many Pulmonary physicians to acknowledge this decades-long established fact, Bronchial Asthma - and also Chronic Bronchitis (aka "COPD") cannot be properly evaluated or treated without an Allergy Evaluation. In fact, COPD is a waste-basket diagnosis without that, a point at long last acknowledged by the admission of combined COPD - Bronchial Asthma syndrome. The patient, at least, should recognize this...and should self-refer if necessary.

5) Mental Health in today's world is much more than the absence of established psychiatric disease...and much more  than taking handfuls of psychotropic medications. See the section on this web-site entitled "Physician - Patient Spirituality" for some valuable insights.

6) Most patients these days have 3,4,or 5 different physicians. And too often, they don't talk to each other about the patient's multiple and often intertwined conditions and needs.  Seek out a physician who adds "coordination of care" to his or her offerings in your behalf.

7) We learned in Medical School (for me having graduated 60 years ago) that "the three most important attributes of a physician from the viewpoint of a patient are: Ability, Affability, and Availability...
in REVERSE ORDER."  Make sure that your physician is AVAILABLE  to you when you need him.

GS

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Rapid Response for SUNDAY, January 15, 2017

"PEOPLE NEEDING PEOPLE"

GS

Most doctors ignore one of the most potent ways to improve health, Penn experts say - MDLinx.Com

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"Best of 2016" from MDLinx.Com
 <--- Visit to access each of the articles below.

The 20 best journal summaries in Internal Medicine in 2016.
  1. Dietary water intake and bladder cancer risk: An Italian case-control study
  2. Meta-analysis of potassium intake and the risk of stroke
  3. Association between vitamin D deficiency and antinuclear antibodies in middle-aged and older U.S. adults
  4. Coffee and caffeine intake and risk of urinary incontinence: A meta-analysis of observational studies
  5. Chocolate intake and incidence of heart failure: Findings from the cohort of Swedish men
  6. How statins aid the immune system
  7. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opioid guidelines: Potential for unintended consequences and will they be abused?
  8. Coffee and green tea consumption in relation to brain tumor risk in a Japanese population
  9. Coffee intake and the incident risk of cognitive disorders: A dose-response meta-analysis of nine prospective cohort studies
  10. Sugar addiction: The state of the science
  11. Egg consumption and cardiovascular disease according to diabetic status: The PREDIMED study
  12. Statin myopathy: Over-rated and under-treated
  13. Coffee consumption is positively associated with longer leukocyte telomere length in the Nurses’ Health Study
  14. Discontinuation of statins: What are the risks?
  15. Infusing pleasure: Mood effects of the consumption of a single cup of tea
  16. Effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on blood pressure in adults: an updated meta-analysis
  17. Multivitamin use and the risk of cardiovascular disease in men
  18. Coffee consumption and risk of cardiovascular events in hypertensive patients: Results from the HARVEST
  19. Association of breakfast intake with incident stroke and coronary heart disease
  20. Add-on effects of a low-dose aripiprazole in resolving hyperprolactinemia induced by risperidone or paliperidone
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Rapid Response for TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, December 13 and 14, 2016

THE STATE OF OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
By George A. Sprecace., M.D., J.D.
A Recent Interview with Adam Sprecace, PE,
On the Lee Elci Radio Show, December 13, 2016
Q&A


Note:  You can also hear the segment broadcast on December 30, 2015...


1) A BRIEF SUMMARY OF HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA?
Quality: excellent at the top; modest on average, and decreasing.
Access: sporadic.
Cost: excessive and wasteful.
IN GREAT NEED OF EFFECTIVE REFORM.

2) WHAT HAS LIFE BEEN LIKE, WORKING IN THE TIME OF OBAMACARE?
(eg. patient workload, reimbursement rates and dependability, electronic record-keeping, etc.)
Workload increasing; compensation decreasing; EMR’s poor for the private practicing physician and patient, necessary for hospitals but generating increasing cost and workload and decreasing quality as measured by productive provider – patient interaction.

3) HOW HAS OBAMACARE AFFECTED PHYSICIANS?
Much more stress and strain, with less physician and patient satisfaction.
Physician burn-out and declining physician health.
Pressure to practice UNETHICALLY: eg. ACO’s, BUNDLING, etc., which for first time would force the physician’s self-interest to work at variance with that of his or her patient, with whom he has a Fiduciary Responsibility.

