Sunday, December 28, 2014

Powerful Predictor of Successful Relationships

The "little things" matter--

The Powerful Predictor Behind Successful Relationships | Farnam Street: ".... seemingly big moments are not the defining ones that make or break relationships. Rather it’s almost always the small things, like that time two weeks ago when your friend asked you if you wanted a cup of coffee. How you responded to that question may have influenced the relationship more than you can imagine. These apparently inconsequential moments determine the fate of relationships more than arguments. Psychologist John Gottman can determine the fate of a married couple with an accuracy rate in the 90s. Mind Gym: Achieve More by Thinking Differently, a fascinating new book, explores his research. Gottman looked at those “seemingly meaningless and inconsequential exchanges between people.”..."

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Health Care Law, Insurers, Obama, Allies

Health Care Law Recasts Insurers as Obama Allies - "...“These companies all look at government programs as growth markets,” said Michael J. Tuffin, a former executive vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the main lobby for the industry. “There will be nearly $2 trillion of subsidized coverage through insurance exchanges and Medicaid over the next 10 years. These are pragmatic companies. They will follow the customer.” The relationship is expected only to deepen as the two sides grow more intertwined. Consumers are already hearing the same messages from insurance companies and the government urging them to sign up for health plans during the three-month enrollment period. Federal law requires most Americans to have coverage, insurers provide it, and the government subsidizes it. “We are in this together,” Kevin J. Counihan, the chief executive of the federal insurance marketplace, told insurers at a recent conference in Washington. “You have been our partners,” and for that, he said, “we are very grateful.”..."

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Europe, GMO Opponents, Human Health

Europe Drops Chief Science Adviser. Don't Like the Facts? Kill the Messenger. | Big Think | Risk: Reason and Reality: "...The office was not involved in policy making, just in giving the policy makers a read on what the science said. But of course what the science says on climate change or GMOs points toward some obvious policy conclusions; climate change is real and we’d better do something…thousands of studies on GMOS have found no harm to human health (and only a few questionable studies have hinted otherwise) so there is no need for a blanket Precautionary Principle ban on all applications of agricultural biotechnology. The problem is, those conclusions threatened the values of GMO opponents. Their answer? “Kill the Monster!” Not the monster of the evidence, of course. Kill the messenger, the CSA. Environmental groups, noting specific concern about the GMO issue, called on the EU government to abandon the entire idea of an independent science adviser, after the CSA reported what every independent national science advisory board in the world has found; the science is about as clear on GMOs as it is on climate change…there is no reliable evidence that GMOS harm human health...."

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Medical Establishment Got It Wrong, Eat More Fat

Experts: Eat More Fat - Business Insider: "According to a new study from the National Institutes of Health, a diet that reduces carbohydrates in favor of fat – including the saturated fat in meat and butter – improves nearly every health measurement, from reducing our waistlines to keeping our arteries clear, more than the low-fat diets that have been recommended for generations. "The medical establishment got it wrong," says cardiologist Dennis Goodman, director of Integrative Medicine at New York Medical Associates. "The belief system didn't pan out.""

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Olestra, Fat Free Failure

The Failure of the Fat Free Revolution: "....In 2011, a Purdue study hammered the final nail in the olestra coffin. It found that olestra incites weight gain by tricking the body into thinking it doesn’t need to metabolize fatty foods. Used to olestra fat without any calories, the body is surprised by the calories of the real thing. The finding fits our current organic ethos; it would have surprised parents in the 1990s who regarded fat-free cookies and crackers as healthy. It’s only relatively recently that applying the laboratory to our food supply ceased to seem futuristic and be in vogue. Today, olestra has achieved immortality, just not in the way its inventors expected: in 2010, TIME Magazine ranked it as one of the 50 worst inventions of all time."

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Phineas Gage, Famous Frontal Lobe Patient, Neuroscience

Another truth stranger than fiction--

Phineas Gage neuroscience case: True story of famous frontal lobe patient is better than textbook accounts.: "....Modern neuroscientific knowledge makes the idea of Gage’s recovery all the more plausible. Neuroscientists once believed that brain lesions caused permanent deficits: Once lost, a faculty never returned. More and more, though, they recognize that the adult brain can relearn lost skills. This ability to change, called brain plasticity, remains somewhat mysterious, and it happens achingly slowly. But the bottom line is that the brain can recover lost functions in certain circumstances. In particular, Macmillan suggests that Gage’s highly regimented life in Chile aided his recovery. People with frontal-lobe damage often have trouble completing tasks, especially open-ended tasks, because they get distracted easily and have trouble planning. But in Chile Gage never had to plan his day: Prepping the coach involved the same steps every morning, and once he hit the road, he simply had to keep driving forward until it was time to turn around. This routine would have introduced structure into his life and kept him focused...."

