Dr. John Roberts - The Paper of Montgomery County
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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
  • What’s a thyroid and what does it do?
    Monday, March 30, 2020 3:19 AM
    Jill wants to know, “what’s a thyroid and what does it do?” Thyroid problems are common in a family medicine setting. For those like Jill who don’t know what the thyroid gland is or does, keep reading.
    The thyroid is an endocrine gland found in the front part of the neck below and to the sides of the larynx or Adam’s apple.
    0 comment(s)
  • How sleep apnea and snoring are connected
    Monday, March 23, 2020 2:13 AM
    Snoring can certainly be annoying, but it doesn't always indicate a serious medical problem. This week, however, I do want to focus on a harmful condition that can be associated with snoring – sleep apnea.
    Sleep apnea is a condition where people have pauses in their breathing while sleeping.
    1 comment(s)
  • Plumbing problems and how to deal with them
    Monday, March 16, 2020 4:52 AM
    I’m running through my list of suggested topics from readers, and this one goes out to a reader from Sheridan. It’s a common problem, but one of those topics that doesn’t usually come up in casual conversation - constipation.
    There are three common times in a person’s life when constipation can become a problem. The first is during early childhood, the second when a person has decreased activity for some reason, and the last is during the elder years. Each one has different causes.
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  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and what you need to know about it
    Monday, March 9, 2020 3:30 AM
    Last week I tried to explain the very complex non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). This week I want to cover Hodgkin lymphoma, more commonly known as Hodgkin’s Disease (HD). It gets its eponymous name from Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it in 1832.
    Hodgkin’s is a potentially curable malignant lymphoma that carries a much better prognosis than non-Hodgkin lymphomas. It is a very specific type of lymphoma, defined by its microscopic appearance and by specific proteins that are found on the cell membranes of the tumor cells.
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  • What is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and how does it affect people?
    Monday, March 2, 2020 3:57 AM
    One of my patients asked me recently what lymphoma is. I must admit my knowledge of the subject is limited. It’s a medical condition I’ve tended to avoid because of its complex and evolving nature. It can, however, be a very interesting disease and a type of cancer that is illustrative of where cancer treatment in general is heading in the years to come.
    0 comment(s)
  • Stem Cells: What they are and where they come from
    Monday, February 24, 2020 1:05 AM
    I’ve been seeing a lot of news lately about stem cell treatments. This week I want to focus what they are, where they come from, how they might be used to treat disease and finally, the social and ethical challenges surrounding their use.
    Stem cells are cells that have the potential to change into other more specialized cells in the body through a process known as differentiation. By definition, stem cells have to exhibit two properties: (1) they must be able to divide multiple times and remain unchanged and (2) they have to have “potency,” the ability to differentiate into other cell types.
    1 comment(s)
  • Differences between technologies in MRI and CAT scans
    Monday, February 17, 2020 2:11 AM
    Last week I had a young patient ask me what the difference is between an MRI and a CAT scan. Not long after that, I noticed an error in a newspaper article that mixed up the two technologies.
    Radiologic imaging of the human body has revolutionized our diagnostic accuracy. However, it also has the negative effect of reducing our reliance on a good medical history and physical examination.
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  • Hot flashes and the many problems associated with menopause
    Monday, February 10, 2020 3:41 AM
    Sometimes I get asked questions in unusual places. A few months ago at church I was pulled aside and asked if I could write my column on the menopausal malady of hot flashes.
    Hot flashes are usually described as a feeling of intense heat, usually with sweating and a rapid heartbeat. They can last a few minutes up to a half hour or so. The feeling usually starts on the face or upper chest but can also be on the neck and even spread over the entire body. Many women experience flushing of the skin over the involved area, hence they may also be called hot flushes.
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  • If your shoulder hurts these may be some reasons why - part two
    Monday, January 27, 2020 3:37 AM
    Welcome back to my two-part series on shoulder pain. First, I want to do a quick review of shoulder anatomy (see diagram of a view of the right shoulder from the front). The upper arm bone (humerus) joins to the scapula at the glenoid and is held in place by two structures: (1) a rim of cartilage (glenoid labrum) that forms a shallow cup for the head of the humerus to sit in, and (2) the rotator cuff which is made up of four tendons that wrap around the head of the humerus.
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  • If your shoulder hurts these may be some reasons why
    Monday, January 20, 2020 12:20 AM
    The next two weeks, I’d like to address shoulder pain and injuries. Most people experience shoulder pain at some point in their life. Doctors typically see it in athletes, people who overuse their shoulders, and others who may have fallen directly on their shoulder or on an outstretched arm.
    To understand shoulder pain, it’s important to know the basic anatomy of the shoulder joint itself (see diagram of the front view of the right shoulder). The shoulder joint is one of the most complex in the body. Most joints permit only a fairly limited range of motion. The anatomy of the shoulder joint, in contrast, allows for a vast range of movements. To be so versatile, It has to be relatively unstable compared to our other joints.
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  • Don’t Believe Everything You Hear!
    Saturday, January 18, 2020 8:31 PM
    We are definitely living in a post-truth world. It’s not just in the political sphere that we have to be careful of facts and “alternative facts.” It also extends to the scientific world as well. The public is being constantly bombarded with scientific information through popular media, especially the Internet. How is a non-scientist supposed to filter through all this information and figure out what to believe? I want to give you some tips to use when evaluating what you see or hear.
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  • Antibiotics are good – Right?
    Sunday, January 5, 2020 10:48 PM
    There is no doubt that antibiotics have saved millions of lives. But, is it all good news? I hope our readers have been noting the increasing number of news stories related to problems with the overuse of antibiotics and the development of resistant bacteria. We have known this was coming since Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin warned of it in his Nobel Prize speech in 1945. Dr. Sally Davies, the former Chief Medical Officer of the United Kingdom, equated the critical health threat of antibiotic resistance to the risk of terrorism.
    Each year in the United States two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and 23,000 die. An excellent updated CDC report was published last year and can be downloaded at bit.ly/2QlCpep. The primary cause of resistant bacteria is the overuse of antibiotics, both in medicine and agribusiness. This is also complicated by the fact that very few new antibiotics are being developed – there’s little profit in drugs that will quickly become ineffective as bacteria become resistant.
    2 comment(s)
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine
    Monday, December 30, 2019 2:59 AM
    I’m frequently asked by patients to comment on the use of “non-traditional” treatments or remedies they have heard or read about. I usually have to respond that I have limited knowledge about the product, but I will sometimes try to help the patient research the product or its ingredients.
    The business of complementary and alternative medicine or “CAM” is booming. This is largely an outgrowth of patient frustration with traditional medicine, as well as the ease with which CAM is promoted and sold via social media and the Internet. People are fed up with the high cost of medications and other treatments as well as the perceived loss of empathy in the American health care system.
    Many are looking for less expensive “natural” ways to deal with illness and health promotion. However, a government survey in 2012 revealed that Americans spent $30.2 billion on CAM treatments in the preceding 12-month period. This accounted for 9.2 percent of out-of-pocket health care spending and 1.1 percent of total health care spending.
    2 comment(s)
  • Screening for Heart Disease & Lung Cancer
    Sunday, December 22, 2019 10:15 PM
    Primary care providers are noticing an uptick in patients asking hospitals and imaging centers to perform heart and lung CT screening tests, usually after seeing them advertised by the facilities doing the testing. The results often into their doctors’ in boxes without the providers having any prior knowledge that their patients had the examination(s). The scans typically have out-of-pocket costs in the $49 to $99 range and are usually not covered by insurance. They are promoted to identify early heart disease and/or lung cancer.
    0 comment(s)
  • Influenza
    Tuesday, December 17, 2019 4:00 AM
    The cold weather is settling in and it’s time to prepare for the flu. Most people us the term “flu” in a very generic sense, meaning anything from cold symptoms to having a case of vomiting and diarrhea. The “flu” in this column refers to respiratory influenza. Annual statistics since 2010 reveal the number of deaths from influenza has ranged from 12,000 to 79,000 and hospitalizations between 140,000 and 960,000.
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