Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ira Breite's Memorial Day Sirius Doctor Radio Show: Monday May 25th, 2008

Although Memorial Day is a holiday where we remember those who have fallen in service to our country, as a physician I thought it was important to speak about those who served, sacrificed and survived. I dedicated my show to honor those who have helped us during our wars.

We started off by talking with Mr. Alex Kershaw, who has written a fascinating book describing the survival of 9 sailors from the United States Submarine Tang, which was downed by her own errant torpedos. This book, Escape from the Deep: A Legendary Submarine and Her Courageous Crew, is a fascinating story of courage under extreme duress.  We talked about the medical issues involved in escaping from a hot, posion gas filled tin can 180 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, about the extreme hardships these men endured under captivity, and about their readjustment to life after surviving the war.  Since the Japanese never informed the Red Cross that the crew members were alive, several of their spouses, assuming they were dead, had remarried.  The book promises to be an amazing read this summer.

You can visit Alex's website or the book's website for his book for more information.  

One of the big health questions of the last Gulf War revolves around ways to more easily make the diagnosis of Gulf War Illness.  I was honored to talk with Dr. Robert Haley, from UT Southwestern, one of the leading experts on this illness.  We talked about the cognitive issues Gulf War Vets are having, and about some of the tests being developed to more accurately diagnose this condition.  He asked me to say, and I say again, that if you are a Gulf War Vet, and are approached by members of his team about a research study, please participate!

After finishing with Dr. Haley, I talked with Mr. Michael Bann, a veteran of the first Gulf War, who talked of his experiences on the battlefield and after the war.  

Medical care has improved markedly in the field during the current Gulf War, and many more soldiers are surviving horrific injuries.  However, they are often left with either amputations or traumatic head injuries.  I spoke with Dr. Alex Moroz of NYU-Langone's prestigious Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation about advances in artificial limb technology.  After talking with him, I hope to get some of the inventor's of this new technology on the air!

Finally, it was time to talk about one of the most important issues for people who have been in war zones: post traumatic stress disorder.  We spoke with Dr. Lynn Delisi, a professor in NYU Langone's Department of psychiatry.  We also spoke with two relatives of Gulf War Veterans about the difficult, and tragic times, that they faced when their loved one's came home from the war.  They were Stacey Hafley and April Somdahl.   The family member's were from Military Families Speak Out, which is an organization of relatives of soldiers and veterans opposed to the War in Iraq.  Regardless of your opinion of the War, it is clear that PTSD is exacting a toll on soldiers, veterans, and their families and hearing their stories was important and moving.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ira Breite's Doctor Radio Show on Sirius 114: May 19, 2008

We started off the show today by doing a little speculating on Senator Kennedy. I spoke with Dr. Orin Devinsky, the head of NYU Langone's Epilepsy Center, on what might of happened. Although we speculated that the Senator's people may have been hiding something (boy, were they!), we spoke about how subclinical vascular events (super mini strokes) are a common reason for older people to have new onset seizure activity.

Then onto dieting! Keri Gans, registered dietitian, ADA spokesperson and the Diet Diva, about diet blogs, dieting websites, and even the use of Facebook applications to diet. We both agreed that it could work as a motivational tool, and I relayed my (not overly successful) efforts to try to use the internet tools. The best one I found is "My Diet" on Facebook.

One interesting fact that has come out recently is that a good nights sleep can help you lose weight. But who sleeps? Many people who can't get to sleep use sleeping medications and a recent report noted that there have been more formal complaints about the newer types of sleeping aids than the older ones. So I brought in the expert: Joyce Walsleben, RN, Ph.D. , a noted expert on sleeping disorders, who is an associate professor at NYU-Langone School of Medicine and also a member of Sleep Medicine Associates of New York City. We had a highly entertaining and educational talk, which led to a large number of viewer calls.

Although not a great way to stay asleep, many people do drink before going to sleep. I had a good conversation with Susan Foster, the Vice President and Director of Policy Research and Analysis at the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University about a recent study indicating that, when stressed, women get anxious and men want a drink. This led to an interesting discussion about women's attitudes toward alcohol, and how doctors underdiagnose alcohol problems in women. Based on our discussion, I am determined to think more about this important problem!

Finally, realizing what a lack of sleep and alcohol may lead too... we talked about sex. Starting off with HERPES, I started what I hope will be a continuing series of "non-AIDS" std discussions on Doctor Radio. Joined by infectious disease expert Brent Wise, MD, we talked about everything from the non-std mouth sore that you get in herpes type I to treatment of recurrent disease. There were some interesting tales as well; some not suitable for presentation on a family blog!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ira Breite's Sirius Radio Show: May 12, 2008

How can you not listen to a show that deals with the pain of tattooing and the agony of da feet? Or tells you more about our little friend at the left than you ever wanted to know (but need to!!) You can't! In case you didn't catch the show this is a brief overview of what you missed.

