Spanking is an extremely common form of corporal punishment, generally used against a child in response to a perceived bad behavior. It is an old-fashioned form of punishment that has the potential to cause more harm than good. It is clear that spanking may be effective in causing immediate obedience, but this effect is short-lived. Corporal punishment has been associated with adverse effects in childhood, such as causing the child to ...

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Her 17-year-old legs dangled over the edge of the exam table. She had come for a prescription of oral contraceptives. Her boyfriend, she said, had been patient. He wasn’t ready to be a father, and so they were waiting. But lately he had started to put the pressure on and asked her to come in. She wasn’t eager for this change in their relationship, but it seemed like the next ...

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I read another post about the poison of GMO, corn syrup, baby formula.  One more post in an extensive newsfeed.  It is opinion, and I can scroll past, but it feels like another not so subtle reminder of the “breast is best” undercurrent that permeates everything baby related. As a physician, I feel that breastfeeding is ideal.  When I was a third-year resident, and I had my first baby, I was ...

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As a primary care pediatrician, I am often on the front line of mental health care. Since child psychiatric referral services are sparse and overloaded, I often have to initiate counseling for anxiety in many of my patients. One thing that I have learned is that you can help someone with anxiety in a tremendous way by getting them to recognize a simple fact: It is counterproductive to worry about ...

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Another child has been severely harmed by a naturopath—this time, in the UK. A four-year-old boy with autism received naturopathic treatments that landed him in the emergency room. The boy had severe dehydration and dangerously elevated calcium levels. A naturopath had prescribed a regimen of vitamin D, calcium, cod liver oil, zinc and a long list of other substances that included silver, enzymes, salts and trace minerals As a former ...

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Recently I wrote about empowerment and the importance of letting patients make their own health care decisions.  Our job is to make sure patients are given information and then allowed to choose the best option for them.  Maybe we should even embolden patients; give them confidence and encourage them to take more control. Physicians tend to feel more comfortable advising according to the “standard of care” and ...

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As I met with the vice dean of academic affairs to discuss my readiness for promotion from assistant to associate professor of pediatrics, I led with the usual list of accomplishments. After all, I thought I was pretty well rounded, with achievements in teaching, patient care, institutional service, quality improvement, and research. Unfortunately, this meeting was not going as I had hoped and I sensed ambivalence from the other end ...

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Once upon a time, there was a land where parents were anxious, information was pervasive, and trust was hard to come by. Misinformed celebrities with impressive influence (despite minimal education) were spouting ideas that provided concrete solutions to poorly understood situations, and parents were clinging to them as if their (child’s) life depended upon it. Pediatricians everywhere were scratching their heads, wondering, what has happened? Why are our patients doubting us? ...

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Growing up during the 1970’s and 80’s, Little House on the Prairie was an iconic part of my childhood.  Doc Baker was the physician and veterinarian for all of Walnut Grove, in spite of limited resources.  Medical lessons were everywhere in the beloved television series:  Mary experiencing onset of blindness (most recently attributed to viral meningoencephalitis, likely from measles), the death of Laura’s infant son by unknown cause, and Rose’s ...

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Referencing a recent New York Times article “What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew” got me thinking about both sides of the coin.  Physicians are human beings and sometimes this fact gets lost when a patient is angry or frustrated seeking help from the medical system.  Here is a primer on what I wish my patients knew. (This is a companion piece to "I wish my doctor ...

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