Missing Microbes, by Martin Blaser MD (Book Review Pedcast)

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Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues


Come on in and sit a spell. Welcome to another book review edition of I’m your host, Dr. Paul Smolen, a board certified pediatrician in Charlotte, NC. I love learning about new ideas in medicine-that’s why I started this blog. So it’s with great excitement that I read a book by Dr. Martin Blaser, a medical doctor and expert in the normal and abnormal microbes of the human body, something that scientist now call the “human microbiome.” Sounds dull, doesn’t it? Well, I have to tell you that this book is anything but boring. It’s not many books that can change one’s fundamental thinking about one of a pediatrician’s most basic tools-antibiotics, but this book does just that. Continue reading

Avoiding Ear Infections, Dr. Sheila Kilbane (Pedcast)

Doc Smo here, your pedcast host.  Thanks for joining me  today for another edition of, the pediatric podcast dedicated to children and their parents.  I am very fortunate to have as my returning guest, Dr. Sheila Kilbane, an integrative pediatrician and expert about much of life, to talk to us about a very common pediatric health problem, otitis media.  Anyone with children is very familiar with how frequently children are affected by otitis media or middle ear infections.  These infections are complications of bad colds and we all know that children get a lot of colds. So lets see how an integrative pediatrician approaches a child with  recurrent ear infections.   Maybe Dr. Kilbane just might be able to help your children avoid that ear infection nastiness.


Welcome Dr. Kilbane.



Question 1:Why do children get ear infections?


Question 2: For children with CHRONIC EAR INFECTIONS of CHRONIC EAR CONGESTION, how does the Integrative approach different than traditional pediatrics?

(Decrease mucous/ enhance immune response/ decrease inflammation/avoid antibiotics)


Question 3: How do you do these things?

(Stop dairy, probiotics, vitamin D, immunocap, correct structural problems)


Question 4: Which children do you suspect have structural problems in their Eustachian tubes?


Question 5: How do you reduce inflammation in a child’s body?


Question 6: Which children is the integrative approach most appropriate for?


Let’s summarize the integrative approach

-Reduce mucous production from inhaled allergy and oral allergy to food, mostly milk

-Correct structural problems

-Enhance child’s immune system

-Reduce inflammation by changing diet





Well, Dr. Kilbane, as always, you bring a fresh approach and viewpoint to both parents and physicians and I really appreciate that. You and I are on the same page, we both want to inform parents and make things better for children. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your time and expertise with us today.


This is Dr. Paul Smolen, you know, Doc Smo, thanking you for joining us and hoping your little dears, always have nice clear ears.  Until next time.


The “power of honey” with Dr. Kilbane (Pedcast)

Doc Smo here, your pedcast host .  I hope you are having a good day today.  It’s my pleasure to have, once again, Dr Sheila Kilbane, one of the few,  and definitely one of the best “Integrative Pediatricians” in the US.  She is trained in both traditional western medicine as well as in the art of integrative medicine.  She brings a unique perspective to our “topic of this week“, which is the medical power of honey…, no not your husband or wife, but  the gooey sticky stuff from the hives.  I think we are going to find out there are good reasons why those bees protect it with such vigor!

Honey does already play an important role in health care for children.

-I have read and I frequently recommend honey as a good cough suppressant.

-Parents tell me all the time stories of how local honey helps their children’s allergies.

-A mom told me the other day about how good honey works for gastrointestinal upsets. I think this Is really  true because it is part of some home recipes for pedialyte that I have read about for children older than 1 year.

– I have also heard of how effective honey can be in aiding wound healing and possibly in the treatment of other diseases.  For more on that subject, we have my good friend, Dr. Sheila Kilbane, a bona fide nutrition expert as well as pediatrician, to give us more information about medical uses of honey.


-Hello chatter-  PS and SK…


It’s delicious, I love it on my apples and in my tea… but honey for medical uses???

 -Q1 Dr. Kilbane, what is so special about honey.  Why not maple syrup or molasses?  Are there special properties that honey has that other gooey sugary substance don’t have?

SK answers

 Q2  I’ve heard that honey can help heal wounds  Is this true?

SK answers

-Q3 Any other uses for honey in the world of medical care?

SK answers


 If you missed the past Pedcasts with Dr Kilbane, make sure you check them out.  They are  great! We made pedcasts  about ADD, Winterizing your children, organic foods, probiotics, and now the medicinal properties of honey.  Dr. Kilbane, as always, Its is wonderful to talk with you Dr. Kilbane and you ALWAYS expand my knowledge and curiosity about pediatrics.  Thank you, thank, thank you.  Please come back soon, won’t you


This is Dr. Paul Smolen, Doc Smo, hoping you recognize the big deal that honey can play if your child needs to heal. 


Until next time.


From the desk of Doc Smo – Rx Trends in Children (Article)

Who would have ever thought when I was in medical school that I would be touting my pediatric colleagues’ reduction in the use of antibiotics–one of the greatest medical discoveries of all time–as a major accomplishment. I remember to this day the lecture in med school when the Professor of Pharmacology described how the pioneers of antibiotics felt that they had discovered the “Silver Bullet”: the cure for all infectious diseases. But alas, like all great technological advances, they come with limitations and problems. The past 25 years, doctors have developed a new found respect for the amazing little creatures we call bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Nimble is an understatement for how amazingly fast these creatures can adapt to all sorts of medications meant to halt their growth. The more doctors use antimicrobial drugs, the faster they become irrelevant.

This brings us to the subject of children and drug use. Children are big consumers of antibiotics, because infectious diseases are their main source of illness. Experts have been very anxious to find safe ways for pediatricians and family doctors to use fewer antibiotics, especially in children. In the July 2012 issue of Pediatrics, epidemiologists at the FDA reviewed data on the use of antibiotics as well as other medication classes in children during the period from 2002-2010.  Here is the breakdown:

Antibiotic usage down 14%                                                         Asthma medication usage up 14%

Allergy medication usage down 61%                                         ADHD medication usage up 46%

Pain medication usage down 14%                                             Contraception usage up 93%

Depression medication usage down 5%

Cough/Cold medication usage down 42%

The conclusions that I draw from this data are that pediatricians continue to make progress in the judicious use of antibiotics. This is great news for everyone. Hopefully keeping our antibiotic “powder dry” will make these medications more effective in the future, especially for children with serious infectious diseases. As for the rest of this data, that is a subject for another memo or two.

I welcome your comments so feel free to go to  and voice your thoughts. Until next time.


Making Sense of Your Child’s Next Virus (Pedcast)

Young children seem to get a lot of sickness, way more than adults do. Most of this sickness is caused by common respiratory viruses and have no specific treatment. These illnesses usually clear up on their own, but sometimes there’s trouble. Today’s episode helps parents understand patterns of illness which can give them and their doctor clues to more serious health problems. It’s all in those patterns, if you know what to look for.

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