by Brian McMichael, MD The NEJM recently published an interesting case in the ongoing series: " A Request for Retrieval of Oocytes from a 36-year old Woman with Anoxic Brain Injury." Usually these cases are diagnostic dilemmas. This one focused on an ethical dilemma at end-of-life. The Case A 36-year-old woman, in overall good health taking oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), was on a prolonged international flight, and ...

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An excerpt from CyberSafe: Protecting and Empowering Digital Kids in the World of Texting, Gaming and Social Media. by Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, MD, FAAP Screen Time and Childhood Have you ever tried to go “screen-less”? I often tell the story of taking my girls to New York City on an April vacation, looking forward to Turnoff Week. This is a semiannual event that encourages families to flip off the screens ...

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October is breast cancer awareness month. There are pink ribbons and wristbands to wear, pink products to buy, and pink races to run -- all to improve awareness about screening and raise money for a cure. And rightly so, because breast cancer affects 250,000 American women every year. Fewer people know that October is also intimate partner violence awareness month. Purple is the color representing the more than 1.3 million women ...

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One of the most common complaints that I hear from people attempting to lose weight is, “I don’t know how to deal with my triggers.”  Most of us have had the experience of eating just one bite of something and suddenly wanting to devour the entire thing.  Sometimes we do, even though we know we won’t be happy with ourselves when we finish. I am familiar with the experience of insisting ...

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There is a white board in every patient's room. This is used to keep patient oriented and provide them with basic information. You would see some data on it, most of the time there is a date scrolled on it, name of the nurse and maybe physician’s name. I recently read an article "Getting the most out the humble white board" by Deborrah Gesenway. This is an excellent read ...

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[Editor's note: Please visit part 1 of Dr. Harpham's take on OpenNotes.] "Our" Chart Does the opportunity for patients to read their medical charts help or hurt patients' ability to become Healthy Survivors? Open notes can facilitate Healthy Survivorship for some patients. Unfortunately, other patients may learn something about their condition that makes it more difficult to get good care or live as fully as possible. Or they may experience feelings that threaten the physician-patient bond. ...

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POLST stands for "Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment". It is a next generation replacement for an Advanced Directive and DNR ("Do Not Resuscitate") order. Advanced planning documents turn out to be less than useful, especially in urgent care settings, and many patients receive more aggressive care than they might want because universal, transferable physician orders are unavailable or, simply, not applicable because a patient is in a different care setting. The ...

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I was a third-year medical student in the first week of my obstetrics rotation. The obstetrics program was known to be high-pressure, its residents among the best. Mostly women, they were a hard-core group--smart, efficient, motivated--and they scared the heck out of us medical students. I remember the day clearly: Not only was I on call, but I was assigned to the chief resident's team. I felt petrified. We'd started morning rounds ...

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An excerpt from The Twenty-Four Hour Mind: The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in Our Emotional Lives. by Rosalind D. Cartwright, PhD

We live in a culture that values speed; fast foods, fast cars, fast service, and fast decisions. All of this takes a toll.  Fast food is blamed for the epidemic of obesity, fast cars for motor vehicle accidents, and the wish for fast service and decisions ...

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There’s a lot of evidence that to prevent many serious health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and stroke, making healthy lifestyle changes are just as good, if not better than, taking medications. Lifestyle changes may consist of stopping unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco and excessive alcohol use, or starting healthy behaviors such as moderate daily exercise and eating adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. As anyone who has ever ...

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