Could you use an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator)?


If you were near someone who had a cardiac arrest, could you use an AED?  Anyone can use them, they do not require special training!

AEDs are now in many public buildings, such as airports and schools.

What do you do?

  1.  Be sure someone is calling 911.
  2.  Turn on the AED and follow the prompts.
  3.  Open the victim’s shirt.
  4.  Attach the AED pads as the machine will instruct you.
  5.  Make sure no one is touching the patient (“Clear!”)
  6.  Push the analyze button (some machines do that automatically).
  7.  If the machine says to shock the patient, yell  “Clear” again, and push the shock button.
  8.  Begin CPR.

Here is a great video on how to use an AED:


Bug juice

You have probably read articles that taking too many antibiotics can make bacteria more resistant, and that can make it harder to fight infections.

Doctors and other health care providers prescribe 258 million courses of antibiotics in a year in the  United States, for our population of 309 million.

That translates to 833 antibiotic prescriptions for every 1,000 people.

The average person will have 70 courses of antibiotics in their lifetime for the average person.

When a child goes to see a doctor in the United States, 40 percent of the time they leave with an antibiotic prescription.

In the United States, 80 percent of all antibiotics produced are fed to farm animals.



Liver, don’t fail me now

What do our livers do?  Lots!   Our liver cleans our blood, is involved with metabolism,  breaks down old red blood cells, produces factors that help our blood clot, and helps with digestion.

Why can our livers fail?  Extremely excessive alcohol use, some medications, toxins, some infections such as hepatitis, and even some genetic conditions can cause our livers to fail.  When the liver fails, patients began to have yellow skin called jaundice, swelling of their belly, bleeding problems, and can have confusion.

The first liver transplantation was performed in 1963 by Dr. Thomas Starzl.  Dr. Starzl was going to become a priest, but decided to become a doctor when his mother died of breast cancer.  The first patients who had liver transplants had a one year survival rate of only 25%.  Now the survival rate at one year is 86%.   Over 6000 liver transplants are now performed in the United States a year!

Health liver and a liver with cirrhosis:


Tender at the Bone

Osteoporosis affects 200 million people worldwide.

Our bones start thinning and becoming less strong at about age 35!

1 of every 3 women over 50 will fracture (break) a bone from osteoporosis, and 1 of every 5 men.

Due to osteoporosis, someone in the world breaks a bone every 3 seconds.

Who’s at risk?  People who are very thin, take steroids for a medical condition, smoke, or have more than 4 drinks a day are at higher risk.

What prevents osteoporosis?  A healthy diet with enough calcium and Vitamin D, and exercising can help prevent osteoporosis.  Using light weights may especially help.

How do you know if you have osteoporosis?  A special scan such as a DEXA scan can diagnose thin bones.  Women over 65 should consider getting this test.  Some patients may start medications based on this test if their bones are very thin.



Addicted to…


Eighteen percent of Americans smoke tobacco, and 11 percent smoke pot.

Percent of adults who smoke tobacco:

Austria:  36 percent

Japan:  30 percent

France: 27 percent

US:  18 percent

The average smoker lives 14 years less than a nonsmoker.

The average smoker spends $2,200 a year on cigarettes.

The average pot smoker (in a legalized state) spends $650 a year on pot.

Country that smokes the most pot:  Iceland.  The next are:  Nigeria, Zambia, the U.S. and New Zealand.

Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who were current regular drinkers (at least 12 drinks in the past year): 51.3 percent.

Four percent of all deaths in the world are alcohol related.

Ten to 20 percent of Americans meet the criteria for alcoholism at some point in their life.

Countries with highest alcohol death rates:  El Salvador (#1), Guatemala, Honduras, Denmark, Estonia, Nicaragua, and Haiti.

In the United States, 9.4 percent of the population has a diagnosis of substance abuse.

In 2013, 30 percent of men and 16 percent of women age 12 and over report binge drinking within the past month.

In the United States, 10 percent of men and 3 percent of women report themselves as heavy alcohol users.

In 2013, 10 percent of all drivers had driven under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.


Have you checked your colon lately?

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month!

More than 1 million people get colon cancer every year.  Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cause of cancer for men and the second most common for women.
Did you know that most (over 80%) of colon cancers start as a small polyp?  These can be detected and removed with a colonoscopy, which is the screening test for colon cancer.
Survival rates for early stage detection is about five times that of late stage cancers!  If you have a family history of colon cancer, have symptoms such as rectal bleeding, or are over the age of 50, be sure to see your doctor, and get scheduled for your colorectal cancer screen!
The small polyp could be removed at colonoscopy, the larger masses would need to have surgery:

Are we making progress against Leukemia?

We all know that Leukemia is a scary, devastating diagnosis.  Are we making any progress in the fight against this disease?  Here are the facts for the four most common types of Leukemia:

In 1975, the survival rate Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia was 41 %, now the survival rate is up to 90% at 5 years.

In 1975, the survival rate for Acute Myeloid Leukemia was less than 20%, now the 5 year survival is up to 50%.

In 1975, the survival rate for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia was less than 50%, now the 5 year survival rate is 82%.

In 1975, the survival rate for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia was only 6%.    A new drug that became available in 2001 changed everything for this disease.  Because of the new drug imatinib (Gleevec ™), 90% of patients with this disease are alive at 5 years!

Leukemia cells showing up on a blood smear under a microscope:

Leukemia blood cells




The amazing brain

The average brain weighs 3 pounds. The human head weighs 10 pounds.

As we age, the brain loses 1 gram of weight per year.

The brain is 75 percent water.

The brain has 100 billion neurons (nerve cells). There are no pain receptors, so the brain cannot actually feel pain!  There are tissues, nerves, and blood vessels around the brain that can feel pain and that is what causes headaches.

Nerve impulses travel at 250 miles/hour.

The brain at birth is almost the same size as the adult brain.

The brain uses 20 percent of the body’s oxygen. If the brain doesn’t get oxygen for 5-10 minutes, brain death results.

The brain continues to send out electric signals for up to 37 hours after death.

The average person has 70,000 thoughts a day!



Did George Washington die of a sore throat?

Did our first President die from a sore throat?

In 1799, George Washington woke up with a sore throat.  It continued to worsen over several days.

Finally his doctors were called.  They “bled” him, which was common in those days.  It was believed that by removing blood, the patient could breathe easier.  They removed 5 units of his blood but he did not improve.

Then, they tried burning his throat to “cauterize it”, then tried to force him to drink a mixture of butter, vinegar, and molasses, but he couldn’t do it.  He later died.

It is now felt that George Washington had a condition called “epiglottitis”, a very severe infection of the structures in the throat.  It is now a treatable condition, and there is an immunization that prevents this infection as well.





When was the first neurosurgery?

The first neurosurgery performed was “trephination”, which means making a burr hole into the skull.  It was first performed in France in 6500 BC!  Prehistoric skulls from that time show evidence of burr holes.
Why was it performed?  No one knows for sure, but it may have been considered a treatment for mental illness, migraines, or seizures.  When skulls from that period are examined, 5-10% have had trephination performed.
While some of the surgeries performed appear to have killed the patient, some of the skulls show evidence of healing, so we know that some of the patients survived!
Skull with trephination performed:
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