"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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shutterstock_150037820 Lately I've had the opportunity to work in an outpatient clinic where the regular doctor is out sick for a prolonged period of time. It is a breathtakingly beautiful little community, with green hills and a crystal clear river. It is also troubled by methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse. The little clinic in town is unwittingly a partner in this crime. Like ...

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I recently read a discussion by three hypertension specialists, Drs. Jan Basile, Dominic Sica and David Kountz, on how to treat resistant hypertension. Resistant hypertension is blood pressure that remains above goal despite treatment with three drugs, from different classes, one of which must be a diuretic. 10 to 15 percent of patients with high blood pressure will have resistant hypertension. These are the people who always seem to have ...

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Physicians need to complete about 50 hours of some kind of continuing medical education (CME) every year. The ideal kind of class is one that we actually attend in person, with teachers who are expert in the field being taught and are somewhere near the cutting edge. CME classes are especially nice when they include something hands-on rather than just a lecture format because much of medicine is hands on ...

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In the last year and a half, I've been able to go to Africa 4 times and Haiti once, for which I give thanks that the world still produces abundant fossil fuels. That much airplane travel does make me feel a bit guilty, even though I'm not actually vacationing. Going to far away places to practice medicine has always been something I hankered after, and it turns out that knowing how ...

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There has been an outbreak of measles, a vaccine preventable disease, along with an outbreak of people yelling at each other. There have been angry exchanges between people who would like all children vaccinated according to the recommended guidelines and people who support the rights of parents to choose which vaccines to give their children, if any, and when to give them. There has been much focus on the assertion, ...

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