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Book Review: Food Truths, Food Lies

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Food Truths, Food Lies, written by family physician Eric Marcotte, M.D., may be the most refreshingly evidence-based diet book of the decade. You will not find a single mention of super-foods, magical berries, or supplement “must-haves” in the entire book. What you will find is the cold, hard truth about why many Americans are overweight, and what it takes to become a healthy eater.

Marcotte writes for the average American – his simple language, matter-of-fact tone, and regular reminders of what the reader has learned, make for a quick and memorable read.  Although it’s clear that Marcotte has carefully distilled his dietary advice from the scientific literature, he refrains from burdening the reader with too many footnotes and references. Instead, he has created a kind of Cliff’s Notes of nutrition, having done the “heavy sifting” for us. What remains are the most basic principles underlying all healthy eating, such as:

*You can’t exercise your way to weight loss (i.e. you can’t outrun your own mouth – it’s much easier to eat more calories than you burn) Read more »

One Nurse Opens Her Heart And Talks About Her Life In The Medical Field

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Well, not my heart.

I was contacted awhile ago and asked if I wanted the chance to read and review Tilda Shalof’s new book, Opening My Heart.  (Amazon link, but NOT an affiliate link – I live in California and due to a new law, Amazon has cut all ties with us).

I had the chance to include a story in a book that Tilda edited a couple of years ago called Lives in the Balance.  So I had fond memories 🙂

I’ll say up front that I enjoyed the book.  I had a range of emotions while reading it – frustration, worry, happiness.  Frustration because although Tilda is a very experienced ICU nurse, she doesn’t take her own health seriously at all.  I read with disbelief as she described her incredible denial of the obvious need to treat the heart condition she was born with.

I was amused at her doctor’s and husband’s reactions when she tried to tell them that if anything went wrong with her surgery, she didn’t want to be kept alive on machines.   She explained that she used to have a dog and her husband absolutely refused to euthanize the miserable thing.  I liked this passage in particular:  “To Ivan, love means never stopping love or giving up.  This is what families say.  They can’t let go because of love.  I hope no one loves me this much, ICU nurses often say to one another.”

Amen, sister.

Tilda writes about Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at code blog - tales of a nurse*

Psychiatrist Reviews “Crazy” Book: Finds Some Genuineness Behind Author’s Bravado

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Rob Dobrenski, PhD. is a psychologist who blogs over on ShrinkTalk.net.  He’s written a book about what it’s like to be a psychology graduate student, a psychotherapy patient, and a psychologist.  Oh, we like the folks who go from Shrink blog to Shrink book — it somehow feels familiar — and so I agreed to read his book: Crazy: Tales on and Off the Couch.

So bear with me while I tell you that the book rubbed me wrong at the outset.  Dr. Dobrenski begins by saying something to the effect that he describes things that all shrinks feel, and if they say they don’t, they aren’t being honest.  I really hate it when people tell me what I feel.  It’s like saying that Prozac made your depression better and if it didn’t, then you just didn’t recognize it.  And then the book gets off on a provocative start — Rob discovers that many people in his life, from a patient, to a colleague, to himself — are “f***ing crazy.” The asterisks are mine. Dr. Dobrenski had no trouble using the word — I counted 19 times in the 39 pages, including in direct quotes of discussions he has with both a patient and one of his supervisors.  Not in a million years.  I wasn’t sure what the point was.  To let people know he knows obscene words?  To be Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Understanding US Healthcare: Four Books You Don’t Want To Miss

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I have had the privilege of working at an organization which is actively improving the lives of its members and also was mentioned by the President as a model for the nation.  Over the past few years, I have also demonstrated to first year medical students what 21st century primary care should look and feel like – a fully comprehensive medical record, secure email to patients, support from specialists, and assistance from chronic conditions staff.

But as my students know, there are also some suggested reading assignments.  I’m not talking about Harrison’s or other more traditional textbooks related to medical education.  If the United States is to have a viable and functioning health care system, then it will need every single physician to be engaged and involved.  I’m not just helping train the next group of doctors (and hopefully primary care doctors), but the next generation of physician leaders.

Here are the books listed in order of recommended reading, from easiest to most difficult.  Combined these books offer an understanding the complexity of the problem, the importance of language in diagnosing a patient, the mindset that we can do better, and the solution to fixing the health care system.

Which additional books or articles do you think current and future doctors should know?

Overtreated – Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

Book Review: Atlas of Ultrasound-Guided Procedures in Interventional Pain Management

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Narouze SN, ed. Atlas of Ultrasound-Guided Procedures in Interventional Pain Management.  Springer 2011, 372 pages, 465 illustration, $189.00.

In 1941, Dr. Karl Theodore Dussik of Austria introduced the idea of using ultrasound waves as a diagnostic tool. Over the next few decades he, along with others like Professor Ian Donald of Scotland, developed the practical technology and applications of ultrasound in the field of medicine. Since then, ultrasound (US) has become progressively more useful across a wide range of medical specialties, for both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. US is quickly becoming the imaging modality of choice to guide practitioners in pain management and musculoskeletal interventions. Although fluoroscopy has long been a mainstay in image-guidance for such procedures, US provides an attractive alternative given its superior soft tissue resolution, allowance of real-time needle guidance, absence of iodinated contrast and lack of ionizing radiation.

The Atlas of Ultrasound-Guided Procedures in Interventional Pain Management by Narouze et al. is a comprehensive review of the principles of US-guidance as an aid in current pain management practices. It is divided into six parts and 30 chapters arranged by system and discipline. Leading experts in each discipline have contributed to this body of work, providing an extensive literature review encompassing each chapter. This text is meant to serve as a user-friendly manual, covering the anatomy, treatment rationale, and technical aspects of US-guided interventional pain management procedures. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at AJNR Blog*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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