Like they used to say about Elvis…our Barbara has retired after 33 years with the practice.

Barb has been a beloved fixture in our office and she has decided it’s time to leave ‘show business’ for bigger and brighter (and more relaxing) things.    I met her when I was in medical school and she was working for my father, Dr. Mervyn Lakin.  She met Brigid, my wife, while we were still dating….she has been a big part of the office and of our lives.

We are going to miss her greatly, but we know she is going to enjoy her newfound time…she deserves it.

She’ll be back to visit and we’ll keep our patients updated on her exploits.

We all wish Barbara the best and we will be keeping in touch.  Until then…..keep the sunny side up!


Current methods of manufacturing are superb, even for generic medications.  That said, there are issues that can develop and a recent concern has been noted by the FDA for Valsartan, a high blood pressure medication.  There are concerns that a cancer-causing chemical (NDMA) has tainted the pills in small amounts.  Although potentially dangerous, it is not ‘deadly’.

Not all forms of this medication are tainted..only certain manufacturers.  Here is the current list:

Recalled Products

Medicine Company
Valsartan Major Pharmaceuticals
Valsartan Solco Healthcare
Valsartan Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.
Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) Solco Healthcare
Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.


To determine if your valsartan is manufactured by one of these companies, do the following:

  1.  Call your pharmacy and inquire
  2. Look at your bottle (it may tell you)
  3. Enter your pill color, shape, and numbers into the GOOGLE SEARCH BAR…and it will reveal the medication and manufacturer.  (ie:  white, round, e144)



Read more >>>>HERE<<<<


The new SHINGRIX VACCINE, is a two shot series (given 2+ months apart).   It is the new SHINGLES VACCINE and it will be available beginning January, 2018

If you are interested in getting the two vaccines you may call our office to get on a waiting list, as we do not yet have the SHINGRIX VACCINE at the office, but we are expecting it in January, 2018

What is Shingles?
It is reactivated chicken-pox virus in a nerve root that present as a painful rash.


Who gets Shingles? 

Anyone who has had chicken pox as a child can get shingles as an adult.  33% of people will get shingles in their lifetime.  The vast majority will get it after age 60, but you can get shingles at any age.


Who should get the SHINGRIX VACCINE?

Anyone over the age of 50 can get the vaccine.  It appears to be 90% effective, which is much more effective that the current vaccination (Zostavax).


Although this is a ‘dead’ virus and there is little to no risk of transmitting infection from the shot, it is not currently recommended for patients who have reduced immunity due to medications or health conditions.   That said, it is anticipated that this vaccine will be approved for such patients, so if you wish to get the vaccine it would be considered acceptable, but not recommended.


How is SHINGRIX given?
It is a two-shot series, given at least 2 months apart.


What side effects are there?

50% of patients will feel ‘crummy’ for 1-2 days afterward with aches/pains/low-grade fever.  Like having a mild flu.

Approximately 10% will have a significantly sore arm at the injection site for 1-2 days.

The SHINGRIX VACCINE will make a major impact on SHINGLES.  We will see this condition virtually disappear, and that’s a good thing.

Read more about SHINGLES in the shingles section of THE GUIDE at








Dementia is the loss of higher intellectual function and memory, and it is extremely common as we age, affecting 37% of the US population by age 85.

For families dealing with this issue, it is important to understand the desires of the person who is developing memory issues, and to take steps before their thinking processes are impaired, to determine their life goals and desires for treatment.

Dr. Barak Gaster from the University of Washington has developed just such a form, to allow patients with developing dementia to indicate their wishes for treatment, prior to their developing cognitive limitations.

Take a look >>>HERE<<< at this form.  It is very useful.

Remember to check our our book TAKING CONTROL to get your wishes in place for your care.

More information on Dementia >>>>HERE<<<


Debbie Landau-West is the premier dieititian/nutritionist in Scottsdale and has been practicing here for the past 30+ years.

I recently asked her to provide a patient a list of some quick energy ‘pick me ups’ in between meals and this is the list she provided.  It is useful for all of us:


Apple with Peanut Butter
Granola Bars
Cheese and Crackers
Cottage Cheese and Applesauce
Some protein bars such as Luna Bar, Balance Bar, Cliff Bar or RX Bar
Glass of Milk or Chocolate Milk
Milk with Olvatine mixed in
Graham Crackers with either Milk or Peanut Butter
Graham Crackers with Dark Chocolate Almond Nut Butter
Glass of Unsweetened Natural Fruit Juice with String Cheese
Banana and Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter on Toast

If you want to reach Debbie to assist you with your health/dietary needs,

Debbie Landau-West MS, RD

Address 18779 N. 91st Place Scottsdale AZ 85255 Phone: 480-502-1633

Read more from Debbie in THE DIETS, the book we co-wrote together.  Get your copy at our office or download it >>>>HERE<<<<


Many of you will recall my excitement at the prospect of Arizona being the test ground for a new lab company called Theranos back in 2013.

