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Latest Posts

How To Reduce Teen Drug Use: Dinner With Parents

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I know I have said this before, but now there is more research to back it up. A recent report on the results from the “back-to-school” survey (September 2009) done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reports a decade of research finding that the more often children have dinner with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use drugs.

Bottom line – compared to teens who have family dinners 5+ times a week, those who do not are twice as likely to use tobacco and marijuana and 1.5 times likelier to use alcohol. They also get significantly better grades and report that it is easier to talk to their parents. Read more »

This post, How To Reduce Teen Drug Use: Dinner With Parents, was originally published on by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

Do Low Carb Diets Make People Angry?

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As if we haven’t seen enough bad press for low carb diets, check this out: a study just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that dieters who followed a low carb diet for a year were more depressed, angry, and confused than people following a higher carb diet.

The researchers studied two groups of people for one year. Both were on a reduced calorie diet and both lost an average of 30 pounds. However, the group on the low carb diet had detrimental effects on their mood.

I know I am pretty angry when I don’t have chocolate for a long time! 😉 Seriously, other smaller studies have not shown changes in mood with low carb diets, but we will have to see if future studies show a similar affect. It makes sense…we know that carbs cause release of serotonin, the feel good hormone. There is a reason people say they are “addicted” to carbs. One is because they are our body’s preferred source of energy, so we need them for energy and we can “crave” them. The other is that they literally make us feel good (and they taste great!) Read more »

This post, Do Low Carb Diets Make People Angry?, was originally published on by Brian Westphal.

Facelifts Can Cause Pixie Ears

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This article by Dr. Daniel Man (full reference below) is well worth the time spent reading it. Telltale signs of facelift procedures can include tightening across the lower face, visible scars, a distorted hairline, and the “pixie ear” deformity.  Dr. Man looks at the causes of the ear deformity and ways to prevent it. (photo credit)

Dr. Man has provided a pdf file of the article on his website, so you don’t have access to the Aesthetic Surgery Journal to read the article.

Between January 2005 and November 2007, the author performed facelifts on 106 patients using a technique that included autologous fat injections to improve facial volume, hidden incisions in and around the ear, and absorbable bidirectional barbed sutures. Patient charts and photographs were reviewed retrospectively. Read more »

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

The Mammogram Debate: Two Doctors Discuss Why It’s So Complicated

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Dr. Avrum Bluming is a medical oncologist and clinical professor of medicine at the University of Southern California. He is also a dear friend, scientist, and careful analyzer of data. I asked him to help me understand the current mammogram guidelines debate, and what women (now faced with conflicting recommendations) should do about breast cancer screening. Please listen to his fascinating discussion captured here:

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What I learned is that the guidelines must be tailored to each woman’s unique situation. The variables that must be considered are incredibly complex, as breast cancer risk factors include everything from when and if one has given birth, to a history of smoking, drinking, overweight, breast cancer in the family and even the age of your parents when you were born. Beyond risk factors, new research suggests that some breast cancers spontaneously resolve without treatment, but our technology is not advanced enough to distinguish those from others that will go on to become life-threatening tumors – so we treat all cancers the same. Read more »

Can You Diagnose A Cough By Its Sound?

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DiscoveryNews is reporting on a Bedford, Massachusetts company developing software that can detect the difference between a typical cough and one caused by a cold, flu, COPD, or a number of other respiratory diseases. STAR Analytical Services is working with a database of pre-recorded coughs to determine signatures that point to underlying conditions.

The final 100 to 150 milliseconds of the cough contains the distinctive sounds that could help doctors and nurses remotely diagnose a cough as the common cold or more serious pneumonia.

Even with a limited amount of data, scientists can distinguish between a healthy, voluntary cough and the involuntary cough of a sick person. Healthy people have slightly louder coughs, about 2 percent louder than a sick person. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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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