Should You Get A Mammogram?

A recent mammogram study in the New England Journal of Medicine was so controversial that the authors (Drs. Welch and Bleyer) decided to make a YouTube video to defend and explain their conclusions. Now that’s a first, isn’t it? Well kudos to the study authors for their creative approach to getting ahead of a controversy. …

The Principles Of Moisturizing Your Skin

When I was in medical school on my dermatology rotation, we joked that all skin treatments boil down to three decrees: If it’s wet, dry it. If it’s dry, wet it. And if in doubt, use steroids.

Some other time I’ll discuss the “drying” of skin, or the use of steroids (which are not, by …

Understanding Your Hospice And Palliative Care Options

Seeking Shelter

The word hospice originated from the Latin hospitium, which means “to host or offer a place of shelter.” In 2009, an estimated 1.56 million patients, more than 40 percent of deaths, received hospice services in the United States. But many others who might have benefited from hospice care did not seek services, perhaps …

Tips For Dealing With The Chronic Pain Of Osteoarthritis

One of my patients came to see me today with severe right knee pain.  This is not a new problem, and in fact, we have been dealing with flare ups of her osteoarthritis for years.  It mainly affects her knees and hands and today her right knee was swollen and felt like the “bone was …

Why Did The USPSTF Change The Pap Test Guidelines For Women?

Women have been told they should have screening for cervical cancer with a pap test every year.  The visit to the gynecologist or internal medicine physician has been a right of passage for most young women and most are very compliant with that annual visit throughout their lives.

Well, the times they are a-changin’ because …

Managing Stress With Meditation

In the early 1970s, when Dr. Herbert Benson was defining and testing the techniques he presented to the world in his revolutionary book, The Relaxation Response, I was a hippie teenager learning transcendental meditation (TM). Flash forward about 40 years and I’m sitting in an amphitheater packed with a few hundred medical students, faculty, …

Why Are Painkillers Dangerous For Pregnant Women?

A nurse recently asked a very important question that bears repeating: What effect does long-term use of pain pills have on pregnant women? She was concerned because of the increase in number of pregnant women who are taking pain pills on a long term basis based on previous surgeries, accidents or a history of chronic …

Fatigue: A Symptom With Many Possible Causes

Feeling tired? If so, it’s not surprising. Fatigue is one of the most common problems people report to their doctors. The Health and Retirement Study of more than 17 million older people ages 51 and up reported recently that 31% said they feel fatigued.

Fatigue is a symptom, not a disease. Different people experience it …

What To Do If Your Doctor’s Appointment Isn’t Soon Enough

A friend of mine had a hard time getting in to see her doctor for an urgent visit last week. Reeling from an unexpected and sudden family upset, she was depressed and anxious, unable to sleep or function, and her therapist was advising an antidepressant.  She called her family doc, who works at a large …

Why Do Physicians Conduct Complete Physical Exams When You Have A Localized Complaint?

One June 20, 2011, NPR aired a great story about how a person may not “see” a person getting beat up on the side of a jogging path when they are focused on a task (pursuing another jogger)… even if they pass RIGHT BY THE FIGHT!!!

In fact, only a third of the subjects reported …