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Latest Posts

Physician Learns A Lot Doing AFib Research With No Funding

I learned a lot from putting together an abstract for a national heart meeting.

  • More than just learning how to e-submit, e-upload and e-print a large poster;
  • More than what t-tests and chi-squares measure;
  • More than learning that females respond differently to AF ablation;
  • And surely more than which coffee shop offers the best work place.

Putting this thing together showed me stuff: the process of discovery, it’s role in helping us be better doctors and the difficulties inherent in doing this kind of valuable research in our current system.

So of course…bloggers blog.

First: Many have asked why we bothered doing research? What’s the motivation? Money? Fame? A greater purpose?

It was none of these. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

Women At Higher Risk Of Having A Stroke With Afib

You don’t want this…

When it comes to the risk of stroke in atrial fibrillation, it pays to be a boy. Sorry, ladies.

An important question came up on my recent post on AF and stroke.

Why does being female give you an automatic point on CHADS2-VASc?  I keep seeing it, but I don’t see why that is.

It doesn’t seem intuitive that female AF patients should have more strokes. Why? AF should equal AF.

But it does matter. When it comes to AF and stroke, women are very different.

Here are three references that support the fact that female gender increases the risk of stroke in AF.

–First: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

The Perils Of Fetal Sex Selection: Terminating Pregnancies Based On Baby’s Gender

What would you do if you discovered early in your pregnancy that you were pregnant with a girl when you wanted a boy? Would you terminate the pregnancy? With the advent of a new DNA test that can determine the sex of a fetus at 7 weeks gestation with a simple blood or urine test, fetal sex selection is now possible. However, before you proceed to pop the cork on your bottle of champagne, a word of precaution is warranted. The Chinese and India dilemmas present a global warning regarding the perils of fetal sex selection. Boys now outnumber girls in China and India and competition is fierce regarding finding a wife or a mate. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), by the year 2020, there will be between 30 to 40 million more boys than girls in China and the statistics in India are equally as alarming. In her book, Sobs In The Night, Xinran describes a scene where a baby girl is born and the father cries out, “Useless thing” and then the baby is dropped in a bucket and dies. This “son preference” is what has caused the unusually large amount of U.S. adoptions of baby Chinese girls.

Clinically, the gender of a baby is only important if Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

Challenges Continue For Women In Science And Medicine

I didn’t turn on the computer yesterday (yes, it was glorious), so I missed Mother’s Day coverage in our local newspaper. When we returned home, I was happy to see that on the front page of the print copy the dean of Duke School of Medicine, Nancy Andrews, M.D., Ph.D., was featured with her daughter in the lab on their “fun Saturdays” together.

Also cited and pictured in the article was Duke vice dean for research and professor of pharmacology and cancer biology, Sally Kornbluth, Ph.D., and her daughter.

Written by News & Observer science editor Sarah Avery, the article describes how women are increasing in ranks in biomedical degrees earned while still lagging at the associate professor level and up. This trend was cited specifically for faculty and administrators in basic science departments of medical schools, but is widespread in academic science and engineering. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

AIDS In America: We Are Not Out Of The Woods Yet

Yesterday I introduced my friend Charles Roth. Charles was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2003 and was already in bad shape. He had been tested as healthy the previous year, but the disease struck quickly, hospitalizing him for a week and keeping him out of work for a month and a half. He returned to work but repeated illnesses due to AIDS meant that by 2006, he was unable to work full-time. A bank executive, Charles still tries to find occasional contract work or odd jobs like résumé writing and tax preparation, but with the recession, these jobs are low-paying and hard to come by. For the most part he makes do with a tiny state disability check and food stamps.

So how typical is Charles’s case? We’ve all heard of success stories like Magic Johnson, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and still has not developed AIDS. But clearly neither case tells the whole story. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Daily Monthly*

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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