February 19, 2014
I AM a 28-year-old recovering heroin addict. Having said that, Ms. Flowers, I now need to address your perceptions of addiction and specifically Philip Seymour Hoffman's death. Being educated in this field, both academically and personally, I am blessed with a unique insight into the disease of addiction. And, make no mistake about it, it is a disease. However, it is not a disease like cancer or diabetes, as some like to compare it to. It is a disease not like any other. It is threefold in nature: a mental obsession, like obsessive-compulsive disorder; a physical allergy, like one would have to peanut butter; and a spiritual malady, which I have no words to explain.
February 16, 2014 |
Theirs is not the kind of medical history anyone wants. The grandchildren of George Melling hope others can learn from the trail of death and damaged hearts that runs through their family tree. Four cousins - the children of two of George's daughters - died decades ago when their hearts stopped suddenly. Two were teenagers; another was 22 years old. When one of the mothers developed heart problems, a Johns Hopkins University doctor began looking for inherited heart defects in other family members and readily found them.
February 4, 2014
R AJIV MAHALE, 31, and Jonathan McEuen, 32, both of Center City, and Jake Boy, 26, of Roxborough, are co-founders of startup SpeSo Health at 17th and Walnut streets in Center City. SpeSo has an online platform for identifying and accessing top medical experts in 6,000 rare diseases so that health-care systems can create communities and share information. I spoke with Mahale, who earned a master's degree from Wharton. Q: How'd you come up with the idea for the biz? A: A family member was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer.
January 20, 2014 |
Dermatologist Gil Yosipovitch believes itch should be studied and treated as a disease in itself, not just a symptom of disease. That's why he founded the International Society for the Study of Itch in 2005. And that's partly why he left North Carolina's Wake Forest University six months ago to create the Itch Center at Temple University School of Medicine. "We're behind our colleagues in the field of pain," said Yosipovitch, who is also the new chair of Temple's dermatology department.
November 29, 2013 |
The bottlenose dolphins are migrating south. So officials in New Jersey thought that they had seen the last of the strandings - animals washing onto beaches, dead or dying - in what has become the largest Atlantic Coast die-off of dolphins in memory. But on Monday, the body of another dolphin, this one badly decomposed, washed ashore on a Delaware Bay beach, taking the state's total of stranded dolphins to 135 since July 1. Overall, more than 800 dolphins have stranded along the coast, although officials fear far more have died offshore and never been discovered.
October 28, 2013 |
Stanley Plotkin, 81, creator of the rubella vaccine, hopes another vaccine can be made to vanquish Lyme disease. Plotkin's call for a new Lyme disease vaccine is also personal. In an op-ed piece for the New York Times this summer, Plotkin, a Doylestown resident and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, described how in 2005, his son, Alec, was felled with a heart ailment caused by Lyme. Although Alec has since recovered, Plotkin urged patients and physicians to contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and encourage the agency to make a Lyme vaccine a top priority.
October 6, 2013 |
For Kathy Spreen, Lyme disease is a family affair. The trouble for her West Chester family started with her husband, who complained of fatigue and shoulder pain. Diagnosed with Lyme, he was treated with antibiotics and cured. About a year later, suffering with fatigue and joint pain, Spreen was treated twice for Lyme, which led to arthroscopic surgery and an eventual knee replacement. But when her 20-year old son Chris was rushed to the emergency room with a fever near 106 degrees and lapsing in and out of consciousness, she felt helpless.
September 25, 2013 |
"I know some people just want to talk about the elephant in the room," says the actor Michael J. Fox in a promotional video for The Michael J. Fox Show , an NBC sitcom debuting Thursday. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, plays a news anchor with the disease who returns to work. In the video, the camera widens, and, lo and behold, there's an actual elephant in the room. Parkinson's is smaller. Small hand tremors that worsen over time. Small steps in an unsteady and slightly odd gait.
August 19, 2013 |
Juliet Belcher does not have the strength or dexterity to eat a piece of chicken on her own. Even if she did, her cells could not turn the food into enough energy to properly fuel her 8-year-old body. Juliet, who lives in Blue Bell, is diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease so rare that it hasn't been named yet. Doctors have identified only eight others in the world with the same genetic mutation. Mitochondria are the structures in cells that produce energy for life. Malfunctions come in different forms, and an estimated one in 5,000 Americans has some type of mitochondrial disease at any given time.
August 14, 2013 |
CHESTER COUNTY health officials are investigating three reported cases of a rare, sometimes fatal tick-borne disease, including one person in serious condition. The disease is called babesiosis, an infection caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Last year, 11 cases were confirmed in Pennsylvania, none fatal. There have been no confirmed cases this year. One of the reported cases this year is at Brandywine Hospital, according to a physician who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of privacy laws.