Before losing my health insurance in 2009, it never occurred to me to be concerned about a little thing like a blood test.  Since 1986 I’d been having three vials of blood drawn each year during my physical.  My doctor would authorize it, the nurse would draw the blood in the office and send it to the lab for processing. A few days later she would call me with the results ...

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I'm impressed by how much we struggle with seemingly simple health decisions when faced with sorting through too much information. Buying sunscreen: It's a simple task, right? Most of us do it every year about this time. And among actions we can take to reduce our risk of cancer in general and skin cancer specifically, this choice is fairly important. So my colleague was surprised to hear this snippet of conversation as she contemplated ...

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The interview had lasted fifteen minutes so far, and we'd made minimal progress. I was a medical student doing a rotation at a physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic back in my home state, Wisconsin. It was the end of the day; to save time, the senior resident, Paul, had joined me in the exam room so that we could hear Leora's medical history together. A year earlier, Leora, in her mid-fifties, ...

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It was an ordinary summer day.  People were milling on the main thoroughfare, bikes zig-zagging through traffic, cafés and pubs spilling onto the sidewalk, patrons sipping their way through a lazy Friday afternoon. We were ordinary that day too.  Just another family, managing the hectic jumble of kids’ lessons, bills, our careers, endless streams of birthday parties, too little sleep and the occasional date night out. But it was all shattered with ...

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Heard these?

Media-fueled flip-flops and research breakthroughs on lifestyle and health behaviors are wearing down my usual patience with the provisional nature of science. Even simple dietary recommendations like ...

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According to the recent Wall Street Journal article patients are encouraged to engage in care, keep track of their medical data, seek preventive care, and to manage their conditions. Studies show that if patients are actively involved in care and partner with providers, that they experience better health outcomes and lower costs. But for patients to be active participants in care they must acquire knowledge about their diagnoses and treatment plans, ...

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If only our lives were more predictable and certain, we’d feel a greater sense of security and safety. Yet, much of what happens to us is beyond our ability to control. This is true whether we live in a third-world country or in the most advanced scientific and technological environment. It’s also true whether we’re struggling to make ends meet or living in the lap of luxury. No one is immune ...

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What if healthy pregnancies were treated like special needs pregnancies? Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, good afternoon. I’m Doctor Dumas, a visiting obstetrician in Doctor Kwak’s practice. It’s nice to meet you. Look, there’s no easy way to say this, so at the risk of sounding blunt, I have some bad news. The technician and I reviewed your scans and we found that you’re about ten weeks along with a human fetus. I’m not seeing ...

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We tell ourselves many things about our health each day, every day, all day long. The vast majority are unintentional, uninspired and blunt. A particularly sinful dessert brings admonishment, “You should not have eaten that.” Panting after two flights of stairs call for an exasperated, “I am out of shape!” Receiving a diagnosis prompts mental overdrive of “What if I don’t survive this?” thoughts. Learning my diagnosis of chronic kidney disease ...

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16 questions to ask when choosing a hospice Hospice is a set of services that we all may need someday -- if not for ourselves, for our parents. While death is not an option for any of us, we do have choices about the services we use at the end of life. Hospice is undoubtedly the best option in the last months of life because it offers a whole ...

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