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

Latest Posts

Shiver Yourself Thin?

Picture by Ryan DuBosarBritish researchers are trying to causally link raising the thermostat to obesity prevalence.

“Domestic winter indoor temperatures” appear to be rising, the researchers wrote, as is obesity. They focused on a causal link, focusing on acute and long-term effects of being comfortable in the winter.

They write: “Reduced exposure to seasonal cold may have a dual effect on energy expenditure, both minimizing the need for physiological thermogenesis and reducing thermogenic capacity. Experimental studies show a graded association between acute mild cold and human energy expenditure over the range of temperatures relevant to indoor heating trends.”

They also look at brown adipose tissue (BAT), aka “brown fat,” the type of fat that actually consumes energy instead of stores it. We all have this fat as infants, to help us regulate our body temperatures until our bodies learn to do it on their own. The researchers suggest that “increased time spent in conditions of thermal comfort can lead to a loss of BAT and reduced thermogenic capacity.”

Determining a link “may raise possibilities for novel public health strategies to address obesity,” although I shiver to think what those strategies might entail.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

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 »