After spending much of the first 40 years of my life poring over textbooks and medical journals, I decided to start reading literary fiction. At the time, I had no ulterior motive — only a vague sense that I had been missing something important, a metaphoric vitamin without which my development would not be complete. I certainly did not expect that the great novels would make me a better doctor. ...

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Medical science is moving forward at breakneck speed.  Advancements in stem cell research, robotics and nanotechnology promise a new era of molecularly targeted medications, replacement body parts, and regenerative treatments to combat disease and decline.  But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the footage of Jimmy Carter, looking healthy at the inauguration, his advanced melanoma now in remission, says more about our accomplishments than a year’s worth ...

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