shutterstock_255266638 We’re not imagining it: We really are losing our connections to each other. It’s a huge problem. In fact, it’s life-threatening. A recent Wall Street Journal article discussed the Brigham Young University study that found that social isolation increases our risk of death by 32 percent. Duke University and the University of Arizona have been watching our connections go down the ...

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I lost a very dear friend about a week ago.  She was my nurse, office manager, and friend. She was Ginny. Ginny came into my life about eight years ago as I assumed the responsibility of medical director for a multi-location clinic. I spent about as much time with her as I did my family, she was my “work wife.” About nine months ago I became concerned with her rapid loss in ...

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One word: gun. That is all it takes to spark a debate between two very different camps. One end of the spectrum feels guns are an evil haunting the nation by their mere existence, and they need to be dealt with by restricting (or even eliminating) everyone’s ability to possess them. The other end believes it is a core right to keep and use firearms for sport, personal defense, collecting, etc., and that no ...

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Diagnostic tests such as CT scans are not perfect. A test can make two errors. It can call a diseased person healthy: a false negative. This is like acquitting a person guilty of a crime. Or a test can falsely call a healthy person disease: a false positive. This is like convicting an innocent person of a crime that she did not commit. There is a trade-off between false ...

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Over the last few decades, medicine has become more and more targeted. We now have not only the “ologists” like cardiologists, endocrinologists, and rheumatologists, but also subspecialists. Forget orthopedic surgeons, you now have specialists in hips, fingers, and feet. This tendency has been due to a number of driving factors, most notably perhaps a desire for evidence-based medicine, and perhaps a sprinkling of prestige. Friends who have recently been through medical ...

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Whether experiencing emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, or a low sense of personal achievement, 4 in 10 U.S. surgeons exhibit signs and symptoms of burnout. Among neurosurgeons that number jumps to nearly 60 percent. Burned out surgeons are more likely to report substance abuse, clinical depression, and suicidal ideation. They are more prone to medical errors. Interestingly, academic practice, trauma sub-specialty, increased nights of call, longer hours worked, younger ...

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No one likes being in the hospital. For the most part our beds at home are more comfortable, eating our own food is enjoyable, and sleeping in real pajamas is always preferred. So if this is the case, why do up to 30 percent of us having such trouble staying out of the hospital and not being readmitted after we leave? When we’re first in the hospital, we’re focused on getting ...

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Dear personal trainers, I’ll admit it: I was skeptical. In the past, I doubted that personal trainers -- at least for me -- could offer real value. It’s not that I gave it much thought, or had anything against personal training, but if the idea were brought up, I’d laugh it off and say, “No personal trainer can push me harder than I push myself.” But I’m writing this to say that I was ...

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Several friends have pointed out to me their observations of my interactions when in public places: That people strike up random conversations with me, ask for directions, of if I could take a couple’s picture at a touristy hot spot, etc.  These types of interactions are becoming less awkward to me in the last few years, and I initially attributed my approachability to giving off a “psychiatrist” vibe, as if people can sense that ...

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Netflix listens to doctors.  Google, Facebook, and Apple listen to doctors.  The United States Navy and Marine Corps listen. The above companies have updated their maternity leave policies -- lengthening them all past 12 weeks.  And all paid. But yet, health care doesn’t listen to doctors.  And let me tell you how. I am pregnant.  Which is a blessing in of itself.  In fact, this is my 4th pregnancy, but I only have one child living. ...

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