Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Antidepressant medications are frequently prescribed for chronic pain, particularly neck or low back pain and certain types of arthritis — though other treatments are usually tried first. An analysis of past research considered how effective antidepressants are for these types of pain, but the results are not encouraging.
Certain vitamins and supplements have long been promoted as having benefits for the immune system, which has led some to believe they may have similar effects on COVID-19 — and some doctors have been prescribing them. But so far, study results have not been encouraging.
Mitochondria are the power stations in our cells that convert nutrients into energy, and research suggests that they play a key role in aging and immune function. Ads for a line of supplements claim that the product renews or replenishes mitochondria –– but is there any scientific proof of this?
Trying to cut back on calories by drinking diet soda or flavored sparkling water may not help with weight loss, and some research suggest it may actually lead to weight gain. But why, and what are the alternatives?
Got vaccine envy? Not only has the pandemic upended our lives, differing state priorities and restrictions on eligibility for highly effective COVID-19 vaccines are fueling feelings of jealousy and unfairness that encourage questionable actions and ethics.
The accuracy of health monitoring devices available to consumers varies, and in some instances skin tone may make a difference –– a problem called device bias. Yet proper function of such devices can have significant implications for the health of those using them.
February 14th is more than Valentine’s Day –– it’s also National Donor Day, when health organizations sponsor sign-ups for organ and tissue donation. For those in need, such a donation can be life-changing — or lifesaving. If you wonder what can be donated or how, read on.
As the pandemic rages on, rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines is welcome news since widespread vaccination is essential to help contain it. But while many are scrambling to get a vaccine, others hesitate due to concerns about effectiveness and safety.
An ad for an arthritis medication seems to suggest that taking it will alleviate or even eliminate morning stiffness, allowing you to hop out of bed. Like most drug ads, this one has unspoken messages and glosses over questions about side effects and cost.
The culture of American medicine has long believed and supported the idea that more early detection and treatment is best. But some testing is costly, invasive and carries needless risks, and some conditions go away on their own. Early detection and treatment can be lifesaving — just not for every health issue.