People in the United States are rushing out to take iodine pills, specifically in the form of potassium iodide, to combat the threat of radiation spreading from the nuclear events stemming from the Japan earthquake and tsunami. There are numerous reports that pharmacies in California have run out of the drug. Potassium iodide works when the thyroid takes it up, instead of the potentially dangerous radioactive iodine that comes from a ...

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It's no secret that our health system encourages doctors to order too many tests.  Compounded with the widespread belief that more tests equates to better medicine, the reasons why health costs are spiraling out of control aren't a secret. In a perspective piece from the New England Journal of Medicine, physician Sean Palfrey notes our dire situation:

Recent advances ...

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Despite the advances in evidence-based medicine, not every patient benefits. In a recent column from the New York Times, Pauline Chen looks at a study showing exploring the issue:

For many patients, evidence-based medicine isn’t working. Two-thirds of patients with diabetes, a disease with some of the strongest evidence-based guidelines available, continue to have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels; and only half of all ...

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What, exactly, is a difficult patient? Doctors can tell many tales of what they term as a difficult encounter.  Just as many patients can recall doctors whom they would say are difficult to work with as well. According to a study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine, here's a definition: Patients deemed difficult included those with more than five symptoms, severe symptoms or an underlying mental disorder or were less functional. These ...

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Are medical students and new doctors overly reliant on tests and technology to make diagnoses? Are doctors ordering too many tests, or practicing a new standard?That's an interesting thought I had when reading the latest TIME.com piece from emergency physicians Jesse M. Pines and Dr. Zachary F. Meisel. In their article, they give reasons why doctors order too many tests. Of course, they cite defensive purposes, saying, "once a doctor has presented ...

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The following op-ed was published on February 2, 2011 in USA Today. Last fall, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital was shot by the distraught son of a patient for whom he was caring. The man later killed his mother, then himself. A week earlier, a patient in a Long Island, N.Y., hospital beat his nurse with a leg from a broken chair, causing serious injuries. The following month, a psychiatric ...

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Doctors have been under significant scrutiny over the years regarding their relationships with pharmaceutical companies. Some states have even gone as far as banning events like drug company-sponsored dinners and other pharma-funded educational events. An increasing number of medical schools and hospitals simply won't allow an industry presence. Whether you think it's gone too far is certainly debatable, but let's look at another group which can prescribe medications and examine their relationship ...

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Defensive medicine accounts for 20 percent of MRI scans and x raysIn the first, known prospective study, Pennsylvania orthopedic surgeons admitted that almost 20% of the imaging studies they ordered were for defensive purposes. All of the previous data that hinted at the rampant practice of defensive medicine relied on surveys or other forms of retrospective data. In this study,

A total of 72 orthopedic surgeons agreed to participate, submitting information on ...

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One of the stories circulating regarding the demonstrations in Wisconsin is the authenticity of the doctor work notes. Squarely in the cross-hairs are physicians from the University of Wisconsin's Department of Family Medicine. According to this excellent piece in The Atlantic by physician-writer Ford Vox,

In videos breathlessly presented throughout the conservative mediasphere this weekend, doctor after doctor is videotaped writing patently fraudulent sick notes so that the protesting teachers (whose contracts ...

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Consumer Reports recently released a survey of both patients and primary care doctors, regarding their perceptions of each other. Some interesting findings, as summarized by the WSJ's Health Blog:

On the issue of respect and appreciation, 70% of doctors said they were getting less of it from patients than when they started practicing. For patients, meantime, the more they reported being treated respectfully and listened to, the more satisfied they ...

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