Doing drugs no longer requires a dealer on the street corner. Between the late 1990′s and 2010 sales of narcotic pain medicines quadrupled in the United States. Hydrocodone use increased by 280%, methadone by 1300%, and oxycodone by 900%. As the consumption of these medicines increased, so did ER visits and deaths from overdose -- up by about 500%. A whole lot of these medicines are not going to medical use. And ...

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Doctors talk with their patients about many things that might make some people uncomfortable -- sexual issues, abuse (physical or emotional), anxiety, depression, sleep habits, bowel habits, and fears about health-related topics -- things that many people might not talk about in casual conversation at the coffee shop or at work. Doctors talk with their patients about smoking, weight, eating habits, exercise, seat belt use, helmet use, and a myriad ...

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There were many things I pictured myself doing as I endured four years of medical school: building relationships with my patients and their families, performing complicated procedures, sleeping with my shoes on so I could jump up at any moment when I was on call. One thing I didn’t imagine was that I would be learning about and becoming a part of the labor movement. My experience at UCSF ...

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Appreciate your NICU nurse: A letter from a neonatologist Dear NICU nurse, I couldn't have done what I do without you, and the time to thank you publicly for all the ways you have helped me is more than overdue. Thank you for teaching me how to handle 500 grammers when I was a medical student and had no clue.  This showed me your tolerance and good nature. Thank you for speaking up ...

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These days, we hear a lot about the risks of vaccines. As a pediatrician, I talk to many parents who are very frightened about those risks -- and some choose not to vaccinate because of their fear. Some of the risks we hear about are real, but some of them aren't. I absolutely support the right of every parent to make what they feel is the best decision for their child. The ...

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I became a physician in 2001, after originally having a career in business. I wanted to become a doctor to be able to do something important. I felt that if I needed to work, and to leave my children in day care, I at least wanted to be doing something that was meaningful to me. My job as a business manager didn’t fulfill me in that way. Over the years, I’ve ...

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What every college freshmen ought to know about sexual assault Dear college freshman, I just saw you in clinic a few weeks ago; your last check up before college. We talked about a lot of stuff, updated shots, filled out forms, hugged good-bye; crammed in what we could in just a few minutes. It was a great to see you. Now that you are out of the office, away from the distractions of a buzzing ...

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“We lost our regular doctor with Obamacare, so now we have to see you.” I routinely ask my new patients how they heard about our pediatric office, and this is the answer I dread most. My pediatric practice is a very nice and modern private office, and in my opinion, full of excellent physicians. I entrust my own children’s care to my partners. But none of that matters when you’re the rebound doctor, the ...

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On the first day of school, a letter to my childs teacher I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but today you become one of the most important people in my life. You are the one. The one who I’ve entrusted to take care of my girl in my absence. The one who I’ve tasked with teaching her things that I cannot. The one who will make an indelible mark on her ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 27, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. 'Sleep Drunkenness' Common, But Rarely Unexplained. So-called confusional arousals -- awakenings without coming fully aware -- were reported in the past year by some 15% of respondents in a population-based survey, with nearly all such episodes associated with mental disorders or drugs known to affect sleep.
  2. The Siren Call ...

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