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”Leaky Brain” the True Villain Behind “Brain Fog”

In the physiology and neurology classes of medical school, you learn a lot about the importance of something called the “blood brain barrier”. You’ve seen blood, of course. The bright red liquid carrying oxygen, nutrients, etc., etc. But your brain and spinal fluid should always be crystal clear, unless infected or inflamed. Separating blood from […]

Your Blue Poop: An Easy At-Home Test of Gut Health

Anyone who has ever visited a WholeHealth Chicago Functional Medicine practitioner knows that lots of questions focus on digestion. The reason for this goes all the way back to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who is alleged to have said “All disease begins in the gut.” This concept is not at all taught in medical […]

Is The Environment Making Us Fat(ter)?

Virtually every day, a patient offers a variation of this sentence: “I’m steadily gaining weight no matter what I do. I restrict my calories to good foods, I exercise regularly, and I get zero results. My thyroid tests are normal. What’s wrong with my body?” We know the US is a nation of the overweight […]

Brain-Boosting Supplements

In our previous two Health Tips, we discussed the most common causes of brain fog. The first of these focused on stress. When there’s so much you’re anxious about, your logical thinking, mental clarity, and memory become overwhelmed to the extent that you’ve added yet another stressor. “Is this early dementia?” you may wonder. Well […]

Brain Fog and What To Do About It, Part 1

You can’t remember the name of the Netflix movie you saw just last night, literally hours ago. And that actor–what was his name? He was in, you know, that other movie. You think it was a thriller, but maybe a war movie. Then you get a notice from Verizon that they’re turning off your phone […]

Breakthroughs in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

To me, the greatest advance for the estimated 2.5 million adults, adolescents, and children with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been the slow but steady acceptance of its very existence by the conventional medical community. This has been a real uphill battle and we’re encouraged to finally see some (guarded) victories. The first description of […]

Beating The Blues

Like it or not, it’s the nature of life to get the blues from time to time. Maybe your relationship isn’t working out, the dream job hasn’t been all that dreamy, or it’s your weight, your back pain, or our endless dark winter. The result? You just can’t get yourself cheered up about anything. You’re […]

Best Financial/Health Advice Part 4: Prescription Drugs

For Part 3 in this series, click here. I know you’re all tired of the word collusion and especially the notion of government collusion, but let’s face facts. If there’s any single part of our egregiously expensive healthcare system in which the US federal government has given carte blanche to a single industry to rob […]

Best Financial/Health Advice Part 3: Which Health Insurance Is Best For You?

For Part 2 in this series, click here. Fifty years ago, health insurance worked like this: you went to your doctor, whose office was above a small drugstore or in a Michigan Avenue building. You paid cash for your visit. For larger medical expenses, like surgery or having a baby, Blue Shield paid your doctor […]

Best Financial/Health Advice Part 2: Understanding Insurance

For Part 1 in this series, click here. A little history is required in order to grasp how we got here. Until the arrival of Medicare in 1965, the only health insurance available was Blue Cross/Blue Shield, a network of not-for-profit companies founded in 1929, Blue Cross covering hospital charges, Blue Shield physician fees. Then, […]

Boosting Fertility With Traditional Chinese Medicine

Many couples struggle with issues of infertility, and last week I voiced my concern about the one-size-fits-all approach that most conventional infertility centers take, along with their reluctance to offer simple, inexpensive, and safe nutritional and alternative therapies first. The exact opposite of “everyone’s the same” therapy is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). When a couple […]

Big Pharma Kicks Us In The Teeth (Again)

One day last week, the top five most-read stories in the New York Times were all about Mylan, the generic drug manufacturer and owner of the EpiPen, a pre-filled syringe of epinephrine used for severe allergic reactions. Mylan didn’t invent the EpiPen. It just bought the company that developed it. For years, EpiPens were $100 […]

B12 Deficiency: Still America’s #1 Missed Diagnosis

Over the years of writing Health Tips, I was surprised to discover that one I’d written a few years ago about vitamin B12 deficiency had received the most comments and questions from readers. Since there have been some interesting developments in both the diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency, and since B12 deficiency remains so […]

Behind The Scenes In Healthcare: Your Med Is Denied

Your insurance company sent me a 17-page fax with your name on it. Yes, really, 17 pages, eviscerating my paper tray, guzzling my toner. In its ads, your insurance company cynically crows about its concern for the environment, so I doubt a hard copy will ever arrive in the mail. Your name is on page […]

B12 Deficiency: Still America’s #1 Missed Diagnosis

Over the years of writing Health Tips, I was surprised to discover that one I’d written a few years ago about vitamin B12 deficiency had received the most comments and questions from readers. Since there have been some interesting developments in both the diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency, and since B12 deficiency remains so […]

New Hope for Binge Eaters

That box of chocolate chip cookies you never should have purchased in the first place is sitting there on your kitchen table, luring you, taunting. Your period is due in two or three days and you feel grumpy, depressed, bloated. You’re agonizing. “Just a…couple/two, three at the most” you think, knowing you’ll actually feel emotionally […]

Big Pharma Controls Your Doctor’s Brain

Two themes this week. First, on the very same morning I sent out last week’s Health Tip expressing my dismay at an Annals of Internal Medicine article and editorial advising physicians to discourage patients from using multiple vitamins a new study from Germany showed that vitamin D deficiency was strongly linked to fatal heart attacks […]

Angelina Jolie, BRCA Testing, and You

The extremely talented actress and director Angelina Jolie made world news last May when she revealed in a New York Times op-ed that she’d taken the proactive step of having both breasts removed to prevent dying of breast cancer, as her own mother had at age 56. Jolie had learned that she had a specific, […]

A Blood Test That Could Save Your Life

One of the most challenging decisions a primary care physician faces concerns preventing a heart attack in a patient who has risk factors, such as high cholesterol, and iffy symptoms like shoulder pain or shortness of breath. As a doctor, you’re uncertain whether or not you should work on the risk factors or send your […]

JAMA Reports Bribing Your Doc Could Improve Care (You Might Not Want These Details)

Two separate articles appeared this week in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) reporting that financial incentives either to individual physicians or group practices might improve the overall quality of care delivered to patients. I guess it’s human nature, especially viewed through the eyes of a lifetime Chicagoan like myself, to think, “Well […]