I first became John Dolan’s social worker following his colon surgery, surgery for removal of a very large cancerous tumor, the largest the experienced surgeon said he had ever seen.  John was told he had about three months to live. So much for predictions!  He lived another 16 months. To the chagrin of his very large Catholic family, he was one of thirteen children; he was all the time rejecting their ...

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The debate over the safety of giving birth at home, both for the mother and for the infant, has continued for years. I’ve written about the issue myself. From time immemorial until about 75 years ago or so, most babies were born at home. Now it’s around 1 percent in the USA, although it’s much higher than that in many Western European countries. The shift to hospital births ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 79-year-old man is evaluated for a 2-month history of progressive malaise and weakness, aching bilateral shoulders and hips, and stiffness for 2 hours in the morning and after immobility. He recently noted aching in his jaw when chewing. He also reports new left-sided headaches. Last week he had ...

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Most new cancer treatments haven’t been proven to help patients live longer or feel better. Instead, they delay the growth of tumors — which may be faster to measure but doesn’t necessarily indicate a tangible benefit for patients. But you wouldn’t grasp that sobering fact from some recent news coverage:

  • A headline in the UK’s Telegraph about the drug olaparib (Lynparza) read: “Revolution’ in prostate cancer care as off-label ...

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On January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade established a woman’s fundamental right to abortion nationwide. Roe v. Wade should not be overruled because women having universal access to abortion services means women have the right to choose what is best for their health care. This is how health care should be in that if there is a viable medical option for the patient to pursue, the patient should have the ...

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An excerpt from Mind Bubbles: Exploring mindfulness with kids. I am not a pediatrician.  My training as an OB/GYN taught me to care for mothers-to-be and bring their babies safely into the world—and then hand them over to the waiting pediatrician.  I am also a mom and mindfulness teacher, however, ...

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National attitudes have greatly shifted over the last 25 years towards the idea that mental and emotional well-being are vital to a person’s overall health. Today, nearly six in ten Americans have sought or want to seek mental health care for themselves or someone they love. While stigma and costs persist as primary barriers to progress for solving the mental health crisis, the key issue—as we have ...

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From time to time, patients ask my advice on colonic hydrotherapy, vigorous sessions of enemas that aim to cleanse the body of toxins that are reputed to cause a variety of ailments. The logic sounds plausible to interested patients. Over time, toxins accumulate and leech into the body, wreaking havoc. Indeed, using the label "toxins" already suggests that these are noxious agents. If one accepts this premise, it is entirely ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 38-year-old man is evaluated for a 6-month history of dyspnea on exertion. He has gastroesophageal reflux disease and Raynaud phenomenon. He does not smoke and has no cough or wheezing. Current medications are lansoprazole and amlodipine. On physical examination, vital signs are normal. Oxygen saturation is 91% breathing ambient ...

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With 44% of physicians self-reporting burnout in the 2019 Medscape National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report, most will agree the profession is in crisis. Of the 29 specialties included, all had at least 1 in 4 members reporting burnout, many with more physicians suffering from burnout than not. Hardly a U.S. problem, burnout affects physicians around the world as well as medical students, and I would ...

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