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

Latest Posts

Massachusetts Leads The Way In Smoking Cessation

No Comments »

Across the country health insurance coverage for smoking cessation treatment – both counseling and medications – has been extremely patchy. For example, we ask all the new patients attending our smoking cessation clinic in New Jersey if their insurance covers smoking cessation treatment, and the vast majority have no idea. Typically its also not easy for either the patient or provider to find out either. It doesn’t just depend on the insurer, but on the plan, the type of service, what they’ve already had in terms of preventive care. We’ve had many occasions where we call the insurer twice on the same day and get a different answer. And New Jersey is a state that is supposed to have relatively good insurance coverage for tobacco cessation! So it’s a mess nationwide, and the net result is that fewer patients get the treatment they need because they are put of by the uncertainty about the cost and difficulty finding out how much it is. Read more »

This post, Massachusetts Leads The Way In Smoking Cessation, was originally published on Healthine.com by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

Case Report of a Cystosarcoma Phyllodes Tumor

1 Comment »

Photo scanned in from article

Flipping through my current copy of The Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society, I was surprised to see this case report (full reference below) of a 30.8 pound cystosarcoma phyllodes of the breast. The accompanying photos are impressive. Many questions filled my head – Why did the woman wait so long to seek care? How did she manage to physically do her daily chores on the farm? How did she manage to find clothing to wear?

I scanned this photo in from the article. The patient’s history is as follows: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Early Intervention for Autism: Evidence Of True Progress

1 Comment »

Many parents of children with autism have expressed to me their dismay that the anti-vaccine lobby is sucking all the oxygen out of the room for autism awareness. They feel that just being a parent of a child with autism makes others assume that they are anti-vaccine. They also worry that resources and attention are being diverted from promising legitimate research because of all the attention being paid to the failed vaccine hypothesis.

So it is good to occasionally focus on mainstream autism research to show that progress is being made, despite the unfortunate anti-vaccine sideshow. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

Motorcycle Helmets: Why Don’t People Wear Them?

2 Comments »

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported an analysis of motorcycle helmet use in fatal crashes. What was discovered is not surprising – namely, that in states in which there is not a state helmet law, the odds of a rider in a single-vehicle (e.g., the motorcycle) crash wearing a helmet was 72% less than in states with a helmet law. So, absent a law, people are not particularly inclined to wear a helmet.

One needs to couple this information with the facts about the benefits of wearing motorcycle helmets. First, motorcyle fatalities and fatality rates are increasing at a time when motorcycle riding is becoming more popular. Second, the average age of motorcycle fatalities has moved up to 39 years, from 30 years nearly 20 years ago, probably because the age of motorcycle riders has increased. Third, motorcycles expose the drivers more directly to lethal forces than do enclosed vehicles. Helmets are essential to prevent brain injuries and deaths. Read more »

This post, Motorcycle Helmets: Why Don’t People Wear Them?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Google Study: How Do Physicians Use The Internet?

No Comments »

Google Inc. In November 2009 Hall & Partner published a study sponsored by Google titled “Connecting with Physicians Online.” (Here’s the webinar on YouTube and here’s the PDF of the presentation.)

The study’s aim was to better understand how physicians use the internet in their clinical practices. As you’d expect from a study sponsored by Google, it was particularly focused on how physicians use search.

The study surveyed 411 physicians from a range of specialties (PCPs, endocrinologist, cardiologists, psychiatrist) and with a range of experience (2 – 30 years in practice) on their use of the internet in clinical practice. Additionally, various clinical scenarios were presented designed to mimic actual situations the physicians might encounter. Read more »

This post, Google Study: How Do Physicians Use The Internet?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Joshua Schwimmer, M.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 »