Archive for July, 2008

Doctor’s Appointment? Don’t Go It Alone

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Heading to the doctor’s office? You might want to persuade a friend to tag along. New research suggests that older adults who bring companions to medical visits are more satisfied with their medical care.

The study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was published July 14 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Frankly, their findings were no surprise to me! I suspect that the study would also find that these patients had better health outcomes, too.


Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

A report last week by a panel of experts evaluating the pros and cons of breast self-examination and clinical breast examination by a trained practitioner stirred up a lot of controversy.

Wonderfully angry responses by women (and their men for that matter) fueled the controversy, arguing that it is absurd to tell women not to examine their breasts. Many of these women found their breast cancers as a result of their own breast exams.

All That Itches Is Not Yeast

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Many medical students are taught simple sayings to help them make the most accurate diagnosis possible. One such saying that comes to mind is: “All that wheezes is not asthma.”

This statement means that just because a patient is wheezing when you listen to the lungs with a stethoscope, it does not mean they have asthma. There are many other conditions that cause wheezing: everything from heart failure (probably the most common cause of wheezing) to aspirating a foreign substance, such as a toy part or even a tumor.

Five Tips to Goof-Proof Your Health Care

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

According to a report in last week’s Los Angeles Times, about 100 Californians a month are seriously and needlessly harmed while receiving medical care. This number comes from the reports of the “preventable and should never happen” category of adverse events required by California state law but is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg of medical mistakes that happen throughout the country every day.