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  • 3/11/2019 Snoring can certainly be annoying, but it doesn't always indicate a serious medical problem. This week, however, I do want to focus on a harmful condition that can be associated with snoring – sleep apnea.
    Sleep apnea is a condition where people have pauses in their breathing while sleeping. Most people have pauses to some degree, but people with sleep apnea have much longer pauses, sometimes lasting up to 30 seconds. These long pauses cause the level of oxygen in the blood to drop and carbon dioxide to rise. These changes can be very hard on the body, especially the heart and lungs.
    There are two main types of sleep apnea – central and obstructive.
  • 3/4/2019 I’m running through my list of suggested topics from readers, and this one goes out to a reader from Sheridan. It’s a common problem, but one of those topics that doesn’t usually come up in casual conversation—constipation.
    There are three common times in a person’s life when constipation can become a problem. The first is during early childhood, the second when a person has decreased activity for some reason, and the last is during the elder years. Each one has different causes.
  • 2/25/2019 Last week I tried to explain the very complex non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). This week I want to cover Hodgkin’s lymphoma, more commonly known as Hodgkin’s Disease (HD). It gets its eponymous name from Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it in 1832.  
    Hodgkin’s is a potentially curable malignant lymphoma that carries a much better prognosis than non-Hodgkin lymphomas. It is a very specific type of lymphoma, defined by its microscopic appearance and by specific proteins that are found on the cell membranes of the tumor cells.
    The estimate for 2017 was that there would be 8,260 new cases of Hodgkin’s Disease (4,650 men and 3,610 women) and 1,070 deaths (630 men and 440 women).
  • 2/11/2019 We continue to see quite a few kids in our office each year with concussions. Usually this is an athletic injury, but it is commonly seen in others as well. Concussions have always been a part of sports, especially those involving high-energy collisions, most notably football, soccer, hockey and basketball. Intensive research, along with lawsuits like the one the NFL Players Association brought against the NFL, is causing research to move rapidly to help us get a firmer grasp on how to prevent and manage concussions.
  • 2/4/2019 Last week I hope I answered the first part of our reader’s question about how DNA can be used to treat inherited conditions. This week I want to focus on stem cells - what they are, where they come from, how they might be used to treat disease and finally the social and ethical challenges surrounding their use.
    Stem cells are cells that have the potential to change into other more specialized cells in the body through a process known as differentiation. By definition, stem cells have to exhibit two properties: (1) they must be able to divide multiple times and remain unchanged, and (2) they have to have “potency,” the ability to differentiate into other cell types.
  • Hamilton Health - Mendel, Watson and Crick
    1/28/2019 I received two queries from readers asking me to address how DNA and stem cells might be used to treat inherited medical conditions. That’s a tall order for the space allotted, so I’ll tackle DNA this week and stem cells next week. 
    Modern genetics started with Gregor Mendel’s work on the inheritance of various traits in pea plants in the mid-1800s. A century later, James Watson & Francis Crick (with a lot of help from Rosalind Franklin) determined the structure of DNA in 1953. There is no doubt that the expansive scientific knowledge borne from the discovery of the structure of DNA will continue to revolutionize medical science.
  • 1/22/2019 Last week I had a young patient ask me what the difference is between an MRI and a CAT scan. Not long after that, I noticed an error in a newspaper article that mixed up the two technologies. 
    Radiologic imaging of the human body has revolutionized our diagnostic accuracy. However, it also has the negative effect of reducing our reliance on a good medical history and physical examination.
  • 1/14/2019 Sometimes I get asked questions in unusual places. A few months ago at church I was pulled aside and asked if I could write my column on that menopausal malady – hot flashes.
  • 1/7/2019 We are definitely living in a post-truth world. It’s not just in the political sphere that we have to be careful of facts and “alternative facts.” It also extends to the scientific world as well. The public is being constantly bombarded with scientific information through the popular media and especially the Internet. How is a non-scientist supposed to filter all this information and figure out what to believe? I want to give you some tips to use when evaluating what you see or hear.
    The most important thing to look for when reading a science article is whether the author or source is credible. Does the author have the proper credentials? Is the person addressing a subject on which he or she has training and knowledge? Just because someone has an M.D., it does not mean he/she has the expertise to comment on the subject at hand – it may be completely out of his/her specialty. 
    Does the author have a degree from a well-recognized accredited institution, or are they simply a member of an organization that has little or no credibility in the scientific community? 
    There are a number of other things to watch for in scientific articles. The first that should raise a huge red flag is if, in addition to presenting information, an article is trying to sell or promote something. Honest scientists or organizations are interested in disseminating information for scientific and public discussion – not to use it to sell a product or service. Unfortunately, doctors can fall into this trap by promoting treatments or procedures that benefit them.
  • 12/31/2018 

    Welcome back to my two-part series on shoulder pain.

    First, I want to do a quick review of shoulder anatomy (see diagram of a view of the right shoulder from the front). The upper arm bone (humerus) joins to the scapula at the glenoid and is held in place by two structures: (1) a rim of cartilage (glenoid labrum) that forms a shallow cup for the head of the humerus to sit in, and (2) the rotator cuff which is made up of four tendons that wrap around the head of the humerus.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

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