Medical Advances

The Economist‘s Technology Quarterly reveals some recent advances in medical technology: Cockroachs: A model for artificial hearts. A laser that would make Dr. Evil proud: one that fights malaria. Mobile phones used to monitor Tb compliance. No more MRIs?  The advent of photoacoustic imaging.

Getting Naked

The physician-patient interaction can be a strange one.  Patients leave their most important possession–themselves–in the hand of strangers.  Typically conservative women will bare their naked bodies to physicians.   Although rare, the possibility exists for the physician to take advantage of this situation.   In the U.S. “4 percent of the disciplinary order that state medical…

Why do we die?

What factors predict how long we live?  What are the best ways to forestall death? The determinants of premature death are 40% behavoiral, 30% genetic, but only 10% medical care.  It is important to remember that medical care and health are far from synonomous.

Expectations and Prostate Surgery

The N.Y. Times Well Blog writes that 19% of men regretted having prostate surgery. What is interesting is that men who underwent a newer, less invasive, robotic surgery were four times more likely to regret the prostate surgery than those who underwent the older, more invasive “open” procedure. Is this increase in regret due to…

Americans have the best cancer survival rates

On Friday I reported that the U.S. scored poorly on the Commonwealth Fund’s National Scorecard. Those in favor of universal health care are probably rejoicing. “The U.S. system is dysfunctional beyond repair and we need universal health care!” Yesterday, the Economist reported on an article in The Lancet Oncology journal which found that the U.S.…

Doctors are very empathetic…until they start seeing patients

According to InsideHigherEd.com (“Tomorrow’s Doctors…“) medical students are very altruistic, empathetic people…until the start medical school.  The article describes the findings of a study titled “Is There Hardening of the Heart During Medical School?” in March’s Academic Medicine.  The longitudinal study finds significant decreases in “vicarious,” or emotionally driven, empathy, during the course of medical…

Shingles Vaccine

The USA Today reports on the development of a shingles vaccine. According to the article, “The vaccine reduced shingles cases by 51% in people given the vaccine vs. those given the placebo. Vaccination reduced the burden of illness, a measure of pain and discomfort, by 61%.” So why aren’t people getting this vaccine? One reason…

What questions should you ask your doctor?

Last night I saw an encore presentation of an interview with Jerome Groopman on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. I have written posts in the past about Dr. Groopman (see 16 March 2007). Dr. Groopman notes that doctors often misdiagnose patients. Physicians are often anchored to a prior belief and have trouble changing their diagnosis…