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Young doctors find general internal medicine doesn't pay

Many young physicians continue to steer away from general internal medicine, despite increased exposure to the field during medical school and a more favorable view of the specialty among medical students. The decline is contributing to a growing shortage of primary care physicians when demand for such services is on the rise, said Mark D. Schwartz, MD, associate professor at New York University School of Medicine. He is the lead author of a study on the subject in the April 25 Archives of Internal Medicine. ( The widening gap in pay between primary care physicians and specialists, large medical school debts, inflexible schedules and heavy workload are some of the factors that influence students' decisions, he said. "What's happened in primary care practice is that physicians feel they are on a treadmill to maintain their salary," said Dr. Schwartz, a general internist. "Pay hasn't kept up with inflation, so to keep up, ...

Fallacies abound regarding sodium and wine consumption

An American Heart Assn. survey shows that more than half of Americans believe drinking wine is good for the heart, but few know how much to consume to receive the health benefits. The survey also found that most adults incorrectly think that sea salt is lower in sodium than table salt. AHA spokesman Gerald Fletcher, MD, said misconceptions like these could negatively affect adults' cardiovascular health. He said his organization recommends that physicians educate patients on ways to lower their sodium consumption. He also encourages doctors to talk to patients about the negative health effects of drinking too much wine, such as an increase in blood pressure. "Hypertension is a devastating [disease]. ...And it's very strongly influenced by your intake of salt," said Dr. Fletcher, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. In March, the AHA surveyed 1,000 adults 18 and older on their beliefs about how salt and wine affect heart health. Sixty-one percent consider sea sal ...

Coalition pushes for safe injection practices

More education and research and superior product designs are needed to end unsafe injection practices that have led to 30 infectious-disease outbreaks in the last 10 years, said a coalition of physicians, nurses, manufacturers and government officials. In the last decade, more than 125,000 patients have been notified about potential exposure to infectious diseases such as hepatitis C due to reuse of syringes, according to the Safe Injection Practices Coalition, which was formed in 2008. Along with Premier, an alliance of more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals, the coalition co-sponsored an April 26 meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss the problem ( "These are largely preventable medical errors -- they are not so different from wrong-side surgery," said Joseph Perz, DrPH, who leads the prevention team in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and ...