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Recent Publications

“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: Michael Jackson – Part 1 of 2”

Apr 13, 2014

Being a plastic surgeon, I had empathy and a certain fascination with the changing face of Michael Jackson.  Photographs over the years revealed the rather drastic transformation of his physical appearance and like many others, he usually denied having multiple plastic surgery procedures.  But, his denial fooled no one.  Obvious changes popped up with his pinched-tip nose, his squared off jaw line, his chin implants and dimple creation, his widened and tattooed doe eyes and his bleached skin tone.  Jackson’s face morphed into a striking and shocking contrast from his former self.  During his child molestation trial, news stories flashed photos of his sculptured cherubic face that had little resemblance to his childhood photos.  So, what was going on?  According to biographer, J. Randy Taraborrelli, “He didn’t want to be Michael Joseph Jackson.  He just wanted to be something else. And he went about the business of doing that.”  Michael’s ailment is called “body dismorphia disorder (BDD),” which is defined as a condition or form of body hatred that often paralyzes its sufferers with shame, embarrassment, and even disgust, forcing them to seek surgical changes to it.

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“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: Whitney Houston”

Apr 06, 2014

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born in 1963 in Newark, New Jersey and little did she know of the tumultuous and, at times, chaotic life ahead of her.  Her life and early death tell a cautionary tale of success countered by turmoil and overindulgence.  As a teen fashion model, she  appeared on the cover of Glamour.  Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, recorded “Midnight Train To Georgia” years before Gladys Knight and Cissy was a member of the Sweet Inspirations, who backed up Elvis Presley. Whitney was a natural for entertainment with cousins such as Dionne and Dee Dee Warick and her early career was managed by her father, who, before his 2003 death, unsuccessfully sued her for past due compensation.  She had two miscarriages, one in 1994 and another in 1996.  Many of these early on factors may have led to the rumors of an eating disorder and her more obvious drug problems and her trips in and out of rehab over the years.

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“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: Elvis Aaron Presley – Part 3 of 3”

Mar 30, 2014

Elvis’ friend, Dr. Harry Rosenberg, said, “When Elvis died, they said he had drugs in him.  He should have had more, the way he suffered in his last few months. With his condition, he was courageous beyond reason if that’s all he had in him.”  Even with his multiple medical maladies, from March 1976 through June of 1977 (just two months before his death), Elvis gave a total of 149 stage performances.  Since reports can be conflicting, proof is difficult to come by but there is adequate evidence for informed speculation on many of Elvis’ medical illnesses.  In 1997, the NBC network stated publicly that Elvis did not die of a drug overdose, but instead, died of a massive heart attack.  It was also reported that he had had three other heart attacks prior to the final one.  In 1994, coroner Dr. Joseph Davis reopened the Presley autopsy and stated, “There is nothing in any of the data that supports a death from drugs. In fact, everything points to a sudden, violent heart attack.”

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“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: Elvis Aaron Presley – Part 2 of 3”

Mar 23, 2014

Elvis Presley, one of our greatest pop culture icons, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor at his home, Graceland, in Memphis on August 16, 1977. He was officially pronounced dead at 3:30 pm at Baptist Memorial Hospital. So, what took his life at the young age of 42 years?  Doctors, hospital records, friends, authors, associates and employees have served as my information source for many of Elvis’ illnesses.  Reportedly, Elvis kept his illnesses away from fans because ‘they wouldn’t go to a concert to watch a dying man.’  Also, he had to maintain his macho image that had been created by his heroic roles in his many formulaic movies.  Elvis’ medical problems could have started early, as he had a low birth weight because he was one of twins. His boyhood diet likely suffered because of the abject poverty of his upbringing.  Poorer people were believed to be three times more susceptible to heart disease and stroke.  Some of his possible reported medical illnesses were as follows: insomnia, glaucoma and Reiter’s syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, migraine headaches, obesity, heart disease, heart enlargement, spastic colon, neuropathies, liver and bone marrow cancer, pernicious anemia, mega-colon and colonic deformities, compressed spinal fractures, and a suppressed immune system.

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“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: Elvis Aaron Presley – Part 1 of 3”

Mar 16, 2014

Elvis was both a superstar and a super-troubled man.  His conflicted life and his multiple medical illnesses will require a number of my articles for clarification.  He was born in East Tupelo in a two room, wooden shack that his father built with $180 of borrowed money. Elvis had an identical twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, who was stillborn. At thirteen, Elvis moved to Memphis, where he primarily lived until his death.  Elvis Presley is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th century popular culture and the best selling solo artist in the history of popular music. He had a fantastically versatile voice, which allowed him to perform in a wide musical range including rock and roll, country, pop, gospel, ballads and blues.  Sadly, he was caught between two colliding worlds. Elvis had deep Pentecostal religious roots but was tragically ensnared into the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Interestingly, the FBI had over a 600 page file on Elvis.

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“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: Mohammed Ali”

Mar 09, 2014

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., aka Mohammed Ali, was born in Louisville, Ky. in1942, and went on to become one of the most famous people in the world, even though his protest as a conscientious objector shielded him from being drafted into the American military and to his being labeled, by some, as a “draft dodger.”  Ultimately, he became known as “The Greatest.”  As a kid, Ali was coaxed into boxing by a police officer who had witnessed Mohammed’s astonishing rage after the 12 year old had his bicycle stolen and promised to “whup whoever stole it.”  Ali channeled his rage and became a very capable boxer, winning many Golden Glove matches in the 1950s and 1960s and a Summer Olympics gold medal.  Following a number of racial incidents, one in a “whites-only” restaurant, Ali threw the gold medal into the Ohio River.  In 1967, Sonny Liston refused to leave his corner in the seventh round, making Ali the heavyweight world champion.  Today’s rumors are that the mafia “fixed” this fight.  After the Liston fight, Ali announced he had become a Black Muslim and changed his name to Mohammed Ali. He said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.”

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“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: Abraham Lincoln”

Mar 02, 2014

Abraham Lincoln was our sixteenth president, serving from 1861-1865, but he didn’t always have things easy, especially as it related to his health.  As a child, Lincoln was  taller than most and he ultimately reached 6 feet 4 inches.  When he was nine years old, a horse nearly fatally kicked him in the forehead, rendering him unconscious for several hours.  In another childhood accident, Lincoln nearly drowned in a creek but a friend saved him with a sycamore branch.  The debate has not been settled as to whether Lincoln had Marfan’s syndrome but DNA testing has not been done.  As a young adult, he was well-muscled but was also described as “thin as a beanpole and ugly as a scarecrow.”  He was flat footed and weighed 180 pounds.  Authors and scholars argue as to whether Lincoln ever had “multiple endocrine neoplasia (cancer).”

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“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: William “Bill” Jefferson Clinton”

Feb 23, 2014

No doubt, all US Presidents have a very difficult job and we have seen them literally “age right before our eyes.” Although it is kept hush-hush, many have had serious medical conditions, which come to light after their terms in office.  Bill Clinton was the 42nd US President, serving from 1993-2001.  Bill’s family medical history showed his father died in a drowning accident and his mother had breast cancer and no eyebrows – she had to draw them in.  At age 6, Bill had a tonsillectomy in 1952 and by 1984, he had a left knee ligament strain.  Early in his career, he had problems with allergies, hoarseness and acid reflux disease.  In 1995, Clinton had a probable sebaceous cyst removed from his chest and in 1996, a precancerous growth was removed from his nose. Later, in 2001, he had the removal of a basal cell cancer from his back. After exposure of Clinton’s White House sexual antics, he announced a self-prescribed treatment course: periodic meetings with three clergymen to obtain guidance for his return to marital rectitude.”

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“Illnesses of the Famous: Terry Bradshaw”

Feb 16, 2014

In Louisiana, Terry Bradshaw, No. 12, is readily recognized and admired.  But, his life has been challenged with various health-related situations. Terry Bradshaw may have four Super Bowl rings, but one of his toughest matches has been depression. After his third wife asked for a divorce in 1999, Bradshaw was drinking to self-medicate before seeking help. After talking to his pastor, Bradshaw found that a combination of talk therapy and medication worked for him. Now, he’s using his experience to advocate for addressing depression head-on.  Consequently, Bradshaw is a highly sought-after motivational speaker for Fortune 500 companies.  Terry has also helped to raise an impressive amount of money and awareness for charitable organizations.  Terry Bradshaw is an actor, singer and beloved sports and entertainment figure and for his many raucous appearances on the Tonight Show, with Jay Leno. From his early days playing for Louisiana Technical University when he was named an “All-American”, to being the first player selected in the 1970 draft and going on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bradshaw’s career can only be described as outstanding.

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“Can Good HDL Cholesterol Have A Nasty Side ?”

Feb 09, 2014

Shockingly, in 2013, a major healthcare task force (American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association) found “no specific scientific evidence to support specific treatment goals for either LDL or HDL cholesterol.”  Claims have been that LDL cholesterol is “bad” because it is deposited in the walls of arteries and causes hard plaques that can cause blockages, resulting in heart attacks and stroke.  Whereas, HDL cholesterol is “good” because the cholesterol is instead shipped to the liver.  With campaigns of persuasion by drug companies, patients had been misled to believe that their HDL and LDL levels were direct determinants of heart disease and strokes; i.e., high LDL was a sure-fire indicator of impending arteriosclerosis and heart disease but it could be offset by a high HDL.  Many patient’s lives were controlled by their misguided attempts to achieve low LDL and high HDL numbers.

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