The Agony of Da Feet: Although I am not overly excited by the forthcoming "Sex and The City Movie," it appears every woman I know is gearing up as if they were actually going to have Cosmo's with Sarah Jessica Parker and the other ladies. But what about those shoes? Well, after talking to Dr. Michael Pliskin, the Chief of Podiatry at North Shore/LIJ, I learned a bit about those 5" Manolos, and I am happy that I look great (at least I think so) in work boots.

For those of you who think video games are nothing but a huge waste of time and energy, I had the voice of the oppositon on the line today. Ben Sawyer, the Co-Director of the Games For Health Conference spoke to me and told me about some of the exciting developments in video games to promote health. There is a lot going on in terms of exercise training, rehabiliation, training games for health professionals, and large insurance companies are coming on board. I hope to be covering some of these games in more detail on future shows.

After the break, we got funky. Tattoo funky, that is. I talked about how to get them on, and what types of things to avoid when getting inked (or pierced). There is a little handout from the FDA you can look at if you are interested. Remember, MRI's are considered safe for tattooed individuals.

If you don't like your tattoo, its possible to get it removed, although expensive, time consuming, and a bit painful. I spoke with Tina Alster, MD, the Director of the Washington Institute of
Dermatologic Laser Surgery, a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center and the author of, “Skin Savvy: The Essential Guide to Cosmetic Laser Surgery”. She also spoke about a new anesthetic product that can be used when getting laser procedures and botox. Interesting.

Finally, it was time for the bed bugs. The NY POST had a recent article on bed bugs in the subways last week, and how could we resist following up on this topic that even I find gross. I spoke with Philip Tierno, Ph.D., the Director of Clinical Microbiology at NYU-Langone and an Associate Professor in the Departments of Microbiology and Pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. He’s also the author of "The Secret Life of Germs." I also spoke with Mr. Carl Massicott, the owner of Advanced K9 Detectives, a company that uses specially trained dogs to find the little buggers. After hearing from my experts, I may never sleep again...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ira Breite's Sirius Radio Show, May 5, 2008

Another week and another great show.  I think I am finally getting the handle on this whole radio thing; it not easy!  As I tell my patient's, its easier for me to do 7 colonoscopies in a row rather than two hours of radio.  Which is fortunate for all of those getting colonoscopies.  But I digress.

We've been talking a lot about exercising and avoiding injury while exercising on the radio since the weather has been improving here in NYC.  This week, we took it to the next level.  My producer, Melanie Kron, just completed her first half marathon on the Sunday before my show.  We reviewed her training and performance with one of the World's foremost experts on the subject of running health, Dr. Lewis Maharam, who is medical director of the New York Road Runners, ING New York City Marathon, all of Elite Racing’s Musical Marathons, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. Dr. Maharam also serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors, International Marathon Medical Directors Association.  We reviewed Melanie's training techniques, shoe choices, and even the little "bat girl belt" full of liquid that she schlepped with her.    I learned a lot, and will be more ready than I have been for the onslaught of pre-marathon injuries that we see at my office at Westside Medical Associates.

Then onto baseball!  Yes, I was honored to speak with Don Sutton, the hall of fame pitcher and currently the announcer for the Washington Nationals baseball team.  Don found out that he had kidney cancer, and has been receiving treatment for this. We spoke with him and with a specialist physician about the treatments he is receiving.   He is now involved with a program called "Stay in the Game!," for patients with advanced kidney cancer.  

From there, we talked a little about the intersection of medicine and politics.  Several years ago, the City of New York started tracking hemoglobin A1c, a lab test that generally monitors overall success of diabetes glucose treatment for a period of months.  The City is able to track this data, and to contact patients and providers as they see fit.  This is a departure from normal procedures, when public health officials only become involved with individual patients because of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis.  The Archives of Internal Medicine had a series of "pro and con" articles on this issue which were understandable to the layperson.  I talked about these issues with our resident endocrinology expert, Stuart Weiss, MD.  It was a spirited debate about the line between public health and individual privacy.  

After the break, I talked a little bit with caller Vinnie from Los Vegas about weight loss, including the gastric bypass and the lap band.  This is an important issue that I will keep brining up in a variety of ways.

Irritable bowel syndrome was next.  There is a new drug for IBS-C (or irritable bowel syndrome with constipation predominant symptoms, for non gastroenterologists) out there: Amitiza was just approved at a new, lower dose for this purpose in women.  But is it right for you?  I talked with Doctor David Bernstein, a clinical professor at NYU and the Chief of Gastroenterology at NSLIJ Hospital, about this.  The answer....read about it and then see your doctor!

Finally, it was time for my favorite: Grand Theft Auto!!!  Now, I happen to love video games, and was actually excited when GTA IV came out last week (and yes I own it, and no, I don't want my kids to play it).  But was all my posturing that video games were fine just me making excuses for my own behavior?  NO.  Joining me on the line was Cheryl Olson, ScD. who is Principle Investigator for research for the study of the effects of Electronic Games on Pre-teens and Teens at the Center for Mental Health and Media in Boston, MA.  Along with her husband, Larry Kutner, PhD. they have written a book called "Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Video Games and What Parents Can Do."  Bottom line: the games are not as bad as you think, but there are a lot of things you need to know, particularly if you are not a gamer yourself.  Buy this book.