In March, I began receiving photographs on my social media apps of my daughter’s Match Day celebration seven years ago at Tulane Medical School. It was a glorious day, in particular, because my daughter got her first choice: Not only would she be an internal medicine resident at a top-tier hospital in New York, with a reputation for excellent training, but she would be in the same city as her sister ...

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In times of disaster, marginalized groups often become even further marginalized. Both those of lower socioeconomic status and those with disabilities often are left out of emergency planning, as is evidenced by the current COVID-19 pandemic. From access to testing to ability to acquire needed goods and services to triage policies being adopted from community to community, those with lower SES or ...

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I knew Friday was not going to be a good day. A leak in the ceiling of my family room.   A pet who would need surgery.  I was already stressed well before Friday. But at work, the issues started on Thursday with an osteoporotic patient for whom I had recommended Forteo, six weeks earlier.  It was denied by her insurer who wanted Tymlos instead.   No big deal.  We simply precerted Tymlos, but ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 23-year-old woman is evaluated for 2 weeks of painful lumps on her legs. The lumps persist for several days and make it difficult for her to go to work as a waitress. She is a college student in Ohio where she has lived her whole life. ...

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I’ve often been struck by a painting of Maimonides in my medical school. The artwork features him holding pages of a book that say, “Teach thy tongue to say I do not know and thou shalt progress.” That quote resonates with me more each day. As a first-year MD student, I’ve uttered the words “I don’t know” much more than ever. I’ve discovered that, whether I’m naming nerves found in the ...

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I am healthy, a mom of two boys, a wife, and an emergency medicine PA for the past 12 years. I don't just say I'm healthy to say it, but I really am. I've never taken medications, until now. It's New Year's Eve, and I'm scheduled for my injection. I grab my sharpie and write injection on the 31st. I suddenly didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or be angry. ...

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Access to care, patient advocacy, health disparities: These are all buzzwords in health care now. We, as health care providers, understand that we must do the best for our patients in the hopes of providing a positive outcome. So, despite our perceptions that we may be doing a good job, we may find ourselves in a bad position. Or worse, causing significant pain to those we have vowed to protect. I ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 79-year-old man is evaluated for a 2-month history of progressive malaise and weakness, aching bilateral shoulders and hips, and stiffness for 2 hours in the morning and after immobility. He recently noted aching in his jaw when chewing. He also reports new left-sided headaches. Last week he had ...

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Embarrassment is a feeling of awkward self-consciousness or shame. It manifests as a sense of discomfort or even foolishness around others. Feeling embarrassed is emotionally painful because it means you feel uncomfortable with yourself. The problem with embarrassment is that it adds a layer of mental suffering to the difficulties you’re already facing with your health. Here are four reasons why those of us who are chronically ill feel embarrassed at ...

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Australian singer/songwriter Sia (born Sia Kate Isobelle Furler), 43, is known for wearing elaborate wigs and headpieces that hide her face. However, the "Chandelier" singer is not hiding the fact that she was recently diagnosed with the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. In a tweet, Sia wrote: "Hey, I'm suffering with chronic pain, a ...

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From time to time, I am asked by someone about participating in a medical research study.  These situations are usually when an individual, or someone close to them, has unmet medical needs.  Understandably, a patient with a condition who is not improving on standard treatment, would be amenable to participating in a clinical trial to receive experimental treatment. I find that most folks misunderstand and exaggerate the benefits they may receive ...

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Reality star and meta-celebrity Kim Kardashian West made the rounds on the network news and talk shows last week to promote her new line of shapewear. But she also talked about the recent health scare that was revealed on the latest episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." Talking to Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Today, ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 50-year-old man is evaluated for a left lower extremity ulcer. He has a 15-year history of worsening arthritis for which he has never been evaluated. He takes ibuprofen as needed. On physical examination, vital signs are normal. The spleen tip is palpable. There is swelling of multiple small joints ...

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Take one-half tablet three times per day with meals, increasing by half each week until reaching a maximum of three tablets three times per day. Did you get a new prescription from your doctor? If so, there is a 50 percent chance you will not adhere to label directions. Either the instructions are too complicated, the drugs are too expensive, you do not like the way the medicine makes you feel ...

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"The Big Sick" is an intimidating name for a movie. I never know what to think when "sick" is used as a noun. Does it mean vomit? Are we referring to ailing people? Just as the name doesn't give you much insight, neither does the beginning of the film. It has nothing to do with illness. It's about a Pakistani standup comedian/Uber driver who starts dating a white girl, but ...

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Whenever someone asks me what year of medical school I am currently in, I answer that I am a "four-out-of-five." To those outside the milieu of Stanford Medicine, this is an odd response -- four-out-of-five of what? But at Stanford, this is common parlance to refer to students taking a gap year after our third year of medical school. Some would reasonably bemoan my choice to take a research year as ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 23-year-old woman is evaluated for 2 weeks of painful lumps on her legs. The lumps persist for several days and make it difficult for her to go to work as a waitress. She is a college student in Ohio where she has lived her whole life. She has ...

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For many years after I became chronically ill, I blamed myself for failing to recover my health. I told myself: “You get sick; you get better. It’s as simple as that.” As a result of this stubborn attitude, I refused to set limits, even though it would have been a tremendous help, not only in managing my symptoms but in keeping them from flaring. Learning to set limitations I have a background ...

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Learn about the differences between polymyositis and dermatomyositis the Medcomic way.

Illustrated by Jorge Muniz and music by Neil Bobenhouse.

Image credit: Medcomic.com

It seems now as if every day and every month is associated with a "national day" or an "awareness month."  Some such as "national taco day" may be less important than others, well depending on one's priorities.  Although many illnesses now also have a dedicated day or month, many of these diseases will go unnoticed.  They will rarely be discussed -- that is until a celebrity or someone in the ...

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