4) IS OBAMACARE GETTING BETTER OR WORSE?
Increased premiums, reduced coverage….
Obamacare was and is a Christmas Tree of Wants, with no attention given to needed Health Care Reforms. The Goals are reduced costs at any cost, and increased Regulations by many who have no knowledge of what they are doing. Example: THE 30 DAY READMSSION RULE, which substantially  penalizes hospitals for readmitting an inpatient within 30 days of discharge…EVEN FOR AN UNRELATED READMISSION DIAGNOSIS! 

5) WHAT ABOUT THE PENALTIES FOR REFUSING TO BUY MEDICAL CARE COVERAGE UNDER OBAMACARE?
20 million subject to penalty. 8 million paid penalty. 12 million exempt. Thus, more subject to penalty than were covered.

6) WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING WITH RELIGIOUS HOSPITALS THAT REFUSE  TO FOLLOW OBAMACARE MANDATES?
Endless Litigation, including the USSC. Coercion: loss of Freedom of Religion, reduced quality and availability due to intimidation and decisions in a System (ie. Catholic Hospitals) that is nearly the largest in the nation.

7) WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT OBAMACARE?
Repeal and Replace, with a two year transition period. a) increase insurance policy competition across State lines; b) reduce and rationalize Regulations; c) make all patients financially at stake at every encounter (HSA’a, co-pays, defined contribution instead of defined benefit plans, etc; d) retain coverage for pre-existing conditions while imposing penalties for continued bad life-styles, which account for about 50% of all health care costs; e) as “Defensive Medicine” accounts for 20-30% of health care orders – costs, REFORM MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAW – eg. Health Law Courts; f) promote and enforce End Of Life Decisions – 50% of Medecare costs occur in the last 6 months of a recipients life!;g) make electronic medical records OPTIONAL for private physicians; h) re-think and revise EMTALA LAW – currently a poor and wasteful use of ER’s; i) prohibit UNETHICAL medical practice and payment programs; j) pay physicians fairly – they are now bearing the brunt of this Christmas Tree. ETC.

8) DO PHYSICIANS AND HOSPITALS GENERALLY AGREE WITH YOUR POSITIONS ON OBAMACARE?
Most physicians, yes.  Hospitals are ambivalent: gaming the system where they can; merging and selling out; trying to “go along” so as to “be at the table” when government decisions are made – not working; acting like trained businessmen when dealing with professionals: “win-lose” instead of “win-win”, treating professionals like widgets…. A bad plan.

WHAT IS YOUR PROGNOSIS?
Short-Term, GUARDED. Much damage has been done.  Long-Term, FAIR, now that competents have retaken the ASYLUM.

NB: GEORGE A. SPRECACE, M.D., J.D. has been writing and speaking on this subject since the late 1970’s, a practicing physician for 60 years…and counting. These Commentaries are found on www.asthma.drsprecace.com

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The retirement issue that no one is talking about - Yahoo!

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Rapid Response for SUNDAY, November 20, 2016

‘Medical’ Marijuana a Con - American Center for Democracy

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Rapid Response for MONDAY, August 29, 2016

MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE MEDICINE CABINET...

GS

JAMA study: Why are drug prices so high, and what can be done about it? - MDLinx.Com

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Rapid Response for FRIDAY, August 26, 2016

Chemicals banned decades ago linked to increased autism risk today - MDLinx.Com

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Rapid Response for FRIDAY, May 13, 2016

"VALUE-BASED MEDICAL CARE".
Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Not when your Government defines and implements it!

In fact, although our Health Care Regulators are doing as much as possible to make it sound like "motherhood and apple pie", THE DRIVER FOR THIS PLAN IS REDUCTION IN HEALTH CARE COSTS, at any cost.

And the vehicle for this trip is inherently UNETHICAL: rewarding physicians for providing less health care, and punishing them for providing more health care...perverse incentives that for the first time place the interests of physicians in opposition to the interests and needs of their patients.
It is RATIONING ON STEROIDS, couched in such reasonable terms as "evidence-based medicine", "efficient health care delivery" and "patient satisfaction".

NOW HEAR THIS: That's exactly how I have always practiced Medicine in my 59 years as a physician. But that will not shield me from being crippled with yet more demands for "documentation" beginning in 2017; and it will not prevent me from being penalized 4% of my receivables beginning in 2019 unless I want a 4% increase by cheating my patients of the care they need. That's what we're talking about, without the sugar-coating.

THE ABOVE IS DIRECTED MAINLY TO THE PATIENT / PUBLIC.  For the Regulators don't give a damn about what physicians and other health care providers care or say. They do care about what the voters say. 

