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Monday, June 29, 2015
  • Sunday, June 28, 2015 10:50 PM

    I’ve received a request to write about thyroid gland problems. Thyroid problems are fairly common in a family medicine setting. For those who don’t know what a thyroid is or does, keep reading.

    The thyroid is an endocrine gland found in the neck. Endocrine glands produce hormones and secrete them into the bloodstream. The hormones then travel around the body and facilitate various biologic functions by interacting with cells in different tissues. Hormones are like microscopic fingers that flip switches on cells to make the cells perform particular functions.

  • Sunday, June 21, 2015 7:43 PM

    An adult patient has asked me to write about night terrors. While night terrors can be seen in adults, they are much more common in children. It’s hypothesized that this is due to their developing brains.

    Night terrors are a subclass of sleep disorders termed “parasomnias.” Rather than focus specifically on adults, I’ll also cover kids. People who exhibit parasomnias often have family members who suffer from them as well. Virtually all of these conditions go away with time.

  • Sunday, June 14, 2015 11:45 PM

    I received a request from a reader to address sciatica. She and some of her family members are suffering terribly from this condition. Rather than address just sciatica, I thought I would address the broader topic of neuropathic pain or “neuralgia.”

    Neuropathic pain is just that – pain that originates from the nerve itself. This pain is usually related to some type of physical injury to the nerve but sometimes the nerve can just malfunction and act like it’s been injured. Common causes of neuralgia other than physical trauma include diabetes, herpes virus infections (shingles or Zoster), nerve compression and cancer. Many cases are “idiopathic,” meaning there is no obvious cause.

  • Sunday, June 07, 2015 7:03 PM

    Believe it or not, kids are starting summer practices in preparation for fall sports. That means it’s time for another round of sports physicals. Many of our youth participate in some type of organized school sport. The IHSAA requires high school athletes to have a yearly Pre-Participation Examination (PPE). Many junior highs or middle schools and even elementary schools are now requiring them before allowing athletes on the field.

    Unfortunately, some athletes and families see the PPE a bothersome hurdle and want to get it over with as quickly as possible. This mind set has resulted in schools or other organizations setting up mass screenings for athletes. These cattle calls usually involve setting up multiple “stations” to complete the PPE. For example, one station might review the athlete’s medical history, another might do the blood pressure, another the heart and lung exam, etc.

  • Monday, June 01, 2015 12:25 AM

    I’ve seen a fair number of cases of swimmer’s ear in the last few weeks. We tend to see more cases of this in hot, humid weather, but it can also be brought on by other conditions.

    The medical term for swimmer’s ear is otitis externa, indicating inflammation of the external ear. This is in contrast to the more common otitis media, or inflammation of the middle ear (the part of the ear behind the ear drum).

    The number of people who suffer from swimmer’s ear is about four per 1,000 per year, or about three to five percent of the population. It afflicts males and females in equal numbers and tends to present between seven and twelve years of age.

  • Monday, May 18, 2015 2:08 AM

    I had a request to write about lupus. Lupus is the shortened name of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. It is an autoimmune disease first described by the physician Rogerius in the 12th Century. There are many opinions regarding the origin of the name “lupus.” One of the most popular is that the rash on the face of many lupus sufferers resembles a wolf’s face. Lupus is Latin for wolf.

    Autoimmune diseases are a group of illnesses caused by a person’s immune system attacking their own body. In the case of lupus, the immune system makes antibodies against proteins in the nuclei of cells, where the DNA is found. It is believed that people who develop lupus have an underlying genetic predisposition to the disease. There is no single “lupus gene.” It appears to involve problems with multiple genes.

  • Monday, May 11, 2015 2:00 AM

    Spring & early summer rains bring news reports of West Nile virus. West Nile is a virus that is spread to humans by mosquitos.

    Many people wonder what a disease named “West Nile” is doing in Indiana. Shouldn’t it be called “West Sugar Creek,” “West Wabash” or “West White?” The name is derived from the first description of the disease in 1937 in a woman living in the West Nile District of Uganda.

    The virus first appeared in non-human mammals in the Western hemisphere in 1999. Shortly thereafter, it was found in humans around New York City, then rapidly spread across the U.S. The number cases has been slowly dropping. There were 2,122 reported cases of West Nile infection and 85 deaths in the U.S. in 2014. Indiana had nine infections and no deaths.

    The virus has an interesting life cycle. Its primary reservoir is in birds where it reproduces in large numbers. The sentinel appearance of dead birds often precedes an outbreak of West Nile in other mammals and humans. Mosquitoes feed on the birds and then may eventually bite humans and transmit the virus. The virus survives over the winter in mosquitoes that live in warmer underground locations.

  • Sunday, May 03, 2015 11:46 PM

    We’re just starting to enter barbecue season and it’s a good time to review food safety. Food-borne illness is something that almost all of us have experienced at some point in our lives.

    Food-borne illness is defined as more than two people having a similar illness with evidence of food as the source. The overall rate of these illnesses has gone down drastically in the last century with improvements in food handling and sanitation. However, we still hear about illness outbreaks.

    There are approximately 76 million cases of food-related illness in the United States each year. There are also about 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. Underdeveloped countries, as a group, experience about one billion cases annually and four to six million deaths.

    The Center for Disease Control estimates that 97 percent of all cases of food-borne illness comes from improper food handling. Most of these (79 percent) are from commercial establishments, while the other 21 percent originate in the home.

  • Sunday, April 26, 2015 8:59 PM

    “All parts of the body if used in moderation and exercised in labors to which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy and well developed, and age slowly; but if unused and left idle, they become liable to disease, defective in growth, and age quickly.” - Hippocrates

    Few things benefit the body more than maintaining physical fitness. While doctors have typically recommended exercise for younger patients, we’re realizing how important it is for our older patients as well. Regular exercise, even in one’s senior years, can still reduce your risk of a number of health conditions, particularly heart attacks and strokes.

    Most communities are blessed to have many options available for exercise, especially those that are supervised. I prefer these activities because a trained professional typically leads the group. This person can make recommendations to get the most out of the program in the safest way possible.

    Why is regular exercise so important for seniors? You may have noticed that as our bodies age a number of physiologic changes occur. We lose muscle mass and tone, leading to weakness, reduced flexibility, and problems with balance. Our bones become weaker from a lack of weight-bearing activity. Balance problems and weak bones lead to falls and broken bones. Our hearts and lungs can get out of shape causing reduced stamina and difficulty breathing with activity.

  • Sunday, April 12, 2015 2:19 PM
    The joy of spring sports and yard work has resulted in a number of patients coming to see me complaining of sore shoulders and elbows. Many of these folks have been suffering from bursitis. Most people have heard of bursitis, but what is it really?

    Any time a medical term ends in "-itis," it indicates inflammation of the tissue or organ involved. In this case, bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa (pleural bursae or bursas). Bursa is Latin for purse, a very good descriptor of what it looks like - a small sac made of connective tissue.

    A bursa is lined with a synovial membrane that secretes fluid into the inside of the bursa. This turns the bursa in to a little pillow filled with a slippery liquid that helps cushion structures around it. It also allows these structures to glide more easily over each other. Here's a fun activity for the kids; make your own bursa by partially filling a small balloon with water. Then put an object like a book on top of it and roll it around on the table to get an idea of how bursae work.


The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media

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Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933
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(765) 361-8888
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(765) 361-8888

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