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Understanding Risk Related To Outdoor Health

Dr. Robert “Brownie” Schoene, an enormously talented, accomplished, and insightful physician who resides within the bedrock of wilderness medicine, gave a wonderful presentation about the concept of risk at the 2010 annual summer meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. Risk is inherent in outdoor activities, whether it is part of exploration, adventure, science, or industry. I am going to summarize his approach to the topic, which is among the most important general concepts in the field, and editorialize with some of my thoughts.

When one thinks of risk related to outdoor health, it is about the possibility of suffering harm, damage, or loss. When a person is aware of the possibility of a specific risk, he or she usually weighs the risk against the possible benefits. When you hike on a slippery, snowy trail in early spring, where the trail winds over patches of ice near ledges from which a fall would cause a severe injury, is the experience worth the risk? When you ride a wave on your surfboard when the waves are intimidating and you are outside your comfort zone, is the improvement in performance worth the possibility of a tumble and possible muscle tear or broken bone? Sometimes the answer is easy. When I travel to a third world country, I always run the risk of acquiring infectious diarrhea. The benefits of the mission supersede the discomfort, and I both anticipate the risk and prepare for treatment by carrying oral rehydration supplies and appropriate antibiotics.

I love the quote from Winston Churchill that Dr. Schoene used to illustrate a risk-taker’s approach: Read more »

This post, Understanding Risk Related To Outdoor Health, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease: Don’t Be A Couch Potato

There were no real surprises for me in the article entitled  “Television Viewing and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and All-Cause Mortality” by Anders Grøntved and Frank B. Hu that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2011;305(23):2448-2455). As stated in the abstract: “Prolonged television (TV) viewing is the most prevalent and pervasive sedentary behavior in industrialized countries and has been associated with morbidity and mortality. However, a systematic and quantitative assessment of published studies is not available.”

The authors performed an analysis of eight previously published studies to determine the association between TV viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.

The risk of all-cause mortality appeared to increase with TV viewing duration of greater than Read more »

This post, Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease: Don’t Be A Couch Potato, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

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Latest Book Reviews

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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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