Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ira Breite's Sirius Doctor Radio Show: Monday April 28th

Yesterday, I had (if I may say so) a great show. It was all about getting in shape, avoiding skin cancer, dieting and finally, after you had done all of the preceding, sex.

I started the show discussing exercise. Like most doctors, I exhort people to exercise, but, when asked how to do it, I usually give some platitude and move on. Not so on Doctor Radio. In studio, I spoke with Mr. Lloyd Wilkins, a personal trainer in New York City, and on the phone I spoke with Marjorie Albohm, who is a certified athletic trainer (yes, there is a difference) and the President Elect of the National Athletic Trainers Association. Marjorie was an athletic trainer for two Olympic games. Both she and Lloyd gave me great tips on clothing, stretching, choosing the right exercise and ways to avoid injury. There was so much more to ask them that I was sad when the segment ended. Hopefully, they can both come back!!

Onto skin cancer; specifically melanoma. My colleagues in the Department of Dermatology at NYU published an important study showing that for melanoma, the worst kind of skin cancer, size still matters. I spoke with Naheed R. Abbasi, MPH, MD, the lead author of the study and also with Dr. Michael Whitlow, a dermatologist at NYU. In addition to the study, we talked about ways to avoid melanoma in the first place, including avoiding UVa, UVb and sun protective clothing. Take home point: wet t-shirts aren't as sun protective as you think!

Then for a bit of religion. Have you ever said something like "Dear God, please don't let me eat that bag of potato chips?" Well, if you think that works, I have an author for you. Barbara Bartocci, a Christian author and motivational speaker, just wrote a book called "Grace on the Go: Quick Prayers for Determined Dieters." As a physician, I am open to just about anything thats legal to promote weight loss. But, while it was fun to get a different point of view, I am not sure that this will work for the less religiously inclined.

Finally, we shifted to sex. A recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that there may be some benefit (some) for pre-menopausal woman to use a testosterone spray on their abdomen's to increase sexual satisfaction. Against this idea at all was Dr. Lenore Tiefer who joined me on the phone. In studio, and with stories that made me say "Thank God for satellite!!" was Dr. Miriam Greene, a member of the NYU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Miriam has an excellent voice, and we played her CDs as bumper music as well. Although the issue is unresolved, especially in the pre-menopausal set (doctor talk for don't do it yet), Miriam's story justify the existence of Doctor Radio and FCC-free satellite radio in general! To hear them, you have to listen!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ira Breite's Sirius Radio Show: 4/21/08

We had a great show on Monday. With the Pope in New York City and Passover, religion was a big topic in the news. Religion is a big topic in hospitals too, at least amongst patients and their families. Doctor's, at least this one, are a little scared to talk about it. So I brought the Reverend Stephen Harding, NYU Medical Center's Director of Pastoral Care, to talk with me about the spiritual needs that patient's and their families have.

Then to a lighter topic, constipation. Matzoh is known as the great constipator, and New York, with its large Jewish population, is always affected at this time of year. I spoke with Keri Gans and Elisa Zied, both registered dieticians, about this. Elisa has a book out called "Feed Your Family Right! How to Make Smart Food and Fitness Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle." We tried to help the constipated and help avoid that other common rectal issue: hemorrhoids. We also talked about new rules in New York City requiring chain restaurants to list the calories of their offerings right on the menu. This conversation was so spirited it went on through the break and into our second hour.

Then onto testosterone.  Two studies were recently published about men and their hormones.  The first showed that if men were showed pornographic images they would then engage in riskier  behavior then if showed something more sedate (a stapler) or scary (a snake, ironically enough).  The second study showed two things; the first being that male bond traders that had a good day financially had increased testosterone levels compared to their more poorly performing peers.  Interestingly, they also had higher testosterone levels at the beginning of the day.  We brought on Jed Diamond, the author of the book "Male Menopause" to talk about the study.   I think its safe to say that we here at Doctor Radio like hearing pop medicine on the radio, and often like disagreeing with it as much as possible.  

Finally, a whole new way to say "can you hear me now?"  There is a new hearing aid out there, the Lyric.  Expensive, but worth it.  We spoke with the co-founder of the company, Robert Schindler, MD, who is the Chairman Emeritus of Otolaryngology at the University of California, San Francisco.  We wre also joined by NYU's Chairman, Anil Lalwani, who used to be at UCSF before coming East.  We spoke with former Olympian who uses the hearing aid and loves it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What Sirius Station Do You Want To Hear in the Waiting Room?

One of the great joys of Sirius Radio is the many stations that it offers. And that has led to a dilemma in my office: what to listen to? Although everyone has to listen to me (natch), all of us like music in the background when we work and for the patients in the waiting room. We also put have Sirius playing when people are "on hold." We have it down to a few choices at the moment, but things are always changing. These are:

1) Sirius Hits 1
2) The Spectrum
3) The Coffee House
4) Symphony Hall (OK, my partner likes that, but we really don't play it much)
5) Outlaw Country (my favorite, but I have been outvoted by all the city folk)

Please email us at docs@sirius-radio.com and let me know what you want to hear while waiting for the doctor.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dr. Ira Breite's Sirius Radio Show: April 14th, 2008

Monday was my birthday, and my producer, Melanie, and I put together a show that revolved around this fact. I am now a 42 year old man, and I decided I needed a health makeover! So make me over my guests did.

I started off by talking about motorcycle and car safety. I tool around Manhattan on a Vespa, and as physician I know just how stupid this can be. I decided that the entire radio audience needed to be educated not to hit me, or my fellow riders, and talked with Dr. William Van Tassel of the AAA.

