White Coat Underground

Archives for July, 2009

Medicine and Belief, Part n+1

I’ve frequently written that alternative medicine beliefs are much like religion, and often cult-like. When reading about alternative medicine, you’ll often encounter charismatic leaders, faith in the unknowable, and conversion experiences. A fine example of the latter is currently up at the Huffington Post. It’s written by “Dr” Patricia Fitzgerald, HuffPo’s “wellness editor”. Just to…

Influenza invades the military

Influenza is a fascinating virus. When it undergoes antigenic shift, as the novel H1N1 (“swine”) flu did, it efficiently evades most people’s immune systems. Non-novel flu strains are bad enough, but antigenically novel strains can have a ridiculously high attack rate. John Barry’s book, The Great Influenza, is a (usually*) terrific read, and describes very…

Health care reform—what, me worry?

I’ve got a lot of patients who are worried about health care reform. Most of it is expressed in right-wing radio talking points. They quite literally believe that they will no longer be able to choose their doctor, or that other doom and gloom events are imminent. Have they no experience with government? Health care…

By now, we all know that the Huffington Post represents the zombification of medical news—interesting ideas are taken, eviscerated of any real meaning, their innards replaced with pablum, and the reanimated creature set loose on the world. Reanimation of the undead is, it would seem, a rather addictive behavior, because HuffPo just keeps at it.…

What happened to the flu?

A month ago, I was diagnosing several cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) every day. Then, as suddenly as it began, it disappeared—no ILI, no positive nasal swabs for influenza A (and hence H1N1/swine flu)—just the usual strep throat, poison ivy, ankle sprains, etc. So what happened? The new influenza A/H1N1 (hereafter called “H1N1″ or “swine”…

I hate orange urine

On July 4th at 5 a.m., I’m loading the family into the car and driving very far away, where cellphones, pagers, and most critically the internet, do not work. Blogging has been very hard for me lately. I love writing, but due to work and family mishegos it’s been hard to keep up with the…

Journeys

On July 4th at 5 a.m., I’m loading the family into the car and driving very far away, where cellphones, pagers, and most critically the internet, do not work. Blogging has been very hard for me lately. I love writing, but due to work and family mishegos it’s been hard to keep up with the…

On July 4th at 5 a.m., I’m loading the family into the car and driving very far away, where cellphones, pagers, and most critically the internet, do not work. Blogging has been very hard for me lately. I love writing, but due to work and family mishegos it’s been hard to keep up with the…

Never say “hopeless”

On July 4th at 5 a.m., I’m loading the family into the car and driving very far away, where cellphones, pagers, and most critically the internet, do not work. Blogging has been very hard for me lately. I love writing, but due to work and family mishegos it’s been hard to keep up with the…

Fountain Pens

On July 4th at 5 a.m., I’m loading the family into the car and driving very far away, where cellphones, pagers, and most critically the internet, do not work. Blogging has been very hard for me lately. I love writing, but due to work and family mishegos it’s been hard to keep up with the…