MRI and pacemakers: A risky mix

Unless you have an MRI-friendly pacemaker, a CT scan may be safer. In multiple studies, the powerful magnets in MRI units have caused pacemakers to change their settings and the leads in both types of devices to become superheated. Some deaths have occurred during inadvertent, unmonitored scanning of patients with pacemakers, although the exact reasons are unknown. Computed tomography (CT) is often recommended as an alternative imaging test. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctors: Fainting while doing chin-ups?

I am a healthy 52 year old who likes to stay fit. Recently, I have occasionally fainted after doing eight or 10 chin-ups. My physician did an EKG and stress test the first time this happened and found my heart is normal. He had me wear a monitor for 24 hours, and it indicated nothing was wrong. Your thoughts? (Locked) More »

Ask the doctors: High BP and diabetes?

I am a 47-year-old man with diabetes being treated with insulin and high blood pressure treated with lisinopril and low-dose hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ). I have read that HCTZ can actually cause diabetes. My physician says not to worry about it, but I do. (Locked) More »

Warfarin users, beware of antibiotics

Warfarin often can interact with antibiotics and antifungal medications to increase the risk of internal bleeding. People taking warfarin and antibiotics must be monitored closely. That's why if you are prescribed an antibiotic to treat or prevent an infection, you should immediately tell the clinician who manages your warfarin. More »

Losing weight may require trial and error

No weight-loss approach works for every heart patient. If you have tried different diets and are diligent about exercise, but those extra pounds won't budge, you may not have found the right approach or combination of approaches for you. "Everything works for some people, but no treatment is equally effective for everyone," says Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. "No method is fundamentally better than any other. The key is finding out which therapy is best for you, and that takes trial and error," he says. When you are trying to lose weight, Dr. Kaplan advises you to take it one step at a time. "Try what feels good, don't despair, and don't give up.” (Locked) More »

Omega-3 may not protect the heart

Expert advice in favor of omega-3 supplementation is mixed. Despite everything you have heard about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, taking extra omega-3 might not do any good if you already have heart disease. It's true that healthy people tend to have high levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in their blood. It's also a fact that people with heart failure, stroke, and heart attack often have lower levels of these essential omega-3 fatty acids. However, proof that raising omega-3 levels through supplementation may prevent heart disease or its consequences is lacking.  (Locked) More »

Robotics help stroke survivors walk again

For people with difficulty walking after a stroke, exoskeletons hold exciting promise. These robotic, computer-controlled devices provide physical support while helping move patients' legs back and forth. (Locked) More »