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

Latest Posts

Little Kids Online: When Is It Safe?

No Comments »

Little Kid OnlineWhen should small kids get online? Is there a magic age? Is there a “best” way to start? What websites should small kids begin their online life with? And, most importantly, is it safe for small kids to be online?

Tune in as Dr. Gwenn talks about helping your youngest kids begin their online safely and smartly with you there as their earliest online guides. Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio here.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*

Audio Interview: What You Need To Know About Thyroid Disease

No Comments »

thyroidimageJanuary is thyroid disease awareness month, and since an estimated 25 million people in the U.S. have various thyroid problems, I thought it would be a good idea to get an expert update on this often over-looked gland.

Victor Bernet, FACP, is Director of the National Capitol Consortium Endocrinology Fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the author of MKSAP 15’s chapter on disorders of the thyroid gland. I interviewed him about why thyroid disorders go undiagnosed, what alternative treatments are available, and how primary care physicians and specialists can work together to manage thyroid disease. Please listen to the audio of our conversation or check out the written summary below.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read more »

Update From Haiti: Despair Sets In And Women Consider Suicide

No Comments »

jangurleyDr. Jan Gurley just returned from a mission trip to Haiti, 5 weeks after the earthquake hit. In this audio clip, she relays a horrific first-hand account of the current realities of life in Port Au Prince. With no running water, bathrooms, or place to shelter – and packed into a field with 100,000 people – some young women are choosing to stop drinking water in an effort to commit suicide.

Dr. Gurley describes the loss of human dignity associated with the crisis in Haiti, including a near stampede when sanitary napkins were offered in a crowd of women. She explains that the place is becoming dangerous – and the screams of women being raped in the night fill the dark air. In the day time, people huddle together for safety while the stench of rotting corpses surrounds them. With the rainy season approaching, and tent cities perched precariously on land-slide prone hills, Dr. Gurley predicts a second wave of disease, violence, despair, and death in Haiti.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The American Medical News’ Secret To Twitter Success: Copy Editor, Pam Wood

No Comments »

amednewsConnoisseurs of Twitter feeds know when an account is being managed by interesting minds. So when I took a moment to express my appreciation to American Medical News for their contributions to Twitter, it was not surprising that a group of doctors immediately joined the chorus. We all knew that @amednews was a reliable source of entertaining and important information from multiple sources, but we didn’t know the person behind the account… until today.

Pam Wood is the Chief Copy Editor for American Medical News, and has cultivated a loyal following of healthcare professionals and patients on Twitter. I asked her to join me on a phone call to explain the secrets to her success. I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know the person behind the tweets @amednews.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Dr. Val: Tell me a little bit about yourself – where you’re from, your educational background, and what you’ve been doing at the AMA. Read more »

Dr. Val And Jim Belushi Raise Awareness Of COPD


valjimbelushiIt’s not every day that a physician is invited to be screened for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by a comedian. But this event was no joke – actor Jim Belushi is in a contest with Danica Patrick, Bruce Jenner, Patty Loveless, and Michael Strahan to see who can get the most Americans screened for COPD. It’s a tough race for a good cause – though I’m not sure if Jim stands much of a chance in a competition against Danica Patrick. Maybe my blog readers will vote for Jim and give him the bump needed to keep him in the running? Please take the screening test here, or forward it to friends who may be at risk (age over 35, history of smoking).

Like any good blogger, I had my trusty digital recorder with me and got in a few questions with Jim. Special thanks to South African blogger Delre Roberts, who gave me the idea for my leading joke to Jim via Facebook: “How’s a comedian going to screen a doctor for COPD?  See how short of breath she gets from his jokes?” Good one, Delre! You got a laugh out of Jim… Check it out:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read more »

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 »