If, like me, you grew up in the 1960s, then you have stark memories of the real possibility of nuclear war. The Cuban missile crisis in 1962 was probably, as far as we know anyway, the closest we ever came to nuclear war. As kids in grammar school, we used to have bomb drills, most of which involved us either hiding under our desks or moving to the school basement. As if that would protect us from a nuclear detonation. I also remember the apartment buildings that line the boardwalk in the Beach 120s having those civil defense signs that indicated they were “fallout shelters.”

Thankfully, those fears were buried for many decades but have recently begun to resurface with Putin’s war on Ukraine. The specter of nuclear war has once again

Brain surgery has come a long way. Evidence of brain surgery goes as far back as the Neolithic period (4500 B.C.) when the first known documented surgery was performed by making a hole in the skull by removing a portion of bone, a process called trepanation. This is still done today to remove deadly pressure on the brain, for instance to drain a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain) that forms as a result of head trauma. This is called a burr hole and the procedure is quite improved since

Decompression sickness (DS), commonly referred to as “the bends,” is caused by dissolved gas (usually nitrogen) in living tissue that is released to form bubbles as a result of decreased environmental pressure. DS may occur in diving, aviation, and spaceflight. A simple example of the bubble formation seen in DS can be seen in bottled carbonated beverages. In order to keep the carbon dioxide in solution, the beverage container is pressurized. Looking at the unopened liquid in the bottle no

Caffeine is a naturally occurring central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that can also be made synthetically. Chemically, caffeine is a CNS stimulant of the methylxanthine class and is chemically related to adenine and guanine, which are base compounds for DNA and RNA. The best-known source of caffeine is coffee beans, seeds of the coffea plant. It is also found in tea leaves, cacao beans, guarana berries, and yerba mate leaves. About 85% of adults consume caffeine daily, and the average intake

Bile is a digestive enzyme. It is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. The common bile duct originates in the liver and passes through the pancreas, where more enzymes are added, and it ends at the duodenum, or early small intestine, where the enzymes digest food. There is a tee in the common bile duct by which the cystic duct and gallbladder connect to the digestive system. In response to a meal, the gallbladder contracts and empties stored bile into the common bile duct. Bile is

To me, there is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most politicized infectious disease the world has ever seen. Peoples’ responses to the pandemic and their actions against it have become widely divergent and appear to be linked to their political views. Many believe that mask and vaccine mandates are necessary while many others have the opposite view. Red states and blue states reacted quite differently to the infection – blue states shut down everything and mandated masks

The opioid crisis, which has caused a tightening of the rules regarding the prescribing of opioids, has had many unintended consequences. There is a small segment of the population that requires opiates for pain control. This includes both hospice and end-of-life care and pain control for those who have conditions and diseases that cause chronic pain, for example a person with sickle cell disease, for whom pain is a lifetime companion.

Many doctors and pharmacists have become resistant, if not

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