Dec 08 2011

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Don’t miss this diagnosis in a patient who presents with unilateral hearing loss occurring within 72 hours and has a normal ear examination. These patients frequently get misdiagnosed as having fluid in the middle-ear or having an infection. It is important to recognize this diagnosis, initiate treatment early, and refer to a specialist so that …

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Dec 07 2011

Bury the Buzzword: Thumb Sign

The buzzword Thumb sign can refer to two very different clinical scenarios. The first and most common use of the thumb sign refers to a radiographic finding seen in epiglottitis. It is seen on a lateral x-ray and refers to the shape the epiglottis takes when it becomes immense and swollen, because it looks like …

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Dec 06 2011

Bury the Buzzword: Cherry-red Coloration

This post addresses the large differential diagnosis of the buzzword Cherry-red coloration. The cherry-red coloration most often refers to the macula located on the retina of the eye, but it can also refer to the coloration of the skin, esophagus, and epiglottis. The cherry-red spot on the macula is seen on funduscopic examination. It is …

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Dec 05 2011

Bury the Buzzword: Clue Cells

This is the first post in a new series where I take medical buzzwords, define them, and explain them so that you can bury them! Buzzwords are helpful in answering questions on the boards, but the USMLE and COMLEX will not always use them. It is important to know the definitions of what the buzzwords …

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Dec 03 2011

Internalize Info of the Week: Lipitor (atorvastatin) Goes Generic But Not Without Controversy

This week there was not very much interesting material from my clinical experience to write about, so I decided to post on a noteworthy and attention-grabbing topic in the news this week. Pfizer’s patent on Lipitor expired this week on Wednesday, November 30, but not without some questionable and unparalleled tactics from Pfizer itself. Lipitor …

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Dec 02 2011

Deciphering the Weber and Rinne Tuning Fork Tests

The Weber and Rinne tests have been known to show up on boards, and are notoriously confusing and hard to remember. This post addresses what the tests are and how to perform them, interpret them, and remember them. The Weber and Rinne tests are more than just a way to evaluate the Vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial …

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Dec 01 2011

Effects of Calcium Abnormalities on the Electrocardiogram (EKG) Mnemonic

This is a mnemonic for the effects of hypocalcemia and hypercalcemia that are seen on the EKG. This is a frequently tested topic on boards, and a common question to be asked during the clinical rotation years as well. HypOcalcemia causes a prOlonged QT interval HypERcalcemia causes a shortER QT interval Pretty easy to remember! …

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Nov 30 2011

Innervation of the Tongue

Tongue Innervation

The innervation of the tongue is basic anatomy, but can be easily confused due to its complexity. The three basic components of the innervation are motor, sensory, and taste. The motor component to the entire tongue is supplied by the Hypoglossal nerve (CN XII), except the palatoglossus muscle, which is supplied by the pharyngeal branch …

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Nov 29 2011

Initial Evaluation of Cough

Cough is the most common chief complaint for patients who present to their primary care physician. Therefore, it is imperative to have a systematic method of working up the cause. An article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in August 2009 provides a good way of working up cough in …

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Nov 27 2011

Learn the Lab Test: Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH)

LDH is one of those lab tests that is frequently ordered and has several different uses. It is hard to remember everything it can be used for, because it spans so many different topics. Therefore, I think it deserves its own post to put all the details in one place. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is an …

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