Class Act

Medical Etymology: Scrofula

July 18, 2014
Medical Etymology: Scrofula

By Sagar S. Mungekar, MD

Peer Reviewed

It was around the 300s BCE when a sow must have had her snout near Mycobacterium intercellularae, an environmental saphrophyte that lives in soil and water. After some time, she—like many of her community—developed tubercles in her cervical lymph nodes. Aristotle noted that this happened to many domesticated animals such as pigs and oxen. Though this phenomenon was likely noted by many of the time, Aristotle’s is the first written record of it. Some time later, a physician…

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Vit-a-minute: Are Supplements Worth It?

July 11, 2014
Vit-a-minute: Are Supplements Worth It?

By Aditya K. Sreenivasan

Peer Reviewed

The Huffington Post recently publicized a large study on the health habits of doctors. The study, a survey done by Medscape with 31,399 participants, revealed that more than half of doctors take some form of dietary supplement. The most common form of supplement taken was a multivitamin . With the way doctors find themselves in constant discussions about “evidence based medicine” these days, we can assume that there are solid data showing that multivitamins are beneficial to long-term health.…

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Medical Eponyms: Recognizing the Medical Greats

June 11, 2014
Medical Eponyms: Recognizing the Medical Greats

By David Kudlowitz, MD

Peer Reviewed

Whether assessing for a Babinski sign, listening to Korotkoff sounds, or diagnosing Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome, we are surrounded by names of the medical greats in day-to-day medical practice. Medical eponyms for diseases, physical exam signs, procedures, and anatomic parts are considered by many practitioners to be tributes to their physician discoverers. However, over the past several years there has been an increasing resistance to the excessive use of eponyms, especially those associated with Nazi physicians . A compilation of medical…

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Caffeine and the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

June 6, 2014
Caffeine and the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

By Joshua Michael Lader, MD

Peer Reviewed

As physicians, we are frequently asked to weigh-in on dinnertime discussions about topics that, despite their relevance to everyday life, were never formally addressed in our medical training. For example, at a recent family gathering the conversation turned to a 78 year-old uncle who was recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. While this uncle had longstanding and likely poorly controlled hypertension, he would also typically drink 4 to 5 cups of coffee between breakfast and lunch. The debate then…

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The Rise in Tick-Borne Diseases: Is Climate Change Responsible?

June 4, 2014
The Rise in Tick-Borne Diseases: Is Climate Change Responsible?

By Nadia Jafar

Peer Reviewed

As a resident of Connecticut, I grew up acutely aware of tick-borne diseases. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see at least 3 cases of tick-borne infections during the month of my Medicine clerkship. This drove me to research the incidence of tick-borne diseases, specifically in the US, and the possible factors contributing to their increased prevalence.

In 1998, the list of reportable tick-borne pathogens in the US included Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, Lyme disease, human granulocytic ehrlichiosis/anaplasmosis, and human…

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Help Versus Hope: Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors in Alzheimer’s Disease

May 21, 2014
Help Versus Hope: Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors in Alzheimer’s Disease

By Jonathan Gursky

Peer Reviewed

Approximately 5.2 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) , with this number expected to triple by the year 2050 . Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and accounts for $100 billion in healthcare expenditures each year . Nevertheless, the most devastating and far-reaching effects of Alzheimer’s disease hit close to home. While those with the disease progressively lose their memory, speech, and independence, it is the caretaker…

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Timekeeping

May 16, 2014
Timekeeping

By Nancy Hernandez

 

I did not know you until that time,

We scurried into your room

And found you pulseless, breathless, lifeless.

I was asked to keep

Time.

 

Fumbling for paper, I resorted to skin,

Marking the time we started to

Restore your blood flow.

Pumping in air,

Compressing your chest,

As you were infused with epinephrine,

I kept time.

 

Your story started pouring in,

You were post-op for an

Incision and drainage

Of your limb amputation site -

A diabetic’s fight.…

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Lung Cancer Screening with Low-Dose CT Scans

May 9, 2014
Lung Cancer Screening with Low-Dose CT Scans

By Susanna Jeurling

Peer Reviewed

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently finalized its position regarding annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scanning for early detection of lung cancer. The grade B recommendation states that individuals between the ages of 55 and 80 with a 30 pack-year history or more of smoking who are current smokers or who have quit within the last 15 years should undergo annual LDCT screening, based on the results of the National Lung Screening Trial . Lung cancer is the…

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Infection Transmission During Air Travel

May 7, 2014
Infection Transmission During Air Travel

By Aaron Smith, MD

Peer Reviewed

It’s become a familiar site to travelers: airline passengers wearing respiratory masks to filter pathogens from the cabin air. To those not wearing masks, the fashion trend can be discomfiting. Are the mask-wearers paranoid or prudent? What is the probability of contracting an illness on an airplane? And how unique is the aircraft environment when it comes to disease transmission?

It is clear that due to lower air exchange rates and decreased sunlight, enclosed spaces such as buildings…

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Is the Funduscopic Exam Worthwhile For the General Practitioner?

May 2, 2014
Is the Funduscopic Exam Worthwhile For the General Practitioner?

By Emily Fisher

Peer Reviewed

Some have said that physical examination is a dying art and the nondilated funduscopic exam may be one of the best examples of this. With the increasing perception that the use of imaging and labs allows physicians to diagnose diseases with more confidence than a history and physical exam alone , the days when an ophthalmoscope was almost as important as the white coat or the stethoscope and was part of a “bag of tools,” are quickly becoming a…

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Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Impact on Patients and Preventive Medicine

April 25, 2014
Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Impact on Patients and Preventive Medicine

By Neelesh Rastogi

Peer Reviewed

In reference to the $100,000 he spent to research the genetic basis of the pancreatic cancer that ultimately killed him, Steve Jobs famously said, “I’m either going to be the first to be able to outrun a cancer like this, or I’m going to be one of the last to die from it” . Mr. Jobs was interested in finding the specific genetic mutations his tumor contained so as to allow doctors to optimize his drug therapy. Now other genetic…

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Should Physicians Ask Patients about Guns?

April 11, 2014
Should Physicians Ask Patients about Guns?

By Jennifer Zhu

Peer Reviewed

After the elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT in December 2012 that left 20 children and 6 adults dead, the country reacted as it had following the July 2012 movie theatre shooting in Aurora, CO, and the public meeting shooting involving Representative Gabrielle Giffords on January 11, 2011 in Tucson, AZ. Some called for tighter firearm safety laws, while others stood by the adage that “Guns don’t kill people,” and that this was no time to politicize a tragedy. The…

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