Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Informatics applied

One of the newest trends in medicine is data mining -- taking vast reams of data drilling down into it to find answers to unexpected questions.

Here's a great example of that -- using the locations of Google searches for the symptoms of diseases to track outbreaks. This sort of thing is the future of science, where getting the data won't be hard, but finding what you want in it will be.

D, M.D.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The Obama/Biden Transition team has the best named website around:


It's worth perusing for many reasons. Here are three.

One: it's just a nicely designed site.

Two: it has all sorts of little indicators of the way this administration is going to be run, such as a flow chart of the executive branch that puts it UNDER the constitution and includes the Office of the Vice President.

Three: it's got a link where you can apply for a job with the administration. And my personal feeling is that if you believe in these people, and more importantly you believe in what these people stand for, then you should apply and see what happens. You should give them the chance to refuse you. This is not difficult -- the form is very short.

I did it this morning. Not sure what I'll do if they actually ask me to take a job with them, since it would disrupt my medical training something awful, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

D, M.D.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Episode 28: Podcast 2.0

OK, I'm back. Took a while, I know. But hopefully the wait's been worth it.

Here we go again.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Episode 27: Whither and Whence

The way this blog is posted and served is absolutely free. Unless you value the time it takes to do it...this post was finished almost a week ago, but took a long time to successfully upload.

So that's the excuses section.

Anyway, Episode 27 is up at last. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

D, M.D.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Episode 26: Sometimes it's all in your head.

Well folks, I'm back again. And reading from the mailbag, where Amanda writes in with some great questions about naturopathy.

Also, in the podcast, I mistakenly refer to graduates of Osteopathy schools as ODs. This is what's known, in this political season, as a gaffe. They are actually DOs. Apologies.

Here are some associated links, if you want more:

Here's a Wikipedia article on Naturopaths...it's interesting for some basic information on naturopathy, and it's also a fascinating exploration of how Wiki articles are made and debated about, if you look at its associated discussion page.

And an article on placebos.

The good folks at South Park have addressed this issue, too.

This week's case (an exercise that I'll make a regular feature if you guys like it):

An 88 year-old woman with a history of advanced breast cancer 30 years ago, and a bad history of high blood pressure and osteoarthritis complains about her right hand, which is turning white. Her primary care doctor can't find a pulse, but he sends her to a vascular surgeon who can find a signal of a pulse using a doppler. He tells her to come back in a month. What do you tell her?

Enjoy! And keep in touch!

D, M.D.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Episode 25: A Conversation on the Frontlines of Medicine

You responded to Episode 24 with aplomb, I have to say. Tons from the mailbag -- enough to form an entire episode. We hear from Moof on why I should be a doctor, ZeroRocker on why he wants to be one too, and another emailer with some compelling questions on transplants.

In 26, look for a diagnostic puzzle...coming soon(ish)!

Until then, enjoy, and keep the conversation going!

D, M.D.

P.S. In this episode, I talk about how altruistic liver donation doesn't happen in the US. Turns out there are a few programs starting up, slowly, and with a lot of trepidation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Episode 24: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I know, I know...

You could argue, rightly, that I already went. But hey, I'm back, and glad to be here. No drama, no amnesia, no fugue state in which I woke up months later washing dishes in a diner in New Mexico, no kidnappings or secret missions. Just a lot of living, and then, towards the end, some technical difficulties.

But I'm back, and here is Episode 24. And here is the link to the article from the NYT that I talk about therein.

Keep in touch. I'll do the same.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Episode 23: Looking back, looking forward

Hi All,

First, a very happy New Year to you all! I'm really excited about where this podcast is headed, and about this first episode for 2008.

This episode is in three parts:

Part 1: The story of a recent tragedy, and what it makes me remember and consider.

Part 2: A look at a couple of recent issues that have appeared in the mainstream media that have direct implications on surgery. The first is a story from This American Life about a heart transplant recipient who comes to know her donor's family...I have a few thoughts on what a bad idea that is.

The second is an article by Atul Gawande that appeared recently in the New York Times, telling a story about the latest example of research methods and research ethics failing to agree on what's best for patients. A really interesting read.

Part 3: I've been struggling to figure out where the podcast is headed. Now, I'm also struggling to figure out where I am headed. Which, at the very least, gives me a sense of some things to talk about in the weeks to come.

Enjoy! As always, look forward to hearing your thoughts!