The Psychotherapy Laboratory within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at MSKCC was established about 12 years ago. I have been the Director of the Lab from its establishment. In addition to developing interventions for anxiety, depression, and PTSD, we have studied a whole group of existential problems that had as yet no established interventions.
It is not a compliment to say that a physician is practicing “cookbook medicine.” Rather, it suggests that the physician is employing a “one size fits all” approach, applying unreflective, impersonal clinical methods that may cause patient suffering due to lack of nuanced, reflective, and humanistic care. The best physicians—just like the best cooks—make use of creativity, intuition, judgment, and even je ne sais quoi.
John Paul Jones died in Paris on this day in 1792, lonely and forgotten by the country he helped bring into existence. Shortly before his death, he began to lose his appetite. Then his legs began to swell, and then his abdomen, making it difficult for him to button his waistcoat and to breath.
War. Of all human endeavours, perhaps none demonstrates the extremes of ingenuity and barbarity of which humanity is capable. The 21st century may be the century in which the threat of perpetual war is realised. Although many innovations have been brought about as a bi-product of the challenges war presents, the psychological and physical trauma wrought on the human body may prove too high a cost.
Imagine the unimaginable. Suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), the person with whom you shared most of your life has forgotten who you are, and even worse, can no longer remember their own experiences, their relationships, and how to behave appropriately in everyday situations. But although most of their long-term memory is heavily impaired, they may continue to relate astonishingly well to autobiographically relevant pieces of music.
Most revered for his work on the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk was praised by the mainstream media but still struggled to earn the respect and adoration of the medical community. Accused of abusing the spotlight and giving little credit to fellow researchers, he arguably become more of an outcast than a “knight in a white coat.” Even so, Salk continued to make strides in the medical community, ultimately leaving behind a legacy larger than the criticism that had always threatened to overshadow his career.
Most of us have vaguely positive sentiments about nurses, but at the same time, nursing is plagued by feminine stereotypes that continue to undermine the profession. These double-edged views are never more striking than in efforts to honor nurses, which often rely on emotional “angel” images rather than recognition of nurses’ health skills or tangible contributions to patient outcomes.
The Nepal earthquake. The conflict in Syria. Malaria. More than two billion people in or near “multi-dimensional” poverty (Human Development Report 2014). While the world is getting better in some respects, massive needs and injustices remain. Many of us want to do something to help. For individuals in rich countries who lack personal ties to individuals or organizations in poor or disaster-affected countries, “doing something” often means donating to an international non-governmental organization (INGO).
Imagine that your hearing sensitivity for pure tones is exquisite: not affected by the kind of damage that occurs through frequent exposure to loud music or other noises. Now imagine that, despite this, you have great problems in understanding speech, even in a quiet environment. This is what occurs if you have a temporal processing disorder
When immune cells infiltrate tumors in large numbers, patients do better. Now researchers aim to harness this immune response to predict outcomes. The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) in Milwaukee is coordinating an international effort to validate Immunoscore, an assay that quantifies this immune response.
Health leaders in sub Saharan African countries face some of the most demanding challenges anywhere in the world. Disease, poverty, the legacy of colonialism and, all too often, conflict, corruption and political instability, combine to make improving health extraordinarily difficult. Looking back we can see many great African health leaders who have played their part as the following few examples show.
A recent study published by psychologist Anthony Morrison and colleagues in the British medical journal, The Lancet, is stirring up a long-standing debate about the treatment of schizophrenia. The article describes a randomized controlled trial with people diagnosed with schizophrenia who refused to take psychiatric medications called “antipsychotics.” The researchers tested whether these patients could be treated with a form of talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in lieu of medications.
On May 15, Elisabeth Bing died at the age of 100. It is no exaggeration to say that during her long life she perhaps did more than any other individual to humanize childbirth practices in the United States. Obituaries and tributes to her rightly celebrate her role as a founding mother of the Lamaze movement in America and a lifelong advocate for improvement in maternity care.
With a failing NHS and an ageing population in Britain, palliative care is a topic currently at the forefront of healthcare debate. Whether to abandon treatment in favour of palliation, is a challenging decision with profound implications for end-of-life care.
Disgusting or delighting, exciting or boring, sensual or expected, no matter what you think about it, 50 Shades of Grey is certainly not a movie that passes by without leaving a mark on your skin. Based on E.L. James’ novel (honestly, somehow even more breathtaking than the movie), it tells the story of the complicated relationship between the dominant multi-millionaire Christian Grey, and the newly graduated, inexperienced, and shy, Ana Steele.
Over the past forty years, many of my students have shared their personal experiences with hallucinogenic drugs. They are typically more fascinated, than frightened, by the experience. About sixty years ago the scientist C.H.W. Horne commented that “It is remarkable that one characteristic which seems to separate man from the allegedly lower animals is a recurring desire to escape from reality.”