Then I needed a physical. I know what I need, but a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a doctor (most of the time). So I asked Dr. Robert Tan, an expert on andropause, which is a nice doctorly way of saying "you're getting older." We talked about some of the tests I needed (bottom line is blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol as the most important; prostate, skin examination and general physical less so; I'm not ready for that colonoscopy with my family history).

But lets be honest. Once you get through trying to stay alive you want to look good. So I took this show as an opportunity to see some what physical enhancements (not that one) were available to me.

First we talked about where I have to much hair. As is public knowledge to anyone who has been to the beach with me, I have a hairy back. My skin is good, but many of my colleagues are beginning to wrinkle up. So I had on a Beverly Hills Dermatologist and a Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon to make sure I could get my outer self looking great! I was joined in studio by Dr. Stephen Greenberg and on the phone from Beverly Hills with Dr. Susan Evans. I learned a few things: laser hair removal would take me 5 or 6 sessions for the hair on my back, and would be painless. Given that I have a rug there, I'm not sure I believe it, but its what they said. I also found about more about botox and a little bit about fillers.

After the break, it was time to shift from the mop of hair on my body to the lack of hair on my head. I had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Robert Fleming (also in California by phone) about hair restoration. In my office, male pattern baldness is a common topic of conversation and I wanted to learn more. Dr. Fleming was an excellent guest, and explained the many options for hair restoration available, including a technique he helped perfect: The Fleming/Mayer flap.

Finally, it was time to get toned. Marcel Daniels, MD or Image MD, in Long Beach, California told me about my shaping options. Unfortunately, he told me I should lose some weight first. Well, not on my birthday, but my post birthday diet has already begun!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dr. Ira Breite's Sirius Radio Show: April 7, 2008

We had a great show on Monday April 7th. Informally called the "below the belt" show, we spent a lot of time talking to experts in kidney and bladder disease, and finished off the show with a great interview of a sex therapist.

The first guest was Dr. Victor Nitti, the Vice-Chairman of Urology at NYU Medical Center. Victor and I first talked about everything you ever wanted to know about urinary tract infections. Victor is an expert on female urinary incontinence, and we spent the next segment talking about how to diagnose and treat this embarrassing condition. In addition to standard therapies, I learned that some physicians are starting to give Botox to treat this condition!

After Dr. Nitti left, we switched gears a little bit, but not much. Many patients suffer from interstital cystitis or the painful bladder syndrome (for more information, you can click here to see an excellent patient review from the web site "Up to Date." Treatments are difficult and not always effective. Several people called us to tell us about their own difficulty getting treatment. Joining me by phone to discuss this problem was Dr. Willam Garner, who is developing a new drug for painful bladder syndrome called URG 101 (pronounced urge). This drug recently had a very successful phase II trial and is now headed into phase III trials!

I admit it. I don't read the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. But I did hear about a great editorial in that journal debunking what we know and don't know about water consumption. Joining me on the phone was one of the authors of that editorial: Stanley Goldfarb, MD. Dr. Goldfarb explained that many of the common "facts" about water, such as drinking 8 glasses a day to help your skin complexion, may be of no help at all.

Finally, we switched from the kidneys and bladder all the way down to the sex organs. We discussed some of the latest sex studies; one of which stated how long intercourse should last and the other which stated (yet again) that men can't tell friendly woman from woman who are sexually interested, with Dr. Ian Kerner, a bestselling author and sex therapist. Pretty good stuff! And some of it is not repeatable in a family blog. You have to love satellite.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ira Breite's Sirius Doctor Radio Show: Monday March 31st Show

My show on Monday featured a variety of interesting topics and some fascinating guests. A brief rundown:

We opened the show with the sad story of 11-year-old Madeline Neumann, who died of diabetic ketoacidosis (diabetic coma), possibly because her parents believed that prayer would save her and delayed getting the girl medical attention. I discussed the case with Dr. Arthur Caplan, the Emanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Although the exact details of this case are not completely known yet, we discussed how, in general, that while adults have a right to make their own medical decisions, and to make many medical decisions for their children, they do not have the right to refuse life saving procedures or treatments to their children.

After this, we talked with Ms. Sari Greaves RD, CDN, from the New York State Dietetic Association, about a study that appeared in the Journal Neurology looking at how increased belly fat in your forties might lead to dementia in older age. I discussed the academic findings in the paper and Sari helped me translate the "doctor" stuff into practical ways to lose that fat and cut the risk!

Because we talked a lot about fish as a good food to eat, and because of a recent new article describing how sushi is becoming more popular throughout the United States, I talked about the risks of sushi. You'll have to keep listening to find out everything that you need to know, but suffice it to say there are things about salmon you need to know.

Then we went to break.

When I returned, the conversation again turned to an unfortunate young woman who died of a disease called malignant hyperthermia as a result of anesthesia she received because of surgery. I was pleased to have Dr. Thomas Blanck, NYU's Chairman of anesthesia in studio. We went over this inherited disease, how anesthesiologists look for it, and the treatments used. After the break, Tom and I discussed things that you should look for when deciding about elective surgery, and the importance of talking to you surgeon and internist prior to proceeding!

Finally, it was time for some light medical news. The American Journal of Psychiatry published an editorial stating that internet addiction should be included in the upcoming edition of Psychiatry Diagnostic guide DSM-V. An editorial in a prominent journal is more than a bit of whimsy; it implies that many leading thinkers in psychiatry are thinking that "internet addiction" is real. I reviewed their reasons and added a few comments of my own. They were pretty funny, but then again, I am biased.