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Latest Posts

“Small Steps”: Get Healthy Compliments Of Uncle Sam

It makes my blogging life easier if I can just direct readers to a cool site, compliments of (drumroll…) — the U.S. government! The site, called Smallstep Adult and Teen, is filled with great healthy eating and exercise tips. Check it out and click around a bit. (Don’t ya’ just love the Internet?) From the site:

Today’s lifestyle doesn’t allow much room for health. And that’s where Small Steps comes in. We know that it’s impossible for many people to make dramatic lifestyle changes. Instead, we want to help you learn ways that you can change small things about your life and see big results.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

How To Help Your Doctor Make A Good Diagnosis

When patients and doctors communicate effectively, the patient has the best result. Not every doctor asks the critical question that can cinch a diagnosis. Yet good communication, coupled with good diagnostic skill can be worth more than $10,000 in tests and referrals to consultants.

You can help your doctor figure out what is going on by thinking and communicating like a physician. Whether you have a new problem or something that has been bothering you for a long time, here are some things that the doctor will want to know:

1. What are the symptoms? Be specific. Don’t just say “Sometimes I have a pain in my stomach.” Since more than 80 percent of health problems can be diagnosed based on information that you provide, make sure you can verbalize what you are feeling. Is it crampy? Does the pain come and go? Where is it located? Is it sharp or more like an ache? These specifics are giving information that your doctor can use as she thinks of the anatomy, physiology and causes of pain.

2. How long has it been going on? Try to be specific. “Awhile” doesn’t mean anything to a doctor. That could be two days or two years. Did it come on gradually or suddenly? There is a different cause for any symptom that is chronic (over several weeks) vs. sudden or acute. Did anything precede the symptoms? Travel, trauma, or life stress can point to different causes. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Health Benefits Of Green Tea-Omega 3 Combo

We have know for some time that there are health benefits from drinking green tea. Research also shows that Omega 3 fatty acids have beneficial effects on a number of organs in the body, including the cardiovascular system, the brain, and even depression.

Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi, research professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada, is hoping to show that green tea polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may also prevent colon cancer and even have anti-viral effects when combined with certain Omega 3 fatty acids.

“We know from experience that green tea is not well absorbed by the body,” Dr. Shahidi said. “Our premise was to see if by adding something to it that has its own benefits, like Omega 3 fatty acids, we might get an entity that would have improved properties in terms of its absorption and health benefits,” he said. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Eat More Calcium To Prevent Calcium-Containing Kidney Stones?

Over the years I have had a number of patients with painful kidney stones and once they have passed (or been removed) I have felt at a loss to helping them prevent them. “Stay hydrated” somehow didn’t seem adequate, although we know fluid intake can help stave off recurrent kidney stone attacks.

Some textbooks said “avoid calcium” since most stones are made of calcium oxylate. High oxylate levels can be found in some fruits and vegetables, as well as in nuts and chocolate. Yet there was no real scientific evidence that these foods caused stones. The evidence for who got kidney stones was all over the ballpark and for a physician, that means no prevention advice is really proven.

A new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology says that calcium rich foods such as low-fat milk and yogurt can be protective. What? Eat more calcium to prevent calcium-containing stones? It seems that higher intakes of calcium are actually associated with a reduction in kidney stone risk. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Heart Conditions You Don’t Learn About In Medical School

This gave me a chuckle from Doc Cartoon:

Heart conditions 

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

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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