I am a physician. For most of my career, “agile” meant the ability to move quickly and easily: the treatment goal for my patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, however, while collaborating with programmers to develop an educational app, I noticed they used the word “agile” in a new way. For them, Agile is a methodology for software development.
Patient details have been changed to protect patient privacy.
A previously-healthy man sees his primary care physician and complains of fatigue. Laboratory studies shows abnormalities which concern his physician for the presence of cancer. Imaging reveals enlarged lymph nodes, and he is admitted to the hospital to determine his type of cancer and begin treatment. Several biopsies later, no malignancy is found, although his medical team remains suspicious. Continue reading To misdiagnose is human
As a Senior in college, I took a class on evolutionary medicine with Professor Paul Ewald. For my final project, I decided to explore male pattern baldness from an evolutionary perspective. This topic, to my knowledge, had never been previously addressed. I’ve included my entire (lengthy) paper below. Continue reading Why we go bald: an evolutionary hypothesis
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who floss their teeth every day, and those who wish they did. For most of my life, I was a member of the latter group. I never flossed–it took too long, was unpleasant, and I didn’t feel I received any benefits from the process. I ignored my dentist’s recommendations to floss, and the free dental floss I received after each visit settled, unopened, at the back of my bathroom drawer. My wife–an obsessive flosser–eventually tired of reminding me to floss every night. Continue reading How to floss (a hacker’s guide to completing unpleasant tasks)
This week, an international research team led by Xavier Rodó published a fascinating study in PNAS suggesting that Kawasaki disease is caused by an agent transported by wind from farms in Northeast China. This agent, possibly a fungal toxin, would be responsible for triggering an exuberant immune response in children, causing the typical manifestation of the disease: fevers, rash, conjunctivitis, “strawberry tongue,” enlarged lymph nodes, and swelling of the extremities. Untreated, Kawasaki disease can cause aneurysms of the coronary arteries, premature heart disease, and even death. Continue reading Kawasaki Disease And The End Of Rheumatology As We Know It