Dr. Mitch can only provide general medical insights. He cannot counsel you on your own particular case. Information about a specific individual's medical condition can only properly be managed by a health care professional who has examined that person and done a proper evaluation. Furthermore, Dr. Mitch will not be able to respond to individual requests for referral or diagnosis or management or to provide a second opinion. His intent is to help people know more about medicine and science so that they can ask their health care professional the right questions and make more informed decisions with respect to their health. You should consult with your health care professional before following any of Dr. Mitch's advice to confirm that it is appropriate for you.

Confused about the flu?

Posted By: Dr Mitch Shulman · 1/13/2014 9:56:00 PM

You may have heard about the recent death from the AH5N1 (Avian or Bird Flu) in Alberta. The person had fallen ill while returning from a trip to China and died within days of being admitted to the hospital. The AH5N1 influenza virus is related to the flu virus that is making many of us sick right now but it is specifically adapted to infecting birds such as chickens and ducks. It`s a cousin to the human influenza virus. While it's possible (but difficult) to catch the virus from infected birds (from their droppings and secretions), because the virus is adapted to birds` lungs and airways, it's almost impossible to spread it from person to person. In other words, you may catch it from spending time with an infected duck but once you're sick you're unlikely to pass it along. That's actually great news because the virus when it does infect people, ...

New Year's Resolutions: Some Tips to Help You Succeed

Posted By: Dr Mitch Shulman · 12/28/2013 8:57:00 AM

As we start the New Year, many of us will have made some resolutions. Maybe you've decided to stop smoking or start exercising or eat better. Whatever you’ve resolved, here are some suggestions to make you more likely to succeed.

1) Write down why you want to do whatever you’ve resolved to do. For ex: I want to stop smoking or eat better to set an example for my kids. Keep this list of reasons with you and when you feel your resolve weakening, bring out the list.

2) Get support. Join with others who’ve quit and find out what worked and have them around to help. Or if you're planning to lose weight, do it with your partner. If you're going to go to the gym, go with a friend so you'll be less likely to come up with excuses to back out. Let friends and family know what you ...

New US Treatment Guidelines for High Blood Pressure: a tempest in a teapot?

Posted By: Dr Mitch Shulman · 12/19/2013 1:03:00 PM

You'll hear a lot of high powered talk over the next few days on how to best treat high blood pressure because of some new guidelines that were just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The concern about treating high blood pressure is valid. High blood pressure is like a ticking time bomb because it quietly sets people up for heart attacks, strokes and other serious medical disasters and we know that controlling blood pressure makes a difference. The Canadian and other guidelines remind us how important it is when treating high blood pressure to take into account the whole patient. The US guidelines are afraid that in older patients (and they now define older as over the age of 60, not 80 as we do in Canada), if we slavishly try to hit too low a number we may create other issues. That's reasonable. But strong scientific data shows ...

Hangover cures?

Posted By: Dr Mitch Shulman · 12/7/2013 11:03:00 AM

Hangovers have been with us from ancient times. You'd think we'd have discovered some way to prevent them by now but in spite of what you may have heard or read on the Internet the straight story is that there are no "cures" for hangovers. There are things that you can do though to lessen the pain. First try to space out your drinking. The liver can only handle a drink an hour. More than that and toxic metabolites and the alcohol itself will start to accumulate. Water, juice are all reasonable spacers. A study out of China seems to imply that lemon-lime soda or soda water might even be better but the study wasn't done in people (just in the lab) so any fluid is probably reasonable. Before you go to bed, have a couple of glasses of water and, if you are allowed, some ibuprofen (available under many ...

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are on the Rise

Posted By: Dr Mitch Shulman · 11/21/2013 4:34:00 PM

You may have seen the recent articles about the increase in the number of cases of gonorrhea diagnosed in Montreal. This reflects a number of factors. Easier travel enables resistant bugs to spread and there is an increase in the number of resistant bugs out there. Consumers are not being reminded about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and many people are tired of hearing about safe sex which has become more about HIV than the other sexually transmitted diseases. In essence, we've forgotten to keep up the information stream about gonorrhea, syphilus and herpes. We need to remind people that gonorrhea is much better avoided than treated and untreated (or improperly treated) it can cause serious problems with fertility and infection. Woman can have few obvious symptoms and so whenever someone is diagnosed it's really important that the person's sexual partners are notified and assessed by a health care professional with ...