I have never met the famous television interviewer Barbara Walters. I have never met actress and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg, or personalities Sherri Shepherd, or Joy Behar, or Elisabeth Hasselbeck. But I will – next Monday, May 2nd. That’s because I have been invited to be a guest on the popular daily daytime television talk show The View. For a few minutes next week, I’ll be there with the ladies to talk about my new book: The Web-Savvy Patient: An Insider’s Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis. I’ll briefly get to tell how I believe how connecting with...

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Imagine you’re a pharmaceutical company product manager and your specific product helps people with a chronic illness, or a cancer that can be managed by taking a pill or an injectable medicine over many years. You want to be part of the dialogue patients have with each other. You want to be part of the community. Facebook users, and other social media participants, are increasingly forming groups around health conditions, big and small. You want to be there, because, after all, your company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars developing the approved drug and hopes this medicine, and perhaps...

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It is happening several times a day now. The phone rings. I get stopped at Starbucks, or at the dog park, or at the supermarket. “My friend may have a brain tumor,” “I have been short of breath,” “I am tired all the time.”  Then come the questions: “What do you think I should do? Who should I see?”  I am not a doctor, but people are increasingly looking to me as if I were one. It’s a little daunting. As you may know, I’ve been producing and/or hosting programs on medical topics for patients since the mid 1980’s. First...

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How is it that a person with an illness forgets to take their medicine, or refuses to get a treatment, or forgoes important monitoring? I’ve been thinking about that because someone close to me has hit that “medical fatigue” wall. There has been no effective treatment for their digestive system illness and they are tired of the prods, pokes, and special exams. They just want to live their life and “cope.” One can understand – especially in a child or teenager. Imagine someone with diabetes. Diet, exercise, monitoring, medication. It can be so tiring. If only the illness – the...

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I was thinking this past weekend about the death of former congresswoman and vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. She passed on from multiple myeloma which she had been fighting for about 12 years. During that time, as noted in our many programs on the subject, there has been tremendous progress in knocking back the disease. People are living longer and better and I am pretty sure the doctors at Massachusetts General brought the latest to bear for Ms. Ferraro. Of course, that’s one of the premier academic medical centers in the world – staffed by Harvard physicians. Not everyone has...

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If you follow me regularly, you know I enjoy watching the Fox television drama House M.D. on Monday nights (although I often watch the recording later in the week). Doctor Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) is a sorry character but a terrific diagnostician.  In almost every episode someone is on the brink of death from an elusive illness when House’s “light bulb” goes on and, in a flash, he saves the patient’s life by proving himself to being the world’s best medical detective. Dr. Lisa Sanders is watching 3,000 miles away in New Haven, Connecticut where she teaches first and second...

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My wife Esther had four pregnancies. One ended prematurely, but the three others produced our dear Ari, Ruthie, and Eitan. Now they are thriving at 21, 17, and 13. With them on their way and the house getting quieter, what to do? Have another baby? How about finally having the discipline to have another kind of baby – write a book and actually have the discipline to get it published? Guess what: I DID IT! With deep thanks to long-time friend and co-author Mary Thomas, we took the kernel of an idea Amy Gray and I hatched four years ago...

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Maybe you read the other day in The New York Times that the pharmaceutical industry has a problem. Big blockbuster drugs like Lipitor are going off patent and the industry leaders don’t have new blockbusters showing promise to replace them. So the big companies search for little companies with new discoveries and they consider buying them. Industry observers think the days of $5 billion- a-year drugs to lower cholesterol or control diabetes may be past for a while, and the companies will have smaller hits with new compounds for autoimmune conditions and cancer. When I saw my oncologist for a...

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I had breakfast this morning in Las Vegas with my friend, Dave Garcia. Dave is a pit boss on the graveyard shift at the Belagio Hotel where they made the modern day Ocean’s buddy movies. Dave is also a 52-year-old chronic lymphocytic leukemia survivor. He reached out to me online and we have been friends since soon after his diagnosis in 2002. Dave is a father of two young kids. He dreams of seeing them grow up. But, understandably, he worries. Some days more than others. Today was his day to see his oncologist and get the latest blood test...

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No, I am not talking about meeting on Match.com and then getting together at a coffee shop for a date. I am talking about being diagnosed with a serious illness, putting yourself out there online, and corresponding with someone else, across town, across the state or around the world who has the same diagnosis. That of course, is nothing new. Many of us have been doing that since the mid-90’s at least. But here is what is so cool – time and time again. It’s when I get to meet someone in person who I’ve known for years in a...

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April 2011
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