Showing posts from July, 2009

Is the Needle Length on Epinephrine Auto-Injectors Too Short?

Image via Wikipedia Epinephrine is the first-line medication for the immediate treatment of anaphylaxis (sometimes referred to as "killer allergy"). Intramuscular injection of epinephrine is superior to subcutaneous injection in terms of how fast peak plasma levels of the life-saving drug are achieved. Consequently, epinephrine auto-injectors are deigned to deliver the medication to the large muscle of the anterior thigh (called the vastus lateralis). A recent study published in the July issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, however, suggests that intramuscular injection may not be achieved in a significant percentage of children with the current needle lengths of epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPen and TwinJect). Ultrasound measurements of the thickness of subcutaneous tissue in children indicated that the needle lengths of the auto-injectors may be too short to penetrate into the muscle. When the outcome that one is attempting to prevent is death, this is no small issue.

My Letter to the President After Listening to his Press Conference

Mr. President, I am writing to you today as a physician, a patient, a mother, and as an American voter. It is difficult for me to put into words how deeply hurtful your characterization of physicians during your most recent press conference was, both professionally and personally. Your portrayal of the American physician as self-serving was both inaccurate and counter-productive. The vast majority of physicians in this nation hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical behavior- I believe I speak for my colleagues when I state that I care not only for the physical health of my patients, but also care deeply about how my medical recommendations impact their financial health. To imply that I, or any of my colleagues, would routinely consult a fee schedule before making a medical decision implies that we value our pocketbooks over our patients’ welfare. I sincerely hope that this is not the opinion you want the American public to have of the individuals who

Can Eating More Butter Prevent Allergies?

Here's some food for thought: Researchers in New Zealand are studying whether eating butter instead of margarine can help to reduce the risk of allergies and asthma. They are currently recruiting children to take part in a study examining the effects of butter and an enriched butter made from cows fed fish oil on eczema. Read about the study here: Apparently, you don't need to eat a stick of the stuff to obtain benefit- 10grams (just a few pats) may do the trick! Just wait until this gets out- my dad (who refuses to even touch anything that's not "real butter" because it "just doesn't taste right") and father-in-law (who forwards me emails about how margarine is "one molecule away from plastic") are going to be thrilled.

The Teeth Are In- And My Kid's Still Smiling!

Well, after a few weeks of procrastination and second opinions, I ultimately deferred to the dentist's sound judgment and scheduled the appointments for Son #1 to get his stainless steel crowns. Turns out all my worries about "metal-mouth" were largely unwarranted. For the most part, you can't see the shiny new molars, unless my kiddo's laughing hysterically or screaming his brains out. (Which means that we do see them at least a few times each day... as life with a 4 year old is equal parts giggle-fit and hissy-fit.) Although I'm glad it's done and that my child doesn't hate me, I'm still disappointed that I wasn't able to ward away the caries despite excellent dental hygeine. Brushing, flossing, fluoride rinsing... why did this still happen to my baby? The dentist blames genetics. But I think that secretly, he blames me. Or is it that, not-so-secretly, I still blame me? Such is the perpetual angst of motherhood. Sometimes, our best may

Children's Memorial Hospital Food Allergy Study- Your Chance to Participate!

If you have a child or children with food allergies, consider participating in the Children's Memorial Hospital Food Allergy Study . "The Children’s Memorial Food Allergy Study is a large, family-based food allergy study and holds great potential for scientific discovery and clinical translation. It is gaining momentum with the support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Chicago Community Trust, Food Allergy Initiative , and generous donors. " Your participation will advance knowledge regarding the genetic basis of food allergy, environmental contributors to food allergy, the possibility of predicting and/or preventing food allergy, and the optimal treatments for this condition. Participation will not alter your child's current medical treatment. This is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the knowledge about a condition that affects so many of our children. For more information, visit , call 1-888-573-1833 or

Ringleader of Allergy Scam Sentenced- Good Riddance!

On June 29, 2009, the ringleader of an allergy scam which fraudulently billed for allergy blood tests which were not properly stored, and then gave over 800 patients allergy injections which were prepared by unlicensed individuals in unsanitary conditions, was sentenced to 9 years in prison and a $2.6 million fine. The ringleader was a nurse, but some doctors (also included n the indictment) allowed this man's company to bill insurance under their names, even though they never examined the patients or supervised the selection or preparation of the allergen extracts. Read the Department of Justice press release here: For shame! This type of malpractice is unconscionable, unethical, and DANGEROUS! However, suboptimal allergy testing and treatments are offered by all manner of self-proclaimed "experts", many of whom aren't even M.D.'s or D.O's. It's easy to be swindled the the title "Dr.&qu