Butterflies and bacteria: thoughts on a healthy planet

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butterflies-2My family just returned from a pilgrimage of sorts.  Having returned from a journey to witness one of nature’s miracles – and picking up a bit of a health problem myself –  I’m feeling all butterfly-ish.

Please read on for my story and some thoughts about health, both the human, the insect, and the planetary kind.

(Except where noted, all photos are © David Hilden.  Amazing what you can do with a camera phone) Continue reading

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections, Public Health | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Maybe your doctor should be a woman

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people_green_icon-svg

Quick, picture in your head a highly competent physician.  What does that person look like?

Does your doctor image look like this?

Photo: ABC Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Public domain photo

Or like this?

By Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer, Stone Richard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Public domain photo

 For the record and the recognition, that’s Dr. Gibson-Hill, a doctor in Bristol, England.  You probably know the guy in the top photo.

History has maybe ingrained in us the image of doctors as many things, but first of all they have been men.  The reality, even dating back over a hundred years (Elizabeth Blackwell, anyone), is that women have served as physicians for a great long time.

And the reality today is that women are a huge part of the physician workforce in the United States.  I remember vividly one moment during the first hour of the first day of my Medical School education at the University of Minnesota some 20 years ago.  The Dean stood up in front of the nearly 200 of us eager young medical students and announced that for the first time in that school’s history, more than half the medical students were women.  The room erupted in applause that day.

My current practice bears this out.  In my group of hospitalist physicians at HCMC, we have 17 women and 14 men.  So when you see a doctor in our hospital and I presume at all other hospitals in the country, you are likely to be cared for by a physician who happens to be a woman.

This is a good thing. Continue reading

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Posted in Ethics and philosophy, Health in the News, Humanities and Medicine, Medical research | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

9th year of Healthy Matters. . . and you have homework

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japanese_urban_expwy_sign_number_9Friends, in January we will be launching the 9th year of the Healthy Matters radio broadcast on WCCO 830 AM radio!

When HCMC decided to produce a radio show in late 2008, they put out a call for a host.  I was minding my own business practicing general internal medicine, when two friends of mine (thanks, Anne and Heidi) independently prodded me to audition.  After all, they both knew me well and pretty much said I talk a whole lot so why not give it a try.  So I did an audition tape at the Minneapolis WCCO studio and in January 2009 we launched the first Healthy Matters show.

I thought it would last 6 months or a year, tops.

That was 8 years and 416 shows ago.  9numbernineincircle

My friend and co-host Denny Long and I are still on the air because of one thing and one thing only: you the listeners!

 

Here’s the homework assignment

virginia_9

To celebrate our 9th year, I want to compile the Top Nine Reasons you listen to the show. So I have a request:  leave me a comment below  on this post with the top reason you listen to the show.

Or you can send me a Tweet @DrDavidHilden using the hashtag #HealthyMatters

Special Christmas Eve show

I’ll compile the Top Nine and read them on the air at our special Christmas Eve show, which will be on Saturday, December 24 at 7:00 a.m (Central time) on WCCO 830 AM in the upper Midwest and streaming live on WCCO.COM

200px-bundesautobahn_9_numberWhy do you listen?  Is it a specific medical topic?  Maybe you like the range of expert guests?  Maybe it is the Open Lines shows?  Maybe you just like the sound of Denny Long’s voice (I know I do!).  Maybe it is to hear me get stumped with a medical question that I can’t answer!  Maybe your wife makes you listen and you actually wish you were watching football instead.  Ha.

Whatever it is – leave a comment below or send it to me with a Tweet @DrDavidHilden using #HealthyMatters.

Maybe I’ll read it on the air on Christmas Eve!

motorway_exit_9_irelandAnd I am genuinely thankful for you, the listeners.  You’re the best.

-David

 

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Posted in HCMC, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Apple cider vinegar: a Healthy Matters investigative report!

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On a recent “Open Lines” radio broadcast (in which we have no topic and I simply answer the sundry questions from listeners) somebody asked about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.  Fair enough.

Well as a highly educated medical professional I am here to firmly and unequivocally state after my extensive exposure to the best in medical science that I know nothing about apple cider vinegar, whether it be the health benefits or culinary benefits or counter top cleaning benefits.

abby-and-acvBut happily, I’m not 100% ignorant about apple cider vinegar any longer.  Just about 90% ignorant. That’s since my daughter introduced me to the stuff while I was visiting her far from home at college.  Here’s how it all went down.  I was having some queasiness in my belly or some such thing and she goes to the cupboard and pulls down a giant bottle of ACV (apple cider vinegar = ACV).  Then she starts telling me all about how ACV improves everything from colds to upset tummy to sunburn and cancer and everything in between.  But she does live in Los Angeles so I naturally wondered what the crazy Californians are teaching my level-headed Midwest-raised daughter.

