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Proposed consolidation among health insurers could be hazardous to the nation's health

May 21, 2016

By Dr. Robert B. Goldberg and Roy Grant

Consolidation—the acquisition of one competing business entity by another—is an ongoing issue in the health insurance and hospital markets. After consolidation, it's common that fewer choices and provider networks are available.

There is concern about the health impact of consolidation; however, there has been far more study of hospital mergers than insurance consolidation. Studies have shown that all too frequently after hospital deals, prices are higher, quality of care deteriorates and savings are not passed along to consumers.

The Adderall Workout

May 20, 2016

George, 34, works as a marketing consultant and tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He was never really one for fitness — “I was sort of a fat ass,” he says — until he met Adderall, which helped him deal with the stress, and drown out the distractions, of launching a Bitcoin debit-card service. He believes he legitimately has ADHD, at least probably, but what he loves most about Adderall isn’t how it helps him think. It’s how it makes him look.

“Amphetamines are known to improve physical endurance and mental aptitude because they allow an increase in catecholamines [hormones produced by the adrenal glands] as part of their mechanism of action,” says Dr. Maria Pino, a toxicologist and pharmacology professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. “But they are also known to cause vasoconstriction, or increased blood pressure, and increased heart rate. So they can be dangerous.”

The Healthiest BMI Is Actually "Overweight," Says New Study

May 16, 2016

It's no secret that Body Mass Index (BMI) is a somewhat controversial measure of health. Calculated using only your height and weight, it classifies us as underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese. But it's not always an accurate prediction of how healthy you are---since BMI doesn't touch on cardiovascular fitness or body composition, it's not unheard of for a professional athlete (especially one with a ton of muscle weight) or someone who can crush a triathlon to technically qualify as "overweight" or even "obese." 

And as far as the second finding, take that with a grain of salt before you try to put on a few pounds to up your BMI to 27, says Niket Sonpal, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Touro College of Medicine in New York City. Being in the obese category is never healthy, he says.

What your favorite drink may say about you

May 12, 2016

"What cocktail you're having is a social badge," said Adam Seger, master barman for iPIC Entertainment. "It says something about someone's personality."

Certainly making a connection is the goal of dating, and your drink order can matter, especially on the first date, said Jeffrey Gardere, assistant professor and course director of behavioral medicine at New York City's Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. That drink helps one suss out the other, he said, providing a clue to self akin to how one dresses, speaks and treats restaurant staff.

Unique program helps medical students build nonverbal communication skills

May 10, 2016

TouroCOM-Middletown students learn to establish trust and recognize nonverbal cues through Medicine and Horsemanship program.

Unique program helps medical students build nonverbal communication skills

May 09, 2016

The five “patients” are scattered throughout the barn. A group of 18 student government leaders from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine-Middletown (TouroCOM-Middletown) enters the corral, deciding which one to approach. Will it be the chestnut Warm Blood, the majestic Clydesdale or the miniature horse?

Friday Feedback: The Continuing Problem of Opioids and Pain

April 29, 2016

An FDA advisory committee will meet next week to discuss the FDA's use of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) to prevent diversion and abuse of opioid painkillers. The FDA, concerned about rising overdose deaths from prescription opioids, is considering more restrictive REMS features such as mandatory physician education and certification, and a wider range of opioid products to be covered.

Robert B. Goldberg, DO, executive dean, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City: The volume of prescribed opioid drugs shot up a few years ago. The increase was not explained by the number of cancer survivors, or by any increase in accidental injuries. Increased prescribing does track with a change in policy toward physician's consideration of pain. We can measure blood pressure, pulse, temperature and heart rate using sophisticated devices that demonstrate incredible interexaminer reliability. After that we present a card to the patient with pictures to record pain, a.k.a. the fifth vital sign. The efforts to add pain as the fifth vital sign was supported by the pharmaceutical industry. Add to that the move to rate the "medical visit experience," with surveys, there is no wonder that prescription volume climbed.

TouroCOM-Harlem program introduces next generation of DOs to medicine

April 21, 2016

Osteopathic medical students serve as mentors for Harlem high schoolers interested in pursuing careers in science and medicine.

From the first time he saw a heart in biology class, high school student Farhan Hossain knew he wanted to become a cardiac surgeon—a career he is even more certain of after participating in Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (TouroCOM-Harlem) MedAchieve program.

“I have learned so much about the human body through this program: how the heart works, how the liver functions, and how to tell the difference between healthy and diseased organs,” says Hossain, a senior at the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics in Harlem.

Launched four years ago, MedAchieve is a two-year after school medical science program offered to high school students in the Harlem area. The first year, MedStart, focuses on the foundations of medicine such as anatomy. In the second year, MedExcel, students learn how the body responds to stress, injury and disease.

How Much Can You Safely Drink While Pregnant?

