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Overdiagnosed and Overtreated: Where’s Mine?

I recently read that mild high blood pressure is turning out to be one of the most overdiagnosed and overtreated health conditions. Untold millions are taking meds they probably don’t need, possibly experiencing unpleasant side effects in the process. The actual history–why we’re all taking inordinate amounts of blood pressure meds–was revealed when it was […]

Out Of Whack Hormones

“My hormones are out of whack!” That’s the single most common sentence I hear from my patients. It can come from a 25-year-old with irregular periods and industrial-strength PMS whose energy has gone down the tubes. Or from a 45-year-old (on the threshold of pre-menopause) who continues to gain weight even though she’s eating less […]

Obama Kvells, Docs Report Misery, and A Modest Proposal

Kvell is a Yiddish word meaning super happy and proud. My grandmother, for example, kvelled when I actually got my MD degree, even though she’d been calling me Dr. Edelberg since I was two. This week, it was President Obama’s turn to kvell. He’d received great news about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which, now […]

Our Statin Nation

Although they don’t know who they are, 11 million Americans awakened last week as victims of a new disease, the dreaded “statin deficiency disorder,” or SDD. It’s not easy to diagnose because there are no symptoms. Even the lab test once closely linked to the word “statin”—cholesterol measuring–may miss SDD. In fact, with no symptoms […]

Are You An Accidental Orthorectic? It’s Possible…

I saw a pleasant but very worried 40-something woman a few weeks ago who had written on her intake form “Candida!” “Food allergies!” and “I don’t know what to eat!” To be honest, she didn’t look particularly healthy, likely because she was both poorly nourished and depressed. Her story is provocative. Many months earlier, feeling […]

Four Reasons To Like Obamacare

Like everyone who works in health care, I’m both excited and nervous about what the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, will mean for both patients and practitioners. I like to view my excitement as an optimistic one, similar to the way people must have felt in the 1930s when Social Security guaranteed […]

An Occasionally Pleasant Minimum Security Prison

What three things do the following occupations have in common: teacher, nurse, secretary (now called administrative assistant), and information technologist? First, I would classify them all as helping professions. Second, based both on surveys and my own experience as a physician, they all work under conditions of stress, suffer a lot of anxiety and depression, […]

You, the Wonderful One-Hoss Shay

Back in the 19th century, the physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. wrote the cheerful poem “The Deacon’s Masterpiece or The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay.” The poem tells of a deacon who wanted to build a perfect shay, a popular two-wheeled carriage drawn by a horse, one that would last 100 years. He did so, […]

Obsessing Over Regrets

We each have our own personal stash of regrets, and when they surface our language trends to the elegantly named counterfactual conditional phrasing: “If only I had married Bob, I would have been happy.” Well, you didn’t marry Bob (instead you married The Jerk), and in any case there’s no guarantee Bob isn’t his own brand of jerk.