So: "DON'T JUST STAND THERE.  DO SOMETHING", for a change.

GS

Value-based care 101 - InternalMedicineNews.Com

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Frequent Ejaculation Linked to Decreased Prostate Cancer Risk - Consultant360.Com

AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT, MEDICALLY SPEAKING:
Look up "Can breast feeding and breast sucking reduce the incidence of later breast cancer?"

GS

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Rapid Response for SUNDAY, October 26, 2014

RR#1

AM I A MIND-READER...OR WHAT?

"Articulate, Arrogant, Asinine".

GS

White House Presses States to Reverse Mandatory Ebola Quarantine Orders  - NYTimes.Com

RR#2

EBOLA VIRUS INFECTION and protection of Americans

Now comes the latest victim of Political Correctness run amok.

The prime responsibility of our government is to protect its people from threats near and far.  It's responsibility is not to rehabilitate a continent ravaged by the excesses of former colonial powers and by the corruption of its own leaders.  But that is exactly what our reckless "leaders" are touting to justify their refusal to quarantine America from a potential pandemic...an action successfully taken by some of the African nations themselves.  This is not "panic".  It is common sense and basic protocol for the management of infectious diseases of all kinds.

Then you have a litany of negligent actions and inactions taken by our own politicized "professionals": on - the - job training and making it up as they go along, all the while looking over their shoulders for the approval of their political masters.
"WHERE IS IT WRITTEN..." that
Meanwhile, the Governors of several States are to be lauded for their initiatives in defense of their own citizens.  Or can we expect Attorney General Holder to initiate legal process prohibiting such action "in order to protect Liberia..."

We can't "...stop the world".  And we can't "get off".  But we can object.  We can demand. We can Vote! 

"Is anybody there? Does anybody care?"

GS

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Rapid Response for FRIDAY, September 18, 2014

FEE FOR SERVICE: GETTING A BAD RAP FROM THE BEAN COUNTERS.  BUT ONCE AGAIN THEY ARE WRONG.  READ THIS.

GS

I thought you would like to read the attached article: Friday Feedback: Docs Defend Fee-for-Service Click http://www.medpagetoday.com/PracticeManagement/Reimbursement/47748 for the full story: Sign up at http://www.medpagetoday.com/updateProfile.cfm?action=register for your FREE, once-daily, Medical News Daily Headlines Email. MedPage Today(R) provides physicians and &#39;expert patients&#39; real-time coverage of breaking medical news and the top stories in health and medicine. Physicians, PAs, Nurses, and Pharmacists may also receive CME/CE credit as part of our news coverage. Our content is reviewed and accredited by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Office of Continuing Medical Education (OCME). OCME is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide CME for physicians. There is no cost to use the service. Visit MedPage Today www.medpagetoday.com now. At MedPage Today, we are Putting Breaking Medical News into Practice(R).

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E-Cigarettes Just More Smoke and Mirrors, Doctors Say - Yahoo News

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2/11/2012

KEEPING DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AT BAY

The following is a summary of the most recent foray into achieving this goal.  It is based upon a TV interview on the Today Show (February 11, 2012) between Lester Holt and a Professor of Geriatrics from California.  And it says a lot. 
  1. To enhance short and long-term memory: Focus on the topic; Snap a mental picture of the subject matter; Connect it to something else of interest to you. 
  2. Add to your regular diet foods abundant in anti-oxidants (see lists readily available, mainly vegetables, fresh and dried fruits), omega 3 oils (fish, nuts), and whole grains (especially oat and corn).
  3. Obesity promotes dementia.  Regain and maintain a proper weight.
  4. Anxiety promotes dementia.  Don’t be “Outcome Oriented”…”What if…” this or that.  Be “Process Oriented”: control what you can control; and then observe how the issue plays out.  “A little sugar…” in the form of rest and relaxation will help this “medicine go down”.
  5. Exercise, both physical and mental, is vital.  A daily brisk walk is all it takes.  And studying a new language or a musical instrument are potent exercises. 
  6. Humor…and a good laugh…help everything.  See the section on my web-site (www.asthma-drsprecace.com) entitled “A Bit of Whimsey”. 
  7. Make and keep friends, in every sense of that word.  And if you are lucky enough to be married, work on making that person your Pal. 
  8. Heredity is not destiny.  More relevant to destiny is what you do with your body, your mind and your time. 
YOU CAN DO THIS.  If not, at least buy Long-Term Nursing Home Insurance…because you may well be headed there.

