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

Latest Posts

Are Your Allergies Acting Up? Ragweed Pollen Season Is Here

No Comments »

I don’t know about you, but my allergies have really been acting up lately. Well, maybe not this week since it’s been cooler. But last week my eyes were watering, my nose was running, and my lungs were wheezing (kind of). But for the first two weeks of August, a lot of my patients were complaining about their allergy symptoms getting worse. And for some people, their asthma was getting worse as well.

The local TV station called me last week during the beginning of ragweed pollen season and asked me to talk about it:

If you find this information helpful, I invite you to check out my other TV interviews about health-related issues.

*This blog post was originally published at Doctor Anonymous*

Health Tips For Back-To-School

No Comments »

I was lucky enough to be asked by one of the local TV stations to talk about some back-to-school issues when it comes to health. I don’t know about where you’re at, but most of the local schools around here started [yesterday, August 23rd].

Keeping up-to-date on immunizations is always important. Other important issues are getting kids back on their school sleep schedules and making sure the backpack isn’t overwhelmingly heavy.

Check out the video below. Also check out the Back To School Video 2 and the Back To School Video 3 (Yup, that’s right — three segments in one day.) If you find those helpful, I encourage you to check out my You Tube page and click on “My TV Interviews” for more health segments from local TV news. Enjoy!

*This blog post was originally published at Doctor Anonymous*

“Medical Self-Care” And The Doc Tom Interview

No Comments »

Next in our series of posts about our founder Doc Tom. Previous time capsules: 1980 and 1985.

Come, ye economics buffs and algebra fans: Get out your pencils and solve for x, n, and XX:

Whatever else the year 19XX is remembered for, it will — without a doubt — go down in history as a record year for medical expenses here in the United States. All indications are that before the calendar year is out, Americans will have spent $x (n% of the Gross National Product) on drugs, X-rays, surgery, physicians’ fees, laboratory tests, hospital overhead, health insurance, etc. That’s up from the [$0.3x] ([.7n%] of GNP) just 13 years ago.

Clearly, the medical establishment has become a threat to the average American’s budget (if not his health).

Ready? That was…1978. Check the tiny numbers:

Whatever else 1978 is remembered for, it will—without a doubt—go down in history as a record year for medical expenses here in the United States. All indications are that before the calendar year is out, 216 million Americans will have spent $139 billion (8.6% of the Gross National Product) on drugs, X-rays, surgery, physicians’ fees, laboratory tests, hospital overhead, health insurance, etc. That’s up from the $39 billion (5.9% of GNP) medical care cost in 1965 . . . just 13 years ago.

Tom Ferguson was a medical student, and in the self-reliant era of the Whole Earth Catalog, he saw that patients could help heal healthcare by taking better care of themselves. In 1976 he’d started a magazine called Medical Self-Care. The text above appeared in Mother Earth News in May 1978, as the introduction to an 8,000-word interview with Tom. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Why You Should Still See Your Doctor When You’re Not Sick

No Comments »

Patient Power logoExperts say over 100,000 lives a year could be saved in the United States if patients focused more on preventive medicine. What is preventive medicine? What can you do in your everyday life that may make a long-term difference?

On this Patient Power program, you will hear from two board certified internists from the UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinics in Western Washington. They will discuss how having an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician who you check in with regularly –- even when you’re well –- gives you the best chance at staying healthy.

Read more »

Smokeless Tobacco And The U.S. Launch Of Snus


This week the respected CBS documentary news show “60 Minutes” included a feature on smokeless tobacco, focusing on the recent launch of snus in the United States. The show was relatively balanced in focusing on the main potential risks and benefits of snus.

It started by featuring a young man who enjoys using snus in places where he cannot smoke, while continuing with a pack-a-day smoking addiction. The interviewer gave him the bad news: “You are a dual user.”

It then had a segment with the widely respected Swedish nicotine addiction expert, Dr Karl Fagerstrom, who stated that snus is 90-99% less harmful than smoking (while admitting some risks, including of pancreatic cancer). Read more »

This post, Smokeless Tobacco And The U.S. Launch Of Snus, was originally published on by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

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 »