April 14, 2016

For decades, the message from the medical community has been clear: Alcohol and pregnancy do not mix. But if you love a glass of merlot with dinner or an IPA after work, questions arise. What about a glass of wine here and there? Or half of a beer? Does a celebratory sip of champagne really count?

Introducing alcohol into the fetal environment (any amount, any type of alcohol, at any time) may cause brain damage, birth defects, or serious behavioral and learning disorders, such as autism or attention deficit disorder (ADD). And although many babies affected by alcohol may not have any physical birth defects, the impact of alcohol will become evident in later childhood or adolescent.

Niket Sonpal, M.D. assistant clinical professor of medicine at Touro College of Medicine, agrees: “From the minute you know to the minute you deliver, no alcohol,” he says. “Why take any additional chances or risks with something that’s already so risky?”

Region has received $400M in NY economic grants, but data is scarce about resulting jobs

March 28, 2016

New York state has awarded nearly $400 million in grants for economic development in the seven-county mid-Hudson region since 2011… But information about how many new jobs those projects have created is scarce… One clear success on the project list is Touro College's new medical school in Middletown, which opened in 2014.

Middletown Community Health Center to Partner with Touro

March 28, 2016

Middletown Community Health Center CEO Teresa Butler, Touro’s Dean of Students Dr. Jerry Cammarata, and developer Tony Danza joined Mayor Joseph DeStefano on March 17 to announce an alternative to MCHC’s previously proposed move to the vacant O&W railway station.

It Ain't Rocket Science Episode 43: Part 2

March 24, 2016

MedAchieve students visit TouroCOM - Harlem's Sim Lab. See more of TouroCOM's involvement in the premed pathway program featured in Part 2.

PART 2: We visit one of the oldest and most prestigious STEM competitions in the world, head to a medical school in New York City where students are jump starting an education in medicine, and check out how knowledge of anatomy and sculpture is helping to solve cold case crimes.

Middletown Community Health Center plans move to Horton campus

March 23, 2016

Middletown Community Health Center is in talks to move and expand its health services to a vacant wing of the former Horton Hospital, now home to Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Touro College In Harlem Celebrates Successful Residency Matches

March 21, 2016

Nearly all of the 118 students graduating from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) in Harlem this coming June who sought residencies have been successfully matched.

The majority following a highly spirited selection process that has landed them at selective hospitals renowned for their excellent training.

“This year’s match list year shows that our students are going to extremely competitive programs at major academic medical centers throughout the country, and at the same time many have matched to hospitals committed to serving the underserved, a cornerstone of our mission,” said Executive Dean Robert Goldberg, DO.

Medical students enhance patient skills by interacting with horses

March 17, 2016

Eighteen first-and second-year medical students from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Middletown, along with their professor and staff, recently spent an unusual afternoon at Raven Hill Farms, a local horse farm in the Town of Warwick.

Medical students enhance patient skills by interacting with horses

March 17, 2016

The exercise at Raven Hill Farms in Warwick is to understand the value of non-verbal communications.

What Is the Hygiene Hypothesis?

March 17, 2016

Many parents believe that their children must be kept in an environment that is as clean as possible, but some research suggests that being exposed to what many would call unclean conditions is good for a child's immune system. Research has indicated that children who are kept in very clean environments have a higher rate of hay fever, asthma and a wide range of other conditions. This is what is called the hygiene hypothesis.

"I believe that there is a role in the development of a child's immunity exposure to various germs and a vast microbiome diversity," said Dr. Niket Sonpal, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harlem Campus.

From Broadway to med school: One student’s journey to the healing arts

March 16, 2016

After spending 12 years as a Broadway actor, Clark Johnsen, OMS II, says his favorite part of showbiz was being part of the theater community, which he describes as extraordinarily open, curious and accepting.

“Being around theater people helped make me more curious about what makes people tick and what motivates their behavior, which has been a great asset to bring into my medical education,” he says.

Johnsen now attends the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York (TouroCOM-Harlem), where he’s president of the Student American Academy of Osteopathy. In this edited interview, he tells the story of his journey to osteopathic medical school and shares advice for other nontraditional med students.

NYSOMS joins MSSNY in Powerful Day of Advocacy

March 15, 2016

On March 8, NYSOMS joined the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) in Albany for a combined DO Day/MSSNY Lobby Day that drew 70 osteopathic medical students from all three New York State campuses.

Sepsis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

March 11, 2016

When the body gets an infection, the immune system normally works to fight it in order to make the body healthy again. Sometimes, though, the body overreacts. Sepsis is the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection. It can cause tissue damage, organ failure and death.

"While any type of infection — bacterial, viral or fungal — can lead to sepsis, the most common varieties include pneumonia, abdominal infection (i.e. diverticulitis, appendicitis, or gall bladder infections), kidney and urinary tract infections, and primary bloodstream infections (bacteremia),”"said Dr. Niket Sonpal, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harlem Campus.

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