Are You Going to Use Finasteride for Hair Loss? Read This First

Sold in the market under the brand names Propecia and Proscar, finasteride is a medication that is intended to treat people who are suffering from hair loss.  In the early days, finasteride was just like other medications that were originally used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostate cancer. It turns out that patients who took finasteride for their prostate-related issues had experienced great results with it, along with a surprising bonus, and that is, the growth of hair.

Finasteride actually works by means of inhibiting or stopping type II 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme responsible for converting the hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  DHT, in turn, is the one responsible for losing one’s hair, resulting to baldness if not remedied.  Thus, simply put, the action of finasteride is to prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT, and the end result would be the prevention of hair loss. This “favorable side effect” of preventing hair loss and promoting growth of new hair by finasteride is what made it famous in the pharmaceutical world, not by its primary use which is for treating benign prostatic hypertrophy and other prostate-related ailments. Read more…

Doctor, heal thyself

Post-grads ignore their own signs and symptoms of sickness

We all know the definition of absenteeism: you fall ill, you call in sick, you stay home and nurse your cold. If you think you know the meaning of presenteeism, then, you’d be right: you feel ill, you go to work anyway. Presenteeism has remained a going concern for many medical residents, despite reforms made over the last decade, according to a recent study conducted by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

It seems junior docs in specialties as diverse as internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology will risk infecting their patients and co-workers, and risk affecting the quality of their performance more often than what might be prudent, because of the extreme dedication to their jobs. Or, might it as likely be a protection of their image? Often, they don’t want to appear to be shirking their responsibilities in the competitive hospital environments in which they must practice. Some don’t relish finding a replacement, when he or she may also be doing a gruelling 80-hour sleep-deprived week. Plus, add to the mix sincere devotion and empathy for the patients, who would not be familiar or comfortable with the substitute doc.

Study co-author Dr. Anupam Jena, a Massachusetts General Hospital medical resident who did not take part in the JAMA-published study (http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/304/11/1166-a?rss=1), admitted to once working overnight, despite developing food-poisoning symptoms. He has company. Of the 537 medical residents anonymously surveyed, almost 58% said they’d worked at least once while sick the previous year, 31% said they’d done so more than once, and at one hospital, a full 100% reported working when sick. Many said they also could not find time to visit a doctor for their symptoms.

Despite the unique pressures on these groups of young physicians, isn’t it time that program directors heighten the emphasis on the benefits of being a healthy hospital practitioner – especially during flu season?
Milena Katz