First Person


How Antidepressants Robbed Me of a Year of My Life

September 7, 2016

After suffering terrifying side effects, British documentarian & author Katinka Blackford Newman now helps others through her own story and a web campaign.

Resurgence of Measles, Pertussis Fueled by Vaccine Refusals

March 23, 2016
Resurgence of Measles, Pertussis Fueled by Vaccine Refusals

I was born in 1950 and was home-schooled until the 6th grade. Thus, I missed exposure to several childhood illnesses that affected most of my generation. I never gave it much thought until, as a medical resident in North Carolina in 1979, I came down with a potentially life-threatening febrile Continue Reading →

How Meditation Helps My Patients Heal

June 4, 2015

Doctors. When you think of them, what comes to mind? Stethoscopes, white coats, pills?  What if there were a new kind of doctor? One who prescribes meditation, yoga, and other contemplative practices, rather than (or in addition to) doling out medication? More and more doctors are taking an integrative approach in their practices, offering patients alternative therapies to address a multitude of health problems. Here’s how meditation has helped my patients and suggestions on how it might help you. Continue Reading →

Chinese Herbs – Not Rx Meds – to Treat My Crohn’s Disease

April 16, 2015
Chinese Herbs for Crohn's Disease

When Mina Larson, the deputy director of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), found out she had Crohn’s disease, she opted not to take either of the two pharmaceutical drugs recommended to her and instead followed a well-designed herbal regimen to treat her illness. Laura Broadwell, former Features Editor for MedShadow, interviewed Larson to learn more about the thinking and results of that decision. Here is Larson’s herbal remedy story. Continue Reading →

All in This Together: Why I Vaccinate My Kids

February 12, 2015

Last week, when I took both my sons to the pediatrician for their annual check-ups,  (I double ‘em up, since their birthdays are close together), I was faced with a choice: Should my younger son, 10, get his TDaP (Tetanus, Diptheria, Acellular Pertussis) booster? The only reason our pediatrician recommended it that day was so we wouldn’t have to come back in less than a year when my younger son is ready to enter 6th grade, when this booster is required. He got the shot, as he and his 12-year-old brother have gotten all their immunizations.

Later, looking over the printouts of my children’s vital stats and vaccine schedules, I ran my finger over the shots and the dates Continue Reading →

Does Every Cancer Patient Need Neulasta?

January 22, 2015

What’s in a chemo “cocktail”? A lot more than just chemotherapy drugs, I found out. And sometimes, you might not need or want every ingredient.

My story is proof that you can always do your own research and have a conversation with your doctor about whether a medication is truly necessary.

Last year, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), Stage 2. IDC is the most common form of breast cancer, affecting 232,340 women Continue Reading→

Antidepressants’ Problematic Side Effects

January 15, 2015

“Over the past two decades, the use of antidepressants has skyrocketed. One in 10 Americans now takes an antidepressant medication;” wrote Roni Caryn Rabin in a New York Times article that appeared on August 12, 2013, titled, “The Glut of Antidepressants. “Among women in their 40s and 50s, the figure is one in four,” notes the article.

There are dozens of antidepressants available to be prescribed in the U.S., with Continue Reading