Welcome to the latest edition of Grand Rounds!
This edition coincides almost exactly with my first anniversary as a blogger. Therefore, as a loose theme for this week, I've suggested an anniversary theme, and have asked contributors to write about something cool or imporant that they have learned in the past year.
Read on to find out what has recently crawled out of the tasty brains in the medical blogosphere...
Introducing Our Leadoff Post
Many of us do stuff with no expectation of pay, and blogging usually falls into that category. Although we blog for many reasons, most of us are probably in it just for the eyeballs -- we don't expect to convert our posts into large bags of cash. If we do manage to boil down a piece of our life into a set of useful insights, we'd like to get credit for said insights.
This is a common theme in the world of academic medicine. We give away research findings and data all the time. We tell the world: "Read this. Use this. Extend it. Just give us credit for the work we did." Even if this academic output doesn't get us promoted or invited to speak in swell places, we still expect to receive this basic currency of academia: getting credit for our ideas. Giving credit where it is due is also a standard practice in the incestuous world of blogging, where we endlessly quote and link to each other.
Linking to and extending the ideas of others is fair game. However, there is also a dark side to linking and quoting. Many of us have already noted blogbots mirroring bits of our content to certain robosites, probably to up their ad revenue. To me, these isolated events have so far been merely irksome. However, when someone sets up an automated strip-mine that grabs all of the intellectual output of thousands of blogs, it goes far beyond galling and becomes outrageous.
This is a long-winded way of introducing our lead-off post by Val Jones: How the Health Blogosphere was Scammed -- required reading for all health bloggers.
Dmitriy of the Trusted.MD blog has additional commentary on this same scam.
Leslie of Getting Closer to Myself describes the not-so-happy first anniversary of seeing her rheumatologist for the first time.
What if you have something that can't be cured? The chief psychiatrist at How to Cope with Pain suggests some alternative goals.
IcedLatte at Medical Marginalia has learned how expensive fresh food can be in Ohio. She therefore offers some budget ideas for the dietarily challenged.
Medaholic reminds us that there is more than just medicine to life.
Jay and Louise of Colorado Health Insurance Insider have learned that the invisible hand of the market sometimes acts more like an invisible fist to patients with pre-existing conditions. As moles inside the insurance industry, Jay and Louise have an interesting vantage point on The Failings of the Free Market in Health Care.
A one-armed person can be a real drag -- just ask Richard Kimble (or my spouse). The worst part for me after biceps surgery: learning to use toilet paper with the wrong hand. The best part: Dude, I'm a radiologist -- I could do all of my work in a body cast. Jenni of ChronicBabe has recently visited this territory, and shares her experiences in "What I've Learned from Being One-Armed".
Dr. Zhang of The Cockroach Catcher straddles two themes this week. For one, he just celebrated a one-year anniversary of blogging and publishing a book. Also, this year he finally learned the cause of a mysterious coma that afflicted one of his patients 30 years ago.
Doc Gurley shares an important thing she has learned this year in America -- Most expensive pee in the world. Gee, I may never be thirsty again...
Have your psych patients stopped responding to the usual sessions and drugs? Maybe it's time to drop that girly-man stuff and try pro-wrestling. It worked for the Mudphudder. Check it out in Can You See What the Mudphudder is Cooking?
Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains shares some recent highlights and reflections on cognitive health.
The Skaw, a humanist-turned-medical student, writes The Humours blog and has submitted Baby Steps to this episode of GR. Come for the insights of a larval physician, stay for the really neat typographical visualizations of the brachial plexus.
The eponymic Laika of Laika's MedLibLog chronicles her journey from Web 1.0 Padawan to Web 2.0 Jedi in What I learned in 2008 (about Web 2.0). It's also her first blogoversary -- congratulations!
The prolific diabetes bloggers have earned their own category this week.
Allison from Lemonade Life just celebrated an anniversary of her own: fifteen years since her diagnosis of Type I diabetes mellitus. For this anniversary, she asked her readers to share something good that is going on in their lives and then describes her own fifteen years of something good in the face of Something Bad.
Amy of Diabetes Mine has learned the impact of harnessing the collective wisdom of an online community. This wisdom has been collected into an eBook called Nuggets of Wisdom from the Diabetes Community.
Wouldn't it be great if you could drop your serum glucose level merely by blogging about it? Kerri of Six Until Me points out that great diabetes blogging doesn't necessarily equate to great serum glucose control.
Other Chronic Diseases
Now that the U.S. has elected its first black president, maybe it's time to start breaking other barriers, such as electing a gay woman the next time. Duncan Cross suggests a less obvious barrier, and wonders if we will ever see a person with a chronic illness be elected to the U.S. presidency...
Barbara at In Sickness and in Health points out that chronic diseases affect not only patients, but also their spouses in Invisible Illness: a Two-Way Street for Couples.
Dean Moyer of The Back Pain Blog comments on a recent study of massage therapy for pain control in his post: Back Pain Relief and Massage Therapy.
Humor in Medicine
Bob at the Insureblog points out the real reason some people are fat. If this is true, I'm going to start wearing a mask 24 x 7 from now on.
Ves at Clinical Cases and Images has some tough news for cello players carrying the diagnosis of "cello scrotum". The original physician who described this particular disease has come clean, and now tells us that the syndrome doesn't actually exist. So soldier on, cello dudes -- good luck in finding scrotal surcease elsewhere.
Dr. Shock writes about the dark side of medical humor: derogatory and cynical humor towards patients that can emerge as part of the professional socialisation process of physicians.
Most of us love sharing war stories about our medical adventures. However, when some of these war stories happen in a real war, sharing them can have unexpected ethical implications. Canadian Medicine tells the story of a Canadian doctor whose journalistic ethics collided with the somewhat different ethical obligations of a physician when he published a story about a dead soldier.
Even humble radiologists have been the targets of corporate marketing. Film companies, contrast makers and MR manufacturers have all tried to buy my soul at one time or another. David Williams of the Health Business Blog discusses why we should ban CME sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.
Do patients lie to their doctors? Dude, how would I know? -- I'm a radiologist! However, Dr Rich at the Covert Rationing Blog is not, and shares his thoughts on this topic.
Why are Division I colleges like cheerleaders? Because they'd both rather date jocks than kids with high SAT scores. I don't blame Nancy Brown of Teen Health 411 for being peeved about this inequity. For further details, read SAT Scores and Athletics.
The recent birth of octuplets in California raises a zillion ethical points: should a single unemployed mother of six kids try to have more kids? Should she seek or be given fertility treatments to try to have a lot more? Dr. Bates of Suture for a Living covers these and other issues in Eight Too Many.
Daniel at Neuroanthropology weighs in on the design of effective waiting rooms. Apparently, cool magazines aren't enough -- the cultural expectations of waiting also matter.
For those of you already reeling from the recent peanut recall, here's some more bad news from Allergy Notes: it would seem that childhood peanut allergies affect mothers' quality of life more than fathers'.
Doc Childneuro of the Mind, Soul and Body blog takes on a tough topic: dignity.
Dr. Rosh at Receiving interviews one of the leading lights in emergency medicine: Mark Reiter.