Friday Assorted Links #10

It was Mary’s Oliver birthday yesterday. Read about it here and here. Amid the harshness of life, Mary Oliver found redemption in the natural world and in beautiful, precise language. Oliver, who died in 2019, was one of the most beloved poets of modern times. “On Being” – Mary Oliver; Listening to the World Eric Topol’s interview with Paul A. Offit on vaccines. Via Medscape. To be … Continue reading Friday Assorted Links #10

The Brain and Neuroplasticity.

The idea of what a brain is and what it does has drastically expanded over the last few decades. During my medical school training (mid-90s) we learned nothing about the brain’s plasticity (then an unknown concept to me) and focused on studying its anatomy and physiology that was mostly static. “Not much changes over time, and if does, it is usually a loss” – was … Continue reading The Brain and Neuroplasticity.

Friday Assorted Links #9

August 30th marks the 5th anniversary of Oliver Sack’s death. I am re-reading his autobiography, which is one of my favorite books ever. An exciting list of books coming out in fall. HT to Adam Grant. “During the Vietnam War, these physician-scientists were called ‘yellow berets.’ They are what we need to fight Covid-19.” Physicians who also have extensive training in scientific methods, often a … Continue reading Friday Assorted Links #9

Restoring the Clinical Note

A few years back, Abraham Verghese wrote “Physician as Storyteller” where he told a story of a patient of his who underwent a discectomy complicated by a rare infection at the side of the surgery. Verghese wrote a case report detailing the clinical situation which he later shared with the patient who was elated to be “a rare case.” Until he read the report: “Abraham, … Continue reading Restoring the Clinical Note

Friday Assorted Links #8

Have you ever held your breath while answering an email? We take 23,000 breaths a day. And yet most of us don’t know how to breathe properly. Via the Guardian. As the men’s and women’s singles draws for the United States Open finally arrived on Thursday…“we’re now learning how the absence of crowd energy will affect professional athletes. How that absence will be felt in tennis … Continue reading Friday Assorted Links #8

The Digital Divide: telemedicine and the elderly.

There has been a rather seismic shift to telemedicine across the healthcare in response to the challenges the pandemic brought. I have written about my experience with telemedicine here. Many clinicians wrote back. Not surprisingly, they reported, younger patients seemed to embrace telemedicine more easily and even enthusiastically. Within the right set of circumstances, telemedicine can work really well for most. For example, see this. … Continue reading The Digital Divide: telemedicine and the elderly.

Friday Assorted Links #7

As CoVID-19 spreads, don’t lose sight of malaria. Via Bill Gates. How to get unstuck from your anxiety. Via NYT. “X+Y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender.” An interview with a mathematician and an author Eugenia Cheng. Pictures of jets sitting on tarmac. It looks strangely calming and unsettling at the same time.  Desks of famous creators. There is something magical in these black and white … Continue reading Friday Assorted Links #7

Cannabis and cancer pain. The search for relief continues.

There are a few basic observations (regulatory issues aside) that shape my thinking about the use of cannabis, cannabinoids, or cannabis-based medications (for simplicity, I’ll stick with “cannabis”) for pain. There is a significant interest among patients, especially patients with cancer, in using “cannabis” for a variety of clinical problems, with pain being the most commonly cited. According to a recent Canadian survey, 1 in … Continue reading Cannabis and cancer pain. The search for relief continues.

Friday Assorted Links #6

School starts soon for some, and many parents are worried about the educational experience associated with remote learning. Here is a fantastic article on The Importance of Becoming a Self-Directed Lifelong Learner by David Handel, MD. He talks about meta-thinking and learning from first principles. Worth reading! My 14 y/o daughter ran home the other day convinced she just saw the Asian giant “murder” hornet. … Continue reading Friday Assorted Links #6

Cancer and the Experience of Trauma.

Most of us have a narrow view of trauma. We think of trauma as an extreme, eruptive and dramatic experience. It comes to mind when we hear about acts of violence, natural disasters or loss of loved ones. Yes, this is trauma. No doubt. But trauma has also an unfamiliar face. One that is subtler, less ostensible, and often unrecognized even by those who are … Continue reading Cancer and the Experience of Trauma.