It is not until about eight weeks of age that an infant has a fully developed capacity for mutual gaze. Then a baby looks directly into his mother’s eyes, while she, in turn, reflects back this loving gaze, cooing softly in response to her baby’s earliest communication. When a mother looks at a baby in a way that communicates with him, not with words but with feelings, “I understand you,” he ...

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“Facebook is for the living, not the dying” – Regina Holliday It finally happened. The day my Facebook feed included information about a friend’s illness. This is the photograph my friend Matt posted to his feed. Normally I don’t play that close attention to everything in there, but this caught my eye immediately. When we talked on the phone, I understood that this ...

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I mentioned having a migraine this past weekend, and was somewhat surprised by how many people commented and wrote to me, surprised that a doctor, let alone a neurlogist, would actually get migraines. What's up with that? I know this may be hard to believe, but we get health problems too. I see this odd view surprisingly often. People who somehow expect us to be beyond the health concerns of non-doctors. We may be ...

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An excerpt from Beautiful Brain, Beautiful You.  Published by Hyperion. Copyright(c)2011. by Marie Pasinski, MD Although much has been written about how red wine in moderation can be good for your heart and your brain, I would like you to reconsider. It’s important to understand that the studies supporting this claim are “observational.” This means they were conducted through self-reported questionnaires inquiring into the drinking habits of a large group of ...

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How often do you see your doctor?  Once a year?  Every 6 months?  Never?  Most of you are pretty healthy and only show up for screening physical exams or aches and pains.  Some of you may have more health problems and come more frequently. What if you had diabetes, coronary disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea, but no symptoms to indicate any ...

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As a family physician, I've found that patients' individual health beliefs often play a big role in important decisions such as starting a new medication or undergoing an invasive test or procedure. Some patients were more willing to endure potentially risky procedures in order to learn their diagnosis quicker, for example, while others preferred "watchful waiting," or monitoring symptoms that were unlikely to be a sign of anything serious. Unfortunately, in ...

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Obesity is now increasingly recognized as the "natural" consequence of societal changes that have occurred over the past decades to foster an increasingly obesogenic environment. Yet, rather than focus on the root causes of these societal drivers of obesity, governments apparently prefer to make obesity prevention a personal matter, with a strong emphasis on trying to get individuals to change their lifestyles. It is clearly far easier to simply tell people to ...

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An excerpt from Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank published by W. W. Norton & Company, 2010 (paperback January 2011). On eBay, you can buy a fetal ultrasound scrapbook that has a poem on the first page that begins, “I loved you from the start.” It comes with Care Bear stickers. One of them is a pregnant rabbit eating ...

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Your mother has been up all night. She has Alzheimer's Disease and now it has progressed to that inevitable stage of the dementing process where she is paranoid, agitated, and confused. She fidgets and paces and walks all day. She gets out of bed multiple times each night. She has gone out the door into the back yard and tried to escape to the street, wearing only her night clothes. Sometimes ...

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I recently completed a long stretch of night shifts in the emergency department. I have done a myriad of things – spent over twenty minutes trying to convince a patient to take a pill that she needed to treat her psychosis, sutured a facial laceration for a young gentleman who kept insisting that he wanted to leave AMA (against medical advice) and just place a ...

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