Frozen treatment: Rockwood’s IceCure machine can solve benign breast tumors

The first time Katherine Gawenit, 30, found a lump in her breast she was a 19-year-old college freshman. “That was a scary one,” she said. Read more

Latest stories

Guys stretch truth when study doubts their masculinity

Pity the male of the species. It’s so easy to threaten his masculinity, then watch him try to compensate by simply lying about himself. “Manning Up” is a recent research paper headed by Sapna Cheryan, a University of Washington associate professor in psychology. Read more

People’s Pharmacy: Neosporin can trigger allergic reactions

Q. I am severely allergic to latex, nickel and Neosporin. Now I am off work for two weeks due to a huge ulcerated lesion on my left knuckle. I had a small paper cut, applied Neosporin and covered the cut with a latex-free bandage. That was a bad idea! I have been to two specialists, who said all I can do is let it heal before I return to work. Read more

Study suggests early clue to predict reading troubles

WASHINGTON – New research suggests it may be possible to predict which preschoolers will struggle to read – and it has to do with how the brain deciphers speech when it’s noisy. Scientists are looking for ways to tell, as young as possible, when children are at risk for later learning difficulties so they can get early interventions. There are some simple pre-reading assessments for preschoolers. But Northwestern University researchers went further and analyzed brain waves of children as young as 3. Read more

Dr. Zorba Paster: Steps to seek second opinions

Dr. Zorba: I have recently been diagnosed with AV nodal reentrant tachycardia . This fast heartbeat is driving me crazy. For years I’ve taken medications that break this rhythm, but it’s happening more and more often. That’s why my cardiologist recommended ablation therapy. I’ve read about this. It’s scary. They thread a catheter from your groin into your heart and then electrically zap the highway that’s carrying the super-fast beat. She said it had a high success rate. I’m not sure I want this done, but I do hate these episodes. Read more

Ask Doctor K: Insect repellents safe if used as directed

DEAR DOCTOR K: Which ingredients should I look for in a mosquito repellent? Are there any I shouldn’t use on my kids? DEAR READER: Many people worry that insect repellents themselves are dangerous. However, used properly, they are quite safe. It is particularly important to use insect repellents carefully, as described on their labels, for certain groups of people. This includes children, pregnant women and people who work outdoors and use insect repellent every day. These people may be more vulnerable to adverse effects. Read more

Health district campaign promotes pool safety

The Spokane Regional Health District is preaching pool safety this summer, tackling both drowning and recreational water illnesses with its Pool Safe campaign. “We want to make sure that the public is aware of their roles and responsibilities to keep these water recreation facilities … safe for use,” said Steve Main, a technical adviser for the Living Environment Program, which includes water recreation program. Read more

Non-drug therapy helps whiplash

DEAR DOCTOR K: I was in a car accident several months ago and got whiplash. I still have neck pain. Is this normal? DEAR READER: The neck contains vertebrae with joints between them. The bones are attached to muscles and ligaments that hold them together, and that hold the neck upright, allowing it to move as your head moves. Read more

Newborn screenings seeks inherited diseases

If you’ve delivered a baby in Washington state or have been around a newborn, you may recall the baby’s feet being poked for a blood sample shortly after birth. The blood sample is taken for a screening test to detect inherited diseases (also called genetic). In our state, newborns are screened for 29 different treatable, inherited conditions. Many of these conditions do not cause any symptoms initially and babies appear perfectly healthy. However, by the time any symptoms happen, the condition can be more difficult to treat and risk of serious complications like brain damage, organ damage and death increases. Sickle cell disease is one of these conditions, as I discussed in my last column. Others include phenylketonuria (1 in 10,000 babies will have this condition), hypothyroidism (1 in 4,000) and classic galactosemia (1 in 60,000). You can find complete lists of the screening tests done in Washington and the other 49 states at the Baby’s First Test website, http://www.babysfirsttest.org/. (Idaho tests for 46 different conditions.) Read more

Mindfulness therapy may help depression

Depression is a recurrent disorder affecting millions of people. By some estimates, 5 percent of the population suffers from it at one time or another. For some it’s a one-and-done episode, but for others it happens over and over again. And while drugs have monumentally changed many people’s lives for the good, they have side effects. Read more

The whole food truth

Take a walk around the farmers market with John Gilbert and he’s quick to point out all that is green. Kale. Collards. Chard. Chicory. Spinach. Purslane. Broccoli. Bok choy. Read more

All cereal facts found on the box

DEAR DOCTOR K: I love to eat cereal for breakfast, but I’ve heard that many cereals aren’t all that healthy. What should I look for in a healthy cereal? DEAR READER: I spoke with Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She recommends reading ingredient lists carefully and choosing cereals that meet the following criteria: Read more

Dangers lurking at home

Soap may seem to be keeping germs at bay, but in many homes, it’s doing harm. Surprisingly, there are items lurking in most homes that are unhealthy because they’re old or contain harmful ingredients. The good news? For the most part, these things simply can be tossed to make the home healthier. Problem: Antibacterial soap with triclosan Read more

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

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 for sex, food and addictive substances-overriding the message. 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

Poor diet, obesity lead to adult diseases in children

Once seen only among an older population, adult diseases such as fatty liver disease, hypertension and osteoporosis are being diagnosed more and more in children. And you can add to that sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels. The culprits? Unhealthy diets and growing waistlines, experts say. Recognizing obesity early and appreciating the cardiovascular decline it can pose for young children has become so important that the American Academy of Pediatrics established guidelines and recommendations for pediatricians, typically not accustomed to seeing the resulting cascade of health issues in their patients. Read more

Dr. Zorba Paster: Go Mediterranean, king of the diets

Have you been to one of your many area farmers markets yet? If not, you should definitely go. The cornucopia of nature just spreads out before you as you go from one vendor to the next. And what’s nice about this is that it makes the Mediterranean diet even easier to follow. 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

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