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

Article Comments

Book Review: Colic Solved

colicsolvedHave you ever been seated next to a screaming infant in an airplane? If so, you know that even short flights can feel like an eternity. But the question is: why is the baby so miserable? Is there something that can be done to ease their discomfort?

According to pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” In his new book, Colic Solved Dr. Vartabedian (or “Doctor_V” as he is known on Twitter) describes why unexplained fussiness may often be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease. Doctor V explains that “colic” is an old-fashioned term to describe the behavior of uncomfortable babies. Colic is not a medical diagnosis anymore than “crying” is… and fortunately the underlying cause of “colic” has been discovered so that it can also be treated.

I met Doctor V at a conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico a couple of months ago. Before our introduction I had no idea that he spent all of his clinical time examining and treating screaming babies – but once that fact was revealed, I understood immediately that he was the right guy for the job. Doctor V is a tolerant, affable man with a tremendous sense of humor and a voice made for radio. He is not easily flustered and has a genuine curiosity about others and their life stories. In fact, there’s something soothing about Doctor V – something that makes you feel that everything’s going to be ok.

And so it’s no surprise that Colic Solved is a written expression of Doctor V’s winsome personality. Every chapter is filled with empathy and reassurance, yet with a clear path forward for teasing out the real cause of a baby’s misery. In most cases, “colic” is actually caused by milk protein allergy or infant reflux (a painful burning sensation caused by regurgitating stomach acid). Doctor V carefully explains how to tell the difference, and what to do about it. Interspersed are amusing vignettes called “Tales From The Crib” in which parents with difficult-to-soothe babies navigate their way towards a resolution.

But best of all, Doctor V does not hesitate to do some good old fashioned myth-busting when it comes to exaggerated claims not based on scientific evidence. Infant formula makers, baby bottle makers, and baby product manufacturers are notorious enablers of magical thinking – moms and dads purchase all kinds of products in a desperate attempt to soothe their babies. Unfortunately, most of these solutions do not treat the root cause of the problem – though businesses thrive on colic cures for desperate parents.

Here’s an excerpt of Doctor V’s exposé of a common soy formula myth (p. 117):

Soy Formula – Do You Feel Lucky?

One of the first impulses for parents with a screaming baby is to reach for soy formula. It sounds all natural and easy to digest. But the role of soy formula in the milk-allergic baby is very misunderstood…

The real problem with soy formula comes with the belief that it’s a reasonable cure for the allergic baby. But up to 50% of babies who are allergic to cow’s milk will react to soy protein in a similar way, so if you or your pediatrician chooses to treat your allergic baby with soy formula, you should consider it a gamble…

Colic Solved is a gem of a book. It’s witty, wise, and well written – a must-read for any parent of a chronically fussy baby. I also think that pediatricians and family physicians should strongly consider prescribing this book to parents of unhappy infants. There’s probably no better way to solve colic once and for all.

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

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 »

Commented - Most Popular Articles