Posts By Frank Gillingham, MD

The CDC announced this week that the flu season has arrived early this year and could be worse than usual because of its premature appearance. "We're seeing the beginning of the uptick start at least a month before we'd generally see it," cautioned CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden, explaining that flu rates typically start to rise in early January. Readers…

In a landmark effort to eliminate illegal trafficking of tobacco products, delegates from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) adopted a treaty on November 11, 2012, to control the international tobacco supply chain. Recognizing the serious health problems not only of those who use tobacco products but also of those around them, this international treaty commits participating…

Dr. Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Stop TB Department, announced this week that in the last 17 years over 51 million people worldwide have been treated for tuberculosis, and as a result, approximately 20 million lives have been saved. “This milestone reflects the commitment of governments to transform the fight against TB” added Dr. Raviglione, “but the momentum to…

Earlier this week the CDC released a report showing the tuberculosis bacterium is exhibiting ever increasing resistance to conventional treatment. Since the mid 1960’s, the vast majority of tuberculosis cases have been effectively treated with a combination of Isoniazid (INH) and Rifampin. That landscape is changing, and threatening efforts to eradicate a disease that infects almost 9 million people and…

Most patients trust their physicians to select just the right medication for them. Unfortunately, the fact is many physicians prescribe medications for an assortment of less appropriate reasons. Sometimes it is the medication with which they are most familiar, or for which they have been provided the most information. I have known physicians over the years who would prescribe one…

<sThe Hospital de Denia in Spain was recently recognized for implementing the first all digital medical records system in Spain, and only the second in Europe.  Electronic medical records (EMR) are a key component of the American Healthcare Reform Act (PPACA), and are widely recognized as essential for increasing the efficiency of medical care worldwide. According to Marcos Garcia of…

As a follow up to our post on travel philanthropy, a word of caution in regards to a common problem affecting areas trying to recover from destructive events: poor sanitation systems. Diarrheal diseases, including those linked to improper sanitation, are the second leading cause of death in the developing world, taking 2 million lives annually.   Fecal contamination of drinking water…

It has long been known that laughter not only improves one’s  mood, but it also has physiological benefits such as increasing blood flow to the heart, reducing stress hormones, and improving the immune system.  British researchers have shown that fifteen minutes of laughter will enhance the level of endorphins, the body’s naturally produced pain killers. What may be surprising is…

The World Health Organization announced on Friday that details of the recent genetic research that resulted in more contagious bird flu strains would be released to the general public over the next few months.  The decision, made by leading bird flu and public health experts who met in Geneva last week, was against the objections of the United States.  Opposition…

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