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Implanted Electrical Devices Treat Hypertension, Other Conditions

Bodily functions, Parkinson's--

Implant Offers New Treatment for Hypertension | MIT Technology Review: "...Implanted electrical devices that control bodily functions have been used for many years. Pacemakers for heart patients are perhaps best known, but electrical devices are also used to control Parkinson’s disease and, experimentally, some psychiatric conditions (see “Brain Pacemakers” and “Brain Implants Can Rest Misfiring Circuits”). They may be helpful even for such unlikely conditions as bladder dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis (see “Implanted Device Controls Rheumatoid Arthritis”)...."

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Facial Arachnids, What Are You Really Kissing?

Who or What are you Really Kissing?

Three Things You Didn’t Know About the Arachnids That Live on Your Face | NC State News: "You are not alone. Your body is a collection of microbes, fungi, viruses…and even other animals. In fact, you aren’t even the only animal using your face. Right now, in the general vicinity of your nose, there are at least two species of microscopic mites living in your pores. You would expect scientists to know quite a lot about these animals (given that we share our faces with them), but we don’t...."

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Transform American Medicine With A Simple System

Why someone or something needs to take leadership and start setting protocols and standards:

This Man's Simple System Could Transform American Medicine | WIRED: "Sometimes the NNT can be functionally infinite. Haney Mallemat, an emergency physician at the University of Maryland School of Medicine describes what happens to patients who come to the ER with upper gastrointestinal bleeding. They’re given an intravenous proton pump inhibitor and kept in the hospital, sometimes for as long as 72 hours. But Mallemat, who uses the NNT web site with his patients and students alike, points out that “of all the studies they’ve looked at, no person saw any benefit.” No one was harmed, either, unless you consider the cost and time spent in a hospital a harm, which most people would. (The practice gets a red on the NNT site.) But doctors administer proton pump inhibitors because administering proton pump inhibitors is what they’re trained to do. Habits—whether based on old literature, biased studies, or just educated hunches that get ingrained in protocol—die hard."

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Childhood Diet Habits Set in Infancy

Childhood Diet Habits Set in Infancy, Studies Suggest - "Efforts to improve what children eat should begin before they even learn to walk, a series of nutritional studies published on Tuesday has found. Taken together, the data indicate that infant feeding patterns persist far longer than has been appreciated. “Our early taste preferences, particularly for fruits and vegetables, and on the flip side for sugary beverages, are lasting,” said Dr. Elsie M. Taveras, chief of the division of general pediatrics at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, who was not involved in the new research.“These studies are suggesting that in terms of diet quality, the die might be cast in the first year,” she added...."

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Financial Links Between Doctors and Drug Makers

Detailing Financial Links of Doctors and Drug Makers - "Pharmaceutical and device makers paid doctors roughly $380 million in speaking and consulting fees, with some doctors reaping over half a million dollars each, during a five-month period last year, according to an analysis of federal data released Tuesday. Other doctors made millions of dollars in royalties from products they helped develop. The data sheds new light on the often murky financial ties between physicians and the health care industry. From August to December 2013, drug and device companies made 4.4 million payments to more than half a million health care professionals and teaching hospitals — adding up to about $3.5 billion. The lucrative arrangements are just some of the findings of the online database, which provides one of the most detailed looks at the payments health care professionals receive from drug and medical device companies. The website also allows consumers to find information about their own doctors to determine whether they might have conflicts of interest..."

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Drug, Device Companies Paid US Doctors $3.5B Last Year (video)

Drug, Device Companies Paid U.S. Doctors $3.5B Last Year: Video - Bloomberg:
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U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals were paid $3.5 billion by drug and device makers over five months in 2013, according to the first comprehensive disclosure of the companies’ financial ties to the medical professionals that prescribe and use their products. Olivia Sterns reports on "Bottom Line." (Source: Bloomberg--Sept 30)

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Overdiagnosis of Cancer in America (video)

The Overdiagnosis of Cancer in America: "The Overdiagnosis of Cancer in America --9/14/2014-- 
The surge of cancer screening in the U.S. has increased the detection of precancerous lesions that are often low-risk. Some experts now argue that cancer is being overdiagnosed. WSJ’s Monika Auger reports."

