Archive for the ‘Rants and Raves’ Category

Occupy the Internet! Doctors Unite to Build Accessible, Reliable Health Site

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

stethoscope and keyboardby Leigh Ann Otte

It’s amazing how much misleading information there is on the Internet, isn’t it? People claim just about anything—and do it with such authority that it seems like they must know what they’re talking about.

I’ve come across some doozies over the years. I’m convinced that dubious health claims must make up a good 50 percent of the Interwebs. Once, I stumbled upon a psychologist(!) blogger who was spreading the myth that antidepressants didn’t work. He drew his claims from an “expert’s” book on the subject. Just by looking into the first study, you could get a feel for the quality of evidence relied upon. It was on a different class of medicine (tricyclics, not SSRIs—the type prescribed most commonly today) and a tiny amount of people. I posted a comment. The blogger wrote me privately and admitted fault; he hadn’t looked into the studies himself. He was just repeating information.

Sometimes, though, the problem isn’t too much dubious information; it’s not enough of any information. Often, with lesser-known disorders, you can find a smattering of overviews online, if that. Well, there is more-detailed information, but it’s written for doctors and stuffed with so much jargon it might as well be Greek. (I think some of it is Latin).

The lack-of-information syndrome seems to be the case with a disorder called MGUS. Ever heard of it? Probably not, but 3 to 4 percent of people over 50 have it, according to S. Vincent Rajkumar, a hematologist-oncologist from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. It’s a blood disorder that usually causes no symptoms, but some people who have it end up getting a certain kind of cancer.

We published an article about MGUS a while back, and people started flocking to it. They posted so many questions in the comments section that we decided to do a follow-up answering them. Two top MGUS experts were kind enough to share their knowledge for the piece. The result is this week’s featured article, “MGUS: Questions About Symptoms, Related Diseases.”

That brings us to the early-Thanksgiving portion of this post—a gushing thanks.

We’d like to thank the doctors who took the time to answer the MGUS questions: Dr. Rajkumar of Mayo Clinic and Hani Hassoun, M.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Our purpose at My Family Doctor has always been to give you trustworthy information straight from doctors. We couldn’t do that without the experts who are willing to work with us. Turns out, they like to spread reliable information too. They just need an outlet.

So thanks to you guys—our readers—for supporting that outlet. Down with the 50 percent! Let’s make it 49.5. I think we might be able to do it.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

In Memory of Dr. Montauk: Compassionate, Passionate Family Doctor

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Q. They say laughter is the best medicine. What movie or television show makes you laugh out loud?

A. Harold and Maude. It not only makes me laugh out loud at many of life’s absurdities, but it helps reaffirm why we go on in spite of them.

Susan Louisa Montauk, My Family Doctor magazine, fall 2006.

The world lost a good doctor last Monday. And the My Family Doctor team lost a respected colleague. Susan Louisa Montauk, M.D. passed away from rectal cancer. She was 61.

Susan, a family doctor, was one of my go-to writers for our former magazine. I knew she’d deliver a well-written, upbeat, trustworthy article. She was so good that we invited her to be on the magazine’s editorial board. Thankfully for us, she accepted. Susan knew her stuff, and she was wonderful to work with.

In Cincinnati, OH, where she practiced, Susan was known as a compassionate, passionate physician. Early this year, the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote about her:


Dermatologists’ Top Picks for Your Skin

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte

Choosing skin-care products can be daunting. There are so many claims, ingredients, formulations—and prices!

So we went straight to the experts. We asked three dermatologists which products they’d recommend—brand names and all. And they said there are plenty of great finds right in your neighborhood drugstore.


Best Healthy Recipes From Twitter

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

by Leigh Ann Otte, managing editor

Do you like to cook?

Some of our favorite things to post on Twitter are healthy recipes. For this Twitter Friday, we’ve rounded up a few of the best from the last month or so.

We’d love it if you’d share links to your favorite online healthy recipes in the comments section below.


Best of Health on Twitter in July–Including Blogs

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

by Leigh Ann Otte, managing editor

It’s time for our monthly Twitter roundup. This time, we have a ton of tweeters and bloggers to highlight. If you’re not on Twitter but like reading health blogs, just skip to the second section.

But before I get to that: a quick plug for our free preview issue since the offer ends Sunday. My Family Doctor is a unique, fun-to-read, trustworthy, magazine written by health-care providers for the general public. We feature the latest information on how to prevent and treat disease, tell you which alternative remedies really work, and tackle widespread myths and rumors.

Now, on to the Twitter fun.


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.


Health Blogs on Twitter, Follow Recommendations and Interesting Articles

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

by Leigh Ann Otte, managing editor

In our blog post about Twitter this week, we’re linking to interesting health articles and blogs, so even if you’re not on Twitter, you can benefit.

For those of you on Twitter, we thought it would be interesting to see who we tweeted about the most in June.  We’ve included a few of the posted links.  Enjoy!

Some People We Retweeted Most:

Recipes to make your own spice mixes.


New Grandson

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, a few minutes after midnight, my daughter Beth delivered Michael Robert (my middle name also) into the world at 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 20 inches.  Her husband, Roger, was with her and I was in the waiting room. The labor lasted over 24 hours with no epidural.

Michael is my first grandson and doing well, probably the most beautiful and brightest kid ever born.

Beth and Roger are tired but doing well. Grandpa and Grandma Hubbard are very happy and proud.

AMA Resolution Awards: The most interesting and entertaining from the annual meeting

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

by Leigh Ann Otte, managing editor

On Friday, I blogged about some interesting resolutions from the American Medical Association’s annual meeting.  Today, as promised, it’s time for the My Family Doctor first annual Resolutions Awards (tongue firmly in cheek)!

Drum roll, please …


Twitter: Best Healthy Recipes, Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists

Friday, June 19th, 2009

by Leigh Ann Otte, managing editor

Last Friday, we highlighted some great health-related Twitter folks to follow.  Now, it’s time to celebrate registered dietitians and people who tweet healthy recipes.

What do you think of the list?  Any to add?


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