Over the last year I’ve become rather addicted to golf. Having always been more into cardiovascular sports I’m actually quite surprised with how much I’ve taken to it. Fresh air, outdoors, lots of walking in beautiful nature and spending time with friends -- what is there not to like? Anyway, I’ve frequented several different courses in the Boston area in just the last few months. Last week, we were due to ...

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I was shocked and deeply saddened when my daughter announced at the dinner table that Robin Williams had died of an apparent suicide. My wife and I and the three of our children home at the time all pretty much gasped audibly in unison, and then for a moment after, you could have heard a pin drop. For a bit after that, we talked about our shock and sorrow. And then after that, ...

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William was doing great.  His C. Diff  was finally gone after a month taper of vancomycin.  He was stronger.  The nursing home staff reveled in how much progress was being made over such little time.  It seemed every one was ecstatic, except for, of course his family.  Every step this octogenarian took forward was accompanied by a litany of concerns and complaints from his daughter. If he was not gaining weight, ...

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I see it again and again in my practice: parents who seem to have forgotten that they are in charge. "You can say no," I find myself saying to family after family. Which is kind of an amazing thing to have to say, if you think about it. You'd think that parents would know that they can say no when their child asks for yet another toy, to watch more television, ...

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We are civilized people in the United States. We don't set up leper colonies or concentration camps or psychiatric snake pits to banish people with severe mental illness. Instead we send them to jail or prison -- almost 400,000 of them, more than 10 times the number receiving care in hospitals. And we also blithely ignore the fact that additional hundreds of thousands live homeless on the streets or in ...

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For three years before I applied to medical school, I worked in post-Katrina New Orleans helping to rebuild school-based health centers. One of the main challenges, however, was how to create a sustainable safety net for at-risk youth to whom we were hoping to provide much needed health services -- key word being “sustainable.” All too often, there isn't funding to carry out primary care’s mission of improving the health of communities and ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 20, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Moving Target for BP Guidelines. The current blood pressure target recommendations may need to be revisited in hypertensive patients with coronary artery disease who are 60 years and older.
  2. Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair Rivals Surgery. Survival rates with catheter-based mitral valve repair are comparable to classic surgery and better ...

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In my pediatric nutrition practice, I often preach about getting more fruits and vegetables into the diets of the children I see. Eating more vegetables is a proven way to fight obesity and promote better health. Sometimes the question of where and how to find healthy food comes up during my conversations with parents. Many of my clients reside in the Bronx, where sometimes the closest vegetable is the pickle on ...

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Today’s article highlights the lingering problem of physicians buying and selling prescription medications to patients -- at a profit. The medical profession has struggled with this controversial practice  for more than 150 years. In George Eliot’s 1874 novel “Middlemarch,” an idealistic young doctor named Tertius Lydgate questions the ethics of fellow physicians who make handsome profits prescribing and dispensing their own remedies to the townsfolk. His medical colleagues shun him for it. Around ...

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When I was in medical residency, more than thirty years ago, I ran with a pack of fellow residents, all guys who were fit to varying degrees. Once, on an outing, we discussed the -- hopefully -- hypothetical question: "If the need arose, which one of us would we eat first?" "Randy!" my friends gleefully concluded. "His meat would be the most marbled," one added. I've never been fat. More accurately, my body ...

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Internal medicine requires knowledge, deduction, and many skills: history taking, physical examination, analyzing diagnosis tests. When confronting a new patient problem, we use our brains to work on finding a diagnosis. Much like police detectives, we would like to have brilliant diagnostic epiphanies, but often we make our diagnoses by painstakingly collecting all the clues and doing the necessary boots on the ground work. We had a woman admitted to our ...

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In case you haven't noticed, a hot new topic in education is "grit." In order to reduce the long-standing 20% attrition rate of surgical residents, some say we should select applicants who have more grit or conscientiousness. A recent paper in Surgery reported residents who dropped out of programs had decreased levels of grit as measured by a short-form survey. But due to unexpectedly low attrition rates in the surgical programs ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 19, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Hospitals Question Charity for Some Patients. As more Americans gain insurance under the federal health law, hospitals are rethinking their charity programs, with some scaling back help for those who could have signed up for coverage but didn't.
  2. Antibiotics Early in Life May Boost Obesity Risk. Exposure to antibiotics ...

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It was with much fanfare that two American aid workers were airlifted from across the world and brought to Emory University Medical Center where they began experimental treatment for Ebola. We hope for a full and speedy recovery for them and others like them who do God’s work. But it appears to me that lost in this conversation are myriad others who need help but never get it. Right now, humanitarian work ...

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Vaginal video games: What to make of mobile Kegel apps There are two new high-tech ways that aim to help you with Kegel exercises, both with Kickstarter campaigns. There is the Skea (Smart Kegel Exercise Aid), basically a video game that proposes controlling the avatar with a vaginal probe that uses the pelvic floor muscles and kGoal, a vaginal insert that is meant to connect wirelessly with your smart phone and measures your squeeze ...

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Marcus Welby wont survive todayMarcus Welby wont survive today An excerpt from So Long, Marcus Welby, M.D.: How Today's Health Care Is Suffocating Independent Physicians - and How Some Changed to Thrive. A 30-ish public-relations executive representing a large, modern physician practice was shaking her head in puzzlement. Her physician client liked to talk about how his practice was not "a ...

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“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on. “I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least–at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.” “Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see!” The brilliant Lewis Carroll had a field day with logical fallacies in ...

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The blonde minority: Sexism is alive in medicine While demographic data may suggest otherwise, I still consider myself a minority, albeit a less common one. I am a young woman in medicine, and I am a natural blonde. I barely qualify for a prescription for eyeglasses, but I have found they give credence to my words and patients seem to take me more seriously. Perhaps three years of residency training ...

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Part of a series. In earlier posts, I have described direct primary care (DPC) in its various forms called membership, retainer and concierge. There are some concerns with DPC. Does more doctor-patient time really mean better quality care? Does it really mean lower total costs? It seems logical that closer care means better care, fewer referrals to specialists and fewer hospitalizations. Most DPC physicians will tell you this is the case ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 18, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Feds to Withhold One-Third of Sunshine Act Data. Next month, when the federal government releases data about payments to physicians from pharmaceutical and medical device makers, one-third of the records will be withheld because of data inconsistencies.
  2. Derms Want NP/PA Practice Limits. NPs and PAs who bill Medicaid as ...

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