When I ran into Paul S. not knowing he had cancer, I barely recognized him and struggled with what to say. “What happened?” didn’t seem appropriate, although it was my initial reaction. I believe I said, “I barely recognized you,” which was true. I’ve been in many situations where I wasn’t sure what to say to someone who was ill or in distress; I wanted to be supportive ...

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by Devin Gross Here’s a question. It’s not a 5¢ or $5 question that anybody can solve on their own without much thought or effort. It’s a $100 ask-an-expert or think-about-it-for-a-second question. What’s the point of patient empowerment? Much of the current discussion of empowerment deals with patients who for one reason or another have had to fight for their care. CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen opens her book, ...

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Grandmother Pat LaColla, 82, was lured by the hype—"get in shape without setting foot in a gym"—when she bought a pair of Skechers last year, wincing at the $100 price tag. Toning shoes like those she bought are the newest craze in athletic footwear, projected to grow 500 percent to become a $1.5 billion market this year. Although the designs vary, toners typically have strongly curved, thickened soles. From the moment ...

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An excerpt from Treat Me, Not My Age: A Doctor's Guide to Getting the Best Care as You or a Loved One Gets Older. by Mark Lachs, MD Over my twenty-five-year medical career, the route by which people are admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay has subtly evolved in ways that most patients (and even many doctors) may not realize. Specifically, the proportion of ...

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Here is an unfortunate, but almost daily not-so-secret occurrence in my practice: I am in the midst of an intricate follow-up visit with a rather complicated patient with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I am feeling as though I am a CIA agent in a rather mission impossible assignment: she is here for lab results, is complaining of low back pain, and presents with an elevated blood pressure of ...

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I need help.  In dealing with obesity as a medical problem, that is. I am pretty solid at arrhythmia management, but as an obesity doctor, not so much.  If I was the teacher, and my obese patients were the students, I would surely be fired for poor student test performance. At least, if the core measure was the patient's BMI. If a student does poorly on an achievement test, is it the student's ...

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by Adam Linker A doctor at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center recently advised that I submit to genetic testing without ever having met me. It turns out I may harbor a gene that increases my risk of developing prostate cancer. This unsolicited advice was delivered via National Public Radio after a story on the JAMA study of preventive breast and ovarian surgery in women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Dr. ...

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by Marianne Mattera Recently, a press release from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City landed in my e-mail inbox. "Students with Humanities Background Equally Successful in Medical School as Traditional Students", the headline read. The press release summarized the findings of a study published in the August issue of Academic Medicine. David Muller, MD, and Nathan Kase, MD, reviewed data on the Mount Sinai ...

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by Daphne Swancutt I’m having a weird, visceral reaction to all of the recent brouhaha surrounding the term “e-patient.” For some reason, semantically speaking, the term is slipping in to derogatorium. Up there with “cyberchondriac,” which definitely is derogatory. It’s kind of like research—one day, omigod, it’s Mecca; the next day, it’s the scab on a rotting wound. Whatever. I have a chronic condition—I’m not dying, it’s not fatal, I ...

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by Diana E. Lee Most of the resources I've read about how to prepare for a doctor's appointment recommend bringing a loved one with you so that person can help you remember what the doctor said and make sure you get your questions and concerns addressed. But when I read Paula Kamen's book All in My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable and ...

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