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Vitamins, herbs and other dietary supplements are sold as natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals and many people turn to them in an attempt to improve their health. Others seek supplements to lose weight or after hearing that they can help with serious medical conditions. These products are now used at least monthly by more than half of all Americans—and their production, marketing and sales have become a $23.7 billion industry, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.
What Are Dietary Supplements and How Are They Regulated?
98-year-old Bob Stewart, a retired podiatrist and senior Olympian, credits his use of supplements for his healthy aging. Writer Betsy McMillan, a mother of two now adult children, however, nearly suffered permanent liver damage due to a supplement that contained potentially fatal levels of niacin.
Unlike pharmaceuticals—which must be FDA-approved as safe and effective before they can be marketed—supplements are considered as foods by regulators and assumed to be safe until proven otherwise. Although pharmaceutical manufacturers face inspections to ensure that the right dose is in the right pill without dangerous contaminants, supplements do not undergo such intense government scrutiny.
Despite many reports of health problems, Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*
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When you sit quietly, your heart slips into the slower, steady pace known as your resting heart rate. A new study suggests that an increase in this rate over time may be a signal of heart trouble ahead.
Your heart rate changes from minute to minute. It depends on whether you are standing up or lying down, moving around or sitting still, stressed or relaxed. Your resting heart rate, though, tends to be stable from day to day. The usual range for resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 90 beats per minute. Above 90 is considered high.
Many factors influence resting heart rate. Genes play a role. Aging tends to speed it up. Regular exercise tends to slow it down. (In his prime, champion cyclist Lance Armstrong had a resting heart rate of just 32 beats per minute.) Stress, medications, and medical conditions also influence the heart rate.
In today’s Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from Norway report Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*
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For centuries, physician practices have been small business enterprises built on the sweat equity of intensive medical training. It was an economic reward system that often had physicians sacrificing family life for patient care. It continues today as the foundation of fee for service. We know it as the eat what you kill model of health care.
In the last ten years, physician practices have seen a dramatic shift from independent business practices to hospital owned practices. With that shift has come a titanic move toward the salary vs productivity compensation model.
Is this a good thing? Is a salaried physician better than a productivity based physician? That question can’t be answered because good depends on which part of the medical industrial complex you belong to and what you consider good.
As a physician, the answer on whether to become a salaried vs productivity based physician can only be answered after one defines what they value most. We know, across the board, that physicians who work in a 100% productivity model earn Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*
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Last week, I wrote about controversial research linking fallout from Japan’s earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant to infant deaths in the United States.
The research, which was harshly criticized by Scientific American’s Michael Moyer and others, was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of International Health Services, and I had asked the journal’s editor-in-chief Vicente Navarro for his response to the criticisms.
Navarro, professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, emailed me this comment today: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Reporting on Health - Barbara Feder Ostrov's Health Journalism Blog*
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The vast majority of U.S. physicians are moderately to severely stressed or burned out on an average day, with moderate to dramatic increases in the past three years, according to a survey.
Almost 87% of all respondents reported being moderately to severely stressed and/or burned out on an average day using a 10-point Likert scale, and 37.7% specifying severe stress and/or burnout.
Almost 63% of respondents said they were more stressed and/or burned out than three years ago, using a 5-point Likert scale, compared with just 37.1% who reported feeling the same level of stress. The largest number of respondents (34.3%) identified themselves as “much more stressed” than they were three years ago.
The survey of physicians conducted by Physician Wellness Services, a company specializing in employee assistance and intervention services, and Cejka Search, a recruitment firm, was conducted across the U.S., and across all specialties, in September 2011. Respondents Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*