According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 9.8 million adults (or 4 percent of all adults) over the age of 18 years suffered a serious mental illness in 2015. A serious mental illness is one that affects a patient’s daily functioning. Considering all mental illness in adults in the same time period, 43.4 million adults (or 17.9 percent) who met the criteria for a ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 72-year-old man is evaluated during a routine examination. He has no symptoms or significant medical history. He is active and exercises regularly. He does not take any medications. On physical examination, blood pressure is 135/70 mm Hg, pulse rate is 82/min, and respiration rate is 17/min. Cardiac ...

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If any reader has heard of C. difficile, affectionately known as C. diff, then I presume you have had closer contact with this germ than you would have liked.  It’s an infection of the colon that can be serious, or even fatal.  There isn’t a hospital in the country that isn’t battling against the infection. We are not winning the war against this crafty and cunning adversary. While the infection is not ...

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Drug overdose deaths, once rare, are now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., surpassing peak annual deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, guns and HIV infection. As a former public health official, clinician, and researcher, I’ve been engaged in efforts to control the opioid addiction epidemic for the past 15 years. The data show that the situation is dire and getting worse. Until opioids are prescribed ...

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Born in 1920, Henrietta Lacks lived in Virginia and Maryland, worked as a tobacco farmer, and mothered five children.  At age 31, her life was unfortunately cut short by cervical cancer.  Since her death, she has helped catalyze numerous biomedical discoveries. Upon treatment at Johns Hopkins, Henrietta’s physician obtained a tumor sample.  To his amazement, her cells survived and divided in a petri dish.  Today, her cells are still used in ...

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It’s fall in the PICU, and we just saw our first severe case of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) of the season. RSV is by far the most common cause of bronchiolitis in infants. To scientists, RSV is a fascinating virus with several unique properties. One of these is its behavior in the population. When it’s present, RSV is everywhere. Then it suddenly vanishes. There are exceptions to everything in medicine ...

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Flu vaccines are available, and so that means that the anti-vaccine brigade is out in force. The Daily Mail published an anti-vaccine op-ed by a former reality TV contestant named Katie Hopkins. It was followed by a shorter counter argument by a doctor, but when you are given less than half the word count and are at the bottom of the page it is hard to mount an effective response. Hopefully ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 32-year-old woman is evaluated for a 2-month history of weight loss, abdominal cramping, and loose stools. Her stools are malodorous, but she has not noted any blood associated with her bowel movements. Although her appetite is good, she has lost 3.2 kg (7.0 lb). She has ...

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In her recent New Yorker article, “The Sorrow and the Shame of the Accidental Killer,” author Alice Gregory claims there are no self-help books for anyone who has accidentally killed another person.  Nor published research, therapeutic protocols, publicly listed support groups, nor therapists who specialize in their treatment.  She profiles several such tormented souls who bear their burdens largely alone. Yet dealing with guilt, shame, and regret is a mainstay of ...

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Hey ladies! And you gents too! Everyone is affected by breast cancer, either personally or by a family member or friend. Fortunately, we live in a time where breast cancer can be detected earlier and when detected, can be treated and cured. The key is early detection. There seems to be copious amount of information on the Internet: some good, some not so good. Let’s go through a few of these ...

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