How can doctors counsel obese patients why they themselves struggle with their own weight? That's the question pediatrician Perri Klass discusses in a recent New York Times column. On one hand, doctors who are obese may better connect with patients when they "understand their frailties." But on the other, patients also ignore advice from physicians who can't follow it themselves. Indeed, that's what pediatrician Julie C. Lumeng, an expert ...

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Regina Benjamin has impressive qualifications to become our next Surgeon General. She's a primary care physician in Alabama who has spent considerable time treating the poor. Certainly a better choice than celebrity neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta. regina-benjamin But it's unfortunate that there has been so much controversy about her weight. Rob Lamberts has the best take I've read on the issue, and he ...

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Maybe those who scream obscenities while in pain are onto something. MedPage Today writes about a study showing that those who swore had an increased pain tolerance, along with an increased heart rate. This is similar to the proverbial "fight or flight" response that can help mitigate actual pain. Researchers asked a group of undergraduate college students submerge one of their hands in freezing cold water. One group was ...

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A display of attention-getting cancer artwork to potentially deter smokers from buying cigarette packs. Will something like this work in real life? (via Street Anatomy)

Pediatrician Rahul Parikh will be my next guest on the Live Q&A. Dr. Parikh blogs at sWell at Open Salon, and is a contributor to the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. He touches upon a wide variety of issues, including, health care reform, educating the public on the mythical link between vaccines and autism, and commenting on Oprah's medical endorsements. In fact, his opinion on Oprah ...

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Is there pressure for nurses to look more like models? The answer appears to be yes, in Prague. Citing an article in The New York Times, plastic surgeon Chris Hess (via Better Health) notes that nurses in that region are "under enormous pressure to look good in a society where attractiveness is often as highly prized as clinical skills." And according to this Czech nurse, "We were always taught that ...

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Most patients complain about the time they have to wait to see a physician. Not only the time between an appointment and the office visit, but once there, the time it takes to actually see someone. After internist Jan Gurley breaks down the numbers, it's easy to see why. Primary care doctors, on average, have patient panels averaging 2,500 patients or so. Assuming full-time working doctor who only takes ...

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The following is a reader take by an anonymous medical student. One of the ideas that comes up in the search for explanations of high healthcare costs is the so-called “Moral Hazard”—the idea that insured patients are more likely to agree to unnecessary procedures because they don’t pay for them directly. Not everyone thinks it is real—does a patient have the medical knowledge to make an informed decision? ...

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Poor communication in medicine can kill. I wrote a piece a few years ago on the issue (What we have in health care today is a failure to communicate), and fellow primary care doctor Rob Lamberts revisits the topic in a recent post. In fact, he goes one further, saying not only does it cost money, "It kills. Patients have died because of this." Hospitals and emergency rooms rarely have access ...

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A study suggested that doctors rated up to 15 percent of patients they see as "difficult." What does that mean? This piece from MedPage Today and ABC News, gives six examples of what patients can do to frustrate their doctors. I'll leave the obvious ones for you to read, such as stopping medications without notice, or keeping silent about the herbs and supplements patients may be taking, and instead focus ...

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