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Latest Posts

The Choice Of Taking Tests In Life

Do you remember the visceral sensations of angst over an upcoming final exam? Or the first procedure as an independent doctor? A major presentation, perhaps?

Life’s exams test not only specific knowledge and skill, but one’s self esteem as well. And it’s the self esteem portion that creates the stomach churn, the palpitations, and the random thoughts of doom.

The future lurks over you for weeks, like a weighty backpack, or the possibility of encountering the bully on your walk home from elementary school. (For my bony self, her name was Marilyn.) Read more »

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

Holding Hands Is Good For The Heart

A trained observer is what most electrophysiologists are. And being a trained observer carries over into real life, as would the handiness of a plumber, or the strength of a brick layer, or the wordsmithing of a journalist.

Will and I drive past our house.

“Where are we going now,” he asks in the exasperated tone of a 13 year old.

I need to take a picture.


Because middle-aged patients who’ve recently realized that their life is half over often seek clues to longevity.

Let’s take stressed-out, middle-aged patients who’ve somehow been rendered free of AF (maybe by a skillful ablation, or more likely just happenstance). Let’s also say they don’t smoke, drink excessively, have normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar, and aren’t obese. Is there anything else they can do to live longer, they often ask? Yes, I believe there is. Read more »

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

For High School Graduates: Education First, Career Second

GraduationIt’s here again: High school graduation season — that annual rite of passage for high schoolers coast to coast to embark upon that much-anticipated journey from home to that first true independent step outside the safety net of their childhood communities.

What always amazes me is the pressure high school kids feel as they embark upon this journey and how often I hear these kids express anxiety over not knowing what they want to be “when they grow up.” And, let’s not forget that we are still talking about kids — these are still teenagers, still developing and maturing. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*

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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