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

Latest Posts

The Perils Of Fetal Sex Selection: Terminating Pregnancies Based On Baby’s Gender

What would you do if you discovered early in your pregnancy that you were pregnant with a girl when you wanted a boy? Would you terminate the pregnancy? With the advent of a new DNA test that can determine the sex of a fetus at 7 weeks gestation with a simple blood or urine test, fetal sex selection is now possible. However, before you proceed to pop the cork on your bottle of champagne, a word of precaution is warranted. The Chinese and India dilemmas present a global warning regarding the perils of fetal sex selection. Boys now outnumber girls in China and India and competition is fierce regarding finding a wife or a mate. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), by the year 2020, there will be between 30 to 40 million more boys than girls in China and the statistics in India are equally as alarming. In her book, Sobs In The Night, Xinran describes a scene where a baby girl is born and the father cries out, “Useless thing” and then the baby is dropped in a bucket and dies. This “son preference” is what has caused the unusually large amount of U.S. adoptions of baby Chinese girls.

Clinically, the gender of a baby is only important if Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

Birth Control And Sexual Attraction – The Wall Street Journal’s Breathtakingly Bad Reporting

In an article filled with speculation, misinformation and broad sweeping generalizations, the Wall Street Journal does its damned best to make the birth control pill seem to be the worst thing to have happened to modern civilization, implying that by interfering with ovulation, the pill impairs our natural ability to choose a mate, causes women to choose less masculine partners and then stray from them, and makes us pick genetically similar rather than dissimilar mates.

Women on the pill no longer experience a greater desire for traditionally masculine men during ovulation….Researchers speculate that women with less-masculine partners may become less interested in their partner when they come off birth control, contributing to relationship dissatisfaction…That could prompt some women to stray, research suggests. Psychologist Steven Gangestad and his team at the University of New Mexico showed in a 2010 study that women with less-masculine partners reported an increased attraction for other men during their fertile phase.

“Less masculine” men. What the heck does that mean? Less hairy? Less into sports? Less violent? Not into Nascar or big trucks?

How about more likely to engage in conversation? More likely to care about their partner’s satisfaction in bed than their own? More likely to accept a woman having a career? Read more »

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

Of Mice And Men: Tips To Improve Male Fertility

Today NPR ran a story about fierce competition and cooperation among mouse sperm cells trying to fertilize an ovum. Apparently spermatozoa from the same male will often clump together, wiggling their flagella in a collective swim that accelerates the group faster towards an egg. In the race to be the first sperm to fertilize an egg this team approach (with sperm of a feather flocking together) may confer an evolutionary advantage. Solo-swimmers move more leisurely. The research and cool video presented on NPR were of sperm from the promiscuous deer mouse.  Such murine sperm “behavior” may not be as evolutionarily needed in (usually) less promiscuous humans. Yet the idea of sperm cooperation, fitness, and competition in a microscopic steeplechase is fascinating. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles*

What Women May Not Know About Their Fertility

I can’t tell you the number of times women in their mid 40′s come to me and announce “Well, I’m ready to get pregnant”. Putting off pregnancy is understandable in our times. Women are building their careers, moving and traveling, going through a series of “Mr. Wrongs” and looking for the best baby-daddy. Women have thought that fertility was a given and they could get pregnant when the time was right. But, sadly, what they haven’t been told is the cruel trick of nature. Fertility doctors know…after age 29 your chance of having a baby without medical treatment is diminishing every year. After age 40 there is a precipitous drop.

To bring that fact home, check this out. A woman age 19-26 has a 50% chance of getting pregnant during any one menstrual cycle if she has intercourse two days prior to ovulation. For women age 27-34 the chance was 40% and after age 35 it drops to 30%. And at 40 you are only 1/2 as fertile as you were at 35. That is a sharp drop off! Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Male Sexuality: Myth Busting With Dr. Jon LaPook

I’d like to welcome Dr. Jon LaPook, medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, to the Better Health team of bloggers. Jon will be contributing video interviews on engaging consumer health topics on a weekly basis. This first contribution is a video interview with male fertility expert Dr. Harry Fisch, combined with some entertaining “man on the street” discussions in Columbus Circle, NYC. Let me know what you think!

Watch CBS Videos Online

See Dr. LaPook’s home page:

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 »