I delight in learning my patients' stories and giving them exactly what they need when I take care of them in the hospital. Who they are and what is the best approach to their problem is the primary mystery to be solved, my Sherlock Holmes moment. This is why, if somebody asks me, I will tell them that doctoring is the best job in the world. The opportunity to connect ...

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The New York Times is interested in fecal transplants. This is the euphemistic term for taking feces, poop, crap, sh*t, bowel contents from one person and putting it into another person. There are various procedures for doing this, from drying it and putting it into capsules to making it liquid and introducing it by enema, nasogastric tube or colonoscopy. It is a remarkably effective treatment for a wide range of ...

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When I finished my training, I was taught that the vast majority of dementia was Alzheimer's disease, with occasional cases of multi-infarct dementia as well as odd syndromes such as Kreutzfeld-Jacob disease and genetic, traumatic, toxic and tumor-related syndromes. Parkinson's disease, we were taught, caused a tremor and freezing up of a person's movements and only very rarely was associated with any kind of memory loss. These teachings helped us modern ...

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"If there is a physician on the plane, please press your call light!" The vast majority of doctors who have flown on airplanes have heard this, and most of us are willing, if not entirely eager, to respond. What follows is usually a far from ideal encounter with inadequate information, too much noise, a cramped space to work in and little knowledge of what is expected or even possible. My experiences (I ...

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Medicaid — the program that provides funding for adults, seniors (along with Medicare), children and people who are blind or disabled who can't pay for their own health care — is expensive. It is painfully expensive. The program, along with CHIP (the Children's Health Insurance Program), marketplace subsidies and Medicare is responsible for 25 percent of the federal budget. Total Medicaid costs in 2016 were ...

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I just read a Clinical Problem Solving case from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). It was entitled "Stream of Consciousness"and it told the story of a 65-year-old man who was a patient at the Brigham and Women's Hospital of Harvard Medical School, arguably one of the finest medical institutions in the world. These cases are presented in single paragraphs to a clinical expert physician who then ...

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Drug costs in the U.S. are higher than in in any other industrialized country in the world. Our cost for an insulin glargine (long-acting insulin) pen is $76.80 and in Canada, so very few miles away, it costs $19.60. The latter price is reasonable. The former price can make the difference between being able to afford a life-saving drug and dying. It is illegal, however, for a U.S. citizen to ...

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I finally finished reading the many journals piled up on my dining room table, which have been shunted to other flat surfaces for projects or the visits of friends. I didn't read them all well, but I touched them all and read what interested me. The early October edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine particularly caught my eye. There were two major articles that looked at determinants of health in ...

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Estrogen is a miracle drug for many women who experience the drenching sweats, sexual dysfunction and frustrating brain betrayals associated with entering menopause. It comes in expensive patches, less expensive pills or injections, as well as vaginal creams or rings. It has gone in and out of favor with the medical community for decades. Estrogen is the main ingredient in most birth control pills and has been studied extensively in that ...

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In about 1990 we got our first computer. I say "we" because my husband and I shared a desktop which I used infrequently. I mostly used it for word processing, and the Internet was very young. At the turn of the millennium, my children were using computers, and they were limited to 1 hour of computer time a day, which was on a shared desktop. By 2001, I was communicating ...

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