Exercise Benefits — The Earliest Studies

In the late 1940โ€™s and early 1950โ€™s, British researchers compared drivers and conductors on Londonโ€™s double-decker buses.ย  ย Their demographics were virtually identical: men, same ages, from same backgrounds, same incomes, same amount of smoking and drinking โ€“ the only difference was the conductors walked up and down aisles and stairs all day, while the driversContinue reading “Exercise Benefits — The Earliest Studies”

Describing Symptoms to Your Medical Provider

A person who feels ill really wants their medical provider to understand, so they often rehearse to themselves exactly want they want to say and communicate.  They may also have an idea as to why they feel sick.  Thatโ€™s all well and good, and we clinicians are eager to hear it all, to a certainContinue reading “Describing Symptoms to Your Medical Provider”

The Diagnostic Process

Clinicians shouldn’t aim to nail an immediate diagnosis.  Instead, we create a mental list of common possibilities, called the โ€œDifferential Diagnosis.โ€  Then we systematically rule them out, especially deadly ones, while searching for a most-likely cause. We have lots of short-cuts. Often by clarifying a time-frame, we can rule out conditions that don’t fit.  ForContinue reading “The Diagnostic Process”

Interpreting Risks / Benefits of Treatment

Patients have every right to be afraid of the medical system.  The tests we do, and the treatments we give or perform, have inherent dangers, just like everything (such as driving on an interstate, etc.).  But itโ€™s important to view these risks unemotionally and logically.  Just because your uncle or friend had something bad happen,Continue reading “Interpreting Risks / Benefits of Treatment”

Don’t Order Tests if there’s Low-Probability of the Disease Being Present (“just in case”)

Clinicians should never order tests on people who are unlikely to have the disease we’re checking for.ย  Intuitively, it might seem like a good strategy “just in case,” but it usually winds up perilous. Here’s why. Suppose we’re looking for Disease “D”. Suppose we test 2 groups of people: Population “X” and Population “Y” SupposeContinue reading “Don’t Order Tests if there’s Low-Probability of the Disease Being Present (“just in case”)”

Don’t Read About Drug Side Effects !!!

It may sound weird, but I tell my patients not to read about side effects of medicines on the papers or pamphlets that come with the pills, or that can be found on the internet.  This is not because I want to hide anything, but rather because the lists can be highly inaccurate and misleading. Continue reading “Don’t Read About Drug Side Effects !!!”

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