GS

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KEEPING DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AT BAY

The following is a summary of the most recent foray into achieving this goal.  It is based upon a TV interview on the Today Show (February 11, 2012) between Lester Holt and a Professor of Geriatrics from California.  And it says a lot. 

  1. To enhance short and long-term memory: Focus on the topic; Snap a mental picture of the subject matter; Connect it to something else of interest to you. 
  2. Add to your regular diet foods abundant in anti-oxidants (see lists readily available, mainly vegetables, fresh and dried fruits), omega 3 oils (fish, nuts), and whole grains (especially oat and corn).
  3. Obesity promotes dementia.  Regain and maintain a proper weight.
  4. Anxiety promotes dementia.  Don’t be “Outcome Oriented”…”What if…” this or that.  Be “Process Oriented”: control what you can control; and then observe how the issue plays out.  “A little sugar…” in the form of rest and relaxation will help this “medicine go down”.
  5. Exercise, both physical and mental, is vital.  A daily brisk walk is all it takes.  And studying a new language or a musical instrument are potent exercises. 
  6. Humor…and a good laugh…help everything.  See the section on my web-site (www.asthma-drsprecace.com) entitled “A Bit of Whimsey”. 
  7. Make and keep friends, in every sense of that word.  And if you are lucky enough to be married, work on making that person your Pal. 
  8. Heredity is not destiny.  More relevant to destiny is what you do with your body, your mind and your time. 
YOU CAN DO THIS.  If not, at least buy Long-Term Nursing Home Insurance…because you may well be headed there.

GS

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Experts Assess Health Risks of Airport Full-Body Scanners, Emily P. Walker

Offerings by George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D.:    (Scroll down or click here for More Relevant Offerings)

"TRUE, TRUE...AND RELATED".  Good advice, especially about the Obstructive Sleep Apnea, of which there is an epidemic, most often undiagnosed.  GS

Mayo Clinic - Aspirin not a joke!

Dr. Virend Somers, a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic who is lead author of the report in the July 29, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American   College of Cardiology

Most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 A.M. and noon, Somers said. Having one during the  night, when the heart
should  be most at rest, means that something unusual happened. Somers and his colleagues have been working for a decade to show that sleep apnea is to blame.

1.   If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at night. The reason: aspirin has a 24-hour "half-life" therefore, if most heart attacks happen in the wee hours of the morning, the aspirin would be strongest in your system.

2.  FYI, aspirin lasts a really long time in your medicine chest for years, (when it gets old, it smells like vinegar). Please read on.

Something that we can do to help ourselves - nice to know.
Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve instantly on the tongue. They work much faster than the tablets.

Why keep aspirin by your bedside? It's about Heart Attacks: There are other symptoms of an heart attack besides the pain on the left arm. One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well  as nausea and lots of sweating, however these symptoms  may also occur less frequently. Note:  There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack.

The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep, did not wake up. However, if it occurs, the
chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep.

If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water.

Afterwards:
- call  911
- phone a neighbor or a family  member who lives very close by
- say "heart attack!"
- say that you have taken 2 aspirins.
- take a  seat on a chair or sofa near the  front door, and wait for their arrival and...
- do NOT lie down.
Our Health Care Future, GS

June 28, 2009

Until this year, "the Flu" was a viral disease of Fall and Winter, with occasional extension into early Spring.  Thus, a "flu-like illness" occurring in late Spring or Summer produced a search for tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, and /or Anaplasmosis (formerly known as Ehrlichiosis). 
 
This Summer season there is another bad actor out there: Swine Flu, otherwise known as H1N1 Influenza.  It can be tested for by ordering an Influenza A test which, if positive, is further tested for Swine Flu virus.  But now that is not enough.  Tick-borne diseases must also be sought (requiring specific testing) when the patient presents with a "flu-like illness".  Please do not dismiss such symptoms and "tough it out".  Consult your physician; and share this information with him or her.  All of these illnesses are more or less treatable.  And all of them can produce serious consequences if not diagnosed and specifically treated in timely fashion.

