Cellphones, and particularly smartphones, are everywhere these days. It is estimated that 77 percent of the U.S. population has or has access to a smartphone. Smartphones feature recording devices that can record both audio and video, and can do so clandestinely. Physicians and other health care professionals are now realizing that some patients are recording their office visits, often without the consent of the person being recorded. In one survey of the general public done in the United Kingdom, it was found that 15 percent of respondents admitted that they had secretly recorded a clinic visit, and 11 percent knew of someone who had done so. Many times the motivation to record the visit is reasonable: patients want a recording to listen

Our hearing ability decreases naturally over time. Prolonged exposure to loud noise often worsens hearing loss, especially high frequency hearing loss. Human speech recognition occurs in the mid to higher frequencies which is why those with high frequency hearing loss cannot hear conversations that occur in a crowded room. They cannot distinguish between the voice of the person speaking to them and the background noise. This can be especially frustrating for someone with high frequency hearing

Inflammation is a well-known cause of atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries” and heart disease. There are many causes of inflammation in humans including obesity, cigarette smoking, cancer, and diabetes. A few months ago, a very interesting study was published in The American Journal of Medicine. The authors looked at another potential source of inflammation, namely dental plaque and poor dental hygiene.     Although the study was small, the authors divided the volunteers into two

Asthma affects about 7.5 percent of adults in the U.S. and is responsible for 1.8 million hospitalizations and 10.5 million physician office visits per year. It is more common in black people (8.7 percent) and Puerto Rican Hispanics (13.3 percent) than in white people (7.6 percent). Asthma presents as episodic or persistent symptoms of wheezing, shortness of breath, air hunger, and cough. Symptoms may be precipitated or worsened by exposure to allergens and irritants, viral upper respiratory

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a dominantly inherited genetic disorder that affects about one in 250 individuals. Persons with this disorder have markedly elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C or “bad” cholesterol) and accelerated rates of heart disease. Families with this disorder often have adults who have died of heart disease in their 40’s or 50’s. Persons with FH have a 2.5- to 10-fold increased risk of heart disease as compared to controls, but when FH is

Syncope (a sudden loss of consciousness) is a common challenging and non-specific problem that may require medical intervention, especially in older individuals. Causes range from transient, benign, self-limited problems to life-threatening conditions. Patients who are evaluated in the emergency department for syncope are often admitted to the hospital. Nationally, about one percent of those evaluated in the ER are there for syncope, while up to about 35 percent of those patients are admitted

 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) draws a distinction between direct-to-consumer advertising for pharmaceutical products, which it regulates, and advertisements meant to create disease awareness, which it does not regulate. Most other countries ban direct-to-consumer advertising because it can be misleading and may interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. Challenges arise when disease awareness efforts are made for a condition for which there is only one drug available for

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