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What Everyone Should Know About Plastics

Information circulating about the dangers of plastic containers has created fear and confusion. Are plastic containers toxic? Do harmful chemicals leach out into its contents? Do we need to discard all plastic containers?

Recently, I interacted in a live health chat on MedHelp about the safety of plastics. Scientist, Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D., Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, talked about “The Real Truth About Plastics: What You Should And Shouldn’t Worry About.”

While Dr. Schwarcz states that some plastics like those made by Tupperware and Rubbermaid are safe to use, there are other plastics made of Bisphenol A (BPA) that may cause some concern, however he did not become alarmed.

There is extensive information on the safety of plastics, and reading some of it can easily cause panic and confusion, but the smartest step health consumers can do for themselves is to remain calm and don’t become alarmed. Gather the facts and determine what’s best for you.

The Facts About Bisphenol A (BPA)

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics. This type of plastic is used to make some types of beverage containers, compact disks, plastic dinnerware, impact-resistant safety equipment, automobile parts, and toys. BPA epoxy resins are used in the protective linings of food cans, in dental sealants, and in other products.

General exposure to BPA at low levels comes from eating food or drinking water stored in containers that have BPA. Small children may be exposed by hand-to-mouth and direct oral (mouth) contact with materials containing BPA. Dental treatment with BPA-containing sealants also results in short-term exposure. In addition, workers who manufacture products that contain BPA can be exposed.

How Does BPA Get Into The Body?

BPA can leach into food from the epoxy resin lining of cans and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. Additional traces of BPA can leach out of these products when they are heated at high temperatures. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

Alcohol And Cancer: A Beverage Guide For The Holidays

Guest post submitted by MD Anderson Cancer Center*

When you raise your glass at this year’s holiday toast, choose your beverage wisely. Research shows that drinking even a small amount of alcohol increases your chances of developing cancer, including oral cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer.

Yet, other research shows that drinking small amounts of alcohol may protect the body against coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Some evidence even suggests that red wine may help prevent cancer.

Researchers are still trying to learn more about how alcohol links to cancer. But, convincing evidence does support the fact that heavy drinking damages cells and contributes to cancer development.

Confused? Use our beverage guide to choose a drink with the lowest health risk, and learn your recommended drink limit and what alcoholic drinks to avoid. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

A Patient’s Contagious Confidence And Endless Possibilities

In a recent post I wrote why patients are the most important part of the medical team, and my colleagues, Elizabeth Cohen, Kevin Pho, MD, Donna Cryer, JD, and Carl R. Sullivan, MD, shared their insights as well. Today, Ginger Vieira, a patient living with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, says:

“You, as the patient, are the most important part of the medical team because you are the one who makes the daily decisions, who balances your disease around dinners, soccer games, long hours at work without enough time to check your blood sugar and eat lunch. You are the one who takes the knowledge you learn from your doctor and fits it into your everyday life. That’s a huge role, and it’s never easy.”

Ginger Vieira shares her story about the challenges and how her positive attitude is allowing her to lead a life she thought was off limits.

Contagious Confidence, Endless Possibilities

By Ginger Vieira

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.” My twin brother, Pete, said this to me several months ago. I wrote it down on an index card and taped it to my bathroom mirror. Funny thing is, it’s never been other people telling me I can or cannot do something. The loudest voice I hear is my own.

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the seventh grade over eleven years ago, the first list that ran through my head was the list of things I probably couldn’t do anymore. I couldn’t eat ice cream without first counting the grams of carbohydrates in the bowl and determining how much insulin I needed. I couldn’t play basketball anymore (at least, that’s what I thought). I couldn’t buy candy and popcorn with my friends when we go to the movies without feeling overwhelmingly guilty about eating such diabetic-off-limits food. The list of foods, activities, dreams and goals I thought were off-limits seemed endless. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

The Patient: The Most Important Member Of The Healthcare Team

Do you feel patients are the most important part of the medical (healthcare) team?

In a recent post on Health in 30, “When Doctors and Nurses Work Together,” I wrote about the team-based approach for caring and treating patients, and it addressed the relationship between nurses, doctors, patients and the importance of a multidisciplinary, team-based approach to patient care.

The healthcare team is comprised of a diverse group of specialized professionals, and the most important part of the medical team is the patient.

Subsequent to publishing this post, I received an email from an author and patient advocate stating that patients are not the most important member of the medical team. I value and respect this comment, however I politely and passionately disagree. As a registered nurse and consumer health advocate, I emphatically say that patients are the most important part of the medical team. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

Drinking And Driving: 20 Years In Retrospect

A gripping piece by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria about  drinking and driving and the use of illicit drugs. Words cannot depict this powerful and graphic piece. Take a look:

TAC Campaign: 20-Year Anniversary Retrospective Montage “Everybody Hurts”

“On December 10, 1989 the first TAC commercial went to air. That year the road toll was 776. Twenty years on it has fallen to 303. There is still a long way to go.”

You’ll find more TAC Victoria videos HERE.

Your turn

We would love to hear from you. Did this video move you in any way? Did it increase your awareness? We would love for you to share your insightful thoughts. As always, thank you for your time.

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

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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