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Latest Posts

How Old Is Too Old To Be An Organ Donor?

I happened to see this press release from American Society of Nephrology via Eurekalert regarding an article in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN) advocating the safety of kidney donation in individuals over 70 years old.  The press release does note that kidneys from these elderly donors do not last as long as those from younger living donors.

Currently, as noted on the University of Maryland Medical Center website:

Donors need to be between the ages of 18 and early 70s and can include parents, children, siblings, other relatives, and friends. An ideal donor should have a genuine interest in donating and a compatible blood type with the recipient.

Donors should be in good general health. Donors do not need to be Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

What’s The Best Time Of Day To Take Your Medications?

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

That oft-quoted passage doesn’t apply just to rending and sewing, weeping and laughing, or gathering stones together. Your body has its own set of “seasons,” many of them following the turn of a complete day. Taking some medications at specific times of the day can help them work better. A new study suggests that blood pressure drugs taken at night might improve blood pressure and prevent more heart attacks and strokes than taking the same medications during the day.

Spanish researchers tested Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

What Patients And Families Should Know About Kidney Donation And Transplantation

Lloyd Ratner, MD, Director of Renal and Pancreatic Transplantation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, has released a highly informative YouTube video regarding kidney donation and transplantation. The video is addressed to prospective patients, kidney donors, and families, and provides clear answers to their most common concerns.

In this direct and engaging presentation, Dr. Ratner addresses topics such as the advantages of living donor kidney donation; laparoscopic and open surgical techniques; what donors and recipients should expect during and after surgery; post-operative pain and follow-up; and post-donation pregnancy. The full seventeen-minute video can be seen here:

About Kidney Donation

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

Recent High School Graduate Receives Life-Saving Graduation Gift

This has been a busy time for my family as my daughter, Ruthie, has just graduated from high school. Because we live in a close-knit, fairly small town, we were all zipping around in the days afterward attending graduation parties. We knew many of the 400 or so young people who graduated. In most cases they are blessed with good health and the prospect of a fun summer followed by a college education. But the health picture isn’t sunny for all of them.

I heard this story at one of the parties this weekend: A leader of the senior class, who had leukemia as a child and received many heavy-duty medicines to cure it, is now facing a kidney transplant. His kidney function numbers have taken a nose dive. Usually the wait for a transplant would be a couple of years or more and dialysis for a teenager. In the meantime, this would totally disrupt his life. But there is another way. We’ve talked about it very recently in our videos about kidney transplant: receive a donated kidney from someone who is living.

That is exactly what is happening. The young man will receive a kidney from Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*

Bodily Organs: Which One Is The Most Important And Why?

My medical student has apparently had a discussion with his classmates regarding which is the most important organ in the body. Is it the heart? The lungs? The kidneys? What do you think?

My medical student thinks it’s the kidney because of the complicated functions it must perform. I think it’s the skin because it holds everything together and keeps our economy going. What do you think? What is the most important organ in the body and why?

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

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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