All posts by jamiefriedlander

Weight loss surgery leads to longer life

By Jamie Friedlander

Tony Gambee, the CEO of a software company in Boulder, Colorado, used to be able to eat an entire slab of ribs in one sitting at his favorite barbecue joint.

Now, it’s two ribs and he’s full. His secret is gastric bypass, a type of weight loss surgery that promises dramatic results, but often involves a lot of maintenance afterward and some difficult side effects at first, such as vomiting.

Continue reading

Indiana HIV Outbreak Continues to Grow

By Jamie Friedlander

Southeastern Indiana health officials confirmed today an HIV outbreak there continues unabated. As of March 6 there are 44 confirmed and 11 preliminary cases of HIV. The outbreak is connected to injection of the prescription drug Opana, an opioid painkiller that contains oxymorphone, a narcotic pain reliever.

State officials first reported the outbreak Feb. 25, after identifying  26 confirmed and 4 preliminary HIV positive cases since mid-December. These cases have been reported in Scott, Clark, Jackson, Perry and Washington counties. Continue reading

Cutting the wheat from the chaff: truths behind gluten free

By Jamie Friedlander

After spending six weeks in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2006, I returned home incredibly sick. I had sallow skin, dark circles under my eyes, severe fatigue, abdominal pain and more than anything, I had to run to the bathroom every 10 minutes. My parents took one look at me when I got off the plane and knew something was wrong.

My pediatrician assumed I had contracted some sort of parasite in Mexico, but after months of testing, he was stumped. He sent me to a gastroenterologist, who specializes in diseases of the digestive tract.  But she  couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I was still sick. I knew the doctors were worried because for several months (brace yourself) my stools were pale peach. Continue reading

Reducing emergency room visits among elderly patients

By Jamie Friedlander

Nearly 45 percent of ER visits from nursing home residents on Medicare or Medicaid could have been avoided, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

These ER visits ended up “accounting for 314,000 potentially avoidable hospitalizations and $2.6 billion in Medicare expenditures in 2005,” CMS reported as part of an on-going effort to reduce ER visits with more preventative care.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago is one of three hospitals across the country working to lower the number of nursing home residents that end up admitted to the hospital after an ER visit. The initiative is part of GEDI WISE,  a Health Care Innovation Award funded by CMS, according to Dr. Jill Huded, a geriatric fellow at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Continue reading

Tragic disease passes legacy to kids

By Jamie Friedlander

Anthony Martinez, 26, was in high school when he started noticing some changes in his mother’s personality. Kathleen Eannotti was always a neat freak and the house was always spotless. Now she was acting out of character, hoarding, becoming irrational and getting angry at inanimate objects. Continue reading

Fear Factor: The High Hidden Cost of the Ebola Epidemic

By Jamie Friedlander

The “cost” of an epidemic such as Ebola usually targets the dollar toll in hospital fees and economic downturns. But the loss of lives and the measure of suffering remains a lasting and growing cost.

“In terms of the cost in Liberia, it’s not dollars and cents. It’s the death of a generation,” said Robert A. Weinstein, MD, professor of internal medicine at Rush Medical College, in reference to the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Continue reading