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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Op-ed: Humor can be healing for both doctors and patients

A version of this op-ed, co-written with Doug Farrago, was published on October 26th, 2009 in Medscape.

It’s tough to be a doctor these days. Whether it’s listening to the difficulties of our medical colleagues as they try to best care for their patients, or engaging other health professionals about the uncertainties surrounding health reform, we’ve noticed a tense, sometimes gloomy, atmosphere among physicians.

A recent survey from the Annals of Internal …

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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.

id=”play_continuous_flvs” classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ width=”385″ height=”239″ codebase=”,0,40,0″>Read more…

How health care reform can improve public health

by Paula Hartman Cohen

Have we overlooked the public health aspect of health care reform?

In the health care reform debate, we’ve heard and read how health care reform will or will not work, what it will or will not cost, and how it will or will not impact each one of us as individuals.

We’ve also heard from those who have great faith in our current system, and sincerely believe we should …

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Should doctors be paid to e-mail their patients?

by Michael Kirsch, MD

This is a less controversial issue than patients ‘friending’ their doctors on Facebook, which I oppose. Although most physicians’ offices are not e-mailing with patients, perhaps they should. There are several obvious advantages.

* Decompress phone lines, which are suffocating nearly every medical practice in America.

* Relieve patients of the cruel and unusual punishment of languishing on ‘hold’ listening to elevator music or dead air.

* Allow office staff …

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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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Medical students using Facebook and Twitter can get expelled

by Chris Emery, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today

A large number of U.S. medical schools say students have posted unprofessional material on Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, but few schools have adequate policies in place for dealing with such behavior, a new study found.

medpage-today Of 78 U.S. medical schools that responded to a survey, 60% reported incidents of …

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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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Is health care a public good?

by Jeoffry B. Gordon, MD, MPH

The public policy and current political action around changing the system overlooks two important technical fallacies:

(1) That health care is most efficiently distributed by a free market mechanism; and,
(2) That medical services are an ordinary commodity.

The commercial market model is a failing economic and public policy ideology used to rationalize and justify corporate control of the health care system to profit from the enterprise. …

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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):