Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, resulting most notably in tremor, slow movement, stiffness and balance issues. While Parkinson’s patients benefit from medicine that can alleviate some of these symptoms, there are no available treatments to slow, halt or reverse the progressive destruction of dopamine-producing brain cells and abnormal clumping of alpha synuclein, an otherwise normal brain protein. The disease affects roughly 10 million people ...

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Doctors by our nature do not handle idleness well. We value our vacations, of course. I never sought out a study to see if doctors vacationed differently than others. Some probably hang out someplace warm, others seek out the best eats of the place they are visiting, some cannot wait for the cruise ship to dock so they can disembark for a tour of a new place. Vacations, though, are ...

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With burnout on the rise, many physicians are choosing to leave clinical medicine for alternative careers. Other physicians are wondering if it’s worth it to stay in a workforce that does not pull for the well being of their front line workers. Gone are the days where physicians stay stuck, suffering in a practice or career that is no longer fulfilling or worse, causing burnout. Those physicians are considered old-school ...

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Some children present to me with complex problems or multiple problems that fail to resolve after the typical interventions. I recall a child with severe abdominal pain. He had tried numerous medicines and had had scopes and studies galore. It had reached the point where he was being scheduled for exploratory surgery to try and see the cause of his pain. I lost track of his case when I rotated elsewhere ...

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I recently read an article -- "California Doctors Alarmed As State Links Their Opioid Prescriptions to Deaths" -- that infuriates and frightens me I'm furious that doctors are being persecuted for opioid prescriptions written years ago, and frightened that my doctor here in California may be pressured to stop prescribing them for my painful genetic disorder (Ehlers-Danlos). Twenty-six states have already implemented arbitrary restrictions on our ...

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My late father often repeated the adage, “Any man who serves as his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” We physicians may not represent ourselves in court, but we often try to treat ourselves or neglect our own medical care — and end up with a fool for a patient. My uncle was a family physician who practiced in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. He was my childhood hero ...

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Last month on February 3, 2019, we celebrated National Women Physician’s Day (NWPD). Created in 2016 by the Physician Mom Group (PMG) in collaboration with Physicians Working Together (PWT) and Medelita, NWPD honors the first female physician in the U.S., Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and highlights gender inequality in medicine. The day is a social media “holiday” of sorts, with timelines flooded with inspirational posts of women in white coats declaring ...

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I started sharing my journey through medicine on Instagram about four years ago after I failed the musculoskeletal block during my first year of medical school. I felt alone in my struggles and didn't want anyone else to feel that way. So I started talking about it openly. It quickly became a place to nurture my creative self and build community. And even though a lot ...

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I started my medical career late. Really late. By that time, I’d lived a few lives. I’d earned a boatload of initials. I’d changed husbands, languages, and continents. I’d written a useless novel, and I’d been a Mary Kay lady. One day over lunch as I was looking for something to do with myself, my husband suggested medicine. I spent the next nine years immersed in my medical training, feeling guilty ...

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As chair of general pediatrics for a large medical group, I knew our HPV vaccination rates back in 2016 were low, but didn’t completely understand why. I’m here to share how we figured it out, and how we improved. The first task was to understand the barriers, and we went straight to the front line. Our doctors and staff explained reasons why this vaccine can be such a hard sell – ...

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With the 2020 election cycle already moving into high gear, we are hearing a lot about Medicare for all. But is it a serious campaign promise, a catchy bumper sticker or a viable national program? Supporters suggest it will be a panacea for our nation’s health insurance needs. Others are less sure. And some are downright opposed. So where do we go? As a starting point, there are things we can ...

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I found myself in the privileged position recently of participating in the National Stop the Bleed Research Consensus Conference, at the table with an extraordinarily committed and compassionate group of thought leaders exploring the role, challenges and implications of this crucial initiative. My perspective as a consultation-liaison psychiatrist interested in trauma-informed care was aptly described as “a different lens,” though my colleagues appeared to require no convincing of its relevance. When ...

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Though many are not thrilled about the April 15th deadline, death is an even more inevitable part of life than taxes. Sometimes we try to lessen the impact of death through our words:  bit the dust, bought the farm, kicked the bucket, flat-lined, passed on, checked out, gave up the ghost, met his maker, paid the piper, put out of his misery, laid to rest, six feet under, pushing up daisies, ...

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One of the most popular topics in health care is the idea of universal health care coverage. You know the soundbites: “Medicare for all.” “Single-payer system.” While universal coverage sounds desirable to many, some factors must be considered. In this post, I’m going to provide an aerial view of this complicated topic. My goal is to translate this issue into patient-friendly language that all of us can understand. This topic isn’t ...

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My husband, who's had type 2 diabetes for 20 years, had been struggling for a long while to lower his hemoglobin A1C — a number that measures how well he's managing his blood sugar over time. When he and I finally investigated the issue, it turned out that someone close to him was thwarting his efforts. This person is an addict. Her drug of choice is sugar — often candy no ...

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Rural hospitals are closing their obstetric wards and stopping all obstetric services — at least those hospitals that manage to remain open at all. The tertiary care centers don’t seem to mind.Always wary of those rural hospital disasters in the middle of the night. Accepting transfers from a place where they must not have the latest technology, clearly, your little hospital must be behind the times, only subspecialty care is ...

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“Guys, are you alright in there?” I ask casually while taking the first bite of my dinner on a 24-hour PICU shift. No answer. “What is going on? Why is she beeping so much? Is her tube blocked?” My voice gets louder. Complete human silence. Except for the deafening hypoxia monitor going to 30s. Heart rate monitor dipping to below 60s. All this beeping was coming from a six-month-old girl with a history ...

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In 2006, the Mayo Clinic asked 192 patients an important question: What makes an ideal physician? From their responses, several characteristics emerged. Among the top criteria, they wanted doctors to be “personal,” “empathetic” and “humane.” This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Of course, we want doctors who relate to their patients as people instead of just another “case.” We want doctors to have sympathy for ...

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There are some milestones that need to be appropriately celebrated.  For the 80% of physicians who graduated with student loan debt, paying those loans off certainly qualifies as such a moment.  Everyone has a different way of tackling their student loans.  Today, I want to outline how we paid off $200,000 in student loans in 19 months, and then discuss what our plans are to rid ourselves of the rest ...

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First, there was Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that utilizes blockchain, a decentralized system of data collection and transactions that we are told will defy hacking. (Wasn’t the Titanic said to be unsinkable?) We read that cryptocurrency and other blockchain functions will be a societal gamechanger, much like the internet was when Al Gore invented it some years ago. My state of Ohio will now accept Bitcoin as payment for commercial taxes. And, of ...

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