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On the Brain
March 28, 2022

The Road Not Taken

Author Affiliations
  • 1Penn State University, College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
JAMA Neurol. 2022;79(6):541. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2022.0297

I wonder if other people are like me: ponder in bed about what dire medical diagnosis they will receive, what will be the cause of their demise when they can’t sleep at 2 am. I am a cardiologist and I have had my own share of illnesses (coronary artery disease requiring a stent, aortic stenosis treated with a transcatheter aortic valve replacement) but strangely, it is not cardiac events that I consider. For me, it is cancer. If I have had vague abdominal discomfort the day before, in the middle of the night I worry, “Do I have pancreatic cancer?” I warn my patients, especially those with atrial fibrillation, about strokes, but a stroke was something I thought little about until recently.

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