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June 2017

A look at beta blockers

This HND piece examines one of the very few classes of drugs that earned a Nobel prize: Beta-adrenoceptor antagonists—aka beta blockers. As the name implies, the drug resists the actions of norepinephrine and epinephrine, thus preventing the raising of heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. In addition, beta blockers dilate blood vessels, to improve blood flow Another use—off-label, but widely prescribed—is as a stress-lowering anti-anxiety med, favored by performance artists.

We also delve into the control of cortisol—that other stress hormone.

Read the complete article.

Should you worry about taking NSAIDs?

This HND piece puts the spotlight on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and tries to cut through some of the scare-mongering—as people attempt to deal with chronic pain issues. To put things in prespective, we quote respected rheumatologist Dr. Don Goldenberg: "There is no medication that has no risk, and three heart attacks among 1,000 people taking the drugs is still a relatively small risk that may well be worth it for people suffering from pain."

A few studies are examined, including one that seems to confirm that naproxen does not produce the sorts of "vascular events" that ibuprofen does. Then, there is the matter of elderly heart patients with chronic pain being forced into opioids.

We also cover several natural remedies that have served as pain relievers for generations.

Read the complete article.

Another look at ibogaine

This HND piece is a follow-up to the article from last September. Put simply, ibogaine is a hallucinogen that shows promise in treating opiate addiction.

However, its status as a Schedule I controlled substance has made it difficult—to say the least—to do much clinical research on the drug. Fortunately, Schedule I only applies to the US, and research has been done in other countries.

We cite some of this, and spotlight the world's most experienced treatment center using ibogaine.

Read the complete article.

Another look at physician suicide

This HND piece picks up from my 2014 article. Official figures for the US—which most think are low—put the toll at about one per day. We quote one doc who thinks the deaths have increased since the advent of Obamacare.

Among other things, physicians are forced to "code" their cases aggressively, for maximum reimbursement. And, in some cases, this can border on fraud—doing wonders for the stress level, not to mention mental health. Only, they'd better not mention any mental issues, if they want to continue practicing.

Then, there are those infamous electronic health records, compelling many docs to spend way more time on paperwork than on seeing patients.

Read the complete article.

Have mercy...on those infected with MRSA

This HND piece covers yet another outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus aka MRSA. What makes this one plain awful is that it occurred in a neonatal intensive care unit, and would not have even been reported publicly, but for "leak" from a hospital employee to a state official.

You'll love the excuse they used when confronted by the media. My friend, infection control guru Lawrence Muscarella, weighs in on this, and while polite, he minces no words.

Read the complete article.