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

How we form habits, change existing ones

How we form habits, change existing ones -- ScienceDaily: "... According to Wood, there are three main principles to consider when effectively changing habitual behavior. First, you must derail existing habits and create a window of opportunity to act on new intentions. Someone who moves to a new city or changes jobs has the perfect scenario to disrupt old cues and create new habits. When the cues for existing habits are removed, it's easier to form a new behavior. If you can't alter your entire environment by switching cities-- make small changes. For instance, if weight-loss or healthy eating is your goal, try moving unhealthy foods to a top shelf out of reach, or to the back of the freezer instead of in front. The second principle is remembering that repetition is key. Studies have shown it can take anywhere from 15 days to 254 days to truly form a new habit. "There's no easy formula for how long it takes," Wood says. Lastly, there must be stable context cues available in order to trigger a new pattern. "It's easier to maintain the behavior if it's repeated in a specific context," Wood emphasizes. Flossing after you brush your teeth allows the act of brushing to be the cue to remember to floss. Reversing the two behaviors is not as successful at creating a new flossing habit. Having an initial cue is a crucial component." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Young Pedophiles, Comprehensive Prevention Models

You’re 16. You’re a Pedophile. You Don’t Want to Hurt Anyone. What Do You Do Now? — Matter — Medium: "... Adam’s input has helped expedite the pilot program she’s putting together, aimed at pedophiles aged 17 and under. If successful, it will provide the foundation for a comprehensive preventive model, which she hopes to eventually expand to include pedophiles of all ages, that will be rolled out online and to therapists across the country. Though it’s in the early planning stages, Letourneau imagines it will involve disabusing them of the notion that sex with children is ever appropriate, improving self-esteem in light of a situation that might not change, and strengthening social interaction with their peers. In many ways, it’s an extension of what Adam has been doing with his group for the past three years...." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Staying Up Late, Superior Intelligence

Evolutionary Psychologist: Staying Up Late is a Sign of Superior Intelligence | Big Think | IdeaFeed: "... Kanazawa began by forming a hypothesis based on evolutionary precedent: since being a night owl is a break away from the traditional human routine, those who opt for a nocturnal lifestyle are more likely to be brighter than their morning lark peers...."

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Schizophrenia, Genetics

To a large extent, schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders are illnesses caused by genes. Now teams of scientists from research centers around the world, looking at the genetics of nearly 80,000 people, have worked together to identify 108 genetic loci associated with the disorder. It is the largest genetic study ever conducted of a psychiatric disorder--

The Genes Behind Schizophrenia | MIT Technology Review: " . . . . published in Nature, the scientists pointed out that, importantly, the more than 100 variants were not randomly distributed but tend to affect genes expressed in certain tissues and cell types. That’s good news because it suggests that despite the genetic complexity, drug researchers might be able to zero in on specific common pathways or types of cells in attempts to tackle these disorders....."

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Neighborhoods, Community, Health

"People who know and trust their neighbors are less likely to have heart attacks. New research builds on the understated health benefits of a sense of belonging and community."

Always Talk to Strangers - The Atlantic: "There's evidence suggesting that negative factors of the neighborhood, things like density of fast food outlets, violence, noise, and poor air quality impact health,” lead researcher Eric Kim, a psychologist in his final year of doctoral work at the University of Michigan, told me. I'd add broken windows. One 2003 study found that “boarded-up housing” predicts high rates of gonorrhea in a neighborhood, as well as premature death due to cancer or complications of diabetes. (And murder.) More recently, researchers from University of Pennsylvania looked at the health detriments associated with vacant land. By their understanding, abandoned buildings lead to isolation and erosion of social relationships, mutual trust, and collective efficacy, which leads to poor physical health."

