Archive for June, 2010

When You Thought You Heard It All: Man Caught Having Sex With a Cow Is Forced to Marry the Bovine

June 26, 2010

A new definition of “social” justice

A young Balinese (for those not in the know, this means from the island of Bali!…I had to look it up!) man who was caught stark naked in a compromising position with an attractive (….adjective added by me) cow. The young man, Ngurah Alit, 18, claimed the cow was a reincarnation of an attractive young woman, and had wooed him with flattering compliments (….such as mooooooooooo!)  However, he was appalled when the village chief (I believe the local imam) insisted that he’d have to marry the beast to cleanse the village of the “defilement”. Alit’s mother screamed hysterically throughout the ceremony, (I believe she was worried about what her grandchild would look like), which ended with the bride being drowned in the sea, while Alit himself fainted.  I heard that Alit promised to be faithful to his bride until death do they part!  I have a feeling that poor Alit expressed his sorrow that he wasn’t born a Jew or a Christian as stoning may not have been so embarrassing.

Folks, I’m not making it up.  I just report what I read.  If I hear from Alit, I will let you all know what I find out.

A Lark in the Park May Put a Correction in Your Erection

June 20, 2010

I recently attended the American Urologic Society meeting in San Francisco, May 31-June 3, and I attended a program about male sexual dysfunction.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear of a study that reported that men who exercised on a regular basis were better performers in the bedroom.  Those men who exercised regularly had better erections and had sexual intimacy more frequently those men who led sedentary life styles.  Even men who had  moderate exercise, like take a brisk walk for 30 minutes four times a week were much less likely to have sexual dysfunction than those who were walkers.  It was noteworthy that even moderate exercise such as yoga and walking were just as beneficial as strenuous exercise such as jogging and swimming.

The researches from Duke University suggested that exercise may increase blood flow through the penis, making it easier to get an erection.  Also, working out may make men feel better about themselves and that in turn may improve sexual prowess.

Bottom Line: Men, you may just be able to keep that Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis tablet in the medicine cabinet if you started a regular exercise program.  The best would be to take that walk with your partner as your relationship will also improve if you take time to be with each other on a regular basis.

SOURCES: 105th annual meeting of the American Urological Association, San Francisco, May 29-June 3, 2010. 

Erin R. McNamara, MD, Duke University Medical Center and June 4, 2010 issue of WebMD article by Charlene Laino

Health Impact From Exposure to Leaking Oil

June 18, 2010

As residents of the Gulf Coast region we are concerned about the impact of the oil spill on our economy and our marine life but little attention has been devoted to the impact on the health of our citizens.  This article will review the potential health hazards of the oil spill and what you need to know if you are exposed to the oil.

Crude oil contains dangerous chemicals, including benzene which is  known carcinogen, and others that are toxic to the central nervous system, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  Most health experts agree that brief contact with crude oil is not considered harmful, but sustained exposure or high doses can cause flu-like symptoms which include fatigue, headache, nausea, and even changes in mental status like confusion.

Tar Balls and Health

Tar balls are the result of weathered oil that has been shaped by wind and waves into clumps.  An occasional brief contact with a small amount of oil in tar balls will do no harm. However, some people are especially sensitive to chemicals, including the hydrocarbons found in crude oil and petroleum products. They may have an allergic reaction, or develop dermatitis or a skin rash, even from brief contact with oil. If contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water; baby oil, petroleum jelly or a widely used, safe cleaning compound such as the cleaning paste sold at auto parts stores. Toxicology experts suggest that you avoid using chemical solvents, such as gasoline, kerosene, or diesel fuel on the skin. These hydrocarbon-based products, when applied to skin, may present a greater health hazard than the smeared tar ball itself. The workers on the beach picking up the tar balls should wear gloves and boots and not let the tar balls come into contact with the skin.

Skin Contact

Prolonged skin contact with crude oil and petroleum products can cause skin irritation. The skin effects can worsen by subsequent exposure to sunlight, because trace contaminants in the oil are more toxic when exposed to light.


Swallowing crude oil, unless in large quantities (e.g., more than eight ounces) is unlikely to result in more than transient nausea, possibly vomiting, gastrointestinal tract disturbances, and self-limiting diarrhea.

Eye Exposure

Eye exposure can result in slight stinging and temporary redness. No permanent damage should result. The immediate treatment is to flush the eye with copious amounts of water for 15 minutes. If the person wears contacts, these should be removed first.

Bottom line:  The oil spill has wrecked havoc in our lives of those living along the Gulf Coast. We have lost 11 of our oil workers and hundreds of thousands fish, birds, and animals living in or along the Gulf.  We cannot even estimate the economic damage that will impact our community.  There are definite health hazards of contact with the oil but if common sense prevails, there is a minimum of danger to humans.

