Years ago in a 15-bed acute medical-surgical ICU, the nursing supervisor contacted me about a special assignment. Once I knew what it was, I said, “Absolutely.” We were about to admit a patient in his 40s with end-stage AIDS/HIV. He asked to be a DNR, but his MD wanted to admit him to the ICU for close monitoring. But the patient had a special request. Even with IV antibiotics and pain ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 32-year-old man is evaluated for a 2-week history of a rash on his face and midchest. He describes the rash as consisting of small, reddish “lumps” that are intensely itchy; they develop and begin to resolve with development of new lesions. He otherwise feels well. Medical ...

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There are some questions in health care that can’t be answered with a randomized controlled trial. We can’t randomize babies to inhale secondary tobacco smoke or not to test its health effects. We can’t randomize people to a different number of hours sitting the ER before receiving antibiotics after the decision is made that the patient has a bacterial infection requiring antibiotics. There are some questions where the best available ...

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As a medical student, I immortalized myself with my classmates when I informed a lecturing psychiatry professor that I considered Freud’s theories slightly more credible than the nuns’ tales about guardian angels. The lecturer ignored my obnoxious comment and continued his lecture. But Freudians have been on the defensive for the past decade. This trend culminated when the Library of Congress was forced to cancel a tribute to Freud in ...

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STAT_Logo My grandmother was filled with grief as she told me by phone about life on the island of St. Thomas after Hurricanes Irma and Maria had blasted through it. “Tears keep running from my eyes uncontrollably because everyone on the island is suffering,” she lamented, then paused, too sad to continue. I could picture her in her ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 35-year-old man is evaluated for a 2-month history of upper abdominal discomfort after eating. He has recently returned from working in a rural area of a developing country. He takes no medications. There is no family history of esophageal or gastric cancer. On physical examination, vital signs ...

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How would you like to double your chances of winning the lottery? Just buy two tickets! Statistically, this is true, but is that a reason to spend more money on something that most likely offers no return on investment? Yet, in medical research, study after study shows impressive improvement in relative risk for this, that and the other intervention but a small or even negligible effect on absolute risk. For example, I just ...

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As a practicing OB/GYN, I feel lucky to be working in a field so full of promise and with space for advancement of medical technology. Although prospects of improved fetal imaging, cervical cancer prevention, and techniques of minimally invasive surgery are game-changing, new discoveries in the genetics arena of our field strike me as simply incredible. Prenatal genetic testing has only been reasonably available to mothers since about 1970, and at ...

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Diverticulitis is a common and sometimes serious problem that affects several hundred thousand people each year. Diverticulitis is the condition where small outpouchings or “pockets” in the wall of the large intestine called diverticula become inflamed and infected, and typically presents as a constant lower abdominal pain, associated with fever or chills, and often bloating or constipation symptoms. Despite becoming even more common in recent years, not much is understood ...

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Part of a series. Cognitive decline is a normal process of aging; Alzheimer’s is a disease. Cognitive decline due to aging can be slowed but not halted with appropriate lifestyle approaches. The "big four" are equally important to slow cognitive decline: Don’t smoke. Reduce stress. Exercise often. And eat a quality diet in moderation. Good sleep and brain stimulation need to be added for maintaining good cognition. Some form of ...

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