chronic disease

Things I’m Reading: Mental Health Edition

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the things I have been reading lately:

  • Buzzfeed.com: What is the real toll of war on our veterans? A beautiful photo series highlighting what it’s like to live with PTSD. For another take on living with and living through a traumatic experience, see my recent post about the broken and yet unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

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Another Day, Another Dead

The recent new stories of Sandra Bland, the teenager in McKinney, TX, and Samuel DuBose have yet again ignited national discussions of race, police brutality, and reform. During the Baltimore riots a few months ago in response to the death of Freddie Gray, I had jotted down some thoughts and feelings about privilege, power, and systemic injustices but never posted it. Then time passed, and it didn’t seem as current or relevant to be posting about Baltimore. We had Charleston, South Carolina and other cities to worry about. Without meaning to, I fell subject to the same pressures and cycles of the popular media. As is sadly commonplace these days, the round-the-clock on-the-ground coverage of Baltimore’s plight is gone, and the media furor passed quickly to the next big topic; Baltimore’s saga has since garnered scarcely more than a mention.

Google Trends

I therefore take this time to reflect on how far (or not) we have come since the Spring. The officers involved in this incident may have been indicted, but this does not close the chapter on Baltimore’s struggles and anguish. It bears revisiting. Not just for those in Baltimore, but for those in Charleston, SC and now Cincinnati, OH wrestling with the same injustices. (more…)

Let’s START at the very beginning

An important development in the worldwide treatment and care of HIV-infected individuals was announced earlier this week. Read on to find out what this means for HIV treatment practices moving forward…

Source: http://www.capitalwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/113.jpg

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Palliative Care and the Lost Art of Communication

The following is Part 2 in a series about end-of-life care. For Part 1, see here. This article addresses my own experience on a Palliative Medicine elective in my fourth year of medical school.

Despite the growing number of U.S. hospitals with Palliative Care teams, there remains a real lack of understanding about the benefit that specialized Palliative Care providers can bring for patients with advanced illness. This form of care is especially valuable in patients with end-stage illness (and has even been shown to extend life by several months), but it can also help any patient at any stage of illness (regardless of prognosis). Indeed, even prescribing an NSAID for headache can be considered a form of palliation. The focus is about improving quality of life now instead of later. (more…)

Are we PrEPared to eradicate HIV?

Source: NYDailyNews.com

In the past few months, support for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP; Truvada) has grown substantially. The CDC and WHO now endorse it, as does New York State Governor Cuomo who recently announced a multi-pronged plan to reduce the rate of new HIV infections in the state by 75% before 2020. However, the role of PrEP in curbing HIV transmission is still hotly debated – who should take it, who should pay for it, and whether or not it will work on a population level. Its price tag is about $10,000/year to insurers, it requires daily adherence for maximum benefit, and involves periodic testing to monitor a patient’s HIV status. Part of the concern is that PrEP’s effectiveness may be affected by two behavioral phenomena often experienced in health promotion: self-selection and risk compensation. (more…)