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My Thoughts on Late-Term Abortions

I was recently talking to a friend of mine named Joe who works in health care and is an intelligent, well-educated person.  The subject of abortion came up and Joe told me he was pro-choice, but… Joe: “I just don’t think women should be allowed to have abortions at 37 or 38 weeks pregnant.  That’s just wrong.” I think I gasped audibly and said, “Oh no!”  I didn’t understand how a smart guy in healthcare could believe women were having abortions two weeks before delivery.  Or putting it another way, that there are doctors out there who are effectively willing to murder full term fetuses. Donald Trump said it during a debate though.  And while people did point out that this ridiculous, I always felt like a big enough deal wasn’t made out of this.  Our presidential candidate believed women are allowed to have abortions at full term.  How can we brush that off? I calmly tried to explain to Joe why this logic made no sense, and he quickly said, “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”  And… that was the end of the discussion. Now I am someone who sympathizes with people who are genuinely pro-life.  I have female friends who believe life starts at conception, and can talk intelligently on the subject. I am willing to listen to anyone who does not just want to ban abortion...

What to Know About World Autism Day

Monday, April 2nd, 2018 is the 11th annual World Autism Day. Around the world, buildings and landmarks with shine will blue lights to raise awareness and increase recognition of those who live with autism. This will be followed by a month-long program of autism-friendly events that aim to foster acceptance and understanding. Light it Up Blue The Light it Up Blue initiative was started in 2010 by Autism Speaks. Last year, buildings, landmarks and businesses turned their lights blue to raise awareness. Over 170 countries participated on all 7 continents. While many view this day as an important way to raise awareness for autism, the initiative has engendered some controversy, with criticisms being aimed at the language of pathology used by Autism Speaks, as well as their financial standing as a charity. Many people, especially families of autistic children, would prefer to spread a message of acceptance for all who may be neurologically atypical, not just click-and-share social media “awareness.” Empowering Women and Girls with Autism Over at the United Nations, the General Assembly has adopted a resolution to observe World Autism Awareness Day with the message of “empowering women and girls with autism,” to focus on the way ways that gender dynamics and gender discrimination intersect with disability. Their resolution noted that women with disabilities have a lower rate of employment than both women without disabilities and men with disabilities. The...

Physician Suicide and Mental Health

I was talking to a medical student recently who said he didn’t want to do a residency in NYC because “everyone there kills themselves.”  I think that’s a little dramatic, although I do recall several years ago there was a rash of suicides in residents. I just read an excellent article on physician suicide. What’s sad is that if a physician really was feeling suicidal, I guarantee there’s no way they could seek counseling quickly that wouldn’t jeopardize their career and confidentiality–the only effective way would be to threaten suicide, which would take them to the ER and give them a record of suicidal behavior… a fate many proud physicians would consider worse than death. I’m going to take a step further and say mental health treatment in this country is really bad.  This is not a jab at mental health professionals, who are probably fine individually… just saying there aren’t enough of them. The system is bad. If someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, they can call their local behavioral health center and maybe get an appointment in a month or two.  Hopefully they’re alive by then. I had a few really down periods during my medical training, so I can speak to all this from experience. There were no mental health services available. At one point, when I was having a really hard time, I called some student health...

This Health and Wellness Podcast Will Help You Get Through Med School

A new addition to the Alternative Health category on iTunes is Well Now, a health and wellness podcast by Saje Natural Wellness. The podcast was launched February 2018. As not only an avid podcast listener, but also a student in the health profession with a strong scientific background, I can say the podcast does not disappoint. The content is not only scientifically sound and reliable, but the patient stories are heart-warming and informative. The podcast is a new venture for the retail company. Saje Natural Wellness is a retail company based in Vancouver, Canada. It started in 1992 by a husband and wife team, Jean-Pierre LeBlanc and Kate Rose LeBlanc. They had a vision to introduce 100 percent natural, plant-based wellness products to the market. According to their website, the products contain pure ingredients from nature. The lavender they use in their products, for example, is grown in the hills of Provence. The company offers a wide range of products with the Saje label: massage oils, face and body mists, essential oils, and bath soaks. Saje introduces Well Now as one that helps listeners “discover the hidden side of health.” Having enjoyed the first two episodes and listened to them both in its entirety in one sitting, I can attest that this description is as an accurate one. Conventionally, a podcast will have a teaser or introductory episode. Sometimes...

