Personalized Medicine: Coming Soon to a Clinic Near You

New technologies are radically changing how medical care is adapted and tailored to individual patients.

I Hope People Listen

When was the last time you read a book which resonated strongly enough to make you hope to meet the author in person one day? How We Do Harm by Otis Webb Brawley is that kind of book.

The Earthquake in Haiti, Two Years Later

This month marks the second anniversary of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Port au Prince, killing more than a quarter million, injuring over 350,000, and leaving an estimated one million without shelter.

Health Care Reform, Illustrated

"Health Care Reform" by Jonathan Gruber, HP Newquist, and Jonathan Schreiber is an attempt to distill the 1,900-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in 2010 into a common-sensical, easy to understand book in graphic-novel form less than a tenth of the length. Informative, it's also a lot of fun.

Reflecting on the Suffering in Haiti This Thanksgiving

Arriving home late last night after a week volunteering at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port au Prince, Haiti, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is hard not to appreciate just how fortunate most of us are in this country.
ADHD, Sleep Disorder, Or Both?

ADHD, Sleep Disorder, Or Both?

A reader wrote in questioning whether her son with large tonsils and loud snoring might have a sleep disorder versus early ADHD.

Will Healthcare in This Country Ever Truly Be Reformed?

A new book by Paul Starr, former advisor to President Clinton, describes the reasons why healthcare reform in this country is so difficult. But that doesn't mean we should give up trying.

Real Life Superhero

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a trauma surgeon?

The Preschooler Who Won’t Stay in Bed

The frustration many parents experience trying to convince, cajole, bribe or threaten their young child to go to bed at an acceptable hour and to STAY THERE until the morning is all too frequent.

Fast paced dystopic thriller

Last April I received a very strange postcard at work. In large yellow letters set off against a black background were the words "Rule #2: No killing anyone under the age of eighteen." Considering that I am a pediatrician at a large children's hospital, the postcard elicited more than a few raised eyebrows.

Readjusting Kids' Sleep Schedule For School

School's just around the corner, and millions of parents are already starting to worry about getting their kids back on schedule so that somehow, some way, they will be able to wake them up and get them out the door so that they can make it to school on time.

Despite the Crisis Atmosphere, Faith in Politics

Many look on at this country’s political process with disgust and see this as a sign that this country’s political system is fundamentally broken. My perspective, though, is different.

Television in bedrooms disruptive to children’s sleep

A new study to be released today by the journal Pediatrics found that preschoolers with televisions in their bedrooms had greater difficulties falling and staying asleep.

Ways to improve kids' sleep

I was interviewed by the Boston Globe today on optimizing sleep in young children. Sleep disturbances in children are so common, after all, and although an estimated 30% of kids have problems with their sleep, less than one quarter are ever seen by a medical professional because of them.

On learning abstractly versus through direct experience

Even before going to Haiti last year, I had read many of Paul Farmer’s books on his work in that country and others, in which he describes among other issues how the lack of understanding of a patient's cultural and societal milieu will often result in failure to provide good medical care, no matter how good the intentions

Humbling, horrifying, uplifting and inspiring

After coming on staff as a pediatrician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 1999, Randy Christensen was given the opportunity to fulfill the dream he’d had since medical school of providing homeless teens with the basic medical care they so desperately needed.

Nuclear weapons and the future of humanity

The dangers of nuclear weapons: how World War 3 might begin.

Penny wise and pound foolish about health care costs

While cutting health care expenses is a worthy goal, doing so requires forethought and attention paid to unintended consequences which may in fact increase them.  The Massachusetts State Budget Proposal for 2012 is a classic example of how not to do this.

When less is more

 Much of the practice of medicine is guesswork. Although tests can be very useul, too many of them can cause more harm than good.

When feet are warm, the heart and mind will follow

To all of you who are beyond being fed up with the snow, the ice, the wind, and the cold that only seem to get worse with each passing week, I have two words of advice:  

More than just calories in, calories out

Gary Taubes' new book, "Why we get fat" offers new insight into why so many of us struggle to keep our weight down, without success.

More on the lack of connection between vaccinations and auti

The New York Times reported this evening on a new investigative report published in the British Medical Journal, which found that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the author of the first study purporting to link autism with the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccine, had falsified data about the children in question.

Eczema, a bad night's sleep, and behavioral disturbances

Eczema is a very common disorder in children, and affects 10-20% of children. It is also known to cause sleep disturbances, mainly difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep. Parents of children with eczema have identified the associated sleep disturbances as being second only to itch in having the most negative effect on quality of life

Effects of disease extend far beyond the physical

Our perceptions of disease and its effects on personality and identity have changed significantly in the last few years.

Injustice still reigns in Port au Prince

After spending the whole day in a Port au Prince courthouse, Paul Waggoner was returned to the National Penitentiary, with no clear end in sight to his ordeal. (picure courtesy of MMRC Global)

Who wants foreign aid workers out of Haiti?

It has been 6 days since Paul Waggoner from Massachusetts was imprisoned in a Haitian penitentiary pending a magistrate's investigation of charges that he was involved in turning a dead baby into a zombie (!!!) and kidnapping him last February. This, despite the fact that at last week's hearing the death certificate of the child was produced.

Whose Fault Is It That Kids Are So Self-Centered?

 Sometimes our children seem so self absorbed that it's hard not to wonder whether they are aware of what goes on around them, and, more importantly, whether they even care.  

Loss of life from preventable causes

The deaths of the two children from diphtheria in Haiti that I was witness to in May and last week continue to haunt.

The horror in Haiti, November 2011

I'm still trying to collect my thoughts from Port au Prince last week.  The sights, sounds, smells and experiences evoked very powerful and sometimes conflicting emotions and perceptions.