Many of the people who visit this website have a serious health concern. Maybe you are living with MS, arthritis, or you are a cancer survivor. And from time to time you have medical tests to help you and your doctor see how you are doing. For me, I have blood tests about every six months to see if my leukemia is still in deep remission. The next test is this week and I am getting a bit anxious. I have felt some occasional aches and pains, worried about swollen lymph nodes, or if I was losing weight even when...

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I just got back from a cruise on the Baltic Sea. There was entertainment on the ship. One night a veteran comedian was on stage and part of his bit was to poke fun at doctors. He complained that when you are not feeling well these days, and don't know the cause, it's hard to find a doctor who can look at the whole person and consider all the possibilities. The funny man worries everybody is a specialist (they make more money) and just sees everything in terms of what they treat and how they treat it. Of course, seeing...

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Off the Coast of Sweden, Baltic Sea, August 3, 2007Our cruise continues on the M.S. Rotterdam as we head toward Tallin, Estonia. Today is a day at sea with no ports of call. It's during these times that we mingle more with other passengers and get into more in-depth conversations. Shortly I will be interviewing Dr. Michael Rie from Lexington, Kentucky – another passenger. I literally met him in the hot tub the other day. After pleasantries I learned he is a critical care doctor at the University of Kentucky Medical Center and he has strong feelings on how healthcare...

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I am on a Northern European cruise with my family and friends on Holland America's M.S. Rotterdam. This is my first time on a cruise since I was 7 years old and went with my parents on a small trip from New York City to Nassau. Things have changed a lot: casinos, variety shows, and an on board infirmary that rivals many emergency rooms. Coming up I will host a Patient Power hour long program on "Health and medicine" at sea. Today's situation presents an interesting point of discussion. We are at sea today – no ports of call –...

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I finally had a chance to see Michael Moore's new movie "Sicko." I saw it with my 17 year old son, Ari, a young man very interested in current affairs and social issues. The movie provided plenty to chew on. And it seemed, at first blush, to be well done. You may know there are people who love Michael Moore and his past movies about General Motors and big corporations versus the little guys or guns in America. Now he's shined a light on health insurance, briefly on how many hard working Americans don't have it, and mostly on the...

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Something is wrong, very wrong when there are almost unlimited resources committed for some Americans and very limited resources for others. I know what I am about to say may touch a nerve for some but I am putting it on the table to see what you think. The other evening I watched a television segment on 60 Minutes. Scott Pelley, the correspondent, went to Iraq to see the incredibly devoted care Army medical teams provide to battle-injured soldiers. They never give up in their efforts to save the life of a young person who has answered the call of...

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A few days ago I hosted a live webcast connecting cancer patients around the world who have Multiple Myeloma with two leading medical experts and a savvy patient. While that's satisfying, what made it even better was that this webcast came right at the conclusion of the meeting of world experts in that condition. And that happens only every two years. So before a leading doctor, nurse practitioner and patient-advocate flew home to the U.S. from the meeting in Greece they provided their perspectives on the latest myeloma news to patients waiting with baited breath to hear it. What's an...

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Yes, I know, there's a book by this title. No matter what, I struggle with the idea. Yesterday it hit me in the face. I put in a call to Ruth Ross, a Seattle insurance company sales representative, who will be a guest on my radio show Sunday. She won't be there to sell insurance but rather tell her story of fighting brain cancer – a large malignancy that was found last January on the left side of her brain. Ruth was upbeat yesterday. Surgery by our other guest, neurosurgeon Dr. Gregory Foltz, and follow-up chemotherapy and radiation has given...

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On my talk show Friday I featured Trisha Gura Ph.D. a Boston-based author of a neat new book: "Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women." Not surprisingly, Trisha has fought eating disorders herself as a teenager and again as a adult. What was neat is that she is using her skill as a writer to speak out from a personal perspective and also add plenty of information from others about a condition that affects millions. Interestingly, Trisha has her advanced degree from Northwestern in molecular biology. But now she is using her smarts with a...

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This is getting to be a fun time as more voices can be heard inviting us to be "smarter patients." I've been at this a long time and it was great to have two neurologists (Dr. John Castaldo and Dr. Lawrence Leavitt from Leheigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA ) on my talk show who, in this time of high tech medicine, are urging doctors and patients to step back a minute and work on communicating and listening better to each other. They are also echoing what I say about the importance of the patient being at the center of...

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August 2007
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