The people you live with, work with, talk to, email, chatter with on Twitter and Facebook—your social network—can be good medicine, or bad.
The intriguing new science of social networks is demonstrating how personal interconnections can affect our health. Ideas and habits that influence health for better or for worse can spread through social networks in much the same way that germs spread through communities. In social networks, though, transmission can happen even though the people may be hundreds of miles apart.
An article in the December issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch explores how social networks can affect weight and mood.
A study of people taking part in the landmark Framingham Heart Study found that Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*
There’s a new term that has entered the medical lexicon. The word is wellness. Hospitals and medical offices are incorporating this term into their mission statements, corporate names, business cards, medical conferences and other marketing materials. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has appointed a Chief Wellness Officer, an intriguing fluffy title that does not clearly denote this individual’s role and function. This is deliberate, as the word wellness is designed to communicate a ‘feel good’ emotion, not a specific medical service.
Just a click or two on Google will lead you into the wellness universe. Here’s a sampling:
- Institute of Sleep and Wellness
- Wellness Institute of America
- Naturopathic Wellness
- National Wellness Institute
- Physicians Health and Wellness Center
- Physicians Wellness Group
There’s even a sponsored ad on Google where one can Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*
I stumbled upon the article ‘Laughter: gender-specific variations’ in Revista Clínica Española (‘Spanish Clinical Journal’) and I can’t help thinking about the need for taking this into account to improve doctor-patient relationships. The text can actually be read as a guide to understand how every person laughs and how to use it in clinical practice.
Table 1. Laughter effect on health Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Diario Medico*
For centuries, health providers have focused on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. This time-honored paradigm has generated phenomenal advances in medicine, especially during the last 60 years. It has also created a bit of an image problem for providers. That’s because the paradigm encourages consumers to perceive health care as a negative good; an economic term describing a bundle of products and services that we use because we must, not because we want to. Recent trends towards empowered consumers are a symptom of this problem more than a solution to it, as I described here.
Recently, the concept of Positive Health has emerged as a possible antidote for the malaise.
Pioneered by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman, Positive Health encourages us to identify and promote positive health assets—which Seligman describes as strengths that contribute to a healthier, more fulfilling life and yes, improved life expectancy as well. According to Seligman, “people desire well-being in its own right and they desire it above and beyond the relief of their suffering.”
Proponents of Positive Health have proposed that Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*
On Tara Parker-Pope’s NY Time Well Blog, she tells us that in places where people are the happiest, for example Denmark & Sweden, for example, have the highest happiness ranks, and the highest suicide rates. This is perplexing.
And apparently, the various United States are also ranked. New Jersey, where I grew up, is the 47th happiest state– surprising given Full Serve gasoline, good pizza, and beaches. You were looking for something more out of life? Also it has the 47th suicide rate, so the miserable apparently tough it out.
Ms. Parker-Pope writes:
After analyzing the data, the researchers found a relationship between overall happiness and risk of suicide. In general, states with high levels of life satisfaction had higher suicide rates, according to the report, which has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
“Perhaps for those at the bottom end, in a way their situation may seem worse in relative terms, when compared with people who are close to them or their neighbors,’’ said Stephen Wu, associate professor of economics at Hamilton College. “For someone who is quite unhappy, the relative comparison may lead to more unhappiness and depression.”
Dr. Wu noted that other studies have found that people react differently to low income or unemployment depending on how common it is in their community. “If a lot more other people around them are unemployed, it doesn’t seem so devastating,’’ he said.
I’m not sure one idea leads to another. Could there be another factor here? How do suicide rates correlate with the availability of mental health professionals, for example? Or with the price of chocolate in a give region? And how happy is my state?
*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*