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Daylight Savings Means More Driving In The Dark: Tips To Avoid Motor Vehicle Accidents

Did you know that your 20/20 vision may drop to 20/40 when you’re driving in the dark? That’s because your pupils dilate to try to let in more light, and in so doing, they sacrifice their ability to focus clearly. Night-time driving can be dangerous for many additional reasons, and I had the opportunity to interview two experts about these risks, and how we can reduce our chances of being in harm’s way when we turn our clocks back on November 6th.

Optometrist, Dr. Christina Schneider, Senior Director, Medical Affairs for VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, spoke with me about common nighttime driving problems such as dry eyes, headaches, and eye fatigue – and what to do about them. We also discussed the risks of driving with an under corrected or uncorrected vision problem, and some of the available options and treatments available to improve our night vision

I also spoke with John Ulczycki, Group Vice President – Strategic Initiatives, for the National Safety Council, about safe driving tips. Please listen to the conversation here:

Traffic safety experts report that fatal motor vehicle accidents are three times more common at night. So how can we improve our nighttime driving safety? John’s tips include: Read more »

Prescription Use On The Rise, More Awareness Of Side Effects Needed

Eighty eight percent of Americans 60 years or older take at least one prescription drug and more than two-thirds of this age group take five or more, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics. Spending for prescription drugs totaled $234.1 billion in 2008 — more than double what was spent in 1999.

The National Center for Health Statistics excerpted elements of its National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to prepare the report:

Gu Q, Dillon CF, Burt VL. Prescription drug use continues to increase: U.S. prescription drug data for 2007-2008. NCHS data brief, no 42. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2010.Other key findings include:

– Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44 percent to 48 percent. The use of two or more drugs increased from 25 percent to 31 percent. The use of five or more drugs increased from 6 percent to 11 percent. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Driving Safe Cars Can Save Lives

New England Patriots NFL quarterback Tom Brady was on his way to practice when he crashed into a minivan which allegedly ran a red light. His Audi S8 car T-boned the other vehicle a few blocks from his home. A relieved New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft noted after the accident:

“[Tom] arched and prepared himself and we’re just lucky with the glass and angles. We have a lot to be thankful for. It was really a miracle…We’re very, very lucky. Patriot Nation is lucky he had his seatbelt on.”

Was it simply luck or good car design and mechanical engineering? Crumple zones and the passenger cage of a car when built for maximum safety decrease injury. Yet, unfortunately, there is significant variability among safety in cars. Brady walked  away from the accident for a variety of reasons.

As a future hall of fame quarterback, Brady has lightning fast reflexes when analyzing defensive blitzes and options when throwing the football. Quickly bracing himself for impact may have helped. Wearing a seatbelt definitely helped. What may have helped the most was the type of car he drove. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

Dr. Frank Ryan’s Death: What We Can Learn From It

I’ll be honest — I’d never heard of Dr. Frank Ryan, a Hollywood plastic surgeon, until his tragic motor vehicle accident recently. Clients included actress Heidi Montag and boxer Oscar De La Hoya.

Although the California Highway Patrol investigation isn’t complete, rumors have suggested that Dr. Ryan may have been text messaging when driving. If this is true and an intelligent, well-trained doctor can fall prey to the allure of technology, then what does it mean for the rest of us?

First, realize that we can’t multitask. You have one brain. You can focus at one task at a time. Though laws allow hands-free cellphone calls, the issue isn’t trying to dial the phone but rather that the mind is engaged in the conversation and not on the road. Yes, we are all increasingly busy, but we can’t multitask. In fact, researchers have found that it takes more time and effort to refocus when we are distracted from one task to the other. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

How Cellphones Kill

San Francisco recently passed a law requiring disclosure to consumers of the amount of radiation emitted by cellphones at the point of sale. Research has been inconclusive on whether there is a link between cellphone usage and cancer. More definitive findings could be years away.

Understandably the law addresses a universal concern that we all have. We are more fearful of threats we can’t see, smell, hear, taste, or touch. Radon, carbon monoxide, and radiation fit these criteria.

Yet, cellphones kill in other ways which are far more immediate, equally as subtle, and just as concerning. This silent epidemic is increasing at an alarming rate. Everyone sees it, but does nothing about it. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

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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