Category: Medical

Golf started in cHarleston…honest

Joke? No. Typo? No. I will explain Most people think that the game of golf, as we now know and love/hate it, arose in Scotland. It has certainly blossomed there over more than 500 years. James II asked his parliament in 1457 to prohibit “golfe” because he needed the young folk to practice their archery…
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Fred the Snake, bleeding, barbers and their striped poles

Thank you for reading my blogs, at least this one, at least this far. Most have had a medical theme, and this one will too if you persist beyond the first paragraphs. You may not know that I have also been writing books for children about Fred the friendly snake, beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Lemaire.…
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Time to retire the labels “Medicine” and “Surgery” after 400 years

When I was a young doctor, a long time ago, it was not difficult to distinguish medical physicians from surgeons. Physicians, at least in England, wore smart pin-striped suits and carried stethoscopes. They managed patients with sympathy and medicines. Surgeons wore pyjamas and gloves, and looked for things to connect, drain or remove. The distinctions…
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Do you have a two-bit pancreas? You well might…better read on.

About 8% of people, at least in Western countries, are born with the pancreas in two pieces, so called “pancreas divisum”. It is about as common as left-handedness, and ten times that of red hair. How come, and who cares? Some technical stuff to get started. The human pancreas is formed from two parts which…
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Do not miss Nagi Reddy this Wednesday

Nagi Reddy, superstar founder and chair of the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology in Hyderabad will zoom speak on ESWL of Biliary and Pancreatic stones at our weekly MUSC grand rounds this wednesday at 7 am EST. He has by far the greatest experience in the world. Not to be missed…. Access free at

My Favorite city (and International meeting)

I am fortunate that my career has taken me to more than 50 countries. I am often asked for my favorite city, which one I would most like to revisit. Leaving aside my home now in USA, and my roots in England, my choices are much influenced by where I have friends (especially those with…
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Have I GOTTEN all American now?

One of my readers (I hope that there may be more than one) chastised me recently for using the American word “gotten” in my latest blog. It is not in common usage in my native England, although some do refer to “ill-gotten gains”. Maybe “forgotten” and even “woe-begotten” are also somehow connected? Who said “two…
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What happened to the British Endoscopy Society 40 years ago?

Many gastroenterologists practicing today may not know that there was once a British Society for Digestive Endoscopy (BSDE). It folded in 1980. What was it, why, and what happened to it? The flexible endoscopy revolution started in the late 60s and blossomed in the 70s. Before that happened, the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) had…
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EPISOD revisited …..and validated, thank you Zach

My gastroenterologist readers, if any, (thank you) may recall that I led the team that developed a research study called EPISOD (Evaluating Predictors and Interventions in Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction). The results were published in 2014 (Cotton PB, Durkalski V, Romagnuolo J, et al. A multicenter, randomized trial of endoscopic sphincterotomy for suspected sphincter of…
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A medicine called “worse than cats”

Some may remember that I posted a piece called “Thinking about placebos and healing”. I thought it was just a few months ago, but it was actually in November 2018. It was stimulated by my surprise and confusion about the fact that most patients undergoing sham procedures in my EPISOD research study did remarkably well,…
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