Understanding the Tragic Death of John Travolta’s Son
In a recent heartbreaking turn of events, actor John Travolta lost his 16-year-old son, Jett. The world speculated at the mysterious cause of the boy’s death, but the Travolta family reported that Jett died of a seizure, and that he had a seizure disorder.
The Doctors note that death by seizure is a rare and unusual event, and Dr. Travis affirms that little can be done when a person has an unwitnessed seizure – i.e. no one is around to help. He further stresses the importance of getting children who suffer seizures on medication that will effectively control their abnormal brain activity.
“No one is to blame here. It’s a truly tragic story,” Dr. Travis says somberly.
“The loss of a child is the most tragic thing that parents can deal with,” Dr. Lisa adds. “Our hearts go out to them.”
Are We Overmedicating Our Children?
In the last decade, the number of children on medication has mushroomed. Epic proportions of youngsters take drugs to control their diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol, ailments that are often a direct result of the nation’s obesity epidemic.
Dr. Travis exclaims, “Not to mention all the cold and flu medications, and the medications for autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)!”
The next time you or your loved ones come down with a cold or flu, instead of going straight for the medicine cabinet, Dr. Jim suggests trying home remedies such as honey, chicken soup, and nasal saline and irrigation. Dr. Travis recounts that he used a Neti Pot when he was sick with a cold a week before the show taped. “It was fantastic!” he proclaims.
Brian Littrell, of the Backstreet Boys, has a 6-year-old son, Baylee, who was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. Brian recounts the harrowing ordeal that his he and his family endured. Brian and his wife, Leighanne, were perplexed when Baylee came down with symptoms that wouldn’t go away.
Baylee had swollen lymph nodes and was initially diagnosed with strep throat. But Baylee’s illness persisted and he soon developed a high fever. “We just couldn’t get it under control,” Brian remembers.
“Then, all these ulcers started appearing in his mouth,” Brian continues. “He broke out in a massive rash and we had to go to the emergency room. But our pediatrician really stayed on top of it.”
An echocardiogram of Baylee’s heart revealed a dangerously engorged coronary artery, at which point the doctors deduced that Baylee had Kawasaki disease, a rare disorder that can affect the heart.
“We really don’t know what causes it,” Dr. Jim says. “We don’t know if it’s viral, bacterial, or some sort of chemical exposure, but only about 1,800 kids are afflicted with it per year.”
Brian adds that Kawasaki disease is called “the great mimicker,” because it mimics many other illnesses.
“For all the parents: Be an advocate for your child,” Brian advises.
Inspired by his son’s struggle, Brian founded the Healthy Heart Club (link), a charity meant to educate children and their families about the benefits of adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.
For more information on Kawasaki disease, click here.
On The Mend
Although his bout with Kawaski’s lasted awhile, when The Doctors asked Baylee about his experience, the boy replies, “It was the worstest day of my whole entire life!”
Happily, Baylee is on the mend and in fighting shape. He recently kicked his way to an orange belt in Karate and hops onstage to read the teleprompter with Dr. Travis. “Don’t touch that dial. We’ll be right back!”
Seeing Is Believing
Jim, 41, was declared legally blind after cataracts and astigmatism robbed him of most of his sight. “Everything was just a series of blurs,” he says.
Jim underwent a groundbreaking cataract surgery to replace his lens. Although the surgery was a mere three days ago, Jim bounds onstage exuberantly and proclaims, “It’s life-changing, it’s amazing – it’s like a brand-new-world!”
Cataracts occur when the lens in the eye starts to cloud over. The lens is comprised of protein and water, and as people age, the proteins can clump together to create a cloudy formation.
Ophthalmologist Dr. Kerry Assil explains how cataracts develop and how the lens of the eye hardens as we age. Inevitably, there comes a time when the lens will need to be replaced. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” he states.
A modern twist on an ancient procedure promises big results in the treatment of pain. Tracy, 36, suffers from chronic back pain and writes The Doctors for help.
Cupping, acupuncturist Dr. Michael Yang explains, works on the same principles as a deep massage or physical therapy. The placement of heated glass cups on a person’s bare back serves to separate connective tissue, muscle and fascia, which subsequently increases circulation and decreases inflammation.
Chinese medicine purports that cupping moves “stagnant blood,” or stuck chi, or energy, as well as detoxifies the blood. “It’s been around for thousands of years,” Dr. Yang notes. “It’s really a tried and true therapy.”
Dr. Travis observes that people often injure the paraspinal muscles in their back and suggests strengthening the core muscles [abdominals] of the body to avert strains and sprains.
Syphilis and Pregnancy
Claire, from Tomball, Texas, e-mails that she is six weeks pregnant and afraid that she has contracted syphilis from her boyfriend. Her symptoms include painless sores and a rash around her vagina.
Dr. Lisa says that syphilis infections are on the rise and stresses that Claire needs to see her doctor for immediate treatment. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium treponema pallidum. Syphilis can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and contact with an open sore or contact with a skin rash. The bacteria can enter the body through the penis, anus, vagina, mouth or through broken skin. The disease progresses in three different stages, the first of which includes one or more painless sores on the genitalia, often followed by a rash. If left untreated, the disease can destroy the central nervous system and severely damage organs.
An infected pregnant woman can pass the disease to her unborn child during her pregnancy. Depending on how long a pregnant woman has been infected, she may have a high risk of having a stillbirth (a baby born dead) or of giving birth to a baby who dies shortly after birth. An infected baby may be born without signs or symptoms of the disease. However, if not treated immediately, the baby may develop serious problems within a few weeks. Untreated babies may become developmentally delayed, have seizures or die.
Syphilis is not spread by contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.
Ask the Vet!
Vanessa is worried about her 4-year-old dog, Roxy, who has trouble getting up stairs and into the car. Veterinary surgeon Dr. Alan Schulman explains that the German shepherd/ Rottweiler breeds often have problems with their lower back, hip dysplasia, degenerative arthritis and tearing of their cruciate ligaments.
He kneels down to examine Roxy and articulates her back legs through their range of motion. He says that this kind of exercise is something that people can do at home so that they have a sense of what’s normal for their pooch.
Roxy reacts with a startled yelp when Dr. Schulman extends her leg to a certain point. “She has some issues in regards to her hips,” the veterinarian says with a nod. “Radiographs [x-rays] would absolutely be warranted for her in order to asses her lower back, her hips and her knees.”
He adds that often, as a dog ages, people misconstrue orthopedic injuries with neurological issues. “A lot of people will think, oh, she just has bad hips, when in actuality, it’s not that. So you want to make sure to have your dog examined,” he concludes.
An Apple a Day Keeps Bad Breath at Bay
We all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it’s also an effective cure for bad breath! The fruit’s texture can remove plaque buildup on teeth and elicit additional saliva production in the mouth, which lessen halitosis.