When You Thought You Have Heard It All: Sex While Sleeping

June 18, 2010

We have all heard of inability to get to sleep or insomnia.  But how many have heard of a new disorder, sexsomia, which is sex while asleep!  This is “problem” when those afflicted have sexual activity with a bed partner while asleep.  Wouldn’t you know it is much more common in men than in women and rarely do men complain of the disorder.  To my knowledge there has been no effective treatment for this condition.  I think they will lynch the doctor who tries to cure the problem!

PSA Testsing-WWYDD or What Would Your Doctor Do?

June 13, 2010

There is probably nothing that has become more controversial than the PSA screening for prostate cancer in men.  There is one group that suggests annual screening for all men after age 50 and sooner after age 40 for African-American men and men with a relative, i.e., a father, a brother or an uncle with prostate cancer.  Then another group that recommends no PSA testing be done as the testing does not significantly reduce death from prostate cancer and screening tends to over-diagnose prostate cancer and with over-diagnosis more men receive treatment including radiation and surgery that results in complications such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.  So what is a man to do?  For this article I will not definitively answer the question but will shed light on the issue and then let you decide what you should do or what advice you should give the important men in your family.

What are the facts?  Approximately 35,000 men die each year from prostate cancer, which is the second most common cause of cancer death in men.  There are 250,000 newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer diagnosed each year.  The PSA test is the screening method of choice for dearly detection of prostate cancer.  The determination of PSA values, when followed annually is the single most convenient, cost-effective and workable way of selecting men who need close monitoring, close follow up, or need to consider further treatment with radiation, surgery or hormone therapy.

What is PSA?  PSA is a blood test that measures a protein manufactured in the prostate gland, which is secreted into the blood stream.  We do know that PSA is age-dependent or increases naturally as men get older.  In normal men less than 50 years of age the value should be less than 2.5ng\ml and in men over age 70 a normal PSA values is less than 6.5ng\ml.

The real value of the PSA test in early detection is based on establishing a baseline PSA value and performing the test once a year in order to observe changes from the baseline value.  Increases of PSA of .75ng\ml in a year should be investigated.  The take home message is that a trend is more important than a single measurement.  An elevation of the PSA may not automatically represent prostate cancer.  Elevated levels occur with advancing years, large prostates, prostate infections, a digital rectal prostate exam, and even sexual intimacy with ejaculatin 24-48 hours before the blood test.

For those who have an elevated PSA test, there is a more refined test called the free\total ration of PSA.  The ratio of free\total PSA is less than 25% in men with prostate cancer and if the free\total is greater than 25% is much less likely to have prostate cancer and probably doesn’t need a further workup such as a prostate biopsy.

So what to do?  If you are at risk for prostate cancer with a relative who has prostate cancer or an African American man, I suggest a PSA and a digital rectal exam beginning at age 40.  All others should consider a PSA test once a year.  If the PSA increases more than 0.75ng\ml\year, then you should consider an evaluation by a urologist and a prostate biopsy if you have more than ten years of life expectancy and would be a candidate for treatment.

Bottom Line:  So what would Dr Baum do?  He gets a PSA every year and the last time it was 0.7ng\ml!

The French Have Done It Again- Dogs Can Use Their Noses to Sniff Out Prostate Cancer

June 10, 2010
Dogs can be trained to detect prostate cancer by smelling urine samples and signaling the presence of certain volatile organic compounds produced by cancer cells, according to French researchers.

Jean-Nicolas Cornu, MD, of Tenon Hospital in Paris, and colleagues obtained fresh urine samples that had been frozen for preservation from 66 men referred to a urologist because they had an elevated PSA level or abnormal findings on digital rectal examination. Of the 66 men, 33 had prostate cancer and 33 did not, as determined by prostate biopsy.

The dogs used in the study were trained in three phases. In the first phase, which lasted five months, dogs were trained to recognize cancer urine. In the second phase, which lasted 11 months, dogs were trained to discriminate cancer urine from control urine. In the final phase, dogs were presented with five urine samples and prompted to select the one sample that was cancer urine.

Dogs correctly classified 63 of 66 samples.  These results suggest that volitle organic compounds  produced by cancer cells can be detected in urine samples.
So if you come to a French doctor’s office and you find a dog in the exam room, don’t be alarmed.  The dog may just be one of the doctor’s helpers used to diagnose your illness!  For my office, I’m going to “go standard” and suggest for all men over the age of 50 that they have an annual PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam.  It’s the American way!

To your good health.  Dr. Baum