The Gender Gap

Learning why men and women experience pain differently

It’s one of the more puzzling observations in medicine: The vast majority of chronic pain patients are women. Women suffer disproportionately from irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches (especially migraines), pain caused by damage to the nervous system, osteoarthritis, jaw problems like TMJ, and much more. Women also report more acute pain than men after the same common surgeries.

The Big Thaw

Freezing human eggs is gaining in popularity, but declaring it a success would be premature

Doctors have been freezing sperm for 60 years and embryos (fertilized eggs) for 30. The first pregnancy from a frozen egg occurred in 1986.

High Water Marks

There’s no question swimming is good for you. Is it better than running or walking? Not so fast.

 Is swimming the best exercise for lifelong health?

After all, you can swim with just your arms if you have a bum knee, or with just your legs if you have sore arms. You can swim with arthritis. Or a recently replaced hip.

Those Restless Legs…

Restless legs syndrome keeps you going (even if you want to
stop).

The symptoms of restless legs syndrome sound so bizarre —
creepy-crawly feelings and an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, especially
at bedtime — that until recently, many people who experienced it simply weren’t
believed when they described it to others.

Trick or Treatment?

A spate of recent studies reinforces the idea that what we think about our
medical care really can affect our health.

The new research into the power of placebos is giving scientists new
insights into how patients’ expectations their beliefs about whether an
inactive, sham treatment will work can have an actual, observable effect on
their well-being.

FDA loosens reins

The US Food and Drug Administration once had the power to force manufacturers of over-the-counter dietary supplements, including herbal remedies, to prove those products were safe, if the agency felt such a pre-market review was warranted.

Detecting, treating bladder cancer early

Four years ago, Ellen Pinzur, a Cambridge woman who had been a lifetime smoker, got a most unwelcome surprise.

When she went to her gynecologist for a routine exam, he suspected she had a fibroid, a benign growth in the uterus. He sent her for an ultrasound. Sure enough, she did have a fibroid.    

E-therapy is hardly a bargain

We’ve got e-commerce, e-banking, e-pharmacy and of course, e-mail. So why not e-therapy?

Actually, there are lots of reasons why not. But that’s not stopping the latest trend in electronic medicine – virtual therapists, some 150 to 200 of them, who offer assessments, generic advice and even ongoing individual psychotherapy online.

Trendy pill should be taken with a grain of salt

She’s a young woman from the South Shore, finally able both to work and to study for an advanced degree.

But for years, she’s been plagued by severe depression that stems, she says, from physical abuse she suffered as a child, and from sexual abuse when she was 17.

The unhealthy side of health concerns

It’s been years now, but I can still picture the articulate young woman with the mysterious disease who came to the Globe to see me.   She was armed with a stack of medical papers and spoke with the ease of a scientist about possible causes, symptoms, and tests. But what was most striking was how much her identity seemed to be wrapped up in her illness.