GS

Immunization Notice, November, 2006, GS

Bronchial Asthma, COPD, and Inflamation, GS

  • Here is a report with which I agree: "Doctors See Benefit From Net-searching Patients", by Tyler Chin (American Medical News - www.amednews.com - Aug. 15, 2005, p1).  "As more people go online for health information, physicians are finding that research can deepen levels of conversation during visits".  So, please surf the rest of this web site, in addition to the Mediterranean Diet site: This is a public service gift...that keeps on giving.
  • But there are risks to patients' direct access to frequently raw medical data, not yet peer reviewed, and to pharmaceutical information which is often "mere puffery", not filtered by a "learned intermediary".  The recent and continuing problem with COX-2 Inhibitors, and currently the Vioxx case, are examples...with serious risks affecting both producers and consumers.  SO, "ASK YOUR DOCTOR".
  • The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, recently signed into law andalso discussed on the same page of the above reference, sounds good - but stay tuned.  It may be too good to be true...and still to risky for health care providers to buy into.  More to come on this.

  • And to finish this offering on another medical note, this year "just a cold" may not be the right attitude...considering the past and possibly continuing difficulties with getting the flu vaccine, and with the possible arrival here of Bird Flu - God forbid.  Everyone, and especially people with other illnesses, should check with their physician for anything but mild symptoms.  Don't try to "tough it out" this time around.

    GS
     

    One of the most common dangers encountered by all of us who, especially in the summertime, stray to the shore, or the hills, or just to the golf course is the possibility of being struck by lightning.  One can survive, but dying is often not the worst of it.  A very informative article on the subject appears in this month's issue of Field and Stream" entitled "Thunderstruck", by Keith McCafferty (p32).  Unless I'm wrong, you don't know all that you should know in order to protect yourself and your family from this threat from the skies, even from the blue skies.

    GS
     

    Physicians and their patients are in tough times partly because, in a mis-guided and paternalistic effort to shield their patients from the turmoil, physicians in the 1980's and early 1990's did not keep their patients informed and did not seek their political help.  They also had this quaint idea that politicians and legislators gave a damn about their points of view and input.  We all learned otherwise.  So, in addition to all the warnings I have been sharing since the late 1970's  (see other relevant categories on this web-site),  here are some more that may make a real difference to the most altruistic of your physicians.

    1. "Pay for Performance" is one of the latest brainstorms being tested.  If not structured properly, physicians' income, already discounted over 30% from what they legitimately earn,  will be based - not on proper procedures - but on successful outcomes.  So now your physician would be held responsible for your adherence to instructions, for your taking your medications, and for all the other stupid life-style things that you might do...in addition to having chosen the wrong genetic stream at conception.
    2. "Cultural Competency Training".  Physicians  may be required to handle not only the medical problems of that patient from Haiti, but also to discuss her problem in her mother tongue and with sensitivity to her beliefs in voodoo.
    3. There is planned a further decrease in the already borderline reimbursment for treatment of Medicare patients, stretching several years down the road.
    4. Some States are considering taxing physicians 1% of their gross income for the permission to take care of Medicaid patients.  Their care, in which most of us participate, is often the most time-consuming and always the very least reimbursed.
    Patients take note: even the most caring and committed physicians may decide that they have been insulted, denigrated and marginalized once too often.  These smart and energetic people have always had other options.   This is not a threat.  Rather, it is a call for help.

    GS

    Health Alerts...June, 2006 GS

    Flu Season, 2004, GS

    Rules to Live By, GS

    There's a Fungus Among Us, GS

    WAZZUP?! - New and Notable, GS

    Xolair and Bronchial Asthma, GS

    Advice for Living a Long, Healthy and Happy Life, GS

    How to "Winterize" Yourself, GS

    Smallpox Vaccine, GS

    Hygiene Theory, GS

    Peanut Allergy, GS

    Bio/Chemical Terrorism, GS

    September 11, 2001, GS

    Keeping Insects at Bay, GS

    Scrombroid Poisoning, GS

    Medical Abstracts, GS

    The Next Allergy Season, GS

    Emergency Room Treatment of Acute Bronchial Asthma, GS

    Flu 2000-2001, GS

    Biting Insects, GS

    Flu 2000, GS

    Regarding Medical Errors, GS

    Lyme Vaccine, GS

    More Relevant Offerings:
    Sleep is Food for the Brain, Paul J. Licata, D. O.
    "Might as Well Dance", Author Unknown

    Good Advice For All Of Us, All The Time, As Long As We Still Have Time..."Slow Dance"

    "Risks and Benefits of Gene Therapy",
            by Philip Noguchi, M.D., the New England Journal of Medicine, 348:3, Jan 16, 2003, p193

    "The Real Face Of Cloning",
            by Tim Friend, USA Today, Jan. 17-19, pA1

    "Sexual Healing"
            by Melissa Gotthardt, Modern Maturity (AARP), Jan-Feb. 2003, Self Care, p14.


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