The ALS wave has finished sweeping the nation, resulting in a flood of over $100 million raised to fight a devastating disease which is actually quite rare. Now that gallons of ice water have drenched American’s bikinis and trunks, we should be asking ourselves two questions. First, does everyone really understand more about the disease now that the challenge is over? Second, and more importantly, what lessons can we learn ...

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Twenty-five years ago, the New England Journal of Medicine issued a report on a stunning new medical discovery: Aspirin helps prevent heart attacks. Yes, good ol’ aspirin. Known since the time of Hippocrates for its magical abilities to quell fever and pain, it took only 2,000 years for us to understand the science of it well enough to design a ‘sufficiently powered’ double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial on aspirin’s efficacy in preventing heart attacks. The Physicians’ ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 3, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Best Aortic Valve Type in Middle Age? Bioprosthetic aortic valves didn't compromise long-term outcomes for middle-age adults compared with mechanical valves, although there were some tradeoffs.
  2. Burnout 'Across the Pond' More than 70% of young oncologists in Europe are showing signs of burnout.
  3. Ebola: Dallas Case Inevitable ...

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The dark underbelly of health care is becoming all too visible now. Fresh faces in neatly pressed white coats are in the halls.  Eager.  Enthusiastic.  Clearly very bright.  All hoping for a moment, an experience, an encounter that makes all their hard work worth it.  Surely they'll have one, but not before the thousands of keyboard clicks, the mandatory lectures, rounds and lots of lengthy, lonely call nights. He was a doctor ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 1, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Targeted Drugs Build on Efficacy Record in Melanoma. Targeted therapy solidified and clarified its role in the treatment of advanced melanoma, as studies showed superiority over chemotherapy, and that two targeted drugs outperform one.
  2. Fish Oil Flops Again in Afib Study. High-dose fish oil failed to reduce atrial fibrillation ...

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Searching for health and fitness apps on the iTunes app store turns up approximately 2,200 results. There are calorie counters, activity trackers, heart rate monitors, virtual fitness coaches and every other conceivable permutation. The quantity should grow even larger thanks to Apple’s latest product release, the Apple Watch, a wrist wearable computer that tracks health and fitness information. One question, though: Are the users of these apps any healthier as a ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, September 24, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Key Updates for Angina, NSTEMI. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released an update of their guidelines for unstable angina and non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).
  2. Metformin and TSH: Is There a Link? Metformin seemed to further diminish levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in diabetic ...

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As a recently retired physician, I still maintain an interest in medical research, though I have to ask myself: Why? Surely not just from the point of view of a potential future patient. But not from the point of view of a practicing physician either. Perhaps I keep up just from a lifetime of habit?  Or is there something I miss about my old job? These thoughts came to mind as ...

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Doctors need more quiet time After you've written on a blog for a long time, you begin to ask yourself why.  Oh sure, there are the great opportunities for a single person to make a point, to act as a tiny tugboat trying to push a corporate mothership in a slightly different direction, but you begin to realize that there are very few times that actually ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, September 19, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Ebola Response: Fighting the Last Outbreak? The dramatic U.S. commitment of 3,000 military personnel is arguably the biggest contribution yet to the fight against the West Africa Ebola outbreak.
  2. Microbleeds May Up Afib Mortality. The presence of cerebral microbleeds was associated with an increased risk of death from both ...

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