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Latest Posts

The Mystery Of Alcoholics Anonymous

To further emphasize my admiration for superb sci/med/health writing, I wish to add another writer to my growing blog category of “Journalists, Awesome.”

Via my drug abuse research colleague, DrugMonkey, my attention was drawn to a new Wired magazine article by Brendan I. Koerner entitled, Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works. I strongly recommend this long-form article for anyone in the field of substance abuse and dependence research, psychology and general clinical research, students of excellent science writing, alcoholics and their family members, and anyone who thinks that good science writing no longer exists.

I don’t want to influence your views any further, other than to say that since I poured my first whiskey and water for my grandmother when I was around 7, I’ve had a longstanding interest in why Alcoholics Anonymous helps so many alcohol-dependent folks kick the disease for decades while others trying the approach continue to crash and burn or otherwise abhor its very tenets, especially the “Higher Power” focus. The reader comments there also reflect this bipolar view of the unorganized organization. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

Quote of the Day: Why It’s Good To Live In Our Time

Photo of a nice smile

Warning: a short, explanatory digression preceeds the quote of the day. 

In truth, I’ve never been a terribly political person – sure I care about “the issues” but I never really followed politics that closely. Never until I moved to DC. Because here in DC, politics follows YOU. You cannot escape it, you cannot outrun it, and you cannot ignore it. It’s discussed at the local eateries, it’s the driving force behind most social events, and politics (and/or government) is one of the major employers in the district. Escaping politics in DC is like avoiding Broadway on the Manhattan street map. At some point, you’re going to cross it.

So I’ve given in and given up. I’m going to hang with the gang here in as non-partisan a way as any Canadian can muster. You’ll notice occasional posts on policy issues and “inside the beltway” news and conversations in healthcare. I hope that some of you will like that, and the rest will stick with me long enough to get to my next post about important health issues like “flip flop foot” or “conversations at the spa.”

But I have to tell you, these political folks often have a terrific sense of humor. Please enjoy this interesting Q&A between the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, and conservative author Douglas Brinkley:

Weinstein: If you could choose to go back in time and live in any year in the history of the United States, which year would you choose?

Brinkley: I’d choose this year, 2008.

Weinstein: Why?

Brinkley: Dentistry

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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