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

Latest Posts

FDA Sends Warning Letters To California Surgical Centers For Misleading Advertising Of The Lap-Band

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it has taken action against eight California surgical centers and the marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN LLC, for misleading advertising of the Lap-Band, an FDA-approved device used for weight loss in obese adults. The FDA issued Warning Letters to Bakersfield Surgery Institute Inc.; Beverly Hills Surgery Center; Palmdale Ambulatory Center; Valley Surgical Center; Top Surgeons LLC; Valencia Ambulatory Center LLC; Cosmopolitan Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; San Diego Ambulatory Center LLC; and to 1-800-GET-THIN because Lap-Band is a restricted medical device that is misbranded as a result of misleading advertising by these groups. In the letters, the FDA warns that billboards and advertising inserts used by recipients of the Warning Letters to promote the Lap-Band procedure fail to provide required risk information, including warnings, precautions, possible side effects and contraindications. The FDA also is concerned that the font size of information related to risks on the advertising inserts is too small to be read by consumers.


We have blogged on 1-800-Get-Thin and Lap-band surgery in general before. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Dealing With This Canadian Pharmacy Is More Trouble Than It’s Worth

Looking to obtain a break on my practice’s botulinum toxin of choice (Myobloc) I yielded to curiosity and ordered from a Canadian Pharmacy…Northwest I figured we would try to break the price point of this popular product. Thankfully I used my credit card.

Botulinum toxin must be kept cold to retain its potency. We traditionally receive this product on dry ice and have never had much of a problem with effectiveness. I was promised by the pharmacy rep that this product would arrive cold within 2-5 days of shipping. Only after I gave her my credit card information did she share with me that the product would be coming from Great Britain. This was not welcome news. I was reassured that the product would be cold and usable.

The product arrived Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Warning Issued For Medications Used To Treat Male Pattern Baldness

Propecia and Proscar are formulations of the drug finasteride. These medications are used to treat male pattern baldness and prostatic hypertrophy. Prior studies have found side effects including sexual changes (loss in libido and function) and now new studies are finding increased incidence of male breast cancer in some of the patients taking the drugs.

Health Canada has issued a warning:

Although the apparent risks are low, Health Canada issued a warning Thursday telling consumers the drug, finasteride, could be potentially dangerous. The drug, which comes in one-milligram and five-milligram formats, is used in the lower dose to treat baldness and the higher dose to treat non-cancerous enlarged prostate. Previous studies have raised flags about the five-milligram format, sold in Canada under the brand name Proscar, including an increased risk of prostate cancer.

As these drugs inhibit Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Where Is The Worst Health Information On The Internet? The Huffington Post

Going to the Huffington Post for medical information is perhaps comparable to going to Vito Corleone for advice on income tax compliance.  Another prominent blogger refers to is as “that hive of scum and quackery,” a lovely and accurate epithet for a media outlet which provides refuge and cover for anti-vaccationists, homeopaths and practictioners of reiki and other such pseudoscientific twaddle. I avoid the HuffPo like the plague.  But, like a moth to the flame, sometimes I can’t help myself, and when a facebook friend (and former blogger) pointed to this contrarian article, my interest was piqued and I had to check it out.

Is High Blood Pressure Overtreated? Dr. Dennis Gottfried, Associate professor, University of Connecticut Medical School

First of all, I don’t know Dr Gottfried, and I don’t want to cast aspersions on him professionally. He might be a faith healer and snake-handler, or he might be a prominent researcher and expert in the field. I have no idea, and other than his questionable judgement in being affiliated with the HuffPo, I don’t want to make any judgement on him as a physician or a scientist. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Multi-Task

I’ve been fighting pretty hard to avoid the temptation to multitask. I plan to do so again this year. People who claim to multitask are viewed with awe. Attaining the skill is a badge of honor. In a society that is increasingly 24 /7 where demands from work, family, and friends seems endless and the opportunities to be connected are more, how can a person survive if they simply do one task at a time?

Simple. Research suggests that the person who single tasks actually does better work, focuses better, and is productive.

Oh and it might save your life. 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…

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 »