The Father of the Abortion Pill – Dr. Étienne-Émile Baulieu – The New York Times

Pam Belluck, who has been writing about reproductive health for over a decade, reported this article from Paris.


“When the idea struck him, nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Étienne-Émile Baulieu believed it could be revolutionary. Creating a pill that could abort a pregnancy would transform reproductive health care, he thought, allowing women to avoid surgery, act earlier and carry out their decisions in private.

“When science meets women’s cause, it is irresistible,” Dr. Baulieu, 96, a French endocrinologist and biochemist often called the father of the abortion pill, said on a recent Sunday afternoon in his apartment in a century-old building a short walk from the Eiffel Tower.

He had also hoped, as he wrote in a 1990 book, that by the 21st century, “paradoxically, the ‘abortion pill’ might even help eliminate abortion as an issue.”

That prospect seems as distant as ever, especially in the United States. Not only has abortion remained fiercely contentious since the pill Dr. Baulieu spearheaded, mifepristone, was approved in America in 2000, but last year’s Supreme Court decision ending the federal right to abortion has divided the country over the issue as never before.

Yet over time, some of Dr. Baulieu’s other expectations have materialized. Today, medication abortion, in which mifepristone and a second drug are taken early in pregnancy, is used in over half of pregnancy terminations in the United States. That proportion is expected to increase, even in states that have banned abortion, where growing use has put the pills at the center of legal and political battles.

For Dr. Baulieu, who continues work in his lab on the southern rim of Paris, his office overlooking a former asylum where the Marquis de Sade was held, the volatile developments are just the latest turns in an eventful life. He transported guns as a teenager in the French Resistance during World War II, changing his name and taking refuge high in the Alps. He joined the Communist Party and then quit it in 1956 after the Soviet invasion of Hungary. And he socialized with the artists Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns in the 1960s, beginning a pattern of friendships with painters, sculptors, musicians and actors that he said had helped inspire his scientific work.”

Why Am I Allowed to Drink Clear Fluids Before Surgery, but Not Eat? | Office for Science and Society – McGill University

“In 1946 Curtis Mendelson published this paper examining the details surrounding 66 women who, while giving birth, had some of their stomach contents travel into their lungs. Mendelson concluded that this aspiration was occurring while patients were under general anesthesia. While sedated their throat reflexes were inhibited, which allowed food matter from the stomach to travel up the esophagus and enter the trachea and lungs. In some cases, this resulted in the patient asphyxiating or choking to death, whereas in others it went undetected until after labour had been completed when it caused infections, pneumonia, and other pulmonary complications.

Thus, to help avoid pulmonary aspiration he recommended several things, including that women in labour not be allowed to eat, as they might need to be unexpectedly placed under general anesthesia. These recommendations have been adjusted and refined in the last 74 years, but Mendelson’s main direction, that those preparing to be sedated should fast, has stuck.

The reason clear, particulate-free liquids are allowed when eating isn’t has to do with how quickly foods and drinks of different compositions leave the stomach. While food, especially fat- or protein-rich food, can take up to 8 hours to leave your stomach, studies have shown that clear fluids like coffee, water or pulp-free orange juice are clear of your stomach within two hours or faster. Therefore, clear fluids can be safely consumed up until two hours before surgery. This is true for almost all patients, including those who are pregnantyoungobese or anxious.

Thus, patients should be allowed to freely consume clear fluids like apple juice, coffee, Gatorade, tea (with no or little milk), or chew gum, up to two hours before surgery. This practice has some obvious benefits. For one, patients are less thirsty. I was given the traditional “nil par os” after midnight order (NPO, Latin for “nothing by mouth”) but because my operation took place in the early morning, I only went about three hours without water. Nonetheless, I still felt quite parched. When I woke up after my surgery the very first thing I asked was if I could have a drink.”

Source: Why Am I Allowed to Drink Clear Fluids Before Surgery, but Not Eat? | Office for Science and Society – McGill University

Do Statins Increase the Risk of Diabetes? – The New York Times

Q: Do statins increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes?

If you’re among the tens of millions of Americans who could benefit from taking a cholesterol-lowering medication and yet don’t take one, your hesitance may partly stem from worries about its side effects, said Dr. Savitha Subramanian, an endocrinologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

Statins, which help lower levels of LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) in the blood, can cause side effects such as headache, muscle pain, brain fog and fatigue. But one of the most worrisome among them for many people is the increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, where the body fails to properly regulate and use sugar (or glucose) as fuel.

While Type 2 diabetes is a real concern, Dr. Subramanian said, that doesn’t mean you should automatically avoid statins. Here’s why.”

David Lindsay:  I  took Lovastatin for 20 years or so, and developed debilitating muscle weakness, which went away when I stopped the statin. I had fibromyalgia symptoms.

Here are the top two comments, I enjoyed:


As a physician, I wish “infrastructure” included walkways, walking paths, bike paths, easy walkability to schools, stores and shopping, more time in the work day for breaks for walking, easy and affordable access to fresh fruits and veggies for all, comprehensiveve nutrition education for all, low cost minimally processed foods and high cost highly processed foods(instead of the opposite), reduced sugar content in most foods and reduced salt content in most foods. A lot of answers to this is changing what we eat and how much we move. I wish our country invested more in those things.

8 Replies320 Recommended

Ruth commented October 25


After seeing how taking statins caused irreversible muscle problems and pain for a friend, I objected to taking them after getting notice of a high blood cholesterol level. My doctor then suggested a Doppler carotid artery scan to see how much fatty buildup I had. There was none. So, I did not take the statins. About fifteen years later, with same high blood levels, I only have a couple of teeny deposits that don’t alarm anyone. So, suggestion is to do the artery scan or other tests if there are any, to see if you really might need statins. Or not.

3 Replies250 Recommended

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic


A wide variety of treatments are available for enlarged prostate, including medication, minimally invasive therapies and surgery. The best treatment choice for you depends on several factors, including:

  • The size of your prostate
  • Your age
  • Your overall health
  • The amount of discomfort or bother you are experiencing

If your symptoms are tolerable, you might decide to postpone treatment and simply monitor your symptoms. For some men, symptoms can ease without treatment.


Medication is the most common treatment for mild to moderate symptoms of prostate enlargement. The options include:

  • Alpha blockers. These medications relax bladder neck muscles and muscle fibers in the prostate, making urination easier. Alpha blockers — which include alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), tamsulosin (Flomax) and silodosin (Rapaflo) — usually work quickly in men with relatively small prostates. Side effects might include dizziness and a harmless condition in which semen goes back into the bladder instead of out the tip of the penis (retrograde ejaculation).
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. These medications shrink your prostate by preventing hormonal changes that cause prostate growth. These medications — which include finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart) — might take up to six months to be effective. Side effects include retrograde ejaculation.
  • Combination drug therapy. Your doctor might recommend taking an alpha blocker and a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor at the same time if either medication alone isn’t effective.
  • Tadalafil (Cialis). Studies suggest this medication, which is often used to treat erectile dysfunction, can also treat prostate enlargement.

Minimally invasive or surgical therapy

Minimally invasive or surgical therapy might be recommended if:

  • Your symptoms are moderate to severe
  • Medication hasn’t relieved your symptoms
  • You have a urinary tract obstruction, bladder stones, blood in your urine or kidney problems
  • You prefer definitive treatment

Source: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic

Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia by Natural Drugs


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is one of the most common urinary diseases affecting men, generally after the age of 50. The prevalence of this multifactorial disease increases with age. With aging, the plasma level of testosterone decreases, as well as the testosterone/estrogen ratio, resulting in increased estrogen activity, which may facilitate the hyperplasia of the prostate cells. Another theory focuses on dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and the activity of the enzyme 5α-reductase, which converts testosterone to DHT. In older men, the activity of this enzyme increases, leading to a decreased testosterone/DHT ratio. DHT may promote prostate cell growth, resulting in hyperplasia. Some medicinal plants and their compounds act by modulating this enzyme, and have the above-mentioned targets. This review focuses on herbal drugs that are most widely used in the treatment of BPH, including pumpkin seed, willow herb, tomato, maritime pine bark, Pygeum africanum bark, rye pollen, saw palmetto fruit, and nettle root, highlighting the latest results of preclinical and clinical studies, as well as safety issues. In addition, the pharmaceutical care and other therapeutic options of BPH, including pharmacotherapy and surgical options, are discussed, summarizing and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each therapy.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe? What to Know and Products to Use – The New York Times

By Hannah SeoOct. 3, 2022Sign up for the Well newsletter, for Times subscribers only.  Essential news and guidance to live your healthiest life. Get it in your inbox.From toothpastes to gels, strips, mouth trays and rinses, there is a dizzying array of products that claim to lighten, brighten and whiten your teeth. And with so many options lining drugstore shelves, it can be daunting to figure out the right method for you.But are at-home teeth whitening products as effective as they claim? And are they safe? We asked some experts to find out.How does teeth whitening work?Teeth whitening products sold over the counter work in one of two ways, the experts we spoke with said. They either scrape away stains using physical force or bleach those stains with the same chemicals used for in-office whitening procedures.Physical abrasion. Products that have any sort of grittiness — whether they’re whitening toothpastes, regular toothpastes or just plain baking soda — will act as an abrasive and physically file away stains that occur on the surfaces of your teeth, said Dr. Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, a dentist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Many regular toothpastes contain a little bit of texture for this reason, and brushing itself is an act of physically scraping off stains and debris.

Opinion | Bidencare Would Be a Big Deal – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times


Opinion Columnist

Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

“On Monday morning America’s most prominent beneficiary of socialized medicine, in the process of receiving expensive, taxpayer-financed care at a government-run hospital, was tweeting furiously. One of President Trump’s manic missives particularly caught the eyes of health care experts: his exhortation to “PROTECT PREEXISTING CONDITIONS. VOTE!”

As always, it’s not clear whether Trump is merely being cynical or whether he is also genuinely ignorant.

He’s definitely lying when he claims to have a plan that’s better and cheaper than Obamacare. No such plan exists, and he has to know that.

But does he know that Americans with pre-existing medical conditions are already protected by the Affordable Care Act, which his administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn? Does he realize that the reason his party has never offered an acceptable alternative to the A.C.A., in particular an alternative that would protect pre-existing conditions, is that no such alternative is possible? That’s less clear.

In any case, how the nation votes will indeed make a huge difference to the future of health care — and not just because Trump, if he holds on to power, will almost surely find a way to destroy Obamacare, causing tens of millions of Americans to lose health insurance. Joe Biden, if he wins (and gets a Democratic Senate), will make a big difference in the other direction, substantially expanding coverage and reducing premiums for middle-class families.”

GOP Kills Bill That Would Extend Agent Orange Benefits To US Navy Vietnam Vets – The Intellectualist

Feb 24
“Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming—who voted for tax cuts—objected to the bill on the basis it would increase deficit spending.

Two Republican senators killed a bill on Monday that would provide benefits to American veterans who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and now suffer the effects of Agent Orange.

The reason? Extending benefits to those veterans would constitute deficit spending.”

Source: GOP Kills Bill That Would Extend Agent Orange Benefits To US Navy Vietnam Vets – The Intellectualist

Opinion | Donald Trump Did Something Right  – His administration ordered hospitals to reveal their prices. – By Elisabeth Rosenthal- The New York Times

Dr. Rosenthal was an emergency room doctor before becoming a journalist.

Jan. 21, 2019

CreditCreditMike Ellis

“As Donald Trump was fighting with Congress over the shutdown and funding for a border wall, his administration implemented a new rule that could be a game-changer for health care.

Starting this month, hospitals must publicly reveal the contents of their master price lists — called “chargemasters” — online. These are the prices that most patients never notice because their insurers negotiate them down or they appear buried as line items on hospital bills. What has long been shrouded in darkness is now being thrown into the light.

For the moment, these lists won’t seem very useful to the average patient — and they have been criticized for that reason. They are often hundreds of pages long, filled with medical codes and abbreviations. Each document is an overwhelming compendium listing a rack rate for every little item a hospital dispenses and every service it performs: A blood test for anemia. The price of lying in the operating suite and recovery room (billed in 15-minute intervals). The scalpel. The drill bit. The bag of IV salt water. The Tylenol pill. No item is too small to be bar coded and charged.

But don’t dismiss the lists as useless. Think of them as raw material to be mined for billing transparency and patient rights. For years, these prices have been a tightly guarded industrial secret. When advocates have tried to wrest them free, hospitals have argued that they are proprietary information. And, hospitals claim, these rates are irrelevant, since — after insurers whittle them down — no one actually pays them.”

Opinion | Democrats Are Credible on Health Care – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“It’s worth remembering what Republicans said would happen before the A.C.A. went online: that it would fail to reduce the number of uninsured, that it would blow a giant hole in the budget, that it would lead to a “death spiral” of rising premiums and declining enrollment.

What actually happened was a dramatic fall in the uninsured, especially in those states that expanded Medicaid. The budget costs of expanding Medicaid and subsidizing other insurance have been significant, but estimates for 2019 suggest that these costs will be around $115 billion — much less than half the revenue lost due to the Trump tax cut.

What about that death spiral? Premiums on the health exchanges established by the A.C.A. initially came in much lower than expected, then rose sharply when the people signing up for those exchanges turned out to be fewer and sicker than insurers had hoped. But the markets have now stabilized, with only modest premium increases for 2019 and insurers returning to the exchanges.

And while the exchanges are covering fewer people than projected, Medicaid is covering more than expected, so that overall gains in coverage have been surprisingly on target. In early 2014, the Congressional Budget Office projected that under the A.C.A., by 2018 there would be 29 million uninsured U.S. residents. The actual number is … 29 million.”