Running late for school in the morning.

Again.

You yell upstairs to your daughter, “Hurry up.”

While she’s slipping on her sneakers and hustling out the door, you grab her backpack from the chair in the dining room. “Wow,” you think. “That’s heavy.”

Even when she’s soaking wet, your daughter weighs all of seventy pounds. You wonder, “Is that backpack too heavy for her? Can it be damaging her ...

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Comical cartoons about medicine and doctors help to alleviate patient fears, make doctors laugh, nurses think, and everyone else involved in the medical field ponder the value of comics. I have been involved in creating medical cartoons for 40+ years and have created custom cartoons for doctors and hospitals. Have you ever looked at a poster in a doctor's office and felt ...

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Just imagine the following: your assistant invites in Ms. Nichols, who has a migraine, a bad cough, and feels nauseated. You sit down, start talking about the symptoms, see her throat, measure her temperature, pulse rate, inquire more about the headache. In the end, you set up a diagnosis, you write a prescription for some meds, send the patient for some further exams due to the migraine, but ensure her ...

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"Words Kill" is a brilliant song about the perils of texting and driving. Spread the message. Courtesy of The Fever Breakers, a band made up of hospital employees. Their socially conscious songs are crafted in the basement of the hospital using a piano used for cancer patient music therapy and subsequently recorded in a studio.

An excerpt from Ending Back Pain: 5 Powerful Steps to Diagnose, Understand, and Treat Your Ailing Back. Copyright © by Jack Stern, MD, PhD. Published by Avery. All rights reserved. Most feelings of discomfort in life have clear solutions. For a stuffy nose, decongestants do the trick. For a pounding headache, ...

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Recently, at medical schools across the country, first-year students officially donned the physician's traditional white coat for the first time. The white coat ceremony is a powerful symbolic moment. It signifies that the students are moving beyond their identity as ordinary citizens and into their new identity as healers. The ceremony celebrates their idealism and their commitment to a life of caring for others. And, although they may not realize this, ...

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The younger you are when you are exposed to opioids, the higher the likelihood of addiction later in life. The prefrontal cortex is not fully formed until the age of 25. This means that alterations in the “feel-good” neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine (released by opioids), can have an effect that predisposes the person towards future opioid use. Because teenagers have an overactive impulse to seek pleasure and less ability to consider the ...

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While researching for my next book, I noticed a peculiar trend: Most news reports about suicide linked victims to mental illness. It is nearly always depression, multiple personality disorder, or more depression. While it is true that personal mental illness and a family history of mental illness are often bonafide risk factors for suicide, they — collectively as mental health issues — are only one of many underlying causes of suicide ...

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A quintessential art of communication is a well-written note. A decent note is one that is self-explanatory as you read. However, to read, you need to understand what is written, and decent handwriting is vital. Unfortunately, neat handwriting is something tough to find, especially when the writer is a doctor. While doctors may be the smartest students in their class with gold medals around their necks, immaculate in appearance, polite in ...

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As a young medical student, in my early 20s, I was still too inexperienced to know how a physician was "supposed to" act. But I took the model of stoicism that I learned from my East Indian father and applied it to the medical model. Lectures on "professional detachment" reinforced this. I remember being told that it was the doctor's job to keep a professional distance from a patient. By getting ...

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Think studying abroad doesn’t fit with your future plans? Think again. Since the day I applied to university, I had been researching how I could incorporate global learning into my undergraduate degree program, while also thinking about my future goals for getting into medical school. When I was accepted to do a Bachelor of Science with a double major in chemistry and biology, I surprisingly still found time for extracurricular activities ...

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Sixteen months into retirement, the absence of any externally imposed schedule still leaves me partly edgy. Medicare, COBRA, and cell phone bills come due at expected dates. The check goes out the next day, but it could wait another day or a week. Shabbos commences and concludes as the cycles of nature require. If I miss a meeting or an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class, there are no demerits. In ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 67-year-old man is evaluated for a carotid bruit detected on routine medical examination. He reports no history of previous focal neurologic symptoms or visual loss. He has type 2 diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia treated with metformin, moderate-intensity pravastatin, and aspirin. On physical examination, blood pressure is 128/64 mm Hg, ...

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I enjoy a fairly small private practice and a manageable telepsychiatry side job with good support staff. But even the small scale of my outpatient clinical practice doesn’t fully insulate me from the pain of unnecessary practices that I wish would become obsolete. 1. Preauthorization. The dance of preauthorization starts with the naivety on my part that I decide what medication my patient should be on. I spend precious time crafting ...

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We are going to need new types of physician leaders to get the change in health care clinicians want. When I observe current physician leaders, I notice the bulk often fall into two distinct groups. On one side, there are the out-of-touch and on the other the overwhelmed. Both types have positive and negative attributes. In my opinion, the successful health care leader of the future will draw from what works ...

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When I was accepted to medical school, I debated — hard — whether or not to attend. Out of the physicians I shadowed and interviewed, 19 out of 20 advised me not to become a physician. Their dissatisfaction was rampant. Over and over, I was told, “Don’t be a doctor. Medicine’s not what it used to be.” They spoke of concerns ranging from unreasonable work expectations to inhumane conditions. They described insurmountable pressure, decreasing ...

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A recent article was published in the Atlantic about Americans being the worst patients. Americans are part of a broken and dysfunctional health care system with exorbitant costs, a maelstrom of bureaucratic red tape, and insurance coverage that barely covers what most people need. But are they contributing to this system by being such bad patients? The article in the Atlantic seems to imply that this is the case. The ...

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As we approach Christmas, you only need to go to the nearest mall to witness the frenzied activity in preparation. People scurry around trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones and co-workers at the lowest prices. While gift-giving indeed is an act of love, many postulate that we have become lost in commercialism and materialism. If we look deeper, there is another Christmas happening as well: the spread ...

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Mindfulness and meditation.  Meditation and mindfulness.  Allow me to elaborate. I went to medical school in the 1980s.  Nobody talked about complementary and alternative approaches to healthcare or mind-body medicine.  It wasn’t because we students thought it was weird; it wasn’t even on our collective radar screen.  It was, however, out there even then.  Andrew Weil was busy in his movement toward integrative medicine, and Jon Kabat-Zinn was pioneering his Mindfulness-Based ...

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“It should be in my chart.” I’m sure we have all heard this statement uttered with a subtle (or not so subtle) edge of frustration from our patients after asking a question such as “what medications do you take?”  I find clinicians despise this comment because it is interpreted as (a) the patient is not making an attempt to recall his or her medical history, or (b) that the patient doesn’t ...

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