Ask a Doc: How can I avoid the emergency room this winter?

While injury and illness can happen at any time of year, there are a few threats that come with the season – especially its cold, inclement weather. You can help avoid an emergency by being prepared. Before the long winter sets in, winterize your home, learn to layer your clothing for extra warmth, and boost your immune system with a flu shot, the pneumococcal vaccine and multi-vitamins. Read more

The Reflux Dilemma

Many people are all-too familiar with acid reflux and how it can potentially affect us. We know the classic symptoms of indigestion and “heartburn” (GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease). Some of us experience less common symptoms that affect the throat, such as chronic cough, throat clearing, hoarseness, a feeling of a lump in the throat, and post-nasal drip (LPR or laryngopharyngeal reflux disease). Read more

Hepatitis C: Promising Treatment Developments

Over the past few years, enormous strides have been made in treatment options for people living with hepatitis C, a form of viral hepatitis that causes chronic liver disease. Treatments in the past were difficult to tolerate, produced numerous side effects, and for a large percentage of patients, were often unsuccessful. Promising new drugs, however, will likely reduce the burden of treatment (the work patients do to care for themselves, such as visiting the doctor or going for medical tests), produce quicker results, and cause fewer and less profound side effects. Read more

Mind-Body Practices Help Manage Pre-Surgery and Medical Procedure Fear and Anxiety

It is very common to feel anxious before undergoing a medical procedure or surgery. The reasons for this speak to fears we all have, such as feeling out of control, fear of pain and discomfort, fear of “bad news,” and anxiety over how long it will take to recover from an operation. But there are positive ways we can calm these feelings and tap into our own ability to support ourselves and heal.

Feeling empowered in this way and trusting our inner resources can bring us comfort and a sense of security from deep within ourselves. Learning and practicing mind-body approaches can give us that anchor. These may include such practices as breathing with awareness, meditation and imagery, biofeedback, essential oil therapy and restorative postures.

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Typical Communication Development in Children, Part II

If you are a parent, it is good to be familiar with the basic benchmarks for hearing, speech, and language development as a child gets older. The benchmarks serve as guidelines for pediatricians and other health and education professionals with which to monitor the child’s progress or delay, and offer help if necessary. In this second post of a three-part series, I will cover the basic benchmarks for toddlers. Read more

Better Imaging Detects Breast Cancer Early

Guest post by Tamara A. Fulop, MD, Director, Breast Imaging at Mount Sinai Beth Israel

Winning the battle against breast cancer is becoming a reality for women of all ages, thanks to diagnostic technology that can frequently detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. “Digital mammography acquires images electronically, resulting in better contrast, so we can often pick up smaller abnormalities before they become cancerous,” says Tamara A. Fulop, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at the Appel-Venet Comprehensive Breast Service at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.  Read more

What is Syncope?

Guest post by Francesco Santoni-Rugiu, MD, Director, Outpatient Services, Al-Sabah Arrhythmia Institute at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s

Syncope is a sudden, unexplained loss of consciousness; most commonly referred to as a fainting spell. A syncopal episode implies that the fainting was sudden and there was an immediate return to feeling normal. Patients typically describe the episode by saying “I was fine and then I must have passed out, because I found myself on the floor; I got up and I was ok.” This type of fainting episode is different from one where you get progressively weaker prior to passing out. These episodes are more likely due to intoxication, or low blood sugar. Also, a different type of loss of consciousness is the one associated with seizures, or a concussion when the patient recovers consciousness but does not feel back to normal but rather groggy, confused. Read more