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

Latest Posts

MSNBC Promotes Treatment For Condition Plastic Surgeon Named

MSNBC commits an egregious example of disease-mongering in a piece they headlined:

Plastic surgeon wants to fix your ‘runner’s face’.

What is so egregious? Let us count the ways:

• They pass along a plastic surgeon’s news release about his treatment for a condition he calls “runner’s face”.
• So it is a promotion for his treatment for a condition he has named. This is what is called “advertising” – not “journalism.”
• They provide no data.
• They describe Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Nutrition Labels For Alcoholic Beverages?

Virtually all bottled beverages you can buy have handy-dandy nutrition labels from which you can access information about calories, carbs, and so forth. All beverages except the ones containing alcohol, that is. Why is that?

Maybe it’s because alcoholic beverages contain little to no protein, sodium, cholesterol, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron (remember that alcohol is metabolized as a fat, not a carbohydrate) — so why bother? Then again, alcohol does contain calories — a lot of them. Would people drink less if they knew how many calories they were consuming? Would they drink less if they knew how many “servings” of alcohol were contained in the bottle they just purchased?

Maybe it’s because of the cost of performing nutritional analyses on each vintage of wine, each and every year, would turn profitable vineyards into money losers? Then again, plenty of niche beverage producers who run reasonably narrow margin businesses have never complained about the requirement to provide nutritional information.

The Tax and Trade Bureau is the federal agency that decides what information must appear on the labels of alcoholic beverages. Currently, it does not require manufacturers of wine, beer and the hard stuff to list ingredients. It does require them to list chemicals that folks might have an adverse reaction to things like sulfites, aspartame, and dyes.

The Tax and Trade Bureau also mandates that wines containing 14 percent or more alcohol by volume must state this fact on a label. Wines containing less than 14 percent can either specify the alcohol content or affix the words “light wine” or “table wine” to their labels. In addition, “light” beer bottlers must state calorie and carbohydrate content, and distilled liquor bottlers must specify the alcohol content by volume. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

Why The French Don’t Go To The Gym

gettinbigwithrivaroxaban 300x187 Work out in a Gym? The French say Sacre Bleu!Like their counterparts in other first-world countries, French people know about the health benefits of exercise. And French culture has emphasized, even worshipped, good looks (which these days translates to “fit and trim.”)

So it’s surprising that the French avoid fitness centers as vigorously as factory-produced croissants. But they do.

According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, just 5.4 percent of French people were members of a fitness club in 2008. That’s substantially less than their counterparts in Italy (9.5 percent), the UK (11.9 percent), and Spain (16.6 percent).

“It appears that more people are sitting in cafes smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee than working out … the French don’t see fitness as a lifestyle,” American-born fitness consultant Fred Hoffman told MSNBC. Hoffman has lived in Paris for two decades. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

Teen Pregnancy Decline Is Likely As Low As It Will Go

Teen pregnancy rates have declined, but likely bottomed out, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Teen births dropped by a third between 1990 to 2005, but rose again in 2006 and 2007. The latest figures for 2008 show a decline of 2.4 percent, to 41.5 pregnancies per 1,000 teenagers. Experts told My Health News Daily/MSNBC the dropping rates have bottomed out, and that new strategies are needed to deglamorize teen pregnancy.

Teen birth rates were consistently highest in states across the South and Southwest, and lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest. In 2008, state-specific teenage birth rates varied widely, from less than 25.0 per 1,000 15-19 year olds (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont), to more than 60.0 per 1,000 (Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Medical Ethics And The Amish Bus Driver Rule

Rachel Maddow, in a discussion related to the provision of abortion services, once proposed that we (society) should invoke the Amish Bus Driver Rule (ABDR) whenever medical professionals invoke their personal convictions in refusing to provide legal medical services.

The ABDR goes like this: If you’re Amish, and therefore have religious convictions against internal combustion engines, then you have disqualified yourself for employment as a bus driver. (Presumably Ms. Maddow would not apply the ABDR to everyone, since it would disqualify, for instance, Al Gore from utilizing horseless carriages and other fossil-fueled contrivances.)

The ABDR would do far more than merely render it okay for doctors to perform abortions and other ethically controversial (but legal) medical services. The ABDR would obligate physicians to provide such services, whatever their personal moral or religious convictions.

The reason DrRich brings this up is not because he considers Rachel Maddow to be the giver of rules for the left, or for the government, or even for MSNBC. Rather, he brings it up because the ABDR is entirely compatible with Progressive medical ethics, and therefore it has a pretty good chance, sooner or later, of becoming the official policy of our new healthcare system. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Covert Rationing Blog*

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 »