The Zombie Zone

The term circadian is derived from Latin to mean “about a day.” Organisms ranging from single-cell organisms and plants to sea slugs and humans demonstrate circadian rhythms near twenty-hour patterns. In humans, numerous physiological and behavioral processes demonstrate circadian rhythms but the sleep-wake rhythm is one of the most important and observable cyclical rhythms.  The… Continue reading The Zombie Zone

The Suitcase of Empathy

Marvin Minsky called words that carry a variety of meanings "suitcase words." Empathy is such a word. Over the last ten years, research into empathy has exploded. The number of research papers in psychological journals, on the topic, has increased dramatically and popular interest in the concept matches what is found in these journals. A… Continue reading The Suitcase of Empathy

The State of the Emergency Department

Almost 1.5 years ago, I wrote a blog piece titled Compassion Fatigue, in which I spoke about the high rate of physician burn out especially amongst front line physicians such as Emergency Physicians and Primary Care doctors. Anecdotally, the problem seems to be only worsening especially amongst ER physicians. There is not a week that… Continue reading The State of the Emergency Department

Data rich but Information and Knowledge poor

The processing capacity of the conscious mind has been estimated at 120 bits per second. To put that in context, in order to understand one person talking to you, we need to process 60 bits of information per second. Primary care physicians on an average deal with three problems per patient and it is estimated… Continue reading Data rich but Information and Knowledge poor

Compassion fatigue

As reported in a recent JAMA article, approximately fifty percent of physicians report burnout symptoms such as detachment, emotional exhaustion, and a low sense of accomplishment. Frontline specialties such as Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Emergency Medicine were reported to have the highest rates of burnout. Why are so many frontline physicians experiencing burnout? Most physicians… Continue reading Compassion fatigue