Two pills and an injection are FDA-approved to prevent HIV infection. Not enough patients and providers know about them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes guidelines and updates for preventing HIV infection. They call it Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP. People at risk for HIV infection can be “PrEP-ared” to… read more "PreP for HIV/AIDS"
Animals can be hazardous to human health. When asked to name the most dangerous animal, many people will give the wrong answer. Sharks have captured the attention of the public, and other animals that kill people may come to mind, like black widow spiders, rabid dogs, and venomous snakes. And… read more "The World’s Most Deadly Animal"
A recent clinical trial tested a new approach to malaria prevention involving monoclonal antibodies. Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted through mosquito bites. There are 200-400 million new cases each year, with 400,000 annual deaths, plus great morbidity and economic burdens. It has been especially devastating for children in sub-Saharan… read more "Preventing Malaria: A Glimmer of Hope?"
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death. There are effective pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods to help people stop smoking. Conventional medicine is often accused of ignoring prevention, just letting preventable diseases develop, and then only treating symptoms. And the Science-Based Medicine blog is often accused of ignoring… read more "Smoking Cessation"
Under the new blood pressure guidelines, more people are classified as having high blood pressure; but the treatment emphasis is on lifestyle changes, not medications. The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recently released new guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure. The highlights are reported here.… read more "New Blood Pressure Guidelines: Why Are Previously Normal BPs Now Classified as High Blood Pressure?"
Alternative medicine proponents criticize mainstream medicine and think they can do better. Evidence from medical journals shows that their criticisms are not valid. Advocates of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including naturopaths and functional medicine practitioners, constantly criticize mainstream medicine. The recurrent themes are: And of course, CAM advocates present themselves as… read more "Mainstream Doctors Actually Do What CAM Claims They Don’t"
Genetic variants may provide information you’d rather ignore The complete sequencing of the human genome by the Human Genome Project was a remarkable accomplishment and a cause for celebration. Several companies including 23andMe, Navigenics, and deCODE have capitalized on that scientific achievement by offering genomic testing directly to the public. They promise more… read more "Genetic Testing: Does Knowing Risk of Disease Make a Difference?"
Prevention has long been a priority of conventional medicine. One of the common criticisms we hear from alternative and integrative medicine proponents is that doctors don’t do anything to prevent illnesses and have no interest in prevention. They claim that doctors are only trained to hand out pills to treat… read more "If You Think Doctors Don’t Do Prevention, Think Again"
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death. Each year it kills more than 5 million people around the world, 480,000 in the US alone. And for every person who dies, about 30 more have serious illnesses caused by smoking. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Anyone who… read more "Smoking Cessation and the Affordable Care Act"
When I was an intern, we used to joke that we were practicing “Smokey the Bear” medicine: stamping out forest fires. Patients would wait until a spark of disease had developed into a dangerous flame, and then they’d expect us to deal with it. We were mostly doing disaster control,… read more "Smokey the Bear Medicine and Prevention"