‘She’ll make a difference’

June 29, 2016

Jean Shiraki says growing up on Kauai inspired her to become a doctor.

“On Kauai, people come together and help each other,” she said. “That idea of a close, tight-knit community is embodied in a physician.”

Shiraki, who attended Island School from kindergarten to eighth grade, traveled to New York City to fulfill her dream of being a doctor.

She graduated June 12 from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. But her medical aspirations reach further than an examination room.

Shiraki hopes to make a difference in people’s lives by effecting change on the legislative level by crafting policy that would have a positive impact on the people who are often overlooked because they cannot afford treatment.

“Policy is my way of reaching out to the community,” she said. “There’s a bigger picture of the medical world, and bigger issues than learning anatomy.”

11 Signs You Might Have An Iron Deficiency & How To Fix The Problem

June 23, 2016

I love donating blood, so when I went to donate recently and was turned away due to low levels of iron, I was unpleasantly surprised. When I got home I looked into the signs you might have an iron deficiency, and realized nearly all of them were issues I had personally be dealing with. The symptoms were all around me, but I had been avoiding them, which — in retrospect — was a very silly move on my part.

A final — and very telling — sign you might have an iron deficiency is if you’re finding yourself craving odd things, like dirt, ice, or clay. Niket Sonpal, M.D., an internist and assistant professor of clinical medicine in the department of biomedical sciences at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem, New York, told SELF this is because people with low levels of iron may develop pica — a syndrome that causes people to want to eat things that aren’t food.

TouroCOM-Harlem grads honored with state service award

June 16, 2016

Jemima Akinsanya, DO, is passionate about mentoring underrepresented minority students who are interested in careers in medicine, health and science. Jean Shiraki, DO, has used her policy expertise to plan health fairs and provide leadership in national and state medical societies, focusing on issues that affect minority communities.

Both physicians, who just graduated from the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, were recently honored with the Community Service Award of the Medical Society of the State of New York.

Touro Medical Grads Receive NY State Service Award

June 16, 2016

Jemima Akinsanya and Jean Shiraki, two recent graduates of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2016, received the Community Service Award of the Medical Society of the State of New York at commencement ceremonies held recently at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

“They have provided outstanding service to the community, selflessly and with great skill,” said TouroCOM Executive Dean Robert Goldberg in calling the student doctors up to receive the award.

Drs. Akinsanya and Shiraki pursued different paths, but both dedicated themselves tirelessly, forgoing study time and social events to further causes they believed in. Akinsanya focused on helping underrepresented minorities gain a foothold in medicine and mentoring youth in Harlem who might one day want to pursue a career in health or science.

High-Intensity Statins Are No More Effective Than Regular Statin Therapy

June 09, 2016

Patients who were on lower-dose statins did just as well at lowering their cholesterol as those who were on moderate- to high-intensity statin medications, according to a new study presented here at Touro College Research Day. The results call into question newer recommendations that advocated for more aggressive treatment of cholesterol.

Organized by the Touro Research Collaborative, Touro College Research Day was held on Tuesday, May 3, at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Touro College of Pharmacy campus at 230 West 125th Street in Harlem.

In 2013, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association issued controversial new guidelines recommending moderate- to high-intensity doses of statins to more aggressively lower low density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol. “It was controversial because essentially it resulted in 12.8 million more people being placed on these statin drugs,” says the study’s lead author Martha Rumore, PharmD, Associate Professor of Social, Behavioral & Administrative Pharmacy at the Touro College of Pharmacy.

Touro College Grads Advised By NYC Health+ Hospitals CEO

June 08, 2016

At a festive gathering at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater last week, the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine graduated its sixth class, conferring diplomas upon 123 candidates for the doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree. The hall was packed with the graduates’ families and friends for the jubilant ceremony, at which the new doctors were reminded by their keynote speaker that medicine is changing rapidly and they must “adapt…adapt…adapt…”

“If you are adaptable, if you are flexible, if you remain open to learning new skills, new methods, new approaches to the practice of medicine, then you will succeed,” Ramanathan Raju, M.D., president and CEO of NYC Health+ Hospitals told the graduates. “Because medicine is in a constant state of creative flux.”

Reddit Users Diagnosed This Mom-to-Be with an Umbilical Hernia

June 07, 2016

In the latest case of the internet coming to the rescue, Reddit users saved one pregnant woman from what could have been a serious complication after her husband uploaded a video of her “belly button trick” to the site. User “Rebelrockstar” posted a video of his wife (who is reportedly a doctor herself) pushing her belly button out into a gross-looking bulge, reports The Daily Mail.

After a fellow Reddit user said the balloon-like protrusion looked like a hernia, the couple got it checked out. And it turns out the internet was right—that “belly button trick” was actually an umbilical hernia, which occurs when part of the intestine pokes through the umbilical opening in the abdominal muscles. Gross and dangerous.

So should you be worried that this could happen to you if you’re preggo? Not necessarily. This type of hernia is pretty uncommon, says Niket Sonpal, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Touro College of Medicine in New York City. In fact, umbilical hernias account for less than 15 percent of all hernia cases, he says. They’re more likely to happen to women who’ve had multiple pregnancies, like the mama in this particular Reddit case.

Why Are Doctors Prescribing Antidepressants for Conditions Other Than Depression?

May 25, 2016

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.

This Woman's Vegan Diet May Have Played a Role in Her Death on Mount Everest

May 23, 2016

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.”

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.

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