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Latest Posts

Research Shows That Genes Are Most Important For Extreme Longevity

People with exceptional longevity have the same bad lifestyle habits as the rest of us, suggesting that their genes may interact with environmental factors differently than others. There’s not much you can do if you’re not one of the lucky ones born with superior genes. For the rest of us, a healthy lifestyle is still the best option to live longer.

To assess lifestyle factors including physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and diet in men and women with exceptional longevity, researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of community dwelling Ashkenazi Jews with exceptional longevity defined living independently at age 95 and older. The Ashkenazi population descended from tens of thousands of Jews originating in the 15th Century who eventually moved to or were born in the U.S. before World War II.

The researchers compared Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

A “Decision Tree” For Personalized Medicine

ImagesWhat’s amazing is that despite the vocal movement to empower patients, no one has put together a well-referenced, readable book to help patients understand how they should use personalized medicine to influence their health — until now.

Enter The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine (Rodale 2010), something of a blueprint of patient liberation written by Thomas Goetz, executive editor of Wired magazine. It offers constructive narrative not only about the importance of the decisions we make but how to apply the concept of an old-fashioned decision tree in making those decisions. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Which Diet Fits Your Genes?

Why do some diets work better than others? Why can your best friend lose 10 pounds with a low-carb diet and your weight just hovers? Why can some people eat just about everything and still stay skinny?

It’s all in the genes. 

Mindy Dopler Nelson, Ph.D., of Stanford University reported the results of her study at the American Heart Associate Conference. She found that a single nuceotide polymorphism caused women to loose five times as much weight on the Atkins diet compared with women who didn’t have the gene. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Do You Own Your Genome?

Human Genome

As the costs of sequencing our DNA shrink and the roles of digital media in our lives expand, we will need to understand who (or what) controls the ownership, access and use of our genomic information.

From state regulation to Google to Facebook, who controls the acquisition, transmission and replication of our genomic information and material will become an important battle in the 21st century. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*

A Link Between Depression and Female Baldness

Female-Hair-LossA reader sent me this really sad story that got me thinking about hair restoration for women:

Happy, I wanted to share with you this picture of a woman who’s lost all hope. I saw her a few years back during my psychiatry rotation. As you can see, it looks like she’s going bald, but in fact, during her fits of rage and depression she’s actually pulling out her own hair. How sad is that? Just another example of what we docs take care of on a daily basis. 

Man, that’s unbelievable. I don’t know much about classic female pattern baldness. From what I’ve read it’s usually a diffuse loss of hair everywhere or  a central expansion of hair loss but rarely does it encompass the entire scalp. It’s usually caused by hormones, aging and genes. In advanced age, I’ve seen more than my fair share of elderly women who have more hair on their chin then they do on their head. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

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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