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We post a new article to this website every weekday. Here is a list of our most recent Health Alerts:

The Approaching Storm in American Health Care

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts,
Susan Bartlett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Johns Hopkins University, explains how arthritis, aging, and obesity are combining to create a “perfect” storm for American Health Care. If you read Sebastian Junger’s Perfect Storm or saw the Hollywood adaptation, you will probably recall the scene in which a weatherman stares in horror at the radar charts on his computer screen. He watches as three massive weather systems converge toward a point at which… More...
Posted in Arthritis on April 9, 2007

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Are You a Good Candidate for Spinal Fusion?

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts,
The use of spinal-fusion surgery has increased drastically in recent years, from 150,000 procedures in 1993 to 300,000 in 2001. Although many long established uses exist for spinal fusion -- for the treatment of severe scoliosis, spinal tuberculosis, and vertebral fractures -- doctors are increasingly using spinal fusion to treat back pain resulting from degenerative changes in the spine, disk disorders such as herniated disks, and spinal stenosis. More...
Posted in Back Pain & Osteoporosis on March 23, 2007

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What You Can Do To Prevent Colorectal Polyps

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts;
Low-dose aspirin can help protect against colorectal cancer, but talk to your doctor first. Colorectal polyps are small, non-cancerous (benign) clumps of cells that grow in the rectum and colon. Over the course of 10–15 years, some of these polyps—usually the ones that are larger than a pea—may become cancerous. Fortunately, regular screening for colorectal cancer helps to identify and remove polyps, often before they progress to cancer. … More...
Posted in Colon Cancer on April 10, 2007

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Qs & As on Insomnia

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts,
Melatonin, antihistamines, and bright light therapy for insomnia Q. What do you think about melatonin and valerian as treatments for insomnia? A. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the body by the pineal gland in response to darkness and as a cue for sleep. Valerian is an herb promoted as a mild sedative. Both melatonin and valerian are sold as dietary supplements in the United States and are marketed as sleep aids. The National Institutes of… More...
Posted in Depression and Anxiety on May 2, 2007

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Recognizing and Treating Hypoglycemia

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts,
Patients with diabetes who take insulin are susceptible to hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) when they administer too much insulin, delay or miss a meal, exercise without first eating a snack, or drink alcohol on an empty stomach. But insulin treatment isn’t the only cause of hypoglycemia. More...
Posted in Diabetes on May 3, 2007

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Can You Have a Pain-Free Endoscopy?

Endoscopy is done to find the cause of any number of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, bleeding, abdominal pain, or acid reflux. Traditional endoscopy involves inserting a flexible tube, with a tiny camera at one end, down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). More...
Posted in Digestive Health on April 16, 2007

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Testosterone for Women

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts;
Men may have grabbed the sexual spotlight with Viagra (sildenafil citrate) and erectile dysfunction (ED), but women are equally prone to have concerns about their sex lives. While there may not be a woman’s equivalent to Viagra, if you are concerned about sex, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Upwards of 43% of women report some degree of dissatisfaction with their sexual health -- and help is available. More...
Posted in Healthy Living on April 18, 2007

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Cholesterol-Busting Foods

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts;
When people need to reduce cholesterol, they often think about eliminating some foods from their diet. But research increasingly shows that adding certain foods can also reduce cholesterol levels significantly. In fact, a 2003 study in Metabolism found that people with high cholesterol who ate a diet not only low in saturated fat but high in plant sterols, soluble fibers,… More...
Posted in Heart Health on March 30, 2007

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Questions and Answers About Blood Pressure Drugs

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts,
Concerned about the risks associated with blood pressure medication? Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., medical editor of the Johns Hopkins Heart Bulletin, answers readers’ questions. More...
Posted in Hypertension & Stroke on April 24, 2007

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8 Asthma Triggers to Avoid

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts,
May 1 is World Asthma Day – the perfect time to review allergens that may trigger your asthma symptoms and to discuss steps you can take to breathe easier. Here Dr. Peter B. Terry, professor of medicine in the division of Pulmonary Medicine at Johns Hopkins, offers advice that can help – even if you suffer from chronic, long-term asthma. … More...
Posted in Lung Disorders on May 1, 2007

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Research on Dementia Biomarker

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts;
Researchers at Yale and at Johns Hopkins, led by Barry Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of Therapeutic Cognitive Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, have found that a simple blood test to measure uric acid, a measure of kidney function, might reveal a risk factor for cognitive problems and dementia in old age. Of 96 adults age 60 to 92 years, those with uric-acid levels at the high end of the normal range had the lowest scores on tests of mental processing speed, verbal memory, and working memory. More...
Posted in Memory on April 23, 2007

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Can You Be Fat But Fit?

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts,
Everyone knows that it’s unhealthy to be very overweight. But what if you are obese but still relatively physically fit? Does being fit cancel out the health risks of being obese, or at least some of them? In other words, is it possible that being obese isn’t the real problem, but rather being unfit? More...
Posted in Nutrition & Weight Control on April 25, 2007

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Drugstore Aisle Updates

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts;
Medication Mistakes: Many elderly Americans are taking prescription medications that may be inappropriate. Authors of a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reviewed a prescription claim database for 765,423 adults (mean age 74 years) for the year 1999. Using a list of 28 medications that experts had linked to a high likelihood of adverse outcomes in older patients, the authors found that 21.2% of the patients filled prescriptions for these medications -- results strongly… More...
Posted in Prescription Drugs on April 17, 2007

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PSA Terminology Explained

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts;
All men, aged 40 or so, undergo PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing to screen them for prostate cancer. PSA is an enzyme produced almost exclusively by the glandular cells of the prostate and normally only very small amounts of PSA are present in the blood. High levels of PSA can indicate prostate problems, including BPH and prostate cancer. But high PSA levels can also be caused by a variety of daily activities. Recently, researchers have developed several ways to improve the PSA test’s accuracy. More...
Posted in Prostate Disorders on April 26, 2007

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Neuroprotection -- New Frontier in the Treatment of Glaucoma

By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts;
Johns Hopkins reports on new drugs for fighting glaucoma. Physicians have recently confirmed through large clinical studies that lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) is highly beneficial in reducing vision loss in people with glaucoma. Indeed, the lowering of IOP is the only FDA-approved approach for treating glaucoma. However, newer approaches to the treatment of glaucoma are being studied to supplement present therapy in order to reduce the progressive loss of vision in glaucoma even further. … More...
Posted in Vision on April 6, 2007

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