But I was game to give it a try.  So  we poured some ACV into a glass of water, I held my nose, and drank it all down.  It wasn’t too horrible to drink so that was a plus.  And dang if my stomach queasiness didn’t get a little better!

So I chalk up my rapid improvement to one of two possibilities:

Placebo effect – I convinced myself that it helped because I wanted it to help.

OR

Apple cider vinegar really does help upset tummies.

Which is it?

So in the spirit of hard-hitting investigative journalism and to be true to my medical credentials and only stick to the best science, I’ve done some looking into ACV as a health option.  Here’s what I found: Continue reading

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Posted in Dental, Diet and exercise, Health and wellness, Medical research | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

It’s a cold . . . it’s the flu . . . its FluChat!

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fluchat

 

 

It’s dreaded “cold and flu” season here in the not-yet-frozen tundra of Minnesota and probably where you live as well.

This is a quick post to announce #FluChat – which I am doing along with my friends at HealthFair 11 and the Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday, December 6 from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

We are observing National Influenza Vaccination Week with what will be my 3rd Twitter chat.  What is a Twitter chat, you say?  I’m glad you asked.  Our Twitter chat is one-hour of LIVE questions and answers about colds, flu, and vaccinations.   To join in, simply tweet our team any question or comment you have about influenza and vaccinations via your own Twitter account.  Include my handle @DrDavidHilden and include #FluChat in your Tweet.  And then look for our response!

I’m not doing this alone!  Joining me for #FluChat will be:

  • Jennifer Heath, DNP, MPH, RN from the Minnesota Department of Health.  She’s the supervisor of education and partnerships unit for the MDH immunization program.
  • Lynn Bahta, RN, PHN.  Lynn is the immunization clinical consultant for the Minnesota Department of Health immunization program.
  • Sam Ives, MD.  Sam is a friend and colleague of mine in Internal Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center.  Regular listeners to HealthyMatters on WCCO radio may recognize him as an occasional guest host for me.

The whole shebang is moderated by our partners in health, HealthFair 11.

I hope you’ll join us.  It is easy and fun.  Yes, fun!  I have done two previous Twitter chats (one on Allergies and one on Mammograms) and it is fast-moving and energizing.

So put it on your calendar.  What better way to spend your lunch?

It’s #FluChat on  Tuesday, December 6, Noon – 1:00 pm.

You’ll find us @DrDavidHilden and use the hashtag #FluChat.

For more information, check out my partners at HealthFair 11 and the #FluChat page at the Minnesota Department of Health.

-David

20160211_hcmc_393

 

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Posted in Health and wellness, Preventive care, Primary Care, Public Health | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

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grandma-h-alexMy grandfather, Heizel “Bill” Hilden, before he died used to say the goofiest things.  One doozy that I remember was when he flatly reported that the cane he carried came from the moon. It was a lovely gnarly wooden cane with white indentations if I recall.  But I doubt its provenance was the moon.   At least I’m pretty sure.

At the same time as Grandpa was talking about the moon and canes and such, he could also sing songs from his boyhood.  In Norwegian.  I doubt he had sung those songs in seven or eight decades, but apparently he nailed them – words and tune and all – in a language that he no longer spoke with any frequency.  That’s Grandpa with our son, Alex, in about 1994.  That kid is now 6’4″ tall.

I guess that is dementia in a nutshell.  My 90-something year old gramps had amazingly accurate long-term memory but couldn’t be dissuaded about the lunar origins of his wooden cane.

I bet many of you could tell a similar story of someone in your life with waning cognitive functioning.

In recognition of November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, I hosted Dr. Anne Murray, a nationally-recognized researcher in dementia (and a colleague of mine) at the WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis.  We talked about dementia, both Alzheimer’s and other types, and about the latest in research for this disease which is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.  To hear the podcast of the radio broadcast about Alzheimer’s click the logo here:HM logo

Last July I discussed dementia in a previous post featuring another colleague of mine (Dr. Abigail Holley), so if you missed that post (the 6th most-popular post of the past year!), you may want to read it by clicking “Dementia is not normal aging.  It’s a Disease.”

So this post will not be information so much as a few stories.  The first was about my grandfather.  Let’s look at a couple more . . .  Continue reading

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Posted in Geriatrics and aging, Medical research, Primary Care, Traumatic Brain Injury | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Insomnia Part 2: “Sleep is incredibly behavioral” (VIDEOS)

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Photo: nocnalunatyczka

Photo: nocnalunatyczka

Hey, Early Birds and Night Owls!

This post is the second part about insomnia which is a topic I’m finding resonates with a whole lot of people.  If you missed Part 1 about Insomnia, I recommend reading that post here for some basic information.

To help us learn more about insomnia, I’ve done a series of short interviews with Samantha Anders, PhD LP.  Sam is a psychologist who specializes in behavioral therapy for sleep disorders like insomnia.  I’m using more custom-made videos in this post.  I hope you like it – if so I’ll do more videos in the future!

Here we go! Continue reading

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Posted in Health and wellness, Mental Health, Primary Care, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The 36-hour shift

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I was reading the paper this morning over my tea and crumpets when this headline caught my attention:

“First-year doctors would be allowed to work 24-hour shifts under new rules”

For web Dave Hilden

An old picture of me

Now there’s a topic near to my heart, so I decided without much forethought to subject you to my ramblings about physician training and the unbelievably long work hours that our society subjects physicians to all the time.  But you may be surprised about what my conclusions are on the topic.

For those of you who read my last post Insomnia Part 1 and are looking for Insomnia Part 2, please bear with me because that second part is coming next week, complete with more insights from Samantha Anders, sleep expert from the Sleep Center at HCMC.  I’m hoping to get some video interviewing done with Dr. Anders about behavioral therapy for insomnia, so stay tuned for that.

Why should you care about work rules for doctors-in-training?

That headline was from a Washington Post article covering the a proposed relaxation of work-hour restrictions for interns in hospitals.  So here are some stories from my own experience about the rigors of medical training.  Hopefully you’ll find something in here to get you thinking.   Continue reading

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections, Health in the News, Medical Education | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Insomnia Part 1: Maybe you should just count sheep.

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By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA

By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA

I think I may hold the world record for the fastest time in falling asleep.  Usually I’m out about a nanosecond after my head hits the pillow.  And that’s just at night.  I’m pretty good at falling asleep just about anywhere during the day as well.  I think it’s a relic from my medical training days where the ability to sleep anywhere at anytime comes in really handy.

So falling asleep?  No problem for me.

But every now and then, somewhere around 2 or 3:00 in the middle of the night, I wake up.  And when this happens, I almost immediately start thinking about a zillion different thoughts.  Last week when I inexplicably woke up at 3:00 a.m., I started thinking about a creepy discovery that my wife and I had made earlier in the day.  It involved rodents, birdseed, and a crack in our house’s foundation.  So my mind was racing, lying in bed in the middle of the night, and nothing I could do helped me get back to sleep.

I seriously considered counting sheep until I realized that the specifics of how one actually counts sheep while lying in bed are not apparent to me.  Do you envision sheep leaping over a fence like in a cartoon?  Or do the sheep pass in front of you in a single file line?  Perhaps there is an audio component and you count the “baa” sounds.

Does anybody really know how to count sheep to help insomnia?  I’m desperate here.  So let’s turn elsewhere for some tips on sleep.

In this post you will find:

  • Two short videos about insomnia.
  • Links to insomnia resources.
  • Some background about the types of insomnia.
  • Practical tips to help you sleep.

Continue reading

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Posted in HCMC, Health and wellness, Medications, Mental Health, Psychiatry, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Burns 1-2-3

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fire_from_brazierHey hey we are going to talk about burn injuries to your skin in this post.  It’s a follow-up to the radio broadcast of last week where I talked with a burn surgeon.  We learned some really important information about what to do when you or a loved one gets burned and we picked up cool lesser known (at least to me) factoids about burns and your skin.

 

Factoid:  Your skin is the largest organ in your body.  OK, maybe you knew that one already.

Read on to learn more about:

  • Most common causes of burn injuries in children and adults, including a short video of some knuckleheaded guys.
  • The classification of burns – that 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree business.
  • First aid for burns.  What to do if you get burned.  And what not to do.
  • An insider look at a modern Burn Unit, complete with a slick video.

Continue reading

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Posted in Dermatology, HCMC, Surgery, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment