Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 21-year-old man is evaluated during a medical examination for health insurance. The patient is a weight lifter. He has no medical problems and takes no medications or illicit drugs. On physical examination, blood pressure is 128/73 mm Hg, pulse rate is 56/min, and respiration rate is 16/min; BMI is 30. Increased skeletal ...

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"Dad, you have the nicest patients!" She was right, of course. Daughters that you bring to work with you to shadow for a day can bring you back to what's important in medicine.  In fact, seeing medicine through fresh eyes is helpful, especially when we forget to look up from our work-a-day lives. It had been over ten years since I had my first "bring your daughter to work" experience.  Her first time ...

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Chest pain and what we can learn from changing flat tires “Daddy, I think we have a flat tire.” I just rolled out of the garage with my 4th grade daughter. It was Tuesday morning. Usual daily routine. Drop her off at school then go to work. A little different today as I was to lead an important meeting. How could she possibly know what a flat tire sounds like? Now? Right now? She’s ...

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No medical resident looks forward to working night float. The initial glamour of doing chest compressions in the rising light comes up against a litany of administrative tasks. As the glamour wanes, the gulf between the objective curriculum and actual practice widens. On paper, residents learn how to manage acute emergencies and learn deeper clinical reasoning. Actual practice, or the “hidden curriculum” of training, can be a different experience, involving ...

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The scientific literature is replete with the failure of vitamins to support diseases.  Yet, the industry is booming and people's cabinets are filled with potentially harmful, poorly studied colorful bottles that make unsubstantiated magical claims. This year, we witnessed Dr. Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor who frequently extols weight loss products, supplements and vitamins on his syndicated television show come under fire from regulatory committees for false claims and poor outcomes. The ...

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Knowing what to do when faced with a sick patient is relatively straightforward. We learned a lot of it in medical school, picked more up by experience, and usually have the opportunity to look things up quickly on the Internet. Even when faced with a brand new situation, we can usually fall back on our general knowledge of science and medicine. But in today’s practice of medicine, that’s not enough. Physicians, ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 68-year-old woman is assessed for a 6-month history of progressive exertional leg discomfort, described as a "heaviness" involving both calves. The symptoms are relieved within 5 to 10 minutes of rest. She has noted the same limiting heaviness with bicycling. Medical history is significant for hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and ...

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Most physicians recall the medical school ritual of unboxing our first stethoscope. From the first physical diagnosis course, we were all solemnly instructed as to the importance of the physical examination in the diagnosis and of management of illness. Given that perhaps the most notable use of the stethoscope is cardiac auscultation, it would seem that this should hold particularly true for cardiology. And yet, on moving from classroom to bedside, ...

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The world is asunder.  Iraq is sinking into a sectarian abyss.  ISIS, a terrorist group, now controls a larger territory than many actual countries.  Russia has swallowed Crimea and has her paw prints all over eastern Ukraine.  China is claiming airspace and territories in Southeast Asia increasing tensions with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.  The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is in another deep freeze.  Terrorists in Sudan and Nigeria are kidnapping ...

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To paraphrase General MacArthur, old doctors never retire, they just fade away. Despite having greater than average financial resources and more burdensome than average work load, many doctors seem to have a hard time knowing when it is time to call it quits. I know doctors who continue to practice into their 70s and 80s. Some continue to work until the day they die. Why is this? I think that some ...

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