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

Latest Posts

Give A Microloan, Get Healthier

Research has shown that giving to others can lead to a healthier, happier, and longer life. Generous behavior reduces depression and risk of suicide in adolescents.  Volunteerism on the part of older adults significantly reduces mortality. Giving to others enables people to forgive themselves for mistakes — a key element in well-being.

One way to have a lot of fun on the Internet and get a health boost while doing so is to log on to a cool site called Kiva. For as little as $25.00, ordinary people like you and me can be part of the worldwide microloan (or microcredit) community. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

High Cholesterol And Red Yeast Rice Supplements

People are always on the search for “natural” ways to stay healthy and reduce cholesterol. Chinese red yeast rice supplements have been touted as a natural, safer way to lower cholesterol compared to statin medications. The yeast that grows on a particular type of rice contains a family of substances called monocolins, which lower cholesterol by inhibiting cholesterol production in the liver in the same manner as prescription statin drugs. Some studies have shown as much as a 15 percent drop in cholesterol.

All of this sounds good until you dig a little deeper. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that different brands of red yeast rice supplements have dramatic variation in levels of active ingredients. Furthermore, some contained toxic manufacturing by-products. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

How Do You Hide $100 From A Doctor?

How do you hide $100 from a surgeon? Put it in the patient’s chart, next to the labs.

How do you hide $100 from an orthopedist? Put it in a textbook.

How do you hide $100 from a neurosurgeon? Tape it to his kid.

How do you hide $100 from an OB/GYN? Tape it to the patient’s head.

How do you hide $100 from an internist? Stick it under the patient’s bandage.

How do you hide $100 from a radiologist? Give it to the patient.

How do you hide $100 from a cardiologist? You can’t.

How do you hide $100 from a plastic surgeon? You definitely can’t.

— Compliments of The Happy Hospitalist

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Should Mom Share Her Bed With Baby?

I’ve watched the pendulum swing back and forth on the wisdom of mom sharing her bed with a baby. The American Pediatric Society has come out against the practice, because of a higher incidence of sudden infant death. But nearly half of all British moms sleep with their baby at times, and one-fifth share a bed regularly during the first year.

According to a British study published in [the October 2010 issue of] Pediatrics, the value of breastfeeding should be considered before advising mothers not to share  beds with their infants. The results showed that mothers who shared a bed with their newborns were better educated and of a higher socioeconomic status, and that those whose children routinely slept in their beds during the first 15 months of life reported a significantly greater incidence of breastfeeding.

“Both cross-sectional epidemiological and sleep laboratory studies showed close links between the frequency and duration of breastfeeding and the practice of bed sharing,” writes Peter Blair, PhD, Community-Based Medicine and Social Medicine, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, the author of the study. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

“Small Steps”: Get Healthy Compliments Of Uncle Sam

It makes my blogging life easier if I can just direct readers to a cool site, compliments of (drumroll…) — the U.S. government! The site, called Smallstep Adult and Teen, is filled with great healthy eating and exercise tips. Check it out and click around a bit. (Don’t ya’ just love the Internet?) From the site:

Today’s lifestyle doesn’t allow much room for health. And that’s where Small Steps comes in. We know that it’s impossible for many people to make dramatic lifestyle changes. Instead, we want to help you learn ways that you can change small things about your life and see big results.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

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 »