Maybe you are like me this winter. I have had a cold that has dragged on for weeks. My nose ran, my sinuses hurt, then it got into my chest, and the hacking cough made it sound like I was dying. I lost my voice,  which was problematic because I host webcasts and radio. All this was happening while I needed to find a new primary care doctor. I wrote here previously that my doctor was moving, and I had been “assigned” by the clinic to Dr. C, who I did not know. So I called Dr. C’s office and...

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I just had to write this since I am from Seattle, home of the Super Bowl contending Seattle Seahawks. Hopefully, we will all watch them beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Then a worldwide audience will know Seattle not only for Starbucks and HealthTalk (smile), but also for excellence in NFL football. Now you may recall that I am a leukemia survivor (CLL), and having had a cold for a month, I haven’t felt the greatest. Since you are a HealthTalk reader, you may have serious health concerns that weigh on you and symptoms that go along with it. But...

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What drives individuals to contribute and raise money for medical research? There are many reasons why people give to worthy causes, but this past weekend I observed one interesting case firsthand when I attended my nephew Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah in Irvine, California. Nathan is a sweet 13-year-old boy and very dedicated to family. It was a huge and joyous event. But there was an absence felt as well: Nathan’s great-grandparents on his mother’s side couldn’t make it. The reason? His great-grandma is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She lives in nearby San Diego, and her aging husband -...

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You may have read my blog that mentioned my personal interest in George Clooney’s acclaimed movie “Good Night, and Good Luck.”  Clooney played my former journalism school professor, Fred Friendly, who was the producer of groundbreaking CBS News programs with Edward R. Murrow, one of the all-time greats of broadcast journalism. The folks at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, my alma mater, passed along my blog about Fred to his widow, Ruth Friendly. She read it, copied it for others and wrote to me personally. It was great to reconnect with her after 33 years. Fred was my...

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I don’t know about you, but I have many friends - people in their late 30s, 40s and 50s - who are worried about their parents as they are getting older and getting sick. My friend Nancy is just 37. Her mother has severe diabetes and neuropathy. Her father had a stroke and continued worries about his heart. They live about 30 miles from Nancy, a bit closer to her brother. Both Nancy and her brother shuttle back and forth when there’s a health crisis, and they worry about their parents a lot. Sometimes Nancy just scoops up Mom and...

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Dr. Ron Berenson is an unusual guy. He’s a cancer researcher and entrepreneur. He also has an identical twin brother, Jim, who is also an oncologist and cancer researcher. I can’t think of another set of identical twin oncologists, can you? Ron lives in Seattle near me, and Jim lives in Los Angeles. I can never tell them apart. After working at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Ron founded a company called CellPro that developed a special glass column that purifies bone marrow cells before they are re-infused into patients having autologous transplants - basically getting their own cells...

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I was flipping through a magazine today, and a commentary reminded me of a huge health issue that we rarely discuss: Most of us do not take our prescription medicines as prescribed. Sometimes we don’t take them at all. The price is that we are not giving the medicine a chance to do its job of helping us feel better and, ideally, get us well or control our conditions. Studies show that 70 percent of prescriptions go unconsumed (obviously this varies by severity and type of conditions), and 30-85 percent of patients disregard refills. Another fact jumped out at me:...

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Almost 10 years ago when I was diagnosed through a routine blood test with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, I felt very scared and very alone. I had never heard of CLL and the word “leukemia” to me meant death, since about that time our Seattle school superintendent and powerful former Army general, John Stanford, had just died of an acute leukemia. A friend helped me connect with other patients on the Internet. This was 1996, which meant a search of “newsgroups” which turned up “Grannybarb’s” listserv (also known as a mailing list) for people with blood cancers (see acor.org). Many of...

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An article in the New York Times recently said the federal government has been getting complaints that some insurance agents were operating too loose with the facts about Medicare prescription drug coverage offered by the plans they were touting to seniors. Of course, insurance industry spokespeople said it must only be some unscrupulous, rogue agents and that most sales people for the many plans now out there are in compliance with government rules. Maybe so, but the complaints continue to roll in. Seniors are often vulnerable, and the new Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage benefit is not very easy...

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I recently hosted a radio program with an eye specialist. We were talking about Lasik eye surgery and similar approaches to help you get rid of your glasses. Millions have these procedures. But if you have a chronic condition like multiple sclerosis or diabetes, there are more basic eye health questions to address. With MS, some people get optic neuritis. That’s why regular eye exams are so important. In my case, it was years before I started seeing an ophthalmologist regularly, and it’s easy to “blow off.” But if I started going blind or having real discomfort, it would be...

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Page last updated on April 25, 2019