Dietary supplements – not safe for teens (or anyone, really)

Every few weeks, I get asked, “What pill can I take to help me lose weight?”  Sometimes it’s asked by an overweight teen (or parent), sometimes from someone who is at a healthy weight but wants to be a “little bit smaller.” Many of my eating disorder patients admit to using diet pills. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the Center for Disease Control – 5% of teens have used diet pills/powders/liquid in the past month without a doctor’s approval in order to lose weight or prevent weight gain. Just as often, I am asked about the proper supplement to take to help build more muscle. An astounding 35% of teen males have used protein powders or shakes to enhance muscles  (6% have used anabolic steroids!!).  I was just made aware of a bill in Massachusetts proposing to make diet pills and supplements illegal for minors to purchase.  Why all the fuss? Read more

A Breakdown of Healthcare Proposed Changes

This week, the US Senate announced that they are going to postpone their recess in order to spend time reworking their healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.  Their goal is to reveal their updated bill Thursday (7/13/17), get a new score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office a few days later, and vote on it next week.  Wow – those are some lofty goals.  It can be difficult to decipher the specifics of the bill without getting opinions from people on both ends of the political spectrum.  Since I haven’t seen the new proposal yet, here’s a breakdown of what’s potentially on the chopping block that matters for children, teens, and young adults (and other people too, obviously).

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Get the facts about HIV and get tested

Twenty years ago, it was difficult to avoid information about HIV and AIDS as it was making headlines as a deadly disease passed through sexual activity and shared needle drug use. Today, in many parts of the country young people may only hear about HIV briefly in a school education class or occasional discussion with their parents or doctor.  Though many new and easier ways to prevent and to treat HIV infection have been identified, there is still NO cure for HIV. A person with HIV infection still lives with a chronic disease that requires ongoing medication and medical care in order to stay healthy. It is important for everyone to know that HIV still exists and is continuing to infect young people.

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April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month (#STDMONTH17). This year the focus is on syphilis. Since we wrote a blog about syphilis not too long ago and covered herpes last week, this blog will be about a different sexually transmitted disease: chlamydia.

What exactly is chlamydia? As the Sex Ed teacher from the Mean Girls movie states, “But if you do touch each other, you will get chlamydia…and die.” Although this is not true, chlamydia infection can affect your future and it is worth knowing more about, especially since the treatment is so simple.   Read more

Inappropriate Antibiotic Use Contributes to Antibiotic Resistance

A terrifying headline from last week: Woman dies of superbug no antibiotic could treat. This is not fake news; this is completely accurate. A 70 year old female in Nevada was hospitalized last summer after getting infected by a bacteria. After subjecting the bacteria to multiple tests, the doctors found it to be “resistant to all available antimicrobial drugs.” There was literally no medication that would treat this infection (fancy name for this bacteria: carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE). This woman unfortunately died from septic shock related to this infection. This should scare your pants off.

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