This company claimed it would revolutionize medicine through simple fingerstick blood testing for 100’s of lab tests;  at a fraction of the cost while maintaining superior accuracy.

As  the story developed, Theranos did not deliver fully on any of their promises, and the mendacity of the company’s founder has now  become the focus of a best-selling book by John Carreyrou, entitled Bad Blood.

In it, Carreyrou describes a culture of criticism and secrecy that is  the opposite of the scientific method needed to develop new and important discoveries.  From start to finish, the story of the founder, Elizabeth Holmes, is one of a charlatan who preys on the public’s desire for quality healthcare at an affordable price, while spinning yarns of riches for those in Silicon Valley who could get in on her imaginary vision of ‘inexpensive & simple lab testing for all’.

Get a copy of Bad Blood >>>HERE<<<





Many patients have heard me refer to Dr. Raj Singh as the best single doctor in Arizona.  Why is that?
Well, Raj, a neurologist specializing in rehabilitation,  embodies all of the attributes of the ideal physician.

1.  Humanity:  Raj is beloved by his patients because he has a natural empathy and an ability to communicate his emotional connection to the patient, even upon the first visit to his office.  When you see Raj, you know he cares about you as an individual.

2.  Vast Experience.   Like the Farmer’s Insurance commercial,  Raj “knows a thing or two because he’s  seen a thing or two. ” 

Having been among the first neurologists in the country to work in the rehabilitation space, his depth of knowledge is fed by a well-spring of personal interactions with patients.

3.  Excellent Judgement:   Will Rodger’s understood how this develops.  He famously said:  Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.

I’ve never seen bad judgement from Raj, but I wasn’t there in the early days on the wards as he gathered his experiences.  Now, in the latter half of his career, his medical judgement is incomparable.  He can see the arc of a patients medical condition and extend that vision into the future, to lead them to proper approaches for them as an individual.

4.  Innate  Intelligence.   He’s quite brilliant…that is the sine qua non.

Raj is a medical hero.  Like many unsung heroes he is worthy of our admiration and recognition.

You can read all the official information on Raj at the Barrow’s website >>>HERE<<<


Men don’t see the doctor as much as women, nor do they report symptoms that are bothering them nearly as much.  This is due to the male ‘mystique’….something that probably should change in guys want to stay healthy.

Like I just told one fellow who came in for his physical, your labs are GILLETTE.   “How’s that doc”……..I answered  “They are the best a man can get!”

So…come in guys…let’s make sure you are healthy in 2018.


Now I know we love our bacon, but to many this may seem a bit ‘out of this world’.  Knee jerk resistance aside,  it has been known for some time that organs from other animals can supplement the human supply of transplantable organs that are in short supply, but differences in biology are less the issue than differences in the immune system of pigs and humans, which would cause rejection
A breed of new pigs has been developed that lacks the antigens that would prevent organ rejection, using the new CRISPR technology.  Read more about CRISPR and how it will revolutionize the next steps in organ transplantation, as well as a myriad of other aspects of medical care.  Below is what I said in our Fall 2015 newsletter:

“Biology continues to demonstrate evolutionary progress with impressive results accruing in incremental steps, but there are also revolutionary changes taking place, and these are going to have world-changing impact.  I want to be the first to tell you about CRISPR … of the revolutionary techniques about to transform biology and the treatment of human disease.

CRISPR is a shorthand term describing a newly discovered method of gene editing, the ability to alter the genetic code so easily that it can be used by an advanced high school student to create new genes in living organisms.  CRISPR is a technique so revolutionary it has allowed the most highly skilled researchers at Harvard Medical School to edit 60 genes at one time in pigs, clearing out genetic impediments to organ transplant & paving that way for pigs to grown organs that can be readily transplanted into human beings without causing rejection.
Any genetic transformation that you can think of can be done with relative ease, using CRISPR.   And the possibilities of ‘dialing in’ the genes that you want, or the ones you want to remove, holds great promise, but also ethical concerns about the power to create new life forms more easily than ever before.  ”