Smoking was cool. And he started smoking at the age of 15. Two packs a day — every day. When he was 32 years old, we had our first-born son. And he decided to quit cold turkey. But the damage was done. Somehow, someway, it would catch up with him in devastating ways. By the time my husband was 66 years old, he developed shortness of breath and chest pain. With exertion and without ...

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The Skeptical Cardiologist was recently greeted by headlines announcing that an international panel of 14 unbiased researchers had concluded that it was OK for humans to continue eating red meat and processed meat at current levels. The startling news was a reversal of what the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society have ...

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On Saturday morning at the breakfast table surrounded by my husband and kids, I suddenly felt chest pain, palpitations, and was about to collapse. Being an internist, I knew it: arrhythmia. Paramedics at arrival confirmed it. I was running ventricular tachycardia. Out of the chaos surrounding me at that moment, my physician's brain assessed the situation: "VT. Serious arrhythmia." After that, I lost it. I became a scared-to-death patient who has a ...

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Dr. Ryme had been retired at least thirty years from medicine when he met me, his last pupil. I was a freshly minted doctor, and he became the first teacher of a new course at my new school called “Life as an Independent Doctor.” At our first office visit, after telling me his life story, he quizzed me, “And furthermore, Dr. Braun, you’re an attending physician now. You are no longer ...

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Lying in a hospital bed while awaiting heart surgery, I looked at my teen daughter and my parents, then smugly pointed out the irregular slashes on the cardiac monitor. "See these?" I said. "They're called PVCs. My doctor is going to fix them. Make them all go away." The asymmetrical rhythm, a frequent and annoying pattern of multiple skipped heartbeats, had plagued me for the last three years, despite my swearing off ...

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The use of artificial intelligence in medicine is generating great excitement and hope for treatment advances. AI generally refers to computers’ ability to mimic human intelligence and to learn. For example, by using machine learning, scientists are working to develop algorithms that will help them make decisions about cancer treatment. They hope that computers will be able to analyze radiological images and ...

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Artificial intelligence is incredibly buzzy in health care right now, and for a good reason. Other industries are already experiencing AI-enabled radical transformations, like real-time fraud monitoring and detection in banking and finance and instantaneous image recognition across the web and social media. Health care now stands similarly positioned to capitalize on the transformative power of machine learning, and the massive potential is driving levels of investment expected to
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The storage capacity of the human mind is amazing. One estimate of the size of the brain’s “RAM” is as high as  2.5 petabytes (a million gigabytes). The number is based on the total number of neurons in the brain and the total number of possible connections per neuron. I suspect it is an overestimate, given the vagaries and innate inefficiency of biological systems. Nevertheless, the true figure is ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 52-year-old woman is evaluated for a 6-week history of chest pressure. The symptom occurs when she walks up an incline on her daily 2-mile walk and is relieved with rest. She also had chest pressure during a stressful meeting at work last week. She reports no associated symptoms. ...

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A 67-year-old woman with a high-stress job had a vigorous disagreement with her neighbors last week. She developed severe substernal chest pain and called 911 fearing a heart attack. She is thin, has never smoked, has normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol. She is not a diabetic and runs on a treadmill for two hours at five miles per hour with an elevation for two hours four times a week. ...

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