Antidepressants play a crucial role in treating depression. But according to a new study published in JAMA, almost half of the antidepressant prescriptions written every year are being used to treat conditions other than depression.
So are antidepressants, which help balance the chemicals serotonin and dopamine in your brain, some sort of cure-all drug?
“In my practice and experience, we have found that antidepressants help with a lot of conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, bulimia, and even anxiety,” says Niket Sonpal, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Touro College of Medicine in New York City.
Making it to the top of Mount Everest is no small feat—thousands of experienced climbers have tried and failed. And unfortunately, hundreds have lost their lives on the white whale of the climbing world. Just this Saturday, 34-year-old Maria Strydom of Australia died after developing high-altitude pulmonary edema—an extreme form of altitude sickness—which caused fluid to build up in her brain.
“Altitude sickness can affect anyone,” says Niket Sonpal, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Touro College of Medicine in New York. “It’s an equal opportunity offender. But oxygen-carrying capacity is something that vegans can be affected by.”
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.
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.”
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 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.
TouroCOM-Middletown students learn to establish trust and recognize nonverbal cues through Medicine and Horsemanship program.
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.
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.
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?”
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The exercise at Raven Hill Farms in Warwick is to understand the value of non-verbal communications.
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.
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.