Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss (And Its Other Health Benefits)

In recent years, interest in intermittent fasting—that is, not eating at all for a certain number of days per week—has been increasing. Intermittent fasting (IF) has been practiced worldwide based mostly on traditional, cultural, or religious grounds, but recent experimental data suggest it’s not only safe but also effective for achieving weight loss. What’s more, […]

Too Much Care

Not long ago, one of my elderly patients (who gave me permission to tell this story) began requiring blood transfusions for a condition known as ischemic colitis. Usually it occurs because there are blockages present in the arteries that supply blood to the colon and, starved of blood, the inner lining of the colon […]

How To Achieve Balance, Redux

Every once in a while (or perhaps more frequently than I’d like to admit) I find myself overwhelmed by my own life. Taking care of patients, blogging, writing, maintaining relationships (with my wife, son, family, friends, and co-workers), exercising, practicing Buddhism, marketing my writing, answering pages, answering emails, handling unforeseen crises, cleaning out our cats’ […]

Saving Primary Care

In the twenty years I’ve been a primary care physician at the University of Chicago I’ve had the opportunity to do many challenging and interesting things. I ran primary care for seven years, led the implementation of an enterprise-wide electronic medical record system for six years, and served as the assistant vice president for Student […]

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) And You

Photo: Woodleywonderworks

Despite the public controversy over the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in the scientific community the controversy is considered misplaced. The National Academy of Sciences has reviewed the safety of GMOs twice, once in 2000 and again in 2004. Both reviews concluded that genetically modified crops pose no threat to human […]

Decision Making At The End Of Life, Redux

Photo: Phalinn Ooi

When I was a third-year medical student rotating for the first time on a general medicine service inpatient ward, my team admitted a thirty-year-old woman in acute congestive heart failure. That a thirty-year-old was in congestive heart failure was unusual enough. Even more shocking was the cause: an echocardiogram revealed a […]

My Father Is Dying

Somewhere around 2004 or so—I no longer remember the exact year—my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We’d been wondering why his legs had been feeling weak, and at first had thought he might have cervical spinal stenosis (a condition in which the spinal cord becomes compressed in the neck). But when the tell-tale cogwheel […]

The Right Way To Think About Your Risk Of Ebola

Ebola has riveted our attention: It’s a deadly disease with no known cure, and as is true of most infectious diseases, it’s easy to imagine how it could become a global pandemic and threaten us directly. For what it’s worth, though, here is what the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells […]

The Middle Age Spread And How To Combat It

Photo: bark

The reason so many people gain weight as they enter middle age is no mystery: if, as an example, you only eat 50 extra calories per day over a period of twenty years that you don’t burn off by exercising, it will result in a weight gain of 104 pounds. (Here’s the […]

Insomnia

Photo: Carlos Martz

Whatever its cause, few things interfere with our waking lives like the inability to sleep at night. Insomnia has multiple causes: anxiety, depression, and medications, just to name a few. I find myself unable to sleep when I’m excited about something (if I’m anxious, I drop off right away—unlike most of […]