This eating contest season, there was only one death this year, as far as I can determine. A 41-year-old California man died in August while participating in a taco eating contest at a minor league baseball game. The coroner said he choked to death. In case you were wondering, the Associated Press thoughtfully stated: “It was not immediately known how many tacos the ...

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Residents and fellows around the country have bought into the "medical training myth." The myth states: "Life will get so much better when I finish residency/fellowship." Sadly, too many house staff buy into this false belief and experience tremendous letdown when they graduate. Residents often see their attending stroll into the team room with a cup of coffee at 8 a.m., ready to round. Meanwhile, they think, “I’ve been ...

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I have been treating diverticulitis for 30 years the same way. When I suspect that a patient has this diagnosis, I prescribe antibiotics. This has been the standard treatment for this disorder for decades. I have found that diverticulitis is a slippery entity that has two trap doors waiting for physicians to fall through. It is an easy task to miss the diagnosis. Every physician has done this. The diagnosis can be ...

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Nowadays, patients are used to seeing physicians who are not their doctors. Often, patients may be seeing a nurse practitioner, a highly trained professional for their medical care, instead of a physician. A generation ago, patients nearly always saw their own physician, including if a patient was hospitalized. Imagine that: Your own primary care doctor sees you in the hospital, an event that occurred when dinosaurs roamed freely. The medical universe ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 65-year-old man is evaluated during a visit to establish care. He is interested in colorectal cancer screening; however, he adamantly refuses to undergo colon preparation, and he does not want to modify his diet for screening. He has never undergone colorectal cancer screening. Medical and family histories are ...

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It may seem odd that a gastroenterologist patronizes fast food establishments several times each week. I’m in one right now as I write this. I eschew the food items –though French fries will forever tempt me – and opt for a large-sized beverage. In truth, I am not primarily there for a thirst-quenching experience, but more to ‘rent a table’ so I can bury myself in some reading. Indeed, many ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 30-year-old man is evaluated for ongoing symptoms of dysphagia. He was previously diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis on upper endoscopy and has completed an 8-week course of swallowed aerosolized fluticasone, which did not alleviate his symptoms. He takes no other medications. On physical examination, vital signs are normal; BMI is ...

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When I meet patients in the office, our conversations do not focus exclusively on the medical issue at hand. Of course, if you come to see me with a stomach ache, at some point, I will direct the dialogue toward your abdomen. Often, our conversations are far removed from livers and pancreases, and deal with more personal vignettes and anecdotes. Why does this happen? First, I enjoy it; and secondly, ...

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The science of complexity lays a conceptual foundation for understanding "complex adaptive systems." What all complex adaptive systems have in common is that they are all bound by the same set of physical laws. Their "behavior," i.e., growth, maintenance, and death, can all be described using the same set of mathematical relationships. These systems (animals, plants, ecosystems, etc.) are the most productive and functionally effective systems known to man. Unfortunately, our ...

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STAT_LogoOver the course of little more than a month, we removed 54 tiny toy magnets from the digestive systems of four children. They were lucky: Despite invasive procedures and operations to repair holes in their intestines, their injuries were treated in time, and they will make full recoveries. In the past, others across the nation have not been ...

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