medicine

Health
8:17 am
Thu January 16, 2014

FDA Asks Doctors To Stop Prescribing High-Dose Acetaminophen

The prescription painkiller sold under the brand-name Vicodin contains hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. To reduce the risk of liver damage, the Food and Drug Administration is moving to limit the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription medicines.
Toby Talbot AP

The pain reliever acetaminophen is easy on the stomach. But at high doses, the drug can be hell on the liver.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is asking doctors to refrain from prescribing drugs that contain high doses of acetaminophen to minimize the risk of liver damage.

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in nonprescription Tylenol. But it's also inside quite a few prescription pain pills, including Vicodin and Percocet.

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Rural Medicine
3:25 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Rural Residency Shortage Means Doctors-In-Training Move Away

Vaughn Bullfinch. Medical resident Vaughn Bullfinch considers himself lucky to have residency spot in a rural Northwest hospital in an area where he hopes to settle down.

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 3:14 pm

For decades, rural parts of the Northwest have found it difficult to lure doctors to small towns. Community leaders in Yakima, Wash. went so far as to found a small medical school to train doctors to practice in these underserved areas.

The Pacific Northwest University opened in 2006. But there is a problem. Small towns throughout the region just don’t have enough residency programs. And that means many of these doctors-in-training may move away.

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Medicine
11:35 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Harvard Prof. Says Placebo Effect More Powerful And Useful Than We Imagine

The act of taking pills is one part of the complex mental reward system known as the placebo effect.
Credit Flickr Photo/pig pog s

Before 1970, doctors used to lie to their patients all the time. They knew that some hypochondriacs became noticeably better when doctors gave them a sugar pill.

This was called "the placebo effect." After 1970, we thought of placebos differently. Researchers decided that for a drug to be deemed effective, it had to outperform a placebo. But we never stepped back and took a good hard look at the placebo and why it worked.

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Medicine
8:00 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

What Hospitals Don't Tell You

A doctor's stethoscope.
Credit Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos

Medical mistakes are now the third highest cause of death in the United States, writes Dr. Marty Makary. As a surgeon, Makary has witnessed the power of medicine firsthand. But he's also been shocked by the errors that can have tragic circumstances: wrong limbs amputated, children getting the wrong doses of medicine because of bad handwriting, surgical sponges left inside patients.

Makary advocates for a culture that holds hospitals and doctors accountable for these mistakes in order to bring about positive change in this system. He spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on November 15, 2012.