Although it is still early, 2016 is already shaping up to be a year to remember in science: Long-postulated gravitational waves were finally discovered, the CDC scrambles to battle Zika virus on multiple continents, and long-awaited clinical testing begins for a new HIV vaccine. But these accomplishments all pale in comparison to the monumental study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology titled “Anal Intercourse and Fecal ...

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Your primary care doctor has been nagging you for years. Your wife and brother seem to be in on the scheme too. Every once and a while one of your coworkers even says (with a chuckle) “C’mon Bob, you’re fifty-seven, you really need to get it done!” “OK, enough,” you finally say, “I’ll go for a colonoscopy!” So at your next visit you ask your primary doctor how to set it ...

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Years ago, I was having dinner with two members of the Cleveland Orchestra, one of the finest orchestras in the world. I asked them, with my kids present, how much time they devoted to their craft. As many parents know, getting kids to commit to practicing a musical instrument is about as easy as splitting the atom. The musicians told us how much time they practiced, which was mind boggling, ...

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You see your gastroenterologist with long-standing stomach pain. You have undergone a reasonable evaluation and all the endoscopic bodily invasions, and imaging studies of your abdomen have been normal. Repeated lab work provides no clue explaining your distress. You have been twice to the emergency room and were sent home with prescriptions that didn’t work. You are frustrated and so is your gastro guy. You are convinced that there is ...

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A patient came to the office and refused to see me, although I was quite willing to see him. I’ll present the scenario followed by the patient’s reason he took an abrupt U-turn. Then, if you are inclined, you may offer your own advice and comment. I performed a colonoscopy on this patient and found a large polyp in the upper part of the large intestine, or colon. The upper part ...

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Everywhere you go, you can see people from all walks of life sporting some pretty cool tattoos. Tattoos are so popular nowadays that they’re almost conformist. I consider myself really hip since I don’t have any tattoos; how avant-garde! However, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate good ink when I see it. As a matter of fact, I even dabble as a tattooist sometimes. It is common practice to leave a permanent tattoo at ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 50-year-old man is evaluated in follow-up after hospitalization 6 months ago for a large bleeding gastric ulcer. Tests performed for Helicobacter pylori infection at that time were negative. However, for the 3 months before hospitalization he had been taking ibuprofen for chronic back pain. He was discharged from the hospital on omeprazole, ...

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An excerpt from Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body. Linda Buonanno hugs me as soon as we meet, and shows me upstairs to her small, first-floor apartment in a housing block just off the freeway in Methuen, Massachusetts. Her living space is tidy but densely packed ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 60-year-old woman is evaluated during a routine follow-up appointment. She has gastroparesis associated with long-standing type 2 diabetes mellitus. Improved blood sugar control and efforts to eat small, frequent meals did not result in symptom improvement. In addition to these interventions, metoclopramide was started 6 months ago, after which her nausea ...

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Gluten is in the news again. Gluten and probiotics are among the two dietary issues that most consume my patients. I am asked for my opinion on them several times each week. Although my opinion is solicited, these patients have largely already made up their own minds as they are often avoiding gluten and swallowing zillions of "good bacteria" with zeal and enthusiasm. Why do they do this in the absence ...

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