Archive for the ‘Medical Mythology’Category

Arachnophobia!: The Truth Behind Spider Bites


MD 2011 | camilon@myhousecallmd.com

They are the stuff of legends, nightmares, horror movies, and, for some people, deeply intense fears. Without a doubt, spiders are freaky little buggers.  But is this fear justified?  Their impact has reached into the medical field: one Australian medical organization notes that 13% of emergency calls are regarding spider bites. We know that we, as a society, freak out (and apparently call our Australian doctors) when we are bitten, but is a spider bite really cause for concern?  While these miniscule monsters strike fear in many, the question remains, “Are they really the medical malady that we think they are?”  

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27

12 2010

The Mad Hatter + Fish: Mercury Levels & Your Health


by Brenton Bauer, MD 2011 | bauer@myhousecallmd.com

You are probably wondering why the title of this article references a character from Lewis Carrol’s famous childhood story, Alice and Wonderland, when we are supposed to be discussing the effects of mercury on human health. Well, interestingly enough, it has everything to do with mercury. To take you back on a quick journey through history, 19th century hat makers (aka “hatters”) used to utilize a mercury-based solution in the process of curing animal pelts for their hats. Furthermore, they typically worked in very poorly ventilated workshops and, during the curing process, they would inhale large quantities of vaporized mercury. Over time, these hatters began developing neurological symptoms, which Carrol used as the framework for the idiosyncrasies seen in the character of the Mad Hatter. As Lewis Carrol has shown us, mercury and its impact on human health is not a novel idea. There is, however, a lot of hype regarding this heavy metal in contemporary news. Below, we strive to break down some of the key issues regarding mercury’s interaction with human health in today’s day and age.

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13

12 2010

Weight Loss: With or Without Surgery?

by Leah Frankel, MS, RD

Americans are always looking for the newest and fastest thing on the market. From fast food to express car service, Americans can’t get enough quick fixes. If you listen to ads on the radio or read the billboards on the freeway, you may have noticed an increase in advertisements for the lap band, a weight loss procedure promising quick results. Aside from the fact that the lap band procedure aids in weight loss, most people don’t know much about how this procedure works or whether they’re an appropriate candidate. While media has recently focused on the lap band procedure, there are several other surgeries available for people trying to lose weight. At the same time, realize that these are surgeries and should not be taken lightly.  Every operation, no matter how technologically advanced, carries with it the risk of serious complications.  We’ll discuss each type of procedure, which individuals are candidates for these procedures as well as some of the risks and benefits of each of these procedures.

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24

10 2010

Oncology 101: The Basics of Cancer

by Kelly Erickson, MD | erickson@myhousecallmd.com

We all know what “cancer” is, but when you or a loved one hears it as a diagnosis in the physician’s office, the word suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.  Not only may you become overwhelmed with emotions and the notion of mortality, but also with an entirely new vocabulary.  The number of words the medical community has conjured up to describe cancer is astounding.  As scary as it sounds, your understanding of cancer and the terms we use to describe it are paramount to your personal decisions and treatment.  Here we will explain the basics of cancer as well as outline some of the most commonly used terminology in the field of oncology (a.k.a. cancer…and the vocabulary lesson begins).

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31

07 2010

Trouble with Baby-Making: Understanding Infertility

by Marissa Camilon, MD 2011 | camilon@myhousecallmd.com

What is infertility? When should you see a doctor?

In a world where one woman can become famous for having eight children and celebrities can have children at practically any age, some people lose sight of why this aspect of medicine even exists. Despite the media’s glamorization of the subject, infertility is not a condition taken lightly by the medical community. Infertility is a serious condition, just like diabetes, asthma or cancer, with proven medical treatments available. Many of us take the ability to become pregnant for granted; something we think happens with the blink of an eye. We have to remember that the chance of becoming pregnant is 20% per month of unprotected intercourse (not 100%). As physicians, we begin to investigate infertility after a couple tries a year of regular, unprotected intercourse that does not lead to a pregnancy. We pick one year as the cutoff because 85% of couples will conceive within that time frame. If you and your partner have been trying for that long, or even longer in some cases, it may be time to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility specialist.

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27

07 2010

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