A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reads like an expose. Well, at least three of the research articles do. So exciting! I don't want medicine — my field — to be ethically unsavory, but it is sometimes. It makes me proud to see that it polices itself and that such information is published in a high profile journal. The first article ...

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An article released in the JAMA sites evidence that the suicide rate in America has risen by 24 percent in the last 15 years associated with a significant reduction in the numbers of psychiatric beds available. The U.S. has had a lower capacity for psychiatric patients than comparable countries in Europe for years, but between 1998 and 2013 that number dropped even further. Waiting in the ER for days This ...

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A couple of weeks ago I started taking medicine to lower my blood pressure and another to reduce my cholesterol. This was a controversial move, given my deep distrust of the practice of medicine, when it is practiced on me, and especially regarding pharmaceuticals. I know that, as a woman of 55 with a very active and healthy lifestyle, no chronic diseases and, most importantly, as a nonsmoker, I am at ...

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After five years of doing bedside ultrasound, I'm still excited about it. Bedside, or point-of-care ultrasound is using an ultrasound machine during the physical examination of a patient in order to make a diagnosis. I use a pretty tiny machine that fits in my pocket. As an internist who works in the hospital and in rural clinic outpatient settings, I get to use my ultrasound all the time, and it's ...

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The British National Health Service (NHS) was born in 1948, based on legislation passed that year mandating free high-quality health care for all paid by taxes. In contrast, the U.S. started Medicare in 1966 to provide health care to the elderly and the State Children's Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1993 to fund health care for children whose parents were unable to afford it. Health care in the UK is still ...

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"I'm going to the doctor next week for my yearly physical." So normal. Of course you are. Everyone should do that. But the concept of a yearly examination of one's whole body to see if everything checks out fine is a relatively new invention and whether or not it is necessary is a very controversial question. I just read an article by Abraham Verghese, an internist and champion of physical diagnosis, professor at ...

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I just finished reading a very delightful A Piece of My Mind essay in JAMA.  JAMA is primarily a research journal, filled with new scientific or semi-scientific studies and comments on those, plus reviews of the literature and editorials on science or politics. There are also letters and announcements and educational sections for doctors or patients, even poems, but the part I like to read all the way through is ...

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Mnemonics can be incredibly cool. When I was in medical school, there was just too much stuff to remember and memory aids were so very helpful. Most specifically I refer to the vile and inappropriate one that helped me remember the cranial nerves which I remember to this day and will not share in print. In ancient times orators used memory palaces to memorize long speeches or poems, associating words with ...

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shutterstock_126678482 Within the last two days, I received a bill for my glasses and read a post by a friend ranting about medical billing mistakes. This is a huge problem that is so common that it could be considered the norm. It is ridiculously expensive and could probably be fixed. My exposure to medical bills has been through patients who show them to me, ...

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A few weeks ago I was feeling angry and disappointed when I noticed that many of the articles I was reading in my favorite medical journal were funded by companies who made the products those articles evaluated. This is nothing new, but it looks to me like there are increasingly more of these articles which celebrate products and fewer interesting articles about the science of medicine. The other thing ...

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