Sometimes I come across items in medical journals, books, magazines or newspapers that intrigue me or seem worth sharing – that’s my purpose behind “A Country Doctor Reads”.

A few random samples:

ADHD in France and the USA

I have speculated before about why the U.S. has such a high incidence of ADHD and to what extent this is because of environmental influences. A blog I just came across touches on the same subject.

Jeff Kane, M.D. writes about the difference between French and American child-rearing in an interesting post. His blog has a lot of wisdom and interesting commentary.



Are Surgeons More Handsome Than Internists?

It has been statistically proven that surgeons are taller and more handsome than Internists and Family Physicians. I didn’t come across the evidence until now:

via Phenotypic differences between male physicians, surgeons, and film stars: comparative study | BMJ.

When Stumped for a Diagnosis, Examine the Patient!

The new issue of The Lancet tells a story of a woman with a stubborn cough, unrelieved by standard treatments and no closer to a diagnosis even after extensive testing. When someone finally examined the whole patient, she turned out to have an obvious breast cancer. The cough, it turned out, was caused by pulmonary lymphangitic carcinomatosis.

The authors propose the term “McCoy’s Syndrome”, after the physician in Star Trek. He relied solely on technology to diagnose his patients. We should not, the authors say:

“Unfortunately, McCoy’s syndrome seems to be widespread in the health system at the moment, striking mainly doctors, but also other health-care professionals and even patients. The most characteristic feature of the syndrome is the excessive faith in medical technology, particularly imaging. Other components that might also be present are the absence of clinical reasoning and of establishing emotional links with sick people. Some cases also show incapacity to think about common diagnostic hypotheses, particularly in university hospital environments.”

McCoy’s syndrome: a new medical entity : The Lancet.


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  • Fish Oil May Have More Benefits for the Inuit than for Westerners
    I have heard many people advocate eating local foods, and avoiding things from far away. Human metabolism, some say, isn’t the same everywhere. Now there is new evidence that whale blubber may be better for the Inuit than for westerners. In the 1970s, Danish researchers studying Inuit metabolism proposed that omega-3 fatty acids found in […]
  • Value Based Care: Whose Values?
    The Journal of the American Medical Association is taking a stand for elderly and disabled patients in today’s online issue: “As Medicare moves to implement value-based payment initiatives tied only to current quality measures, the values of large populations of disabled and frail persons, whose care is the most costly and most concentrated in Medicare, […] […]
  • The Call Within the Call
    “We all go into professions for many reasons: money, status, security. But some people have experiences that turn a career into a calling. These experiences quiet the self. All that matters is living up to the standard of excellence inherent in their craft.” These words by The New York Times columnist David Brooks, in a […]
  • A Crazy Old-School Physician
    A post by Suneel Dhand on KevinMD asks the question who is crazy – the elderly physician who knows his patient’s history by heart, or today’s young doctors, who know the computer better than their patients: Then there’s the reality that his generation represents exactly what a personal physician should be. A solid physician with […]
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