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Latest Posts

Plastic Surgeon Outlines Ten Things You Should Know About Tummy Tucks

Tummy Tuck surgery is almost invariably greatly appreciated by the proper patient. These top ten facts might help you figure if you are such a person. ;)

(1) Tummy Tuck surgery is one of the largest scale operations a plastic surgeon can offer a patient.

(2) Patients who have lost a good deal of weight or completed child bearing involving large weight gain and loss are the most common candidates. Patients do not lose much weight from the operation itself in most cases….maybe a few pounds on average.

(3) Post-operative pain used to make it necessary to admit the patient to a hospital for narcotics.

(4) Pain pumps when properly utilized can Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Cultivate Mindfulness: It Can Be A Powerful Therapeutic Tool

The hectic pace of daily life and the stresses that accompany it may make you want to tune out. A healthier approach may be to tune in.

I know that sounds counterintuitive. But paying more attention to what is going on around you, not less, is the first step toward cultivating mindfulness, an excellent technique to help you cope with a range of mental and physical problems, including stress.

The practice of mindfulness, which has its roots in Buddhism, teaches people to be present in each moment. The idea is to focus attention on what is happening now and accepting it without judgment.

Although it sounds simple, and even simplistic, mindfulness is Read more »

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

Migraine With A Visual Aura: It Might Be Scintillating Scotoma

Nothing like experiencing a medical condition first-hand to really help a doctor understand it from the patient’s point of view. After all these years, I had my first (and hopefully last) scintillating scotoma while sitting on the couch playing “words with friends” on my ipad and watching TV. A scotoma is a partial loss of vision in a normal visual field. Scintillate is flashing, sparkles. Put them together and you have moving, flashing sparkles with a blind spot in your eyes.

This visual aura was first described in the 19th century by a Dr. Hubert Airy who had migraine headaches. The visual sparks and flashes are in a zig-zag pattern and they can precede a migraine headache or occur without any pain. The scotoma affects both eyes and closing one or the other does not make it go away. Sometimes Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

The Importance Of Increasing Our Knowledge Of Placebo Neurophysiology

There has been an ongoing debate about placebos on SBM, both in the articles and in the comments. What does it mean that a treatment has been shown to be “no better than placebo?”  If our goal is for patients to feel better and they feel better with placebos, why not prescribe them? Do placebos actually do anything useful? What can science tell us about why a patient might report diminished pain after taking an inert sugar pill? The subject is complex and prone to misconceptions. A recent podcast interview offers a breakthrough in understanding.

On her Brain Science Podcast Dr. Ginger Campbell interviewed Dr. Fabrizio Benedetti, a physician and clinical neurophysiologist who is one of the world’s leading researchers on the neurobiology of placebos. A transcript of the interview [PDF] is available on her website for those who prefer reading to listening. The information Dr. Benedetti presents and the expanded remarks by Dr. Campbell after the interview go a long way towards explaining the placebo phenomenon and its consequences for clinical medicine. Dr. Campbell also includes a handy list of references. I’ll try to provide a summary of the main points, but I recommend reading or listening to the original.

A common misconception is that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

Diabetic Considers All She’s Learned In The Last 25 Years With The Disease

What I’ve learned in the last twenty-five years with type 1 diabetes:

  • Some of what “they” said is wrong.  It just is.
  • There are times when “they” make a good point, and it’s up to us as patients to figure out what information we react to.
  • The needles don’t hurt as much now as they did then.  Lancets have become smaller and sharper, syringes can make the same claim.  Insulin pump sites, once they’re in, usually go without being noticed.  Same goes for Dexcom sensors.  (But “painfree” is a misnomer and so subjective that medical device advertisers had best just steer clear of that word entirely.  All needles pinch at least a little bit.)
  • Progress isn’t always shown in tangible technological examples.  Sometimes progress is being able to look at a blood sugar number without feeling judged by it. Or to look in the mirror without wishing you were different.
  • There is life after diagnosis.
  • Diabetes is sometimes funny.  It has to be. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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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