Blog posts by Paula Cody, MD, MPH

You Heard a What?

“Your child is very healthy and their exam is normal…except for a heart murmur.” No matter how I phrase it, telling a parent their child has a heart murmur always feels like I’m delivering bad news. As a medical student, I thought hearing a murmur was an incredible feat and that I would seldom have the opportunity to hear one. Boy was I wrong.

It is estimated that 33-75% of children will, at some time, have an innocent murmur recognized on exam between the ages of 1 and 14 years. Compare this to the mere 1% of children who have a congenital heart condition that may present with a heart murmur on exam. Despite the overwhelming majority of innocent murmurs, it is still very scary to hear that your child has something that isn’t “normal” on their heart exam. I imagine the questions which must immediately race through a parent’s mind: What is a murmur? How does my pediatrician know my child’s murmur is innocent and not a serious heart condition? What do we do now? Do we need to see a heart specialist (known as a pediatric cardiologist)?

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Sexual Health for Girls who like Girls

Sexual Health for Girls who like Girls

“I don’t need to be tested for STDs, I only date other girls,” is a statement I hear at least once a week in clinic from an adolescent or young adult female.  There are lots of statistics, clinical practice guidelines, and overall medical attention surrounding health consequences of men who have sex with men, but what about these patients? Don’t the ladies deserve some attention?

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“Dear Evan Hansen”: a musical way to raise awareness about suicide

September is National Suicide Prevention Month (this year’s hashtags are #SuicidePrevention and #StigmaFree if you want to check out social media to find events going on in your area).  This blog already discussed one media sensation about suicide, the Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why.  You may think that one media juggernaut dealing with suicide is enough, but you would be wrong.  Enter the Broadway musical.

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Smoking: The Movies vs. Real Life

Think about some of your favorite movies. Were the characters smoking in these movies? Why would I ask such a weird question? Here’s an interesting relationship to ponder: does exposure to smoking in our media lead to increased probability of picking up the habit? The Surgeon General, many researchers, and the leading health organizations say that, for impressionable adolescents, it does.

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