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Dr. Val Tells ABC News How To Stave Off Memory Loss

Did you know that physical activity can reduce your risk for memory loss and dementia? I had the chance to speak to ABC’s Let’s Talk Live team about important lifestyle choices that can keep the mind healthy and active. The good news is that you really can teach an old dog new tricks, and those new tricks can stimulate growth of new brain cells. Watch the video and check out the Alzheimer’s Association website for more information about dementia prevention:

Audio Interview: What You Need To Know About Thyroid Disease

thyroidimageJanuary is thyroid disease awareness month, and since an estimated 25 million people in the U.S. have various thyroid problems, I thought it would be a good idea to get an expert update on this often over-looked gland.

Victor Bernet, FACP, is Director of the National Capitol Consortium Endocrinology Fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the author of MKSAP 15’s chapter on disorders of the thyroid gland. I interviewed him about why thyroid disorders go undiagnosed, what alternative treatments are available, and how primary care physicians and specialists can work together to manage thyroid disease. Please listen to the audio of our conversation or check out the written summary below.

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Update From Haiti: Despair Sets In And Women Consider Suicide

jangurleyDr. Jan Gurley just returned from a mission trip to Haiti, 5 weeks after the earthquake hit. In this audio clip, she relays a horrific first-hand account of the current realities of life in Port Au Prince. With no running water, bathrooms, or place to shelter – and packed into a field with 100,000 people – some young women are choosing to stop drinking water in an effort to commit suicide.

Dr. Gurley describes the loss of human dignity associated with the crisis in Haiti, including a near stampede when sanitary napkins were offered in a crowd of women. She explains that the place is becoming dangerous – and the screams of women being raped in the night fill the dark air. In the day time, people huddle together for safety while the stench of rotting corpses surrounds them. With the rainy season approaching, and tent cities perched precariously on land-slide prone hills, Dr. Gurley predicts a second wave of disease, violence, despair, and death in Haiti.

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Dr. Val And Jim Belushi Raise Awareness Of COPD

valjimbelushiIt’s not every day that a physician is invited to be screened for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by a comedian. But this event was no joke – actor Jim Belushi is in a contest with Danica Patrick, Bruce Jenner, Patty Loveless, and Michael Strahan to see who can get the most Americans screened for COPD. It’s a tough race for a good cause – though I’m not sure if Jim stands much of a chance in a competition against Danica Patrick. Maybe my blog readers will vote for Jim and give him the bump needed to keep him in the running? Please take the screening test here, or forward it to friends who may be at risk (age over 35, history of smoking).

Like any good blogger, I had my trusty digital recorder with me and got in a few questions with Jim. Special thanks to South African blogger Delre Roberts, who gave me the idea for my leading joke to Jim via Facebook: “How’s a comedian going to screen a doctor for COPD?  See how short of breath she gets from his jokes?” Good one, Delre! You got a laugh out of Jim… Check it out:

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Heart Disease Awareness And The Four Hottest Controversies In Cardiology

heartFebruary is National Heart Disease Awareness Month, and so I invited Dr. Bill Kussmaul to make me aware of some of the hottest controversies in cardiology.  His tips and insights are invaluable to busy primary care physicians looking for the bottom line on thorny issues. Dr. Kussmaul is the Associate Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Hahneman Hospital in Philadelphia and an Associate Editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine. You can listen to our conversation or read my transcript below:

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Controversy #1: Cholesterol and Statin Therapy

Dr. Val: Who should receive high-dose statin therapy? Read more »

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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