Why do people love to talk about themselves?

Most people love talking about themselves. Now scientists have discovered the reason.  Special x-rays of the brain have shown that when people talk about themselves, it triggers the same area in the brain as food, money, or sex.


Harvard University performed a study to discover why people love to talk about themselves.  In one part of the experiment, the study volunteers were offered more money if they would talk about other people or events.  The researchers found that the volunteers would give up the money as they would rather talk about themselves.  Maybe this is where the phrase “a penny for your thoughts” came from!


The researchers also monitored the brain activity of the study volunteers, to see what parts of the brain were triggered by self-disclosure. They used a special type of x-ray called a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner (fMRI), which tracks changes in blood flow to the brain. They found that when people talk about themselves, the same area of the brain lights up that is triggered by food, money, or sex!





What causes a brain freeze?

Have you ever had an ice cream headache?
An ice cream headache, or brain freeze, is caused by the rapid cooling of the blood vessels in our sinuses.  When we eat something cold the blood vessels constrict.  This sends a message to the brain via our trigeminal nerve, which is also the nerve that tells us that our face hurts.  That is why we get the painful sensation on our forehead when we eat ice cream.
Possible cures for brain freeze pain (besides avoiding ice cream) include pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth for 20 seconds, drinking warm water, or breathing in through the mouth and out through the nose to warm the air passages.
brain freeze.jpeg

How many people are waiting for an organ transplant?

Right now, there are 116,000 men, women, and children waiting on the national transplant list for an organ.

There are over 33,000 organ transplants performed a year.

Every day 20 people die waiting for organ transplants.

In the United States, 95% of adults support organ donation, but only 54% sign up to be donors.

The organs most people are waiting for include kidney (82%), liver (12%), heart (3%), and lung (1.2%).   Other types of organ donations include pancreas, intestines, and combination transplants.

There is new technology being developed to help patients with organ failure survive.  There are new machines that help patients stay alive until they can get an organ.  There are scientists doing research with stem cells that may help repair damaged organs in the future.  There is even research on transplanting organs from other animals such as pigs into humans (this is already done with heart valves from pigs).

You can sign up to be an organ donor at the DMV and it will be noted on your driver’s license.  It is also helpful to be sure your family knows that you would want your organs donated.





Is there really such a thing as a fecal transplant?

Fecal transplant is a transplant of feces from a healthy individual to a patient with a medical condition.

The feces is obtained from the healthy donor, and then transferred by either an enema, a tube that goes from the stomach into the intestine, or a capsule of freeze-dried feces that is swallowed.

Why do we transplant feces?  There has been an epidemic of a type of diarrhea caused by the bacteria “C. difficile”, or C. diff for short.  It is usually caused by taking antibiotics, which can reduce the “good” type of bacteria we have in our guts.  It is typically treated by giving even more antibiotics, but it has become very resistant to treatment.

Fecal transplant works by transferring the “good” bacteria and natural antibacterials that we have in our gut to the sick patient.   This builds up their own immune system again to get rid of the C. diff infection.

Does it work?  The success rate for fecal transplant is over 90%, even for patients who have failed standard treatments for their C. diff infection.


Can you really get a penis transplant?

We have all heard of organ transplants for the heart, lungs, kidney, and liver.  But here are some other transplants that can now be performed thanks to modern medicine:

Intestinal transplants:  This is a the transplantation of the small bowel for cases of intestinal failure caused by diseases such as Crohn’s, ulceration, or severe bowl obstructions.  The first intestinal transplant was performed in 1959.

Corneal transplants:  This is where the damaged cornea of the eye is replaced.  The replacement tissue is obtained from human donation as well as synthetic corneas.

Skin transplants:  These are used after severe skin injuries such as burns, and can be obtained from the patient’s own skin from a different site, from another individual who is genetically similar, from a skin donor, or from synthetic materials.

Nerve transplants:  There is current ongoing research to transplant nerves that have been traumatically injured.

Hand transplant:  The hand comes from a brain-dead donor, and this surgery takes 8-12 hours to attach the hand.  The patient will have to take life-long medication to prevent rejection.

Bone marrow transplant:  Also called stem-cell transplant, this is commonly performed for cancer of the blood or bone marrow such as multiple myeloma or leukemia.

Uterine transplant:  This is very rare and has had limited success to date, but in 2014 a woman who had a uterine transplant gave birth to an infant.  A uterine transplant is for women who have had to undergo a hysterectomy or who were born without a uterus.

Testicle transplants:  A British man who had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma had his testicles removed and frozen prior to chemotherapy, which can cause sterility.  After treatment, the testes were re-implanted, and the man fathered a child.  This surgery is still in the clinical trial stage.

Penis Transplant:  Several penis transplant surgeries have been performed for victims of trauma.  This is still in clinical trials, and results have been mixed.



Should you read your own medical records?

Having a copy of your medical records can be useful and informative.  Every patient has a right to their own medical records, whether they are paper copy or electronic records.  This includes doctor’s notes, lab test results, x-ray results, and operative reports.

When patients have read their own records, 80% have found it useful to read the information.

You can request your records if you are the patient, or the parent or guardian of the patient.

How do you request your records?  Contact the provider’s office and request a copy of a release form.  The form usually asks for your name, date of birth, address, and information requested.  There is a chance you may be charged a fee for the records depending on the facility.  It usually takes 10-60 days to receive the information.

Once you get your records, be sure to keep them in a safe and confidential spot.  If you have appointments in the future, it may be helpful to as your doctor’s office if they need to see a copy of the records you have.

What if you find a mistake in your medical records?  If a mistake is found, you can contact your doctors office or hospital, and request that an addendum or change be made.



How many people died from fireworks last year?

There are 11,000 fireworks related injuries in the United States between June and July!

Last year, there were four fireworks deaths in the United States:

  • On May 15, 2016, a 38-year-old male from Arizona was fatally injured in the garage of his single-family home while apparently attempting to manufacture fireworks. In the victim’s home, investigators found a large quantity of fireworks and firework manufacturing components, which had been purchased on-line from an out-of-state supplier.
  • On July 4, 2016, a 42-year-old male from Florida suffered fatal injuries when the fireworks device he was lighting malfunctioned. The victim was trying to set off large mortar-type fireworks in a PVC pipe that was anchored to the ground.
  • A 27-year-old male from Georgia died shortly after the new year of 2016 from a fatal fireworks accident. According to the witnesses at the scene, the victim accidentally placed a firework in a tube upside-down and then lifted the tube above his head. The firework exploded from the bottom and struck the victim in the neck.
  • On July 5, 2016, a 26-year-old male from Kansas fell off the roof of his home after a mortar type of fireworks device exploded in his hand near his chest. According to the witnesses, the victim was on his roof shooting firearms and the explosion knocked the victim backwards off the roof.

Jason-Pierre Paul, New York Giants NFL player, has filmed a public service announcement warning about the dangers of firework injuries.  Mr. Paul sustained a serious fireworks injury at his home, but still managed to return to the NFL.

Jason-Pierre Paul hand injury from fireworks: