Monday, June 23, 2008

Doctor Ira Breite's Sirius Doctor Radio Show For June 23rd, 2008

Its always good to arrive at the studio with a lot of energy; it gets you ready for the task at hand.  As much as I enjoy doing Doctor Radio, and feel I am getting much better at it all the time, its still much harder for me to do two hours of good radio than 10 good colonoscopies (11 is a tossup).  But today was a great day, my energy level was high, and my guests were all extremely interesting.

We started off the show by bringing back the informative and knowledgeable Brendan Mcdermott, a certified athletic trainer and spokesperson for the National Athletic Trainers Association.  He is also a laboratory instructor in Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut.   Brendan answered questions about how to properly hydrate in these hot summer months and how to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  We also analyzed my tennis game in depth.  It appears that stretching more probably will not help me beat my wife.  Jack from Pennsylvania called in to appraise me about my serve.  Thanks to everyone for trying to help me beat Sandy at tennis!

After the break, we switched gears: from avoiding injury to what to do if you have one.  I was joined in studio by Alexander de Moura, MD, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the department Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center and Founder, NY Spine Institute.   Back pain is one of the most common problems that we see in medical practice, and it was great having a specialist in studio to answer my questions and the listener's questions.  Although surgery is rarely indicated in back surgery, in the right cases it may make all the difference!

Prostate cancer is a huge issue for men, and those that love them.  The common tests for prostate cancer, PSA, digital rectal exam, ultrasound, and prostate biopsy, are far from perfect, and many biopsies are done every year in men without clinical cancer.  Joined in studio by Mr. Richard Edelman, the chairman and CEO of Edelman, the largest private communication company in the world and  Samir Teneja, MD, Director of Urologic Oncology at the NYU Langone Medical Center we heard Mr. Edelman's story of an abnormal PSA and the biopsy that he needed because of it.  We were joined on the phone by Dr. Fay Shtern, MD, the President & CEO, and the founder of the AdMeTech Foundation, which advocates new tests to detect prostate cancer.  She is also an Instructor in the Department of Radiology, Harvard Medical School and Director, Department of Radiology, Children's Hospital Boston.   We also had a dramatic conversation with Dr. Wayne Diamond, ND, who practices naturopathic medicine near Philadelphia and was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer.  We spent the first half of the hour talking with Mr. Edelman, Dr. Teneja and Dr. Stern about the PSA, prostate biopsies, and future directions for detecting prostate cancer in men.  We spent the second half of the hour talking with Wayne Diamond about his dramatic diagnosis, and also with many callers who had questions for me and for Dr. Stern.  Even with a full hour, we only scratched the surface of this important issue and I hope to bring it up again on Sirius Doctor Radio.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ira Breite's Sirius Doctor Radio Show for June 16th, 2008

One of the great things that I have discovered while being a host on Doctor Radio is that there is no shortage of interesting topics to talk about: whether its the problems your own patients are having, stories in the news, or interesting calls that we receive on the show.  Even a question you get from a friend over dinner can become a great show topic.  This weekend I was talking with friends and one of them asked me a question, which I realized I had talked about on the show with one of the world's experts on the subject. Another asked me a question about their chronic heartburn, which I thought was interesting and important topic to speak about on the show.

Unfortunately, we started today's show on a sad note, the death of Tim Russert. Fortunately, to help explain sudden death and how it could happen to a man who, by report, exercised and had a physical, including a cardiac stress test was NYU-Langone's Clinical Chief of Cardiology and the Harold Snyder Family Professor of Cardiology, Judith Hochman, MD. We discussed some of the risk factors for heart disease, the importance of the appropriate use of the automated external defibrillator, and how even a well done, well read, and well intrepreted stress test can not predict every cardiac event. It was a sobering talk, and extremely important. I used this opportunity to introduce Brendon McDermott a Certified Athletic Trainer from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. He is also an Laboratory Instructor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. I love certified athletic trainers...they know so much about safe exercise for elite atheletes and, more importantly, for the rest of us. We spoke about hydration and fluids. I was chagrined to find out that my workout was not on the level of elite athelete and I would do fine replacing my lost fluids with water. OK, I knew that I wasn't an elite athelete, but I wasn't sure if a sweaty middle aged man needed Gatorade or not.  We also took calls, of which there were many. As the summer goes on, and we all need to stay in shape, I will continue to have certified trainers and registered dieticians on the show.

Then it was on to GERD. Reflux is a common problem, and often responds well to medication. But what if you need to take the medicines for years and years? One alternative is surgery, and to discuss this I brought Dr. Costas Bizekis into the studio. Dr. Bizekis is an Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery here at NYU-Langone and expert on performing anti-reflux surgery. We talked about how we decide who should get an operation, and a little bit on how the surgery is performed. The audience called in with some great questions to help us along.

Our second hour opened with a bang...about Viagra and similar drugs.  I thought I knew a decent amount about sports, and even about doping.  Boy, was I wrong.  Educated by Urologist, NYU-Langone Faculty member, and fellow Doctor Radio show host Andrew McCullough, MD and also one of the hosts of "Mens Health (live 6-8 PM on Sirius 114) and also by Dr. Don Catlin, who is the founder of Anti-Doping Research, which is a non-profit organization devoted to help level the sports playing field, I learned that, theoretically, the ability of drugs such as Viagra to increase pulmonary blood flow may increase an athlete's performance.  Dr. Catlin told us that, until proven in a study to increase performance, these drugs would not be banned. My advice: keep using Viagra to improve the performance that its approved for!

We finished the show talking about teeth and pregnancy.  My own fear of dentists not assuaged by her warmth, intelligence and good humor, I brought Dr. Stefanie Russell, D.D.S., M.P.H., Ph.D, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, NYU College of Dentistry into the studo to talk about the study she just published showing that pregnancy is an independent risk factor for losing teeth, and that the more pregnancies you have, the more teeth you are at risk to lose.  We talked about the importance of keeping up with your dental care while pregnant.  

Finally, kudos to me The segment we did on tomatoes and salmonella last week SCOOPED all of the mainstream media: yet another reason to listen to Doctor Radio.  If you don't have Sirius, you can hear me at and then sign up for a free trial.  Its worth it (even if I wasn't there!)
(photo from wikipedia -->

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ira Breite's Sirius Doctor Radio Show for June 9, 2008

Summer is coming, and in fact, at 90 degrees before I even started broadcasting this morning, its already here in New York City. Fortunately traffic is light, and the Vespa provides its own natural form of a/c, in addition to like 55 miles per gallon in NYC traffic. Today, we had several summery topics as well as some important cancer information. We also spoke to a young, newly minted physician on his time trying to help the medical system in Ghana!

Shawn Talbott, PhD. is an author, an athlete, and an expert on the the use of vitamins and supplements in health. He just wrote a book called "The Metabolic Method," which describes how small changes in diet, lifestyle, exercise and sleep (how I wish I could get more!) can help you lose weight and be healthier.  Shawn and I talked about how sleep is important to dieting, and many callers had questions for both of us on the importance of sleep in controlling weight.  

We switched gears after this.  Colon Cancer is, unfortunately, still extremely common in the US, with about 150,000 new cases diagnosed every year and 50,000 deaths.  While colonoscopy may save a significant percentage of these cases from occurring, not everyone does this when they should.  

Genetic differences in people with a family history of colon cancer may play a role in how people react to various therapies, such as chemotherapy.  This was demonstrated in a recent study in the Journal JAMA.  Leonard Saltz, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center came on the air and we talked about this study, of which he is one of the authors.   The other, really interesting thing we talked about is how, in patients with a known history of colon cancer, exercise may improve overall prognosis.  Although this is a very preliminary finding, it certainly is worthy of more study.  There were several calls on the colonoscopy prep, which is terrible, but a worthwhile price to avoid getting colon cancer!

After the break we really changed gears.  I spoke with the freshly minted Dr. Brian Levine, who is a recent graduate of the NYU School of Medicine and also a Reynolds Scholar.  Reynold's scholars are designated because of their interest in public service and entrepreneurship.    Brian actually set up a phone system amongst doctors in Ghana, helping the 2000 doctors in this country of 22 million people communicate with each other.  Although Brian is about to get buried as an intern and resident, I am sure we will be hearing more from him as the years to on.

Finally, it was about tomatoes.  Not the Killer Tomatoes, but normal plain old tomatoes with salmonella in them and on them.  Not good.  The FDA has an OK (to busy, in my opinion) website with a link to current tomato warnings and news.  I spoke on the telephone with Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh,  an epidemiologist and lead investigator for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.  She answered many interesting questions on how the disease detectives from the CDC try to isolate the source of an infection such as this one.  We also answered listener questions about the outbreak.  The links in this paragraph should lead to up to date information from the FDA and CDC.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ira Breite's Sirius Doctor Radio Show, Monday June 2, 2008

Today was an extremely exciting day in Doctor Radio land: we officially launched! My Intro was done by none other than Cousin Brucie! which I think is just about the best thing ever. I met him when I was at Sirius Studios, but I am amazed that he is doing our intros. Media is cool!

This was also my first show in our new studio in the NYU-Langone Medical Center Lobby. I'm no expert on radio technology, but its a pretty space with apparently every bell and whistle you could want. Just like The Today Show, there is a glass partition where you can see everyone and they can see you. The only hard part was to stop waving at people I know and keep talking!

As befits the first show in a new studio, this one was, in my humble opinion, great. Interesting topics, great guests, and a plethora of calls made this an interesting and educational show.

We started off by talking about supplements and vitamins. Many doctors (including myself) do not know enough about this topic, which is a pity, because up to half of all Americans use them. Steven Lamm, MD, a physician here at NYU-Langone and the author of "The Hardness Factor," a book about men's sexual health, joined me on the line. We talked a little bit about a recent article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute by Vicki Brower stating that, in cancer patients, many supplements may do more harm than good. Dr. Lamm pointed out that poor communication between doctors and patients may have a lot to do with the use or misuse of many supplements. We then answered many calls from our listeners asking specific questions about supplements.

Onto osteoporosis. But not in women. Yes, men get this disease as well, and there are new guidelines for what to do about them published by the American College of Physicians. We talked about them with Dr. Steven Honig, Director, The Osteoporosis Center Department of Rheumatology and Medicine, Hospital for Joint Diseases. As men live longer, this is becoming a more important issue (6% of men greater than 65 have osteoporosis) and prevention is key before a fracture occurs.

After the break, we shifted gears. To bloggers (gotta love those bloggers). I had seen a piece on Gawker a while back which pointed to a NY Times article noting that two bloggers had heart attacks and died (I can't be as snarky as our friends at Gawker, and its worth reading their post). And while most of us aren't professional bloggers, many of us do work at jobs with lousy desks, poorly placed computers, mice that should be called "rats" and improperly adjusted chairs. I spoke with Ms. Angela Lis, physical therapist and Assistant Director the NYU Occupational and Industrial Center about making your workplace less likely to give you a repetitive strain injury. We started off by seeing how I was doint in the new studio, and other than the heights of the monitors (which, to be honest with you, are adjustable) we did pretty well! There were some great listener calls as well.

Finally a bit on gastric bugs to end our morning. I talked with Dr.Marya Zilberberg, M.D., Epidemiologist at University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences in Amherst, Mass – She’s a researcher & lead author of a study appearing in the June Issue of the CDC’s publication, “Emerging Infectious Diseases" about the rise of c difficile, the leading cause of fatal diarrhea, in hospitals. Scary stuff, but it was important to hear about. The take home message if you visit anyone in the hospital is wash your hands with soap and water! Then I talked a bit about new treatments for H. pylori, the ulcer causing bacteria.

Remember, you can email me (see link on the top of the page) if there are any topics you want to hear about. I want to hear about any questions that you wanted to ask your doctor, but, for whatever reason couldn't.