Conditions

The specialty of underwater medicine, and an interview with a dive physician

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Kristina Fiore

Physicians tend to prefer intellectual hobbies — chess, reading, writing. Dr. Alfred Bove is no exception. His hobby often requires application of his expertise in physiology. You know him as the president of the American College of Cardiology. But you may not know that his heart belongs to the sea.

Bove’s interest in scuba diving …

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Leg and buttock pain can be signs of peripheral arterial disease, especially in patients with diabetes

by Michael Jaff, MD

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a condition commonly correlated with diabetes, also known as a “silent killer,” affects at least one in every three diabetics over the age of 50 and approximately eight million Americans in total over the age of 40. Although PAD is prolific among diabetic and senior populations, current data show that public and physician knowledge of the disease is startlingly low, with only 25 …

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Seeing floaters or flashing lights can be caused by posterior vitreous or retinal detachment

Originally posted in Insidermedicine

The eye is very similar to a camera. Both are optical systems that have lenses in the front to focus light rays onto a film. The retina is the eye’s film. It is a tissue that consists of 10 layers and is about 500 microns thick—or, half a millimeter. The main function of the retina is to trap light rays, convert them into electrical impulses, and send …

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Can family doctors do safe first trimester abortions?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Chris Emery, MedPage Today Contributing Writer

Complications from first trimester abortions performed by family practitioners are rare, and family doctors could help address abortion provider shortages across the U.S., a new study found.

Among more than 2,500 abortions performed by family physicians, abortion was successful without complications in 96.5% of patients using medications (95% CI 95.5% …

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Many women report nerve-related persistent pain after breast surgery

Originally published in Insidermedicine

Nearly half of women who undergo surgery and other treatments for breast cancer report having persistent pain in and around the treatment area a year or more later, probably because of nerve damage, according to research published in the November 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Radiologists and communicating mammogram results to patients and their doctors

by an anonymous radiologist

I recently read the article and comments on this link from this post, concerning radiologists, from Musings of a Dinosaur.

I was disturbed to discover the animosity with which this topic is covered. The tenor of the blog is that radiologists are greedy, self-serving and are out to erode the doctor-patient relationship. The suggestion that radiologists would schedule percutaneous breast biopsies for their financial enhancement is both …

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Michael Jackson dead from propofol, is Dr. Conrad Murray solely to blame?

Recent reports have said that Michael Jackson died from a propofol overdose. Is that really the case?

Here’s what happened, according to the published timeline.

— At about 1:30 a.m., [Dr. Conrad] Murray gave Jackson 10 mg of Valium.
— At about 2 a.m., he injected Jackson with 2 mg of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan.
— At about 3 a.m., Murray then administered 2 mg of the sedative Versed.
— At about 5 …

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Do patients really need their complete lab and radiology reports?

Most prefer the bottom line, sparing them the raw data.

Primary care physician Rob Lamberts asks that exact question, and reprints sample reports of lab tests and an echocardiogram, demonstrating the wealth of information they contain.

So, borrowing this image from Dr. Rob, I’m not sure how useful something like this would be to patients (sorry for the small type, but you get the idea):

lab-values

How soon should patients receive their test results?

And should you assume that no news is good news?

The answer is no. According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 7 percent of abnormal test results from primary care offices were never reported to the patient. And in a large, unnamed, academic medical center, that number ballooned to 23 percent.

That’s almost a quarter of abnormal test results from that center that patients were never …

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Did Demerol cause Michael Jackson’s cardiac arrest and death?

Michael Jackson’s death continues to consume the news cycle.

There is currently no clear explanation. Some have speculated that it may be related to the narcotic pain drug, Demerol. According to this report from the UK’s The Sun, “An Emergency Room source at UCLA hospital said Jackson aides told medics he had collapsed after an injection of potent Demerol …

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Steve Jobs received a new liver, and the ethics surrounding his transplant

Orac, a general surgeon who blogs at Respectful Insolence, writes the most comprehensive entry I’ve seen thus far on Apple’s Steve Jobs’ liver transplant.

For those interested in the medicine behind the transplant, go and read his post in its entirety. I’d like to highlight some of the potentially questionable ethics surrounding the case.

For one, there is the question why Mr. …

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Why do I need a rectal exam, and what can doctors find with the gloved finger?

Have you ever wondered why doctors have to perform a digital rectal exam?

Well, look no further, as primary care doctor Rob Lamberts gives us the answers discerning readers demand.

Simply by looking at the rectum, which by the way, indeed “takes some getting used to,” can lead to significant diagnostic findings. Furthermore, does tight sphincter tone matter? And should you be worried about the large hands …

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