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I enjoyed a social evening with a respected colleague who is one of my closest friends.  He and his wife are great conversationalists, and during the course of the dinner he wondered about the dangers of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) in precipitating dementia.

Read more on The Dangers of Benadryl…

Filed under Doctors, News, prescription drugs, Research by on . Comment#

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It takes a high-profile celebrity death — the most recent example is Prince — to highlight problems with legally-prescribed medications such as opioids.

Pain is a horrible thing, and those who suffer any level of pain from mild to extreme are deserving of relief.  A doctor is trained to give relief and is trained to do so safely and responsibly. Read more on Doctors Have Been Brainwashed By Pain Medicine Guidelines…

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Prince’s death was less original than his music. When Prince died of a self-administered dose of Fentanyl, he was far from the first celebrity to succumb to the use of addictive prescription drugs, and far from the first to succumb to the most dangerous of legal pharmaceutical opioids. Fame has long conferred a sense of entitlement.  The rich and famous who are powerful enough to have things they want have wanted freedom from both physical and emotional discomfort.  The list of them is long.  Their scandals nourish their admirers, often helping them feel superior to their idols. The list is long. The best news is that at least some, like Jamie Lee Curtis CITED HERE, have managed to vanquish addiction and continue with their lives. I applaud them, for I believe their public admissions inspire many.

Read more on Prince’s Death, Unlike His Music, Was All Too Familiar…

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I idolized the American medical establishment. When I was a mere Blue Cross number-collecting lackey working at the front desk of the Emergency Room of Massachusetts General Hospital, I sometimes saw, slipping into the doctors’ lounge, notable people — doctors whose surname in footnotes graced the basic core medical textbooks I was using as parallel reading in France, to prepare myself for my American examinations in medicine. I never wanted to penetrate more than the lowest echelons of the American medical establishment when I returned from France.  I mean I doubted the Harvard-types would open their world to me easily, no matter how clever I was. I proved to be right.  At a Harvard-associated residency program, I was actually asked at the interview if anyone in my family was a Harvard University trained physician. I still remember the program chairman’s barely muffled laughter when I told him my father held a graduate degree from the Harvard University School of music. Read more on Drug Misuse in American Medicine Leads to Possible Catastrophe…

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I heard it long ago, when I was early in my training, at some big international psychopharmacology meeting so I reproduce it here. “What people really want is an on-off switch.” Most people seem to get through life pushing the envelope only minimally.  A few cups of coffee in the morning helps promote “alertness.” A drink or two with the guys after work helps to “wind down” on the way home. Neither of these decisions is harmless. Although there are indeed some beneficial compounds in some forms of alcohol, I have come to believe that civilization has taken a poor turn in validating its use for a very long time.

Read more on Addictive Drugs and Questions They Raise…

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When I was little, I relished trips to my aunt Sadie and uncle Irving’s farm.  There were many reasons, including the freedom to run free with my brother in the sweet-smelling grass, in the country air.

The best reasons, however, were the chickens. Read more on I Have Always Loved Chickens…

Filed under Family, News, Research by on . Comment#

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Every honest and complete psychiatric evaluation includes screening for delusions. A delusion is a strongly held belief that is totally without basis in the factual reality that we all use to live our daily lives. I have taken care of several people, institutionalized and not, who have had such beliefs.  Medications known as “antipsychotics” can be very effective on the hallucinations — the hearing voices and seeing things and such — that are the hallmark of a lack of mental “normalcy” as is generally expected and accepted in the community. The same medications may be less effective on these delusions, these beliefs.  Sometimes, in a particular kind of delusion, a kind that hits folks somewhere between 18 and 90 (average age 40) where there are no hallucinations, just beliefs.  They are less frequent.  They are also hard to treat, with antipsychotic medicines working maybe about half the time — in those who can actually be convinced to take them. Read more on Screening For Delusions…

Filed under Diagnosis, Mental Illness, News by on . Comment#

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Why people are obsessed with the Kardashians? I have not followed them in the slightest. I am obsessed about knowledge — how to apply it to helping humans (my favorite species) have happier lives through scientific knowledge. I was very surprised when I heard two professionals — a man and a woman whose knowledge I respect — gushing about how much they loved the Kardashians. I wanted to know why. I admitted to them that I was, perhaps, just a little bit, well, jealous. My patients mostly seem to like me well enough, and some even say the love me.  But I did not understand how or why people could “gush” about loving the Kardashians. My friends came to the rescue.  They told me, step by step, the things that the Kardashians had done to make them so “lovable.”  They thought I could replicate the process. Of course, me being me, I tried to find all that I could in the neuroscience and (more) the psychological literature, to figure out what worked, and why — and what they may have forgotten to tell me. Read more on Cashing In On The Kardashians…

Filed under Family, News, Society by on . Comment#

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Congratulations are in order for Senator John McCain,a Vietnam veteran, and his Arizona colleague Senator Flake (I refuse to comment on HIS name) for pointing out to America that the Department of Defense is paying the NFL for demonstrations of patriotism. Here is the Washington Post article that my ever vigilant (and unabashedly patriotic) husband used to notify me of this wildly newsworthy knowledge.

Filed under Family, News, politics, war by on . Comment#

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“Dr. Goldstein; you aren’t going to sit there and tell me you believe in love, are you?”

I started nodding. slowly, trying to think quickly of what to say.  Soon to celebrate a quarter of a century–twenty five years, married to a guy I am actually crazier about now than I was the day I met him.

Read more on The Ultimate Valentine’s Gift — Happiness!…

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