As a sleep physician, I spend a lot of time educating patients about what sleep is and how it works. Sleep, as I often explain, is not simply the lack of being awake; any more than landing a plane is simply the lack of flying. It’s becoming increasingly understood that sleep is an actively generated state, created by a series of neurohormonal changes that work in concert to nudge the ...

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Sleep apnea is a condition that afflicts millions of people.  There are two types of sleep apnea: central, and obstructive. Obstructive is by far the most common, and is usually what is referred to when people talk about sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when, during sleep, the airway passages in the throat close and block the movement of air. Common symptoms are snoring, gasping during sleep, sleepiness during the day, ...

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I arrived at my designated gate at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.  After handing over my crumpled boarding pass for scanning, I made my way down the jetway and onto what appeared to be a small but fairly packed little jet. Passengers on each side of the aisle eyed me as I walked past, a few noticed that my jeans were soaked from the knees down. Some caught the odor that trailed ...

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shutterstock_158365127 I can recall, though it seems quite long ago, my first basic life support (BLS) course as a first-year medical student. The instructor dutifully demonstrated on a mannequin to eager young medical students what to do if someone is found unresponsive. Shaking the unmoving mannequin she said loudly,  “Sir, are you OK?” Then hearing no response she showed us how to ...

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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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“Doctor, can I record this conversation?” It’s happened to me a couple of times already. But the question above was never asked. Rather I was informed later on that my conversation with a patient or family was recorded without my knowledge. Smartphones have made it all too easy for patients to secretly record conversations with their health care providers. Simply hit a button,  lay it innocently down by your side in ...

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I’m back at it again, talking about my continued love/hate relationship with EMRs. From my conversations with doctors at different hospitals in our region, it seems that most docs appear to be falling into the “hate” column. Meanwhile, I’m still chugging along with the EHR that’s been installed in my office. And while it works just fine for the needs of a 3 physician single-specialty outpatient practice, it’s hardly the ...

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Much has been written about how Web 2.0 tools can change the healthcare landscape.  It would appear a recent set of circumstances has upped the ante. This story begins with a recent study that attempted to tackle the problem of ICU infections. ICU infections are a challenging problem, patients who are admitted to the ICU are at risk of worsening illness and death from infections such as MRSA which can be ...

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How dare you! Life can change in a heartbeat. Most of us believe that our lives, our loves and all the that things that make us who we are is a gift from a higher power. One that can be taken away as swiftly as it is given. But somewhere in the shuffle of taking kids to practice, catching up on emails, worrying about bills, and the search for the perfect ...

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Well, I’ve done it again. It seems that everytime I try to make the early registration deadline for a conference, something seems to come up. One of the kids gets sick, a transmission breaks, I have a crazy week at work ... you know, life. Unlike the past few years however, I’m very excited to say that I will be making it to the American College of Chest Physician’s annual scientific ...

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