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

Latest Posts

Woman Claims She Found A Simple Way To Kill Cancerous Tumors, Jury Not Convinced

I hope @oracknows, Respectful Insolence, will write more about this. He is much better than I at sussing out fraudulent medical treatments.

I have lived and practiced in Little Rock, AR for over twenty years and I did not know this was in my backyard until my local paper (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) reported on the outcome of the trial last week. The article title caught my eye as I was skimming the news: Jurors: Cancer therapy a fraud, Award in suit is $2.5 million (subscription only unfortunately).

A federal jury awarded $2.5 million in damages Tuesday to a California woman who paid $6,250 to undergo alternative treatments from a Jacksonville woman who promised a “100 percent success rate” in destroying cancerous breast tumors.

Antonella Carpenter, the former Jacksonville woman who has since moved to Broken Arrow, Okla., and continues to proclaim on her website that she has found a simple, painless way to kill cancerous tumors, wasn’t present for the verdict against her and her company, Lase Med Inc. …….

I don’t recall ever hearing of Lase Med Inc: LIESH Therapy.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit is Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

“Simple Blood Test” For Cancer: Breakthrough Or Nightmare?

That’s the question Dartmouth’s Dr. Gil Welch asks in a column on the CNN website. He reflects on [recent] news about a test in development that might find a single cancer cell among a billion healthy ones — as so many news stories framed it. Welch analyzes:

“But it’s not that simple. The test could just as easily start a cancer epidemic.

Most assume there are no downsides to looking for things to be wrong. But the truth is that early diagnosis is a double-edged sword. While it has the potential to help some, it always has a hidden side-effect: overdiagnosis, the detection of abnormalities that are not destined to ever bother people in their lifetime.

Becoming a patient unnecessarily has real human costs. There’s the anxiety of being told you are somehow not healthy. There’s the problem that getting a diagnosis may affect your ability to get health insurance. There are the headaches of renewing prescriptions, scheduling appointments and keeping them. Finally, there are the physical harms of treatments that cannot help (because there is nothing to fix): drug side-effects, surgical complications and even death. Not to mention it can bankrupt you.

Americans don’t need more diagnoses, they need the right diagnoses.

I don’t know whether this test will help some patients. It might, but it will take years to figure that out. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Treatment For Throat Cancer: Inspiration For Michael Douglas

There’s news that Hollywood star Michael Douglas, 65, is undergoing treatment for throat cancer. Reporters say his doctors say he is expected to make a full recovery. But, believe me — when someone is diagnosed with any kind of head and neck cancer, as this is, it’s not an easy go.

My first encounter with it was with my friend Bob Moore, a former sales rep for a major pharmaceutical company. He was a positive, yet realistic guy. The disease and the toxic treatment a few years ago eventually took its toll and he passed on.

My dear friend Mike Piller, famous as writer and co-executive producer of the Star Trek television series, had a similar diagnosis. He did his research and traveled to the best centers. Surgery and radiation took away part of his jaw and his ability to taste and swallow. Of course his speech was affected. He was a trooper, but he never recovered.

In both cases the doctors did what they could to cut out or zap the cancerous tissue tucked away around a lot of critical structures. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*

For Cancer Survivors, Yoga May Ease Sleeplessness And Fatigue

People who’ve been diagnosed cancer can be heartened by the results of a study that will be presented June 5 at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. The researchers found that the practice of yoga helped cancer survivors improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.

The lead researcher, Dr. Karen Mustian, professor of Radiation Oncology and Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester in New York,  followed 410 patients who had already completed treatment for cancer but who experienced sleep disturbance that required medication. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

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 »