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Latest Posts

A Cocaine Vaccine?

Although cocaine use has declined steadily since its peak in the early 1980s, public health officials estimate that about 7 million Americans used the drug at least once last year. Many of these folks are addicted to the drug, and its intense, short-lived euphoric effects mean the addiction is terribly difficult to overcome.

Addiction specialists believe existing treatment paradigms for cocaine addiction can be enhanced by a vaccine that prevents the drug from crossing the blood-brain barrier, thus blunting its euphoric effects. Scientists have worked hard to develop such a vaccine, but have had limited success so far. 

About a year ago for example, Thomas Kosten and colleagues at Baylor reported partial success in a human trial of a cocaine vaccine. In that trial, 38 percent of subjects who received all five shots in the vaccine series achieved sufficient antibody levels to blunt the effects of the drug. In that subset, 53 percent of the subjects stopped using cocaine, meaning that overall, the vaccine worked about 20 percent of the time. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

Stop Smoking Treatment: Don’t Stop It Too Soon

Butt stopDoctors may want their patients to stick with a smoking cessation regimen even if it’s not initially working, report researchers who found that “delayed quitters” accounted for a third of former smokers who went a year without cigarettes.

Quit rates may be significantly increased by just continuing in motivated but initially unsuccessful patients during the first eight weeks of treatment, according to research published online in the journal Addiction. There’s actually two types of successful quitters: Those who quit immediately and those who are “delayed” but eventually successful. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Internet Addiction Is Real

Internet addiction is becoming a major problem, and it’s less and less surprising when reports focusing on this issue are being published. Lately, the New York Times came up with the analysis of a recent study:

Researchers at the University of Maryland who asked 200 students to give up all media for one full day found that after 24 hours many showed signs of withdrawal, craving and anxiety along with an inability to function well without their media and social links.

Susan Moeller, the study’s project director and a journalism professor at the university, said many students wrote about how they hated losing their media connections, which some equated to going without friends and family.

I did some research and browsed the website of Microsoft’s Internet Addiction Recovery Program. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Why Tobacco Should Be Childproof

A number of colleagues recently mentioned to me that they’ve heard that new smokeless tobacco products are very dangerous because they cause a lot of poisonings to children.

When I checked the Internet, sure enough — there were plenty of news headlines along the lines of “Tobacco mints tied to poisoning in kids” and “Tobacco candy poisoning kids, study shows.” I thought this looked interesting, particularly as I was unaware of any “tobacco candy.” Read more »

This post, Why Tobacco Should Be Childproof, was originally published on Healthine.com by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

How A Gynecologist Thinks About Lung Cancer

Out of the Shadows: Women and Lung CancerA new report on lung cancer in women has been published by the Women’s Health Policy and Advocacy Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Called “Out of the Shadows,” the report seeks to raise awareness about lung cancer, currently the leading cause of cancer death in women, and more importantly, to increase funding for research for its prevention, detection and treatment. (Thanks to Booster Shots, the LA Times‘ fabulous health blog, for highlighting the report.) I encourage you to read the report, which is well written and comprehensive. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog that Ate Manhattan*

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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