Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Preventing Drowning And Other Submersion Injuries

This is another post derived from a presentation given at the 2011 Annual Summer Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. Tracy Cushing, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine gave an excellent presentation on submersion injury—i.e., the dangers of becoming submerged under water. What follows is some of what we learned.

Historically there have been many terms and definitions, such as “drowning,” “near-drowning,” “dry drowning,” and others. Current experts favor the term “submersion injury” as any adverse effect from submersion in water. This commonly causes difficulty breathing, for many reasons. “Immersion syndrome” refers to the situation where there is a lethal heart rhythm during or after a cold-water exposure, usually attributed to stimulation of the vagus nerve, which slows the heart rate. “Shallow water blackout” refers to a person becoming unconscious after hyperventilating prior to attempting a lengthy period of breath-holding underwater.

Drowning is the Read more »

This post, Preventing Drowning And Other Submersion Injuries, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Moderate Drinking Can Be Beneficial For Middle-Aged Women

Middle-aged women who drink alcohol moderately yet regularly throughout the week may age more healthfully, according to data from the Nurses’ Health Study.

Photo by  Sigfrid Lundberg via Flickr and a Creative Commons licenseAfter adjusting for variables such as smoking, women who drank light or moderate amounts of alcohol had a modestly increased chance of successful ageing compared to nondrinkers. For example, compared to nondrinkers, women who drank 5 to 15 g of alcohol per day (between one-third and one drink per day) at middle age had about a 20% higher chance of successful ageing, defined as being free of 11 major chronic diseases and having no major cognitive, physical or mental health limitations at age 70.

Independent of total alcohol intake, women who drank alcohol regularly had a better chance of successful ageing than occasional drinkers. Thus, compared to nondrinkers, women who drank five to seven days a week had nearly a 50% greater chance of successful ageing whereas women who drank only one or two days a week had a similar likelihood of successful ageing.

Researchers measured alcohol consumption at midlife using Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Drinking And Driving: 20 Years In Retrospect

A gripping piece by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria about  drinking and driving and the use of illicit drugs. Words cannot depict this powerful and graphic piece. Take a look:

TAC Campaign: 20-Year Anniversary Retrospective Montage “Everybody Hurts”

“On December 10, 1989 the first TAC commercial went to air. That year the road toll was 776. Twenty years on it has fallen to 303. There is still a long way to go.”

You’ll find more TAC Victoria videos HERE.

Your turn

We would love to hear from you. Did this video move you in any way? Did it increase your awareness? We would love for you to share your insightful thoughts. As always, thank you for your time.

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

Eating Meat And Gaining Weight

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is reporting an association with eating meat and weight gain. This is a fairly robust epidemiological study, but at the same time is a good example of how such information is poorly reported in the media, leading to public confusion.

The data is taken from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Physical Activity, Nutrition, Alcohol, Cessation of Smoking, Eating Out of Home and Obesity (EPIC-PANACEA) project. This is a long-term epidemiological study involving hundreds of thousands of individuals, and is therefore a great source of data. We are likely to see many publications from from it. This one looked at the association of meat eating –- poultry, red meat, and processed meat -– with total weight. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

Why You Shouldn’t Mix Energy Drinks With Alcohol

What is it about our culture that encourages newer and riskier ways to challenge our health? Public health folks have become very concerned about the latest challenge – alcoholic energy drinks. These are prepackaged beverage with alcohol and caffeine, as well as other stimulants, that look like other energy drinks but carry a much more powerful, and dangerous, punch!

There were 500 new energy drink products introduced worldwide in 2006 with average sales topping $3.2 billion. These products are targeting youth by creating brand confusion with nonalcoholic versions; providing a cheap alternative to mixing energy drinks with alcohol; and using youth-friendly grassroots and viral marketing. The names of these products say it all – Rockstar, Sparks, and Tilt. Read more »

This post, Why You Shouldn’t Mix Energy Drinks With Alcohol, was originally published on by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »