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2900 W 44th Ave
Denver, CO, 80211
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Albert Stern is a healer, artist, and instructor. He practices acupuncture, visceral manipulation, and craniosacral therapy. He creates anatomical illustrations and fine art paintings. He is also an acupuncture instructor and teaches at various schools and facilities. He works with the Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine and Peak Research Institute. 

Blog

Filtering by Category: Medicine

I Will Be Speaking at the Denver Art Museum (!)

Albert Stern

My friend, Isshaela Ingham has been working with the Denver Art Museum to hold a day celebrating Asian Art and Medicine. I am very, very honored to be giving a talk at the event. More information in the coming months! 

For now: here is the link for the event. 

(Thank you Isshaela!) 

You truly ought to share this post with friends!

Are Parasitic Worms the Key to Treating Autoimmune Diseases?

Albert Stern

For the last half a dozen years I have been fascinated by the most unlikely research, helminth therapy.

Helminths are parasitic worms which infect humans, such as tapeworms or hookworms. Unchecked these creatures can create disease and illness. However, growing research is demonstrating a surprising positive effect on health. 

I first learned of this research from NPR's show RadioLab. The episode "Parasites" featured the story of Jasper Lawrence. Jasper cured himself of severe asthma by infecting himself with hookworm. His asthma quickly became manageable and under control. (He would regularly monitor the hookworm to ensure it did not grow out of control.)

In parts of the world where helminth infections are common, autoimmune diseases are rare. This has lead to researching if the worms are helping regulate the immune system in some unknown way. There is quite a lot of research examining how helminth may help those with autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis

The Guardian published a great overview of the topic. Here are a few quotes from the piece: 

"Joel Weinstock, a gastroenterologist at Tufts University in Massachusetts, which examined the effect of worms on patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Almost 75% of those who ingested the worms were cured, especially noteworthy given that they had not been helped by more traditional treatments."

“I’m convinced,” he says. “Based on the evidence I’ve seen, it is very effective,” he says. “It has a really good benefit-to-risk ratio, especially for serious autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disorder.”

There is likely no magic bullet for complex autoimmune diseases. However this is an extremely promising line of research.

Does Being Rare Mean to Be Ignored?

Albert Stern

I try to imagine the following the following: 

I have a health condition that affects every moment of my day. I have good days. I have bad days. I have a diagnosis!

But, I get blank stares because the name is unfamiliar to most people. Most medical doctors are unfamiliar about how to treat me. I never see the disease mentioned in the news. There are no 5k walks to raise money. I walk a unique path of my own.

I have a rare disease. 

I can only imagine how frustrating and isolating this must feel at times. Our culture celebrates the rare and unique in many ways. Unfortunately, we do not have this attitude to those with rare diseases. The 90-second video below illustrates this point in a direct and powerful way. 

No joke. This video is awesome! 

There are over 6,000 rare diseases affecting the lives of millions of people. Rare diseases (sometimes referred to as Orphan Diseases) require research, care, and attention just the same as common diseases. 

Next month, on February 29th, is Rare Disease Day. (Get it?) It is a day designed to focus a spotlight on those affected by these diseases and raise awareness of the needs of this community. 

Perhaps, next month, we can all keep an eye out for Rare Disease Day. Let's not let the rarest ones be invisible. 

Magic: Tongue Piercing and Wheelchairs

Albert Stern

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Paul Simon quote, "Medicine is magic and magic is art" when discussing a breakthrough delivering medicine deep in the brain.

I think "Magic" is going to be a running type of post I run for awe-inspiring moments or breakthroughs in the world.

For example, the Tongue Drive System is a combination of a dental retainer with magnetic field sensors and tongue piercing stud.

The system allows those with significant spinal cord injuries move a wheelchair.

Which is simply, magic. 

 

 

 

When and When NOT to Use Antibiotics

Albert Stern

Overuse of antibiotics is a serious and growing issue. Antibiotic resistance bacteria are on the rise. There are no easy solutions to the problem. Antibiotics need to be thought of as a limited resource to be used only when appropriate. 

In the late 90's when I worked in pharmaceutical advertising. My firm had a popular antibiotic as a client. Back then we talked about how MDs would over-prescribe these drugs. One of the larger problems, then and now, is patients asking for and expecting antibiotics from their doctors.  

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has published this straightforward chart to outlining when and when not to use antibiotics. This chart is very useful in keeping track of the appropriate times to use antibiotics. 

They also have a great PDF about antibiotics for parents and one for medical providers. 

Please consider sharing this information.