Lessons from the Wakefield Case

I was almost at a loss for words today, besides having read the morning paper on the upcoming ESP study in a major psychology journal with questionable stats, and my having seen last night the first story on the British Medical Journal‘s report…

After Breast Cancer, Get a Gym Membership!

Earlier this month the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA) published a myth-busting paper on weight lifting for women at risk for lymphedema after breast cancer treatment.  The study was neither large (154 patients at max,…

The U-Shaped Curve of Happiness

This evening, after I finished cleaning up the kitchen after our family dinner, I glanced at the current issue of the Economist. The cover features this headline: the Joy of Growing Old (or why life begins at 46). It’s a light read, as this…

Science Takes a Double Hit in the Press, Maybe

In his latest New Yorker piece The Truth Wears Off, Jonah Lehrer directs our attention to the lack of reproducibility of results in scientific research. The problem is pervasive, he says: …now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed…

The Cost of Room Service and Other Hospital Amenities

A perspective in this week’s NEJM considers the Emerging Importance of Patient Amenities in Patient Care. The trend is that more hospitals lure patients with hotel-like amenities: room service, magnificent views, massage therapy, family rooms and…

A Video About a Patient Who Might Have Too Much Information

The skit depicts the interaction between a young man with a rash and his older physician. The patient is an informed kind of guy – he’s checked his own medical record on the doctor’s website, read up on rashes in the Boston Globe, checked pix on WebMD…

A Play About the Life and Work of Dr. Rosalind Franklin

Franklin’s story starts like this: She was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in London. She excelled in math and science. She studied physical chemistry at Cambridge, where she received her undergraduate degree in 1941. After performing research in…

No Quick Fix

“If it’s chafed, put some lotion on it.” – some practical advice, offered by the character portraying Andrew Jackson, speaking toward the audience in the last scene of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a play written and directed by Alex Timbers…

Notes on Cholera, Old and New

Dr. John Snow, an anesthesiologist and founder of public health, recognized the mode of cholera’s spread more than 150 years ago in London, where he became famous for mandating the closure of the Broad Street Pump.

No More Clipboards

“This kind of aid to decisions, spread across tens of thousands of decisions every day, leads to much, much lower costs with no intrusion on clinical autonomy” – David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information…

Another Take On An Ordinary Day

…Live Each Day Like There’s a Lot of Them Left….What she articulated is the idea that maybe the best thing to do after cancer is to live, essentially, as you would do otherwise, except with a bit of added balance:

The Physical Exam’s Value is Not Just Emotional

But what’s also true, in a practical and bottom-line sort of way, is that a good physical exam can help doctors figure out what’s wrong with patients. If physicians were more confident – better trained, and practiced – in their capacity to make…

Doctors Not Using Email Like It’s 2010

There’s been a recent barrage of med-blog posts on the unhappy relationship between doctors and electronic communications. The first, a mainly reasonable rant by Dr. Wes* dated August 7, When The Doctor’s Always In, considers email in the context…

Back to Basics – But Which Ones?

A front-page story on the Humanities and Medicine Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, here in Manhattan, recently added to the discussion on what it takes to become a doctor in 2010. The school runs a special track for non-science…

On People Who Receive Care From Physicians

My point, which is really a question, is whether people who seek out or need health care should be referred to as consumers or customers. My gut feeling is that neither term is appropriate.

Mind over Matter? Don’t Kid Yourself (on Stress and BC)

I learned of a new study implicating stress in reduced breast cancer survival by Twitter. Three days ago, a line in my feed alerted me that CNN’s health blog, “Paging Dr. Gupta,” broke embargo on the soon-to-be-published paper in the journal…

About Those Skipped Heart Test Results

Harlem Hospital Center stands just three miles or so north of my home. I know the place from the outside glancing in, as you might upon exiting from the subway station just paces from its open doors.

Nice Nerds Needed

If we want doctors who know what they’re doing, we should invest in their education and training, starting early on and pushing well past their graduation from med school. Medical Lessons post

Imagine if we all had full, unrestricted health care coverage and could select what blood tests, bone scans, heart pills and treatments we want, and d…

9 + 1 Ways to Reduce Health Care Costs

Recently in the Times‘ “Patient Money” column, Lesley Alderman shared nine physicians’ views on how we might reduce our country’s health care mega-bill. Here, I’ll review those comments, add my two cents to each, and then offer my suggestion…

News, Information, Facts and Fiction

This morning I was in the gym, half-watching CNN as I did my usual exercises. Mathew Chance, a senior international correspondent based in Moscow, recapped the horrific scene involving explosions at two metro stations at the peak of rush hour….

Considering Targeted Therapies For Cancer

I first heard about STI-571 ( Gleevec, a targeted cancer therapy) from a cab driver in New Orleans in 1999. “Some of the doctors told me there’s a new cure for leukemia,” he mentioned.

You’re Sick and I’m Not, Too Bad

“The insurance market as it works today basically slices and dices the population. It says, well you people with medical conditions, over here, and you people without them, over here… – Jonathan Cohn, Editor of The New Republic, speaking on …

On Precious

This is my first film review, if it is that. I was tempted to write about Ethan Hawke, hematologist among vampires in Daybreakers, but gore’s not my favorite genre.