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tobacco Funded the Science Of Stress

The Secret History Behind The Science Of Stress : Shots - Health News : NPR: "... In the years since Selye's foundational work, research on stress has exploded. There's no question that stress, particularly chronic stress in childhood, has a very serious impact on long-term health. But some scientists now argue that our usual narrative of stress — that stress is universally bad for health — is too one-sided and doesn't reflect the reality that some degree of stress can actually benefit people. Stress isn't always a bad thing. Still, the narrative of stress promoted by the tobacco industry through research and marketing is alive and well. A ghost from a long time ago continues to shape how we see, and experience, stress." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

An Act of Despair

.... Nor is suicide an ultimate manifestation of “selfishness” or “cowardice,” as the reason-mongers often argue. Suicide is not a casual behavior; for all that it may entail impulsivity, it is also a profound and momentous step for which many people don’t have the force of will. At one level, the suicide of young people is obviously more tragic than the suicide of older people; youths have more of life ahead of them, more of a chance to work things out. At another level, middle-aged suicide—the vanquishing of someone who has fought off the urge for decades—is especially catastrophic. It implies the defeated acknowledgment that if things aren’t better by now, they won’t be getting better. Robin Williams’s suicide was not the self-indulgent act of someone without enough fortitude to fight back against his own demons; it was, rather, an act of despair committed by someone who knew, rightly or wrongly, that such a fight could never be won.... read more at: The New Yorker

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

How to rebuild the US mental health system

How to rebuild America's mental health system, in 5 big steps | Paul S Appelbaum | The Guardian: "....Today, paying for mental health care is nobody's responsibility. Insurers pay as little as possible, often denying claims on flimsy grounds. States have cut more than $4bn from their mental health budgets in the last six years. The federal government directly contributes only a tiny amount to supporting mental health treatment beyond the coverage it provides through Medicare and Medicaid. A joint federal-state commitment is needed to funding the infrastructure of a care system, while insurers' feet are held to fire to make certain they live up their obligations under the Mental Health Parity Act...." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

When Can you Expect To Get Divorced?

When Can you Expect To Get Divorced?: ".... But even by the crude instrument of divorce rates, pessimism about matrimony appears overblown. The latest US census data shows that among marriages that began in the late nineties, the percentage that lasted at least 5 years is the highest it has been since Lyndon Johnson served as president. Reports of the demise of marriage have been greatly exaggerated."  (read more at link above)

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

What is the Future of Love? (video)

What is the Future of Love? - Spreecast
What will love, marriage and relationships look like in the decades ahead? Video interview with a group of experts, as part of a special report on The Wall Street Journal's 125th Anniversary: Helen Fisher Biological Anthropologist, Rutgers University Chief Scientific Adviser,; Paul Hokemeyer Marriage and Family Therapist; Diana Kirschner Psychologist and Author.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

For a Good Night’s Sleep, Make a Plan

A really good night's sleep --

Want a Good Night’s Sleep? Make a Plan. - " . . . Botox between the eyebrows can help fake it in the short term, she said, but it does not address the root of the problem. Nor do sleep aids like Zolpidem (found in Ambien), which can be easy to abuse and hazardous to your health. The main issue for most of us, according to Michael Breus, a psychologist who calls himself the Sleep Doctor, is anxiety. “And for that you need something to calm your brain,” he said. Enter the lavender pillows, nap pods and masseuses. The sleep-wellness industry is on an upswing as shut-eye becomes an increasingly sought-after beauty experience. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, has a section on its website dedicated to treating sleep disorders with herbals and meditative practices like tai chi. Canyon Ranch is on track to double the number of all-night sleep studies it has conducted in 2013 and 2014. The number of guests choosing rest and relaxation programs at Omega, a holistic center in upstate New York, has increased by over a third since 2006. Other resort offerings include power napping classes, pillow menus and yogic sleep programs...." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

New tooth decay treatment, no more fillings

No more fillings as dentists reveal new tooth decay treatment | Society | "Scientists have developed a new pain-free filling that allows cavities to be repaired without drilling or injections. The tooth-rebuilding technique developed at King's College London does away with fillings and instead encourages teeth to repair themselves. Tooth decay is normally removed by drilling, after which the cavity is filled with a material such as amalgam or composite resin. The new treatment, called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), accelerates the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the damaged tooth. A two-step process first prepares the damaged area of enamel, then uses a tiny electric current to push minerals into the repair site. It could be available within three years. Professor Nigel Pitts, from King's College London's Dental Institute, said