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 ...

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Every time there is a terrorist act or a mass murder, reporters start calling with questions on the psychiatric diagnosis of the perp. The default position seems to be that every religious extremist or political fanatic or mass murderer must be crazy. How else to account for their weird behavior? Naming a diagnosis somehow satisfies a deep human need to explain what otherwise seems an unexplainable act. But names can only ...

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Recently, NPR published the results of a study confirming that removal of both breasts (a double mastectomy) fails to improve the chance of survival compared to breast conserving treatments for breast cancer. The headline of the story was “Double Mastectomies Don't Yield Expected Results, Study Finds.” This finding is not actually news to informed physicians. Since the 1980s, there has been widespread recognition that both mastectomies and lumpectomies offer an ...

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While driving to work, I listened to Mike and Mike (a radio sports talk show). Mike Greenberg made a wonderful point about his job. He described what they do as “professional over-reactors.” They take every game and extrapolate, sometimes irrationally, about the implications of that game. Does this remind you of health reporting? A study appears in a serious medical journal, and the press “blows it up” as the next great advance. ...

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I was shocked and deeply saddened when my daughter announced at the dinner table that Robin Williams had died of an apparent suicide. My wife and I and the three of our children home at the time all pretty much gasped audibly in unison, and then for a moment after, you could have heard a pin drop. For a bit after that, we talked about our shock and sorrow. And then after that, ...

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ZDoggMD's Dr. House of Cards  returns, and who does he have in his sights today? None other than Dr. Oz, who recently testified at a Congressional hearing.  See how he fares against Dr. Underwood.

Medical lessons from Robin Williams Dear Robin, You were such an inspiration.  You showed us courage in the face of adversity, making us laugh while your own soul was broken. Even now, at the time of your death, we find ourselves in a recently forgotten place where all people -- regardless of faith, color, or country of origin -- stand united, sending out love to you and your family. You ...

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After serious self reflection, is there redemption for Dr. Oz? Recently, Dr. Oz has come under scrutiny for his information on a number supplements that he alleges help with weight loss. Over the past 2 years, he has presented information about 3 diet supplements: green coffee extract, raspberry ketones and garcinia cambogia. After reviewing the available information, I can not agree that there is compelling scientific information to recommend ...

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Red wine is good for you. Red wine is bad for you. News coverage of health studies can give readers cognitive whiplash, and for good reason. “The reason the stories contradict each other is because the studies contradict each other,” reporter Virginia Hughes wrote in her blog. In her post, Hughes explains why it can be so frustrating to write about complex health research for an audience of readers that ...

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Is it possible for a doctor to be a journalist? A journalist a doctor? A runner to be a journalist and a doctor? In trying to be all the above I walked (arguably crossed) a line which sparked disappointment amongst my co-workers, and criticism from the public. When I started residency we had a lecture on the do’s and don’ts of social media. Don’t talk about patients, don’t post pictures of ...

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