Category: medicine

Am I A Prostate Guru? Someone Thinks I Am!

As a 12-year-old camper in the summer of 1968, I was my cabin’s nominee for the title of Guru of Camp Chi, 3rd Session. I ran a strong campaign, with a catchy jingle based on “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Sadly I lost in a heated battle with a candidate from another cabin. As was customary way... Read more »

Every Paper Clip Is Another Life Changed

Each clip=one prostate cancer case. A small cylindrical plastic container sits on the desk behind me. I am not sure what it originally contained but now it is filled with paper clips. A quick glance tells me it must have a couple of hundred clips inside it, and every day I add a few more.... Read more »

Has There Been a Pathologist in YOUR Life?

Tools of the trade. There are about 21,000 pathologists in the USA. That’s not a lot. And we are a pretty quiet bunch, even though some of us blog, a few of us tweet, and a handful probably Tik Tok and Instagram. Quincy M.E. may have been our show but that ended close to 40... Read more »

Hail The Lizard Brain--Pathology's Friend

  I once had an experienced colleague named Paulo who claimed that within a second of starting to examine a Pap smear on his microscope he could tell whether it was going to be abnormal or not. Paulo “could smell it.” Since most pathologists I know have long had their olfactory sense dulled by the... Read more »

Is This a Scare Technique, or Good Pharma Advertising?

How do you sell an anti-coagulant drug in a pandemic? If you are giant pharma such as Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb, you run a pair of radio and TV commercials putting a scare into listeners and viewers. Ads that tell you that if you have symptoms of shortness of breath, leg pain, or palpitations you need... Read more »

Knives, A Puff Of Smoke, and Me. What Could Go Wrong?

(Rated SG for Slightly Gross) Do you remember Friday afternoons when you were a kid in school? The teacher’s voice would drone on and on. The minute hand on the wall clock would move slower and slower. Time would freeze. You kept staring out the window, at the shining sun, at the park at the end... Read more »

Quantum Microbiology--Things Get Interesting When They Get Small

Everything is getting smaller. Google has announced that it has created a quantum computer, the Holy Grail of techies. While the computer itself is a massive energy suck, the computational power is lodged in subatomic particles. I don’t understand the science, but I know those subatomic particles must be pretty, pretty, pretty small. In the... Read more »

Did a Vegetarian Diet Cure a Prostate Cancer? I Need More Evidence.

“I went on a vegetarian diet and my prostate cancer is gone!” That was the Facebook post in a prostate cancer support group I occasionally follow. My immediate thought? Sorry, but I disagree with you. Based on the evidence you posted with that click-baity headline, I don’t think there has been a miracle cure. You... Read more »

Is Curiosity Worth Losing a Job Over? Lessons from the Jessie Smollett Affair.

The news stories and TV broadcasts say “Northwestern Medical Center fires dozens of employees for seeking to access Jessie Smollett’s health care record.” What’s that all about? Medical records are meant to be confidential. Every doctor, dentist, mental health professional and more have you sign a form outlining the organization’s policy on privacy and how... Read more »

The Pathologist and the Pea

You all remember the story of the Princess and the Pea. In the fairy tale, a beautiful young woman of questionable parentage is proven to be royalty when a pea at the bottom of a stack of mattresses disturbs her enough to prevent her from sleeping. (I know, they had weird tests for royalty back... Read more »