Posts Tagged ‘medical education’

Stress, Illness, Social Change and the PPDA (1)

Friday, November 12th, 2010

When you take on a problem that has defied solution for 2500 years, it seems wise to plan on many years of work.  Hippocrates described patients who closely resemble those we know to have psychophysiologic disorders (PPD, the new technical term for Stress Illness) but did not provide treatment based on accurate diagnosis.  As far as most PPD patients are concerned, we haven’t made much progress since then.  Even Sigmund Freud, who was on the right track for awhile, was regularly committing malpractice with these patients by his early 40s.


Stress Illness and Surprises

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

In presenting my lecture last month in four US states and two European countries, one story always got a big reaction.  A woman of about 60 years of age had unexplained chest pains (requiring narcotics) for nearly two years that were linked to finding a letter from her emotionally abusive mother.  She found the letter in the family Bible just after her mother’s funeral.  Among other things the letter had a list of “10 Reasons Why I Hate You.”  The woman’s chest pains faded rapidly after we uncovered this connection and she wrote her mother an emotional and cathartic reply.


The Collaborative Family Healthcare Association (CFHA)

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

In March of 1993, 15 colleagues from the fields of family medicine and family therapy met to think about a better way to deliver primary care.  They concluded that integrating the expertise of biomedical and psychosocial providers with family and community as key elements in the practice model would be ideal. They called their idea the “collaborative family healthcare model”, formed the CFHA and, in July 1995, held their first national conference in Washington, D.C.  It was well attended and received glowing reviews.  Last week I spoke about Stress Illness at their 12th national conference in Louisville, KY, attended by over 350 people.


Stress, Illness and Primary Care in Europe (2)

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

In the year I was born, James Watson and Thomas Crick were young scientists working at Cambridge University (UK) who often discussed their work over a pint at the centuries-old Eagle pub.  They deduced the double-helix structure of DNA using x-ray images taken by Maurice Wilkins and especially Rosalind Franklin.  (Dr. Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958 and her contribution came to light only after the three men received the Nobel Prize in 1962).  After the discovery, Dr Crick went to the Eagle and announced they had “found the secret of life.”


Stress, Illness and Primary Care in Europe (1)

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Yesterday I was honored to speak to primary care practitioners from Europe at the annual conference of WONCA (the first five initials of the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians), held in Malaga, Spain.  I had been invited by a varied group of remarkable clinicians including: (more…)

Psychosocial Context (2)

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Continuing from the last post,  recall that in my practice a large majority of over 7000 patients with medically unexplained symptoms were referred due to failure to grasp the their psychosocial issues.


Psychosocial Context (1)

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

The health care system has a strong bias toward viewing people as purely biological organisms.  This approach ignores two critical facts:


Stress, Families and Faces

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Death of a family member is a source of stress that most of us experience eventually.  Despite this, it is an uncommon subject for film.  A wonderful exception is Departures, an Oscar-winner from 2008 (Best Foreign Language film, Japanese title Okuribito), directed by Yojiro Takita.


Empathy and Stress Illness (1)

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Empathy, the ability to feel what it is like to be another human being, is a key diagnostic tool in the arsenal of clinicians who diagnose stress illness.  (You can read a series of posts about this by clicking on the tag ’empathy’ below.)


Blood Test for Stress Illness?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Bethesda, Maryland.  April 1.  The Center for Irreproducible Results at the National Institution of Health today announced a stunning breakthrough that is certain to benefit hundreds of millions of patients.  Dr. Freddie P. Ignobel reports that she has found a blood test that can reliably confirm when physical symptoms are caused by life stresses and not by a disease of an organ or a metabolic problem.