Archive for the ‘Words of Wisdom’ Category

Psychophysiologic Disorders and Social Change in Medicine

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

Michael Galinsky, a director of and a principal subject in a documentary about chronic pain titled All The Rage has written a wonderful essay (1) on the process of physicians changing their practice (or not) in response to research data.  Any one interested in how treatment of chronic pain and other symptoms linked to psychophysiologic disorders will evolve (or not) in coming years will find it clearly written and edifying.


Patients Who Have “Nothing the Matter with Them”

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Among physicians with a humanistic soul, perhaps no quotation is more fondly remembered than one from Dr Francis Peabody.  He was born in 1881 to a prominent New England family, trained at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital and was the first director of the Thorndike Laboratory at Boston City Hospital.  Tragically, he died of sarcoma at age 46.


Illness as a Parental Legacy

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

A colleague and friend has written a deeply personal essay about his troubled relationship with his father. It led me to reflect on the 4000+ interviews I have done with people whose illnesses were linked to their childhood experience. Some learning from those patients:


Stress Illness and Arthur Miller (2)

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Here we continue the discussion from the last post of Arthur Miller’s play Broken Glass which he wrote at age 78.  The play with my commentary will be broadcast the weekend of June 18-19 on many NPR stations around the US and is available on the web site of the LA Theatre Workshop.  See the last post for links.


Stress Illness and Arthur Miller (1)

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

On Saturday, June 18, 2011 many NPR stations around the US will broadcast a play that, during intermission, I comment on.  Starting Friday night, the audio be available for a week on the website of The L.A. Theatre Works who produced it.  The play is Broken Glass by Arthur Miller (1915 – 2005), an American playwright most famous for four plays he wrote in his 30s: Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge and, my personal favorite, All My Sons.  His notoriety increased further at age 40 when he left his wife of 16 years and, weeks later, married Marilyn Monroe.


How Physicians View Stress Illness (2)

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

In the last post, a quotation from Dr Jerome Groopman highlighted two common physician errors, the first being to lump together all patients with medically unexplained symptoms and label them hypochondriacs.


How Physicians View Stress Illness (1)

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Jerome Groopman, MD is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an author of numerous scientific journal articles on AIDS and cancer.  His recent book, How Doctors Think, has been a best seller.


Stress and Stammering

Monday, January 31st, 2011

David Seidler was pre-school age and living in London when the Nazis bombed his apartment and later killed his grandparents in the Holocaust.  Understandably, the family decided to relocate to New York.  David developed a stammer during the move that he believed was connected to the war-time traumas.  He struggled with his voice for over a decade.


Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr and Changing Medical Practice

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Integrating the care of mind and body has never been routine in the practice of medicine.  Finding a way to bridge that divide is a daunting task.  I found unexpected encouragement today, while bringing light and air to the surface of my desk for the first time in a year or two.  Buried in the “please find a place to file this” pile, I found a page my father had typed in law school sixty years ago.  He had passed it on to me when I finished medical school.


Stress Illness in other cultures

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Physical symptoms connected to stress are reported in many cultures.  Abraham Verghese, MD is a professor of medicine at Stanford University in California.  His critically acclaimed novel Cutting for Stone (Vintage Books, 2009) is narrated by Marion Stone, a 50 year old surgeon born in dramatic circumstances at a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Dr Ghosh practices Internal Medicine at the hospital and early in Chapter 12 there is a description of some of his work.