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Understanding Risk Related To Outdoor Health

Dr. Robert “Brownie” Schoene, an enormously talented, accomplished, and insightful physician who resides within the bedrock of wilderness medicine, gave a wonderful presentation about the concept of risk at the 2010 annual summer meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. Risk is inherent in outdoor activities, whether it is part of exploration, adventure, science, or industry. I am going to summarize his approach to the topic, which is among the most important general concepts in the field, and editorialize with some of my thoughts.

When one thinks of risk related to outdoor health, it is about the possibility of suffering harm, damage, or loss. When a person is aware of the possibility of a specific risk, he or she usually weighs the risk against the possible benefits. When you hike on a slippery, snowy trail in early spring, where the trail winds over patches of ice near ledges from which a fall would cause a severe injury, is the experience worth the risk? When you ride a wave on your surfboard when the waves are intimidating and you are outside your comfort zone, is the improvement in performance worth the possibility of a tumble and possible muscle tear or broken bone? Sometimes the answer is easy. When I travel to a third world country, I always run the risk of acquiring infectious diarrhea. The benefits of the mission supersede the discomfort, and I both anticipate the risk and prepare for treatment by carrying oral rehydration supplies and appropriate antibiotics.

I love the quote from Winston Churchill that Dr. Schoene used to illustrate a risk-taker’s approach: Read more »

This post, Understanding Risk Related To Outdoor Health, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Land Mines Continue To Harm Soldiers And Civilians Around The World

We must not turn a blind eye to the shocking facts about land mines and the damage they cause to civilians and our own troops.  The fact that modern warfare involves buried explosives that are completely untargeted  should shock the conscience of the world.  The number of severe wounds that affect our servicemen is on the rise and the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany is filled with casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan.

There have been 79 cases of multiple amputations this year for our U.S. soldiers…more than any previous year and through July, 134 servicemen and women lost limbs.  The year is only 1/2 over!

Doctors treating the troops said there is often damage to lungs, kidneys and livers from massive blood loss and shock.  Infection is rampant and 90 soldiers lost Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Professional Singers Continue To Damage Their Vocal Cords

On Sept 16, 2011, the Stone Temple Pilots had to cancel their tour because their lead singer Scott Weiland was placed on voice rest due to damaged vocal cords at risk for permanent damage. Specifically, the doctors at University of Cincinnati Voice Health Center determined that he had scarring on his left vocal cord and a tremendously inflamed right vocal cord.

The left vocal cord scarring is likely from past vocal trauma that did not heal properly and is now permanently damaged whereas the right vocal cord is at risk of also becoming permanently damaged if not aggressively managed. The picture shown here is an example with inflammation involving both vocal cords. Compare this with Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

The Insulin Pump That Takes A Licking And Keeps On…?

If there’s one thing that takes a consistent beating as a result of diabetes (other than my internal organs, of course), it would be this little guy:

The wear and tear on this sucker is tremendous.

My insulin pump.  This is a part of my diabetes management plan 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Very rarely do I take “pump vacations,” so for the most part, I’m connected at all times.  On an average day, the pump endures sleeping in the bed with me, the baby’s wake-up routine (which includes her grabbing the pump site, regardless of where it is located), playing all day, working, cleaning the house and my body, conference calls and email blitzes, the gym, routine awkwardness, et cetera ad nauseum.

Which means that this expensive, life-changing little gadget gets battered around on a regular basis.  Apparently, these things are built to be durable (to a certain extent), as I only cracked my Minimed pump once, and I haven’t injured this one irreparably yet.  (Despite the months of clumsy, pre-eclampsia pregnancy hands during which I dropped everything I touched.  I was like Gravity Midas.) But recently, I scuffed into the door jamb, and was left with this new, giant white scuff on the screen. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

What Happens When You Put An MRI Machine Near A Large Metal Object?

I’ve come across this image on Fail Blog. Magnetic Resonance Imaging + beds with ferromagnetic parts equal…

mr fail

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

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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