I love German verbal portmanteaus. In order to create big words for simple concepts, they just mash-up two or more words into a multi-letter string such as the noun Handschuhschneeballwerfer (a person who wears gloves to throw snowballs) or the verb ...

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"Doc of Ages" - 5 new articles

  1. Dancing the Bewegungschöre
  2. Dancing the Soul
  3. The Good Gut
  4. Dental Probiotics: Bacterial Dental Insurance?
  5. How Do I Make a Medical Decision? Part II
  6. More Recent Articles

Dancing the Bewegungschöre

I love German verbal portmanteaus.  In order to create big words for simple concepts, they just mash-up two or more words into a multi-letter string such as the noun Handschuhschneeballwerfer (a person who wears gloves to throw snowballs) or the verb Sontagspaziergangmachen (to go for a Sunday walk).  I can’t help but wonder if we had a single word for these activities, would we be more likely to grab friends or family and head for the park on a wintry Sunday afternoon for a jolly snowball fight?
But back to Bewegungschore.  I googled ‘dance’ and ‘mood’ and hit the jackpot by stumbling across information on Rudolf von Laban, a dancer and movement theorist who developed the concept of  Bewegungschore in the early 20th century.  That tongue-twister of a word translates as ‘movement choir’ where participants don’t sing but rather dance together as a shared experience in the joy of moving.  He elaborated his vision further with another mega-word, namely bedürfnislosigkeit meaning demandlessness as in having one’s time and energy free to indulge in ‘festive exaltation’.

Well now, what could be better really than to a bedürfnislosigkeit state on a Saturday a.m in order to participate in a laughing, lively Bewegungschöre, shaking those parts of your body with which you are in contact as you oscillate with a group of like-minded dancers?

In Denver? Looking forward to seeing you some Saturday soon as we dance in a movement choir with Lia Ridley at Dancing the Soul, 950 Jersey St, Denver, CO  80220.

Dancing the Soul

This Virgo girl just passed that milestone birthday that lands me on the Medicare rolls! In order to meet the event with maximum enthusiasm and joy, I spent that celebratory Labor Day weekend morning at Denver's Dancing the Soul studio doing just that, belly dancing my soul as if no one was watching.  For those of you with whom I've never had the pleasure of a face-to-face meeting, that's me in the over-the-top, so-not-me, two piece outfit front row left.

Are you live and local in the Denver area?  Consider checking this class out, 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays, dancingthesoul.com. The lovely lady bottom right in the above photo is our instructor Lia Ridley.  Not so sure this is your thing?  Read on!

"Belly dance is like glitter: It not only colors your life, it makes you sparkle. You find it everywhere, and in everything, and it's nearly impossible to get rid of. "
— Anonymous

"Sequins, sass, and sisterhood"

Professor Angie Moe of Western Michigan University investigated the effects of belly dancing on the perceptions that older women had about their bodies, specifically how age related changes were a source of shame and discomfort.  Interviewing aging ladies who participate in this activity, she determined that shaking whatever part of you that still moves enough to more or less shimmy is an excellent way to regain, reclaim, rebuild, and redefine that which constitutes bodily comfort and joy.  

May I add that it's a lot of laughing and a lot of fun?

The Good Gut

Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health
I have spent 30+ years in the practice of internal medicine attempting different strategies to change behavior when bad habits happen to good people.  Too often, lifestyle epiphanies occur after major shake-ups such as the diagnoses of diabetes or other serious conditions.  I particularly like the ‘bibliotherapy’ approach, and I’m always on the lookout for good self-help book recommendations to add to my short list of those that truly effect change.

I am pleased to report here that “The Good Gut” is just such a book, well-written in a way that makes it one of those notable non-fiction works that you’ll read cover to cover, not losing interest or comprehension somewhere between a paragraph’s start and finish (no flipping ahead to see how much longer this chapter!).  The Drs. Sonnenburg do not tediously repeat and overstate the standard health caveats to avoid sugar, lose weight, and exercise, but rather expand on their primary point, namely the importance, care, and feeding of our fellow life bacterial travelers. 

As a regular reader of the latest medical literature, much of the content herein was not news to me.  The presentation, however, in everyday layperson language, was personally compelling in ways that the New England Journal of Medicine is not.  A recent search on the NEJM web-site for ‘gut microbiota’ returned 28 articles, not one of which with a title so compelling as to change my diet for life.  Oh right, I’ve already done that, changing out breakfast foods long before the Sonnenburgs’ book and the rest of menu as a result of this read.

I will be recommending this book to my patients, and I also commend it to you.  This book will be released 4/21/15.

Dental Probiotics: Bacterial Dental Insurance?

Our microscopic fellow travelers are all the rage today, rating their own study group known as the Human Microbiome Project.  I’ve long recommended intestinal probiotics for years to my patients as they’re treated for infections in an effort to avoid some of the intestinal upset associated with antibiotics.  I never gave a thought to probiotics for oral and dental health until I was invited to try this Pro-Dental for review.


How Do I Make a Medical Decision? Part II

When last I wrote about making a medical decision (Part I), I focused on the importance of identifying a trusted source to assist you in the process.  While there are inanimate sources such as Internet sites of more or less trustworthiness, printed or pixelated matter informants are one-way interactions.  You  match your situation with the closest approximation available which cannot in turn adjust its wisdom to the unique details of your past or present history.

So let's say your matter involves a consultation with a medical professional.  You've doubtless arrived with thoughts on your subject. What's going through your doc's mind as you meet face-to-face?  

From the first moment that I greet a patient, I am already forming hypotheses or educated guesses. Back in the good old days, I'd walk to the waiting room to call a patient in; we'd shake hands in greeting ( fingers dry? cold? clammy? weak?)(1), then I'd watch them walk--or limp--down the hall.   Armed with the 'reason for visit' from my day's schedule, I'm looking for pattern recognition from moment one of our visit, and 33 years into practice, I've seen a lot of patterns go by(2).  In for foot pain?  Teenaged boy limping with skateboard in hand maybe has broken his toe; older, stout man in a suit, well perhaps he's got gout.

My thoughts are forming as I call on experience (Have I seen this before?) and/or evidence (Have I read about this before?).  If I jump to a conclusion too fast, a diagnostic error called 'premature closure', I'm risking a missed diagnosis which could be inconsequential or a downright disaster.  If I narrow the diagnostic field not at all (which, unfortunately, seems to be an ER predisposition), I may be heading for an unguided work-up of unbridled costs in money and time.  What if I don't let go of my initial impression as contradictory test results come in--an 'anchoring bias'--or fall into a 'confirmation bias' in which I highlight data that supports my anchored diagnosis, ignoring the results that just don't fit in. 

No wonder patients prefer doctors with whom they have a history, seek information on the Internet, and request second opinions.  Now more than ever, get informed and ask questions. Be an advocate for yourself and your family; you're half of the diagnostic partnership.
(1) There's a serious debate now over whether or not patients and docs should shake hands.

(2) Which raises an interesting question:  Would you rather be seen by a doc out in practice for years with a lot of hands-on experience or one just out of training who's up to date on the latest medical studies, clinical tests, and procedures?

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