Alcohol and drug abuse costs Americans approximately $428 billion annually. Despite this enormous cost—which, we must remember, is just the economic face of a community, family, and individually life-shattering problem—the vast majority of those with an alcohol or substance use problem do not receive treatment, and even fewer are likely to achieve long-term sobriety.
Amy Griffin, associate head coach of women’s soccer at the University of Washington in Seattle, first began to wonder about artificial turf and cancer in 2009. “We had two goalies from the neighborhood, and they had grown up and gone to college,” Griffin said. “And then they both came down with lymphoma. “And we were all sitting there chatting—both of them were bald—and they were like, ‘Why us?’
Over the course of the last year, we have witnessed expressions of anger, fear, pitilessness and even hatred both predictably and unexpectedly. The British vote to leave the EU and US voters’ preference for a Trump presidency were prompted in part by feelings of anger towards leaders or ‘the system’ and fear about immigration and identity. The world has watched the war in Syria as thousands die and millions are misplaced with both horror and helplessness.
The recent confirmation that Zika virus is spreading in the southern states of the United States has been met with considerable public anxiety. Infectious diseases strike a particular primal fear in populations, not least because they are perceived to be unfamiliar, strike suddenly and unpredictably, and have strong cultural associations with filth, contagion, or nuisance vectors such as mosquitoes.
With rising health care expenses, we are all trying to solve the paradoxical dilemma of finding ways to develop better, more comprehensive health care systems at an affordable cost. To be successful, we need to tackle one of the most expensive health problems we face, alcohol and drug abuse, which costs us approximately $428 billion annually. Comparatively, the expenses of health care services, medications, and lost productivity for heart disease costs $316 billion per year.
Many clinical decisions are based on laboratory test results. The rapidly expanding number and complexity of these tests present physicians with many challenges in accurately and efficiently ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests. Diagnostic errors affect 5% of US adults who seek outpatient care each year, and contribute to approximately 10% of patient deaths and 6 to 17% of hospital adverse events.
“Race is real, race matters, and race is the foundation of identity.” I imagine that perhaps with a tweak or two, most people would be OK with this declaration. Many people are aware that the concept of race has no biological validity; that it’s a social construct, like gender or money, real only in that we treat them as real.
John Herschel Glenn passed away recently at age 95. He was the first American to orbit the Earth, on board Friendship 7 in February 1962, and before that, a much decorated war veteran, serving as a fighter pilot in both World War II and in Korea, finally retiring as a colonel in 1965. As if that wasn’t enough, after leaving NASA, he won a US Senate seat, representing his home state of Ohio, and served for 25 years.
Modern medicine has done well in helping Western citizens live longer. So have other changes like improved diets, better public hygiene, and less smoking. Dementia, which is primarily though not entirely age-related, has come to prominence in part as other lethal diseases have diminished. It recently surpassed heart disease as the number one killer in England and Wales (overall and in women, according to the UK Office for National Statistics).
The ancient Greek philosophers believed that the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars were mathematically perfect orbs, made from unearthly materials. These bodies were believed to move on perfectly symmetric celestial spheres, through which a backdrop of fixed stars could be seen, rotating majestically every 24 hours. At the centre was the motionless Earth. For the Greeks, the power of reason was more important than observation.
When we walk into a restaurant, we are often confronted by the sight of people taking pictures of their food with their smartphones. Online, our Facebook feeds seem dominated by pictures of people’s hamburgers and desserts. What is going on with food porn? How is consumer desire itself transformed by contemporary technology?
Universal screening for breast and colorectal cancers are currently recommended as methods to reduce the mortality associated with these diseases. Mammography is capable of detecting cancer before it has the opportunity to invade into lymph nodes or other organs, and colonoscopy is able to not only detect early stage cancers, but by removing precancerous polyps, prevent cancer from developing.
The ultimate fate of the right to be forgotten remains to be seen. Although Europe has temporarily resolved this question in favor of the right by adopting its General Data Protection Regulation, many questions surrounding the issue still must be answered. It’s unclear whether other parts of the world will follow Europe’s lead. Internationally, writers are exploring some of these matters.
His syndrome was a variant of Capgras syndrome, where a patient develops the delusion that a family member has been replaced by an identical imposter. Knowing what to look for, I began finding more and more cases: a man with Alzheimer’s who believed his daughter was an imposter, a woman with a right frontal lobe stroke who believed her house was a replica of her real house.
Notwithstanding a few near misses (the Austrian presidential election), many more liberally-minded readers will probably reflect back on 2016 as a year of loss and anxiety. Two significant shocks—Brexit and the election as US President of a reality TV star billionaire with neither political experience or knowledge—have severely dented our sense of the logical progression of our times.
So what is it like being a doctor? What are the hardest decisions doctors have faced in the field? Andrew Baldwin, Nina Hjelde, and Charlotte Goumalatsou share their experience and insight, answering questions on making difficult decisions, time constraints, juggling learning the latest medical knowledge and workload, as well as what being a doctor really means to them.