Whenever I talk about my research on how parents come to decide to reject vaccines for their children, my explanations are met with a range of reactions, but I almost always hear the same questions. What is wrong with those parents? Are they anti-science? Are they anti-expert? Are they simply ignorant or selfish? Are they crazy? The year is not half over, and the number of measles cases has now ...

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Stigma towards health conditions interferes with access to compassionate care. Both social stigmas from friends and family and medical stigma from professionals are issues. Perhaps the worst recent example of medical stigma is how people with HIV/AIDS were treated in the 1980s. They were isolated physically and spiritually. While in medical school a professor related that on the HIV floor the food trays were left outside the door like ...

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There is a pervasive tendency to turn to medicine looking for magic. Patients and health care professionals alike generally expect medicine to be able to cure diseases, alleviate symptoms, and relieve suffering. Historically, medicine has met and exceeded these expectations in a variety of ways. However, in some cases, these expectations can cause a blurring of the lines between hope and reality, resulting in false "promises" and preventable disappointment. You may be ...

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You can save your baby for $2 million. Can you afford to do this? If you cannot, should we all pay? Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. All types of SMA result from a single known cause, a deficiency of a protein called SMN, for "survival of motor neuron." When SMA symptoms are present at birth ...

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In recent years, a flood of cannabis and cannabis-derived products like CBD have entered the market – often claiming to cure or treat an array of health issues and ailments. These products are everywhere, but there is little scientific evidence to support the hype that surrounds them. As a doctor, I’m deeply concerned at where this industry is heading – and the potential risks to patients and consumers. I urge my peers to ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 60-year-old woman is evaluated for persistent constipation symptoms of 2 years' duration. She has reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome involving the right arm and neck that began 3 years earlier and requires chronic opioid analgesic therapy. She reports passing two hard bowel movements per week. Trials of several fiber ...

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While the vast majority of measles cases in the U.S. and worldwide are occurring in unvaccinated children, a fair percentage is also occurring in adults.  With more-widespread transmission of measles, it’s becoming more important for all of us – yes, that includes parents – to make sure we’re well-protected. Measles is probably the single most contagious infection that humans face. The key to preventing the return of widespread measles is in ...

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A lot of parents ask me, about the HPV vaccine, "Isn't that the optional one?" Well, let me walk you through why my answer to that question is a hard "no." Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes warts and several types of cancer. There are over 200 different strains of HPV, some of which tend to cause warts on the hands, feet, or face. Other strains ...

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Much media attention has been paid to the new guidelines from American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Based on new clinical trial data, ACC/AHA no longer recommends that healthy adults without cardiovascular disease -- emphasis on without cardiovascular disease -- take daily aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. This change, while significant, is highly nuanced and dependent on ...

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Our community had one of “those” providers — a midlevel who was the local pain person. If you had pain, go to her. She would write you for anything you could want and more. It’s unclear if she was unscrupulous or just inept. But last year, the DEA finally figured out what she was doing and yanked her license. There was nothing in the news. Nothing on the internet. We ...

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