Category Archives: Featured

Suicide in Doctors

Tweet One of the medical newsletters I receive describes the suicide of a 33 year old surgeon near the completion of his training. The sad story of this death was taken from an article that appeared in Time Magazine – Why The Toxic Treatment of Doctors Needs to Change. The authors of the piece are…


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Tutto Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani

Tweet I Vespri Siciliani is the least performed of Verdi’s mature works. It was written for the Paris Opéra to a French text by Eugène Scribe and Charles Duveyrier (Les vêpres siciliennes). While the opera is occasionally performed in its original French version, it is typically presented in its Italian translation. Verdi just sounds better…


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Vitamin D Treatment in Postmenopausal Women

Tweet A study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine examined the effects of placebo, low-dose cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), and high-dose cholecalciferol on 1-year changes in total fractional calcium absorption, bone mineral density, Timed Up and Go and five sit-to-stand tests, and muscle mass in postmenopausal women with vitamin D insufficiency. This study was undertaken because “expert”…


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The Medical Record – Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Tweet The medical record has been a problem ever since Hippocrates, in a moment of spite, invented it. Until the advent of the electronic record it had existed on paper and was stored in a variety of inaccessible locations by the Department of Medical Records, or by a similarly named entity. Once entombed in the…


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What Can You Do to Maintain Good Health?

Tweet The FDA just banned trans fat. The American Heart Association issued a statement that the move would prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year mirroring that made by the CDC. Where this number came from is a mystery. I suspect they made it up after a series of extrapolations from metabolic data to epidemiological conclusions…


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If You Are a Homicidal Maniac Press 1

Tweet Earlier today I called USAA. They’re my insurance company. I’ve been with them since before the big bang. Back then you could pick up the phone and a familiar voice would answer, “This is Phyllis at USAA.” And I would reply, “Hi, Phyllis, this is Neil. I got a new car; please change my coverage.”…


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Air and Romance

Tweet This site has been silent for the last month. I was on a trip on the Amazon River. I got as far as Manaus, Brazil and then came back out. A little later I’ll post some photos of the region, but my theme today is American Eagle. To get to most places east, north,…


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Salt and More Salt

Tweet The August 14, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contains three papers on salt intake and health. The third of these is so layered with assumptions that I won’t discuss it. I have previously written about recommendations for optimum dietary intake of salt. In 2011 the American Society of Nephrology endorsed…


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Ecco Il Mondo

Tweet ‘Ecco il mondo’ is sung by Mefistofele in Act 2 Scene 2 of Boito’s opera. Last March I presented 11 recordings of basses singing the same character’s first act aria – ‘Son lo spirito che nega’. Below are 11 versions of ‘Ecco il mondo’. The words in Italian and an English translation are presented…


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Mammography Screening in Switzerland

Tweet The May 22, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine has a perspective piece that is even more instructive than its authors and the journal’s editors realized: ‘Abolishing Mammography Screening Programs? A View from the Swiss Medical Board’. It describes the process that the Swiss used to evaluate the scientific foundation for…


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