5 Reasons Why Hospital Queues Are So Long

There is no question that every patient dreads having to wait in a hospital emergency department queue. It can be a frustrating, time-consuming, and confusing process. Research backs up this experience: a study by Bleustein et al found that patient satisfaction is negatively correlated with longer wait times for provider care. Furthermore, physicians and other caregivers also perceive longer waits to represent lesser quality information and treatment. So why are the hospital queues so long? Patient urgency is decided by triage. Because patients come into emergency departments with varying needs, the order in which patients are moved to a care room is determined by the seriousness of their injury or illness. Triage comes from the French word for ‘to sort’ and has been the system in place for medical care since the late 1700s. Immediate, urgent, and non-urgent remain the three main categories for patients, and patients who are non-urgent may experience significantly longer wait times than those who have more pressing needs. Administrative information must be gathered prior to treatment. Anyone who has been to a hospital knows that a major portion of time before treatment is spent filling out paperwork, providing documents and insurance information, and working with administrative personnel to make sure payment is covered for the services that will be provided. One study on wait times for German hospitals by Kuchinke et al found that...

What You Need To Do About Blood and Organ Donation

Blood and deceased-donor organ donation improves and saves the lives of thousands, if not millions, across the world each year, but there’s still many misconceptions about the process. Lack of education, fear and cultural factors greatly impede the amount of people signing up as organ donors or attending blood drives, and this shortage has a huge and long lasting effect on the health of those who need it, despite mounting efforts to encourage Americans to sign up for donation.   As a (current or future) medical professional, you are likely know more than most about the process of donating blood, or how organs are donated and transplanted upon a patient’s death—as well as how imperative donations of all types are to global health.   However, for the a cross-section of general public, the concept isn’t as simple.  Some of the most common concerns for potential donors include eligibility issues; including whether race, sexuality/sexual identity or age affects eligibility, to whether their religion will allow blood or organ donation in any form. Fortunately, Work the World have created a new infographic to mark National Donor Day (February 14th) that covers some of the most common myths and facts that potential donors need to know. For example, not many people know that you can become a donor even in your old age, as tissue and corneas are able to be donated...

Top Ten Anxiety Fighting Foods

The foods you eat play an important role in how effectively your nervous system operates and consequently how relaxed or stress you feel throughout the day. High sugar and refined grain foods negatively affect your blood sugar levels and can generally be considered stress promoting. Conversely, natural foods like vegetables, nuts and healthy protein sources are much slower digesting and usually provide a calmer and significantly more stable energy. Even eating a healthier diet though, there a certain anti-anxiety foods that are particularly good at reducing stress levels and relaxing your body and mind. Ahead are ten of the best and what makes them so good for relieving anxiety and tension. 10 Foods That Naturally Reduce Stress 1. Raw Pumpkin Seeds Raw and importantly unsalted pumpkin seeds are an amazing source of anti-anxiety nutrients. They are particularly effective if you replace sugary or salt laden junk food snacks with a small handful of pumpkin seeds (perhaps mixed with the two nuts coming up ahead). Pumpkin seeds are rich source of magnesium, a mineral vital for maintaining a healthy nervous system, regulating energy production and relaxing your body’s muscles. Many people are at least mildly deficient in magnesium as it is often processed out of packaged foods and soil levels are low in most Western countries. Magnesium deficiency may well contribute to anxiety and is known to stimulate food cravings...