Strategies to promote better sleep in these uncertain times

These are unprecedented times. Given the real and tangible threat of the coronavirus pandemic on personal, community, and societal levels, it is normal to experience anxiety and sleep problems. Sleep is a reversible state marked by a loss of consciousness to our surroundings, and as members of the animal kingdom, our brains have evolved to respond to dangers by increasing vigilance and attention — in other words, our brains are protecting us, and by doing so it’s harder for us to ignore our surroundings.

Despite the threat of the coronavirus and its rapid and pervasive disruption to our daily lives, many of us are an in a position to control our behaviors and dampen the impact of the emerging pandemic on our sleep. Cultivating healthy sleep is important; better sleep enables us to navigate stressful times better in the short term, lowers our chance of developing persistent sleep problems in … Read more

Listen: How Hospitals Are Preparing For Surge In COVID-19 Patients

California Healthline senior correspondent Anna Maria Barry-Jester appeared on KALW’s “Your Call” on Friday to discuss how hospitals are preparing for a surge in COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services, said on Wednesday that COVID-19 cases in California continued to double every three to four days ― a pace on par with New York, where some hospitals are already overwhelmed by coronavirus patients.

As of Friday afternoon, the number of coronavirus cases in California topped 4,000 and at least 85 people had died.

Hospitals have been shifting patients with less urgent medical needs to other facilities to free up beds and working to boost supplies of personal protective equipment for medical staff, but still face shortages of both.… Read more

Cannabis questions… so many questions!

Recently I wrote a summary of my readings around cannabis for pain. It’s a hot topic in New Zealand because we’re holding a referendum on cannabis law reform next year, and as expected, all the lobby groups are out in force! My interest is sparked because so many of the people I work with as patients also use cannabis – and the evidence from RCTs is pretty poor. And YET as a recent study colleagues and I carried out with people who have spinal cord injury and neuropathic pain, cannabis is something that holds appeal, and interestingly, seems to provide some useful effects.

The study we conducted (see it here: https://rdcu.be/bTuup) was a qualitative investigation of people with spinal cord injury who used and found cannabis helpful.

We found that people mainly trialled “conventional” pain relief such as gabapentin, pregabalin, nortriptyline, amitriptyline, and a range of opioids before … Read more

Thinning hair in women: Why it happens and what helps

Many people think of hair loss as a male problem, but it also affects at least a third of women. But unlike men, women typically experience thinning hair without going bald, and there can be a number of different underlying causes for the problem.

“Some are associated with inflammation in the body. Some are female-pattern hair loss,” says Dr. Deborah Scott, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But the good news is that in many cases this hair loss can be stabilized with treatment, and it may be reversible. When it’s not, there are a number of new cosmetic approaches that can help.

Understanding hair loss

The first step in dealing with thinning hair is determining what’s happening inside your body that is causing those extra strands to cling to your shoulders and your brush. Some … Read more