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Craig Bowron
Craig Bowron MD, FACP is a physician and writer in St.Paul, Minnesota. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Slate, KevinMD, and NextAvenue.

Trained in internal medicine, he provides primary care to patients at a large, high-acuity hospital in Minneapolis.

Links to his most recent writing can be found at

Entries by Craig Bowron

Low-Salt Diet Assaulted

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2016 | 6:12 PM


Photo by Kai Schreiber

From a public health perspective, salt shakers have been branded the equivalent of an ash tray, an instrument of ill health. Achtung baby. But a large study published recently in The Lancet, a major British...

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Cold Turkey vs. Slow Turkey: What's the Best Way to Quit Smoking?

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2016 | 11:32 AM

Photo by Mason Bryant

What's the best way to stop smoking? Cold turkey, or slow turkey?

A group of primary care clinics in England decided to find out, and the results were published in this week's Annals of...

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'When Breath Becomes Air': A Neurosurgeon's Cancer Opus

(0) Comments | Posted March 2, 2016 | 2:39 PM

Photo by Yūgen

More than two and a half million Americans died last year, and one of them was Paul Kalanithi. He died on Monday March 9, 2015, just before 9 pm.

Paul was an exceptional person--an...

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Secondhand Bacon Smoke, and Other Tough Questions for the WHO

(3) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 4:37 PM

On Monday, the World Health Organization issued a report stating that processed meats, if eaten and not just used for decorative purposes, do cause cancer. The findings from the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer have left many carnivorous Americans stunned, wondering where to turn...

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Essure, the 'Tube Tying' Alternative: Not Just a Cork in the Bottle

(8) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 11:44 AM

Two weeks ago a variety of experts and patients met to testify to a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel about concerns that the female sterilization device Essure is causing more problems than the FDA or Bayer, the manufacturer of the device, are admitting to.

A non-surgical alternative...

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Cure Yourself of Planning and 'Dis Ease'

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2015 | 2:27 PM

I gave up on heroes a long time ago, but I still believe in prophets -- people who have a vision of what needs to be told, and the words and the imagination and the guile to tell it.

Here in Minnesota, Bruce Kramer was that kind of person. While...

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The Tell-Tale Heart Test: Stress Test vs. CT

(1) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 1:52 PM

The worst kind of assurance is false assurance. And that's been one of the problems with conventional cardiac stress tests, including the venerable EKG treadmill test, where you get all wired up and walk for your life.

Conventional stress tests, often referred to as "functional" stress tests,...

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Signs of the Times, From the People's Climate March in NYC

(6) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 12:46 PM


An estimated 400,000 people showed up to walk in the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday. Somewhere scattered in that long rope of humanity were over 300 Minnesotans like myself, who endured a 24-hour bus ride (twice!) to...

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Get Up Offa That Thing!

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2014 | 10:04 AM

The King of Soul and apparent exercise physiologist, Dr. James Brown, had the science down cold when he gave his listeners the following prescription: "Get up offa that thing, and dance and you'll feel better."

Because as an editorial in the latest edition of the

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Annex the Baja: The Cabo San Lucas Winter Olympics

(1) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 12:10 AM

The Olympic games bring all kind of important life lessons to its participants -- dedication, endurance, blah blah blah -- but they can also be a transformative experience for the host country. The Sochi games certainly blew a little wind up Vladimir Putin's dress, convincing him that if he was...

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The Swedish Prostate Cancer Team: Which Cancers Need Surgery and When

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 5:03 PM

The "Swedish Bikini Team" concept somehow managed to bring notoriety to Swedish bust lines, but finally, Swedish (and Finnish, and Icelandic) prostate glands are in the headlines. The medical headlines at least.

The most recent New England Journal of Medicine includes updated results of a long-running prostate cancer study headquartered...

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Terror on the High Seas: The Scalawag Norovirus

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 11:46 AM

With two cruise ships returning to port last week after having been boarded by the Dread Pirate Projectile Vomiting, people are once again referring to cruise ships as "floating Petri dishes." The comparison is both unfair and inaccurate, since Petri dishes don't offer options like karaoke, video slots,...

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As the Stomach Churns: The Side Effects of Acid Suppression

(1) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 9:51 AM

As the general public sinks further into scientific illiteracy (70 percent of Americans believe that the double helix is an ice skating maneuver), the nuances and intricacies of the human body get lost. A "something-for-nothing" view of science develops, wherein we suppose we can tinker with the human body with...

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Oxygen Nation: Whatever Your Politics, Embrace Your Inner Tree Hugger

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 5:21 PM

Rush Limbaugh describes climate change as a leftist, Democrat Party political movement, "a big fat lie," and a cult -- placing Al Gore as its High Priest. What could these two men possibly have in common?

The very basics: both Gore and Limbaugh are aerobes -- in other...

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The 'Dis-Ease' of Disease: Who's Living Well?

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 12:23 PM

The real experts on dying are all deceased, but the rest of us -- "the quick" -- still struggle to understand it, our interest in the subject being generally proportional to our age and infirmity.

I've written for the Washington Post about difficult end-of-life issues in the frail...

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Busted Gut? Maybe Trust Your Gut

(2) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 12:09 PM

Jamie Lee Curtis seems comfortable talking about her bowel habits, but most of us keep these matters to ourselves. If toilets could talk, they'd say that 10-15 percent of the population struggles with recurrent episodes of abdominal pain, bloating and cramping, combined with bowel habits that bounce around...

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Solar Sex Panels and Heart Disease: Do I Have a Disease or a 'Condition'?

(4) Comments | Posted April 10, 2013 | 1:07 PM

I'll admit it: When a new study about balding comes out, I can't be objective. I've got some skin in this game. Tell me: Am I diseased, or just blemished?

Vendors of balding remedies seem to favor the diseased view, peppering the airwaves with language that instructs me that...

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Rand Paul's Bladder: Patriotism and the Micturition Reflex

(13) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 11:26 AM

Judging by the public's response, Rand Paul's filibuster was somewhere between an impassioned, patriotic "big tent" moment for Republicans and a kooky publicity stunt aimed at finally getting the work of rapper Wiz Khalifa into the Congressional record.

The issue at stake -- Americans' right to due process before being...

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Bright Idea for a Bad Disease, But Will Knowing Early Help?

(11) Comments | Posted January 25, 2013 | 8:00 AM

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

As a physician, watching Max Little's TEDTalk, "A Test for Parkinson's with a Phone Call," brings up two divergent thoughts.

First, the pompoms.

Who is...

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Flu Vaccine: The Best You Can Do Is Not the Best We Can Do

(8) Comments | Posted January 15, 2013 | 6:18 PM

This year's precocious and somewhat ferocious flu season shows that our current vaccination approach is more feeble than we'd like to admit. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2012-2013 is shaping up to be a highly active flu season. The party started up a little...

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