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

Latest Posts

The Wheel Of Misfortune

No Comments »

I love graphs, especially interactive graphs.

GE made a graph of the average annual cost of patients with eleven common chronic diseases.  Go check it out, marvel at the coolness as you grab the sliders and spin the wheel o’ misfortune.  Take home point: hypertension is the single biggest driver of medical cost in all patients age 33 and up.  Go figure.

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

What Are People Really Using NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapies) For?

No Comments »

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs: patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray and inhaler) are intended to be used to help smokers to quit smoking completely. But an international report was recently published, finding that of the 17% of smokers who had used NRT in the previous year, approximately a third had used it for reasons other than quitting smoking.

The study was based on a survey of 6532 smokers in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States, and found similar patterns in each country. The patch was by far the most commonly used NRT (70%), followed by the gum. Overall, about 8% of NRT users had used NRT just to reduce their smoking, and around 8% had used it to help them cope in situations where they couldn’t smoke. The report stated that, Read more »

This post, What Are People Really Using NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapies) For?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

Waterbirth: What’s In The Water?

2 Comments »

By Dr. Amy Tuteur

Waterbirth has been touted as an alternative form of pain relief in childbirth. Indeed, it is often recommended as the method of choice for pain relief in “natural” childbirth. It’s hardly natural, though. In fact, it is completely unnatural. No primates give birth in water, because primates initiate breathing almost immediately after birth and the entire notion of waterbirth was made up only 200 years ago. Not surprisingly, waterbirth appears to increase the risk of neonatal death. Read more »

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

Quitting Smoking? Your Nicotine receptors Take Over A Month To Normalize

No Comments »

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms typically peak in the first week of abstinence and return to normal at around 3-4 weeks. It has long been known that certain nicotinic receptors (particularly the beta-2 subtype) are closely involved in nicotine addiction, and that smokers have a larger number of nicotine receptors in their brains than non-smokers. When the smoker quits, this large number of vacant, unstimulated receptors is believed to be involved in the resulting craving and distressing withdrawal (irritability, restlessness, depression, anxiety, poor concentration etc).

Earlier this year, a study published by Drs Kelly Cosgrove, Julie Staley and colleagues at Yale University, provided evidence on the time course of normalization of these receptors after quitting smoking. Read more »

This post, Quitting Smoking? Your Nicotine receptors Take Over A Month To Normalize, was originally published on Healthine.com by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

Contact Lenses That Darken In Bright Light

No Comments »

Researchers have been trying to coat contact lenses with light sensitive dyes to have them turn dark during bright lighting conditions. Glasses with this property have existed for decades, but the same coating methods are not applicable to contacts.

Technology Review reports on work by the Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore to use the entire volume of the lens to contain the dye: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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 »