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

  1. CDC: HIV Remains Uncontrolled for Most Patients. Only three Americans in 10 with HIV had the virus under control in a 2011 snapshot of the epidemic, the CDC is reporting.
  2. Atherosclerosis a Signal for Brain Drain? Asymptomatic atherosclerosis could be a warning sign for cognitive impairment risk.

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At a recent conference I was approached by more than a few colleagues and asked about the Kardashian Index (K-index). For those oblivious to the term, K-index is a ratio of a researcher’s Twitter followers (as a measure of “celebrity”) over the number of their research citations (as a measure of “scientific value”). The article implies, and I quote: “A high K-index is a warning to the community that researcher X may ...

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

  1. Does an IUD and Family History Boost RA Risk? Current use of an intrauterine device (IUD) was associated with an important biomarker of future rheumatoid arthritis risk among women with a family history of the disease.
  2. Pricey Generics Draw Senate Scrutiny. Robert Frankil, RPh, was dismayed when a customer ...

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It didn’t seem like my college-age patient Quincy had any idea what was in store when I entered the exam room. “Hi Dr. Rifkin,” he said with a warm smile as I sat next to him. Quincy (not his real name) had been my pediatric patient for years. I didn’t delay. “Hi Quincy. I’m afraid I have some terrible news. Your lab work came back -- you’re HIV-positive.” His head went back slightly. ...

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Four months ago, a 44-year-old woman was referred to me by her audiologist and ENT for acute deafness of the right ear. She is a healthy woman without any past medical history and was not on any medication. Her otolaryngologist (ENT) could not find any physical reason for the patient’s acute unilateral deafness, including a negative CT scan. She was being referred to me to determine if there was an ...

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The publics lack of trust in science is alarming Cynicism appears to have replaced idealism as America’s defining characteristic.  So many of us just don’t trust the government, scientists, the clergy, journalists, business CEOs, labor unions, lawyers, or just about anyone for that matter, to say or do the right thing. Two years ago, the National Journal reported that as a consequence of the Great Recession, “Americans are losing faith in ...

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Remember when we were trying not to panic about Ebola? Seems like that was only yesterday. Oh wait -- it was only yesterday. But it already seems as if we are trying to remember that we were trying not to panic. I listened to my favorite news radio station out of New York City while driving to the office recently. They address all of the major news stories in the first eight ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, November 17, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Ebola: Signs of Progress, CDC says. The response to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia is showing encouraging signs of progress, with downward trends in new cases especially in two regions of the country that had been hot spots.
  2. Millions Of Medicaid Kids Missing Regular Checkups. Millions of low-income children ...

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As we learn of new suspected cases of Ebola infection in the United States, causing worries among the population and renewed efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the epidemic. A student in the postgraduate course in research ethics that I teach at Albert Einstein College of Medicine recently asked whether we could discuss the Ebola epidemic in class. Because I had prepared the syllabus for the course months ago, I hadn’t ...

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I was recently injecting anesthetic into a boil for incision and drainage. The abscess swelled and returned an arcing spray of lidocaine laden with blood and pus, soaking the thigh of my cotton scrub pants. A cheap plastic gown would have protected me -- I usually wear one. But I couldn’t find one and had other tasks waiting. My mind went to Ebola and exposed nurse necks. What if this were ...

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