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

Latest Posts

Space Medicine, Above And Below Earth

e93jdjj.jpgThe Chilean mine rescue was a great example of international cooperation and effort, much like the International Space Station. Another similarity between the two was some of the physicians involved.

Dr. J.D. Polk and other flight surgeons at NASA had, years ago, made a contingency plan for how to make the limited Space Station food stores last for months if there was a problem with re-supply. So when the Chilean government asked if NASA had any advice for how to care for the miners trapped in a similar resource-limited setting, Dr. Polk and a team went down to help, and MedPage Today wrote up a great summary of their efforts. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Sugar Consumption: A “Deliciously Disgusting” Ad Campaign

New York City’s war on sugary soft drinks had to balance evidence-based medicine with a short, simple message that would go viral in the community. Going viral won, according to e-mails of internal discussions between the city’s health commissioner, his staff, and the ad agency that crafted the campaign. The statement that soda would cause a person to gain 10 pounds a year is contingent upon many factors, argued the staff, but the desire to produce a media message with impact overruled the details. One nutritionist called the campaign “deliciously disgusting.”

Chocolate may moderate HDL cholesterol in type 2 diabetics, according to the November issue of Diabetic Medicine. High polyphenol chocolate increased HDL cholesterol in diabetics without affecting weight, insulin resistance or glycemic control. Researchers enrolled 12 type 2 diabetics in a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind crossover study to 45 g chocolate with or without a high polyphenol content for eight weeks and then crossed over after a four-week washout period. HDL cholesterol increased with high polyphenol chocolate (1.16+/-0.08 vs. 1.26+/-0.08 mmol/l, P=0.05) with a decrease in the total cholesterol: HDL ratio (4.4+/-0.4 vs. 4.1+/-0.4 mmol/l, P=0.04). No changes were seen with the low polyphenol chocolate.

With Halloween, sugar will be on everyone’s mind (and in everyone’s stomachs). To find out how many calories and how much fat that pile of Halloween candy totals, try this interactive module. (New York Times, Diabetic Medicine, ABC Chanel 7 News-Denver)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Nutrition And The Government: Donuts For Freedom

An interesting press release from the Competitive Enterprise Institute recently came across our desk and is reproduced in full below. I’m curious what our readers think of it, and of the government’s role in nutritional issues, given the link between nutrition and health:

Institute Calls for Civil Disobedience on National Donut Day

As Government Meddling in Nutritional Issues Mounts, CEI Advises, “Eat Two Donuts Today—One for Yourself, and One for Your Freedom”

Washington, D.C., June 4, 2010 — The Competitive Enterprise Institute today urged Americans to turn National Donut Day into a day of protest against growing government intrusion into nutritional issues. CEI urged people to eat two donuts — “one for yourself, and one as an act of patriotic civil disobedience.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP 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…

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 »