Archive for the ‘Celebrities and Health’ Category

New surgeon general is overweight. Does it matter?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

President Obama’s pick for the new surgeon general, Regina Benjamin, M.D., is drawing a little controversy.  She appears overweight.

Here at My Family Doctor we have a little argument going on whether this should matter.


Death of a child. What we can learn from the Travolta family tragedy?

Monday, January 5th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

No one should have to bury their child.  A universal truth that will never be cliche.  There is nothing worse than the death of your son or daughter.  It haunts you forever.

I know from second-hand experience after my parents had to do just that when my sister died in an auto accident in her twenties.  The Travoltas know first-hand.  You can only try to cope.  But how?  What common lessons can be learned from such an unthinkable tragedy?


What is Kawasaki disease? Should I worry about my child?

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Whenever there is a public tragedy such as the death John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s son, Jet, we are all sad, and some of us worry how it might relate to us. At least, I do.  It is a realty check. Don’t we all, sometimes, fear the worst for our children or is it just me?

We don’t know the cause of his death yet, but we do know that both parents have talked about their son getting Kawasaki disease when a child.  So, for now, if our own child gets sick we think, could it be Kawasaki Disease?  What if I, or the doctor miss the diagnosis?  How serious a threat is it to my family?

Knowledge and perspective may help a little.
photo CDC.strawberry tongue


For CPR, Think Bee Gees and “Stayin’ Alive”

Monday, October 20th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Recently, I took my update on Advanced Cardiac Life Support.  What I learned that everyone should know is:

  • If you find someone unconscious, shake the person to see if he or she responds.
  • If not, listen for breathing, look to see if the chest is moving, and check for a pulse.  Do this quickly.
  • If there is any question, call 911 or yell for someone to, and start chest compressions immediately.  It is the most important thing you can do to save a life.  Put the base of your palms together, place on the chest mid-between nipples, and push down firmly and quickly (one-and-a-half to two inches deep).
  • Continue until the ambulance arrives.
  • Don’t worry about the mouth-to-mouth if you’re not trained.  It’s the compressions that count most.

They stressed you should do the compressions at a rate of 100 per minute.  That is the most efficient and is important.  We used a metronome for guidance.  I expect you won’t have one when you need it.  I wondered how I will remember the rate in such a critical situation.  Then I read a post at the Health Blog in The Wall Street Journal.  Simplicity is genius.


Nancy Reagan falls and fractures pelvis. How to decrease your elderly loved one’s risk.

Friday, October 17th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan fell and fractured her pelvis.  She is 87, recuperating at home and expected to recover in about eight weeks.  She had fallen a few months ago, also.  Unfortunately, falls resulting in fractures are all too common at ages 65 and older.  The risk of another fall after the first one is high.  Fractures are devastating, especially of the hip.  The brittle bones of osteoporosis play a role. (Experts debate whether most falls cause the fracture or vice versa.)

Dr. Mary E. Tinetti has studied falls in the elderly for a long time.  In her latest findings, published in the July 17, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine, she notes that previous studies have revealed that in people over 65, falls caused 10 percent of emergency room visits and 6 percent of hospitalizations. They were also a major cause of nursing home placement.

Do you know if you or an elderly family member is at risk? Several factors increase it.


Misty May-Treanor ruptures Achilles tendon dancing with the stars. What is that?

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Copyright 2008 ABC Studios/Kelsey McNeal

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

While practicing for the TV series Dancing with the Stars, Misty May-Treanor ruptured her Achilles tendon.  “It felt like I was hit in the back with a baseball bat,” she said.  I’ve heard that before. Sometimes people hear a pop also.

If you play competitive weekend warrior sports you will know someone with this injury sooner or later.  But Misty May?  An elite athlete in prime condition, who tests her Achilles daily with jumps and sudden starts?  She tears it dancing?  Why?


Obama, Pelosi (Catholic Church?) not sure when life begins. McCain sure it begins at conception. Abortion debate heats up on blogs.

Monday, August 25th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

“When does life begin?” In a recent debate, Barack Obama thought the answer was “above his pay-grade,” while John McCain said at conception. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi chimed in on Meet the Press that no one is sure, not even the Catholic church doctors. (more…)

“Stomach flu” hits Beijing Olympics

Monday, August 18th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

You’ve trained for years, and now you are peaking at the right time. You warm-up, stretch, massage to avoid injury, and have the best health care crew in the world by your side. Then, you get a queasiness in your stomach, probably butterflies from nervousness. Then it gets worse. You run to the nearest restroom and things start coming out both ends. The vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping just keep on coming. Some Olympians are getting the Beijing two-step, stomach bug, stomach virus, viral gastroenteritis. Whatever you call it, if you’ve had it, you know that these athletes are in trouble with their peak performance at major risk

What can they do?


MRI detected Christina Applegate’s breast cancer. Her diligence may have saved her life.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Christina Applegate, age 36, is a role model for women regarding breast cancer detection. Although details are not available, she apparently caught it at an early stage. Therefore her prospects of full recovery are good. She probably had the lump removed and may have a few rounds of chemotherapy. If not detected early, the prognosis would have be much more dire.

So how did she find it so early? Was it just good luck, or did her regular checkups pay off? From early news reports it was the latter. Here is why I believe that.


Why the increase in accidental overdose deaths?

Friday, August 1st, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Heath Ledger is only one of many to die from an accidental overdose. The July 28, 2008 Archives of Internal Medicine found a 360 percent increase in “Fatal Medical Errors” (FME) between 1983 and 2004. The increased percentage was primarily in those that combine prescription medication with street drugs or alcohol. In 1984 there were 92 deaths reported of this nature. By 2004 the number was 3792.

With more emphasis on outpatient, non-hospital care in the past few years, there is less supervision and more powerful medications given than ever before. So what to do?


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