On the subject of shopping for and preparing nutritious meals, one piece of advice that I like to share is that it’s best to stick to the outer walls of the supermarket and avoid the center.  So with only a few exceptions, like flour, oil and beans, that’s exactly how I shop.  What does it mean to shop at the edges of the supermarket?  Let me show you what I ...

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Last year it was the "Save the Boobs" video. This year it’s the “I (Heart)Boobies” bracelets. Some people were very offended by the video’s slow-motion close-ups that were more reminiscent of a beer commercial. Now, some schools are banning kids from wearing the bracelets. And in a recent post on Salon, Tracy Clark-Flory made the eloquent case that we’re more than the sum of our body parts, and recounted her mom’s battle with metastasized ...

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As far as my chemo nurse Olga (not her real name)  is concerned, I can do nothing right. She scolded me for sending an e-mail when she thought I should have called and vice versa.  She scolded me for going home before my next appointment was scheduled.  She scolded me for asking to speak to her personally instead of whichever nurse was available.  She scolded me for calling my oncologist directly. ...

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Few patients enter our health care system prepared for the unexpected and embarrassing circumstances that can routinely happen. Most can accept it when we’re treated with modesty and respect.  But not many are prepared for those times when you might be unnecessarily exposed or treated rudely.  The possibilities for embarrassment are endless and it is usually unexpected.   When avoidable incidents do happen, most patients are not prepared to speak up.  Many ...

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by Zakari Tata, MD Informed consent has continued to generate a lot of interest in medicine worldwide. The reason is because patients in medicine and subjects in clinical trials need protection from the multitude of injuries and harms that have been caused by intentional or accidental actions. The controversies generated by various lapses of informed consent, in my opinion, have not been addressed and more safeguards need to be put in place ...

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How important is a doctor's skill in the physical examination of a patient? To the lay person, a doctor's examination might seem really important.  "Of course it is, Dr M ... Come on." But is it so?  Or, perhaps, is the examination a charade, a show, a necessity to complete the medical record. It turns out that many in the profession think doctors may be losing the skill of palpating and listening.  At ...

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This post was inspired by Dinah, a psychiatrist over at Shrink Rap. She recently described how a psychiatrist friend of hers has been going through some phase-of-life changes. Recently he has regretted some of the advice that he previously had given to patients who were going through the same life changes he’s now going through himself. He realizes that he was not nearly so qualified to give the advice ...

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When I was a medical student on my first clinical rotation, obstetrics, I was criticized for not using enough medical jargon when I spoke to the patients. I took that criticism as a compliment and have always attempted to speak clearly and without too much "inflation" of my terms. In my opinion, the more clearly we physicians communicate, the better will be our patients' understanding of their ailments. The important topic of doctor-patient communication led a ...

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People sort of want to try alternative care.  They’re working up to it, but then they read more about it; they read about the theory and they say, "No I don’t believe that theory.  That can’t possibly work.  There’s nothing to it. I’m not going to do it."  But, the problem is that the theory of why something works or the explanation is not necessary related to the effect of ...

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One of my favorite conferences is The Conference on Practice Improvement hosted by the  Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). For all the upset and negativity there seems to be toward doctors, these family docs are in it -- each and every one that I’ve met -- for the good of their patients.  And that is why I think every one of them ...

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