There’s been a push lately for more explicit labeling of foods -- to make sure that consumers know that what they’re buying is organic, or free-range, or natural, or GMO-free, etc. But these labels don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes, they’re outright lies. For instance, “organic” veggies still contain plenty of pesticides. There are the natural pesticides that ordinarily occur in food, plus the organic-OK chemical pesticides that are ...

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I saw a patient last week for her chest pain. A 60-year-old woman came into the hospital because her chest tightened every time she went running. The pain would last about 20 minutes, centered on the left side of her chest, and radiated to her left arm. It lasted until she would finally take a break from running and sit down. “This is classic,” I thought. “Stable angina.” I could now ...

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In the last month, I have used the ICD-10 codes Z59.0 (homelessness), Z59.1 (inadequate housing) and Z59.9 (unspecified housing or economic problem) far more than I ever would have imagined. Several patients came into my urban clinic with varied chief complaints, including issues with uncontrolled asthma, chest pain, stress, worsening knee pain and sciatica. However, after listening and asking questions, I quickly realized that all of these initial complaints shared a ...

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It is a common experience to feel that our body has let us down when we get sick. We may feel it is broken or flawed in some way and if only it was better designed we wouldn’t have to suffer illness and disease. Likewise, we tend to consider illness and disease as something bad that has happened to us and which we associate with suffering of some kind, be ...

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Medcomic-Multiple-Sclerosis This Medcomic highlights some of the main features of multiple sclerosis (MS).  Although the exact cause of MS is unknown, the disease is thought to occur as an immune-mediated attack on the central nervous system (CNS). As you can see in the illustration, the white blood cells are attacking the neuron and causing inflammation, demyelination, and axonal degeneration that can manifest through ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 49-year-old man is evaluated during a routine examination. He is asymptomatic but is concerned about his risk for cardiovascular disease. Medical history is notable for hypertension. He is a nonsmoker, and he works as an executive at a highly successful company. Family history is noncontributory. His only medication is hydrochlorothiazide. On physical ...

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asco-logo Every month or two I see a patient, usually a man with prostate cancer, who is concerned that if he has intercourse with his spouse, he will give her cancer. The question is asked with sincerity, and I can see the worry in the man’s eyes. His spouse is often equally worried but she often looks embarrassed too, almost as ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 55-year-old man is evaluated in follow-up after a recent routine screening for antibody to hepatitis C virus (HCV) was positive. His medical history is unremarkable; he has not used illicit drugs or had any history of blood transfusions. He currently feels well and takes no medications. Vital signs and physical examination are ...

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Although it is still early, 2016 is already shaping up to be a year to remember in science: Long-postulated gravitational waves were finally discovered, the CDC scrambles to battle Zika virus on multiple continents, and long-awaited clinical testing begins for a new HIV vaccine. But these accomplishments all pale in comparison to the monumental study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology titled “Anal Intercourse and Fecal ...

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The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) was created by the federal government in 1984 to provide recommendations to primary care practitioners on the scientific efficacy of screening. In 2010, the federal government linked USPSTF recommendations with national healthcare policy when the Affordable Care Act mandated free coverage by Medicare and private insurance for all screening exams that receive a USPSTF recommendation of A or B.  The ...

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