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

Latest Posts

A Makeover For Lab Reports

Although medical professionals get used to it, the way laboratory data is presented in reports can be quite confusing to the patient. Typically, it is a few columns of black text with poor organization and little guidance to help the patient discern any meaning.

The folks at Wired agreed, and they brought together some Dartmouth physicians and a group of designers to bring a new look to these drab reports. We got to see their refreshing results at TEDMED, but now these prototype reports have been published online:


Link: The Blood Test Gets a Makeover…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Safe Sex, Thailand, And Mr. Condom

Mechai Viravaidya has been fighting poverty and disease in Southeast Asia through innovative promotions of safe sex practices. In this TED talk, he gives an amusing overview of how Thailand went from seven children per family to 1.5 in less than four decades and a 90 percent reduction in HIV infection rates from 1991 to 2003.

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

The Quantified Self: Tools For Knowing Your Own Mind And Body

I’ve been a fan of the Quantified Self project for a long time, and now a TED Talk describing their mission just became available:

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Can Social Networks Predict Epidemics?

Nicholas Christakis talks about how social networks predict epidemics in a TEDMED presentation:

After mapping humans’ intricate social networks, Nicholas Christakis and colleague James Fowler began investigating how this information could better our lives. Now, he reveals his hot-off-the-press findings: These networks can be used to detect epidemics earlier than ever, from the spread of innovative ideas to risky behaviors to viruses (like H1N1).

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

What Inspires True Behavioral Change?

Vic Strecher, founder and head of the Center for Health Communications Research at University of Michigan, gave a TEDMED talk last year about what motivates people to change their self-abusing behavior. His unique experience with his daughter’s heart condition provides a background for how he approaches the topic of personal choice:

*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 »