A grandmother develops a boil that turns out to be a difficult-to-treat staph infection (MRSA). She needs high-powered antibiotics. A middle-aged man who received a blood transfusion decades ago now has hepatitis C and needs anti-viral medicine. A young woman with HIV develops golf-ball-size lesions in her brain, has toxoplasmosis and needs anti-parasite medicine. The marvel of medicine today is that we can treat all three infections, and save the lives ...

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A few summers ago during a week-long vacation, I started playing a mind game. In the mornings, I would sit outside on a comfortable deck chair, surrounded by the shrill call of cicadas, and gaze across the lawn into the trees. After getting settled, I would close my eyes and bring my body to complete stillness except for the rhythmic rise and fall of my chest with each breath. Then I’d ...

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It was a week into my elderly patient's hospital admission when he began to have fever and profuse diarrhea, some 10 to 12 bowel movement a day. The diagnosis was not hard to make: a stool test showed he had C. difficile. Another patient, a thin women in her late 40s who had become paraplegic after a gunshot wound decades ago, came in from a nursing home when her urinary catheter ...

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INSIDE-OUT-8-1940x1092 This summer's Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out makes us think about our thinking. But, I wonder, first of all, "Can we even think about our thoughts?" In fact, over the summer with campers at Lausanne Collegiate School, beginning with junior kindergarten to grade 7, I was teaching them how to observe their thoughts: a course in mindfulness and meditation for children. We begin by sitting ...

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Recently, health insurance companies across the nation have petitioned to increase premium rates for customers covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has proposed a 25.7 percent raise in premiums; in New Mexico, BCBS requested a 56.1 percent raise; and, in Georgia, Alliant Health Plans has submitted a proposal for a hike as high as 85 ...

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shutterstock_274763711 The morning after his brother's bachelor party, standing on the fourth floor of his family home, Dr. Arvind Goel, felt the ground move under his feet. "First it was minor vibrations and then it built up in a crescendo and then the couch where my four-month-old son was lying began to shake." "It was creepy," Goel, 32, continued. "The furniture began to ...

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shutterstock_141622243 Some years ago when my father underwent bypass surgery, he was anxious, depressed and in pain as he lay in the hospital bed tied to IV catheters and tubes. Each day, his surgeon, his hospitalist, and other consultant doctors whisked in and out, asking how he was feeling and then ordering a treatment plan. A few years after his full recovery, ...

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shutterstock_108354956 This year, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. So, last week, one evening, I told my wife about a news story I heard on National Public Radio (NPR) about the microbiology of a kiss. My wife smiled. A group of researchers, I said, looked at the oral bacterial flora of 21 couples to determine how many bacteria were transferred by a kiss. ...

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A few weeks ago an emergency room doctor called our infectious disease physician group concerning a patient who had returned from Liberia and was having nausea and vomiting. Several of the patient’s family members had died of Ebola. As panic struck us, our decisive question was: When did he return from Liberia? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for screening and isolating patients for possible Ebola infection are clear: ...

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Recently at our community hospital, after we concluded a nearly two-hour standing room only Ebola preparedness meeting, I practiced donning and doffing the personal protective equipment (PPE) for Ebola cases. PPE is the protective wardrobe health workers wear when examining a patient with a contagious infectious disease. Each disease has a different level of transmission and requires an appropriate level of protection. I wear gloves 25 times a day to examine ...

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