Drinks before dining led many women in study to overeat

That mellow feeling that settles in when you kick off your shoes, pour yourself a drink and start making dinner should come with a warning: Overeating ahead. Don’t hear it? That would be your brain’s reward system – the primitive structures that prime our drives … Read more

Latest stories

Ask Doctor K: Rapid strep tests not perfect for diagnosing sore throat

DEAR READERS: In my last column, I responded to a reader’s question about acute pharyngitis – inflammation of the throat caused by infection with bacteria or viruses. I was taught that diagnosing and treating a patient with a sore throat was not complicated: The sore throat was caused either by Group A streptococcus (“strep,” a kind of bacteria) or by a virus. If a throat culture showed strep, you treated it with penicillin. Simple. But in my view (some colleagues disagree), it’s not that simple. Read more

Cancer drugs get new consumer guide

In a bid to inject clarity into the fast-moving, high-stakes world of cancer drugs, a task force of cancer doctors announced last week that it has devised a decision-making aid to help physicians and their patients weigh the pluses and minuses of newly available options for treating malignancy, including their costs. In a trial run of the proposed system, which distills a single “net health benefit” number for cancer drugs, several costly new medications fared poorly. Others, despite high costs, appeared to offer major returns for patients with few effective options. Read more

Dr. Alisa Hideg: Advancements give sickle cell sufferers hope

When I was in medical school, I met a medical student with sickle cell disease, an inherited illness. She had worked with her health care providers to successfully manage the disease and was doing well. But the disease can at times cause acute pain and fatigue. Sickle cell disease is inherited when you get one defective sickle cell gene from each of your biological parents. It is most common in people of African heritage. When you have sickle cell disease, the four proteins encoded by the sickle cell genes that make up the hemoglobin molecules inside your red blood cells may not be made correctly and so they may not join together in the usual specific shape that allows them to transport oxygen efficiently. Instead, hemoglobin sometimes forms stiff rods inside the red blood cells. Rod-shaped hemoglobin affects the overall shape of the red blood cells. Read more

Health Bulletin Board

New listings Life Skills Class: Your Brain, Your Life - You will learn how anxiety, depression, trauma and stress affect your health and how to overcome it from a panel of local professionals. July 7, 5:30-7 p.m., Salvation Army Kroc Center, 1765 W. Golf Course Road, Coeur d’Alene. Free. (208) 667-1865. Read more

Ask Doctor K: Heart failure slowed with these tips

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’ve been diagnosed with heart failure. Thankfully, it is still in the early stages. What can I do to keep it from getting worse? DEAR READER: The function of the blood is to carry nutrition to every cell in the body and to carry away waste from the cell. The function of the heart is to keep pumping blood so it reaches every cell in the body. Read more

Studies show link between childhood lead levels and violent crime years later

CHICAGO – After growing up poor in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of Cincinnati, the young adults had reached their early 20s. One by one, they passed through an MRI machine that displayed their brains in sharp, cross-sectioned images. For those who had been exposed to lead as toddlers, even in small amounts, the scans revealed changes that were subtle, permanent and devastating. Read more

Finding ‘new normal’ relies on resilience

This month marks four years since my cancer diagnosis and three years since I completed the chemotherapy, bilateral mastectomy and radiation that made up my treatment. My body and my life have taken on a “new normal” since then in both positive and difficult ways. Cancer, like family changes, financial loss, injuries and so many other events can force us to adapt to a permanent alteration in our lives, and adaptation takes resilience. Read more

Pre-teen gymnast has knee pain

DEAR DOCTOR K: My 12-year-old daughter has been doing gymnastics for years. Lately she’s complained about pain in her knee. Her doctor says it’s Osgood-Schlatter disease. How serious is this? DEAR READER: Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common, temporary condition. It causes knee pain in older children and teenagers, especially those who play sports. About 20 percent of kids who play sports develop this condition. It starts when a kid’s growth spurt starts, and major symptoms typically go away at the end of a teen’s growth spurt. Read more

Study gives new look at social skills

Children as young as 2 years old understand that making loud noises wakes a baby, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington. That may not sound like a big deal, but appreciating how sound volume affects someone else is not a trivial social skill. Read more

The magic number is … 7

SEATTLE – Seven hours of shut-eye: That’s the minimum amount of sleep that adults need each night for best health, according to new recommendations from a panel led by a University of Washington sleep expert. And functioning effectively – without guzzling gallons of coffee – could require even more time between the sheets, said Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, a professor of neurology and co-director of the UW Medicine Sleep Center. Read more

Years after MS diagnosis, former BMX champ remains true to recreational roots

Rows of shiny trophies perch on a shelf in an out-of-the way corner of Brenda Gildehaus’ home. The former top-ranked bicycle racer and national BMX champion earned those awards on rugged hills and dirt tracks across the country. “I’ve always been an athlete – I just came out that way,” she said. Read more

Dr. Zorba Paster: Study finds potential answer to peanut allergies

In 2000, the American Association of Pediatricians – worried about the dramatic increase in peanut allergies – recommended that parents keep peanuts away from their children until age 3. The scientific reasoning behind this was simple: Feeding them peanuts early would stimulate an allergic response. Keep in mind we’re not talking about whole peanuts, which could choke infants, but soft peanut products. The expectation was that peanut allergies would decrease, but instead they are soaring. So in 2010, that recommendation ended, leaving each doctor to offer his or her own advice about when to start peanuts. Read more

U.S. melanoma rate continues to increase

The incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has doubled in the U.S. in the last 30 years and is on track to remain high unless Americans take more precautions to protect themselves from ultraviolet radiation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week. CDC researchers tallied a total of 65,647 new cases of melanoma in 2011, according to a Vital Signs study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. After adjusting for age, that worked out to 19.7 new cases per 100,000 Americans, the study said. Read more

Ebola-fighting drugs may be close at hand

Researchers have found two drugs that saved the lives of mice infected with the deadly Ebola virus, and you may have them in your medicine cabinet already. Zoloft, an antidepressant that has been on the market since 1991, cured 70 percent of mice that had the virus in their blood. Vascor, a heart drug that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1990, cured 100 percent of the infected mice. Read more

Spokane scleroderma walk June 20

The Spokane Scleroderma Support Group is having an awareness and fundraiser walk June 20 at the Mirabeau Park Complex from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also to honor Scleroderma Awareness Month, the Steam Plant will light its stacks to bring awareness June 15 from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Read more

Survey shows rise in problem drinkers

CHICAGO – Alcohol problems affect almost 33 million adults and most have never sought treatment, according to a government survey that suggests rates have increased in recent years. The study is the first national estimate based on a new term, “alcohol use disorder,” in a widely used psychiatric handbook that was updated in 2013. Read more

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