Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 42-year-old man is evaluated for a 6-day history of severe burning and stabbing pain in both feet that is worse in the toes. The pain is more severe at night, is aggravated when the bed sheets touch his skin, and is partially relieved when he walks or massages his feet. The ...

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Few will argue that the overall health of Americans has deteriorated in the past quarter century.  Diabetes or prediabetes afflicts nearly 120 million people. Roughly two of three Americans are either overweight or obese. Pharmaceutical companies focus on drug discovery as a solution.  Thousands of apps for smart phones are being developed to change our destructive behavior.  But, lacking in both of these is a true solution, one that draws ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 72-year-old woman is evaluated in the emergency department for loss of consciousness. Her son, who brought her in, says she seemed confused and agitated when he spoke to her on the telephone less than 2 hours ago. The patient has an 8-year history of type 2 diabetes mellitus. She had strict ...

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A resident once offered me this piece of advice: Find mentors whom you admire. Not just for their rapport with patients, but also for their lifestyle, their hours and their family life. Make goals that you know to be realistic because someone has already accomplished them. My question now: Why stop there? Why not share that ounce of brilliant advice with our patients? Why don’t we link older, successful patients with diabetes ...

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At the recent gubernatorial candidates forum on mental health, Martha Coakley repeated the oft-heard phrase that depression is like diabetes. Her motivation was good, the idea being to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to offer "parity" or equal insurance coverage, for mental and physical illness. However, I am concerned that this phrase, and its companion, "ADHD is like diabetes," will, in fact, have the exact opposite effect. A ...

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Whether you are a veteran of not, the recent report of waiting lists, and possibly preventable deaths of veterans, has implications for all citizens. There is no large health system which functions perfectly. But I would say that the efficiency of any given system is inversely related to its size. If this is true, then the VA health system is, and has always been, a bureaucratic and wasteful mess. Like ...

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Nobody stands up to argue against quality and value in health care. You might as well argue against motherhood, or puppies. Yet many physicians are inherently skeptical of definitions of “quality” that are imposed from above, whether by outside evaluators like The Joint Commission, or (worse) by the government. There’s good reason for skepticism. Some of the “evidence” behind “evidence-based medicine” has turned out to be flawed, tainted by financial conflict ...

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The road to improving health care over the past several years has most certainly had a focus on implementing upgrade technologies such as EMRs and tablets, but also creating new technologies like 3-D printers and Watson-like doctors. However, in my opinion as both a practicing doctor and technology entrepreneur, the focus is all wrong. EMRs, 3-D printers, and Watson-like brains are not fixing the real problems that plague the broken health ...

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The danger of diabetes is not only the immediate risk of very high blood sugar. Diabetes also has many dreaded long-term complications. (In this post I am referring to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.) Diabetes greatly increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and amputation. In the US it is the leading cause of kidney failure and of blindness in adults. A study performed by researchers at the ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 59-year-old woman is evaluated during a routine follow-up visit. She was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia. She feels well. Medications are metformin, atorvastatin, and aspirin. Physical examination findings and vital signs are normal. BMI is 27. Laboratory studies reveal a serum creatinine level of 0.9 mg/dL (79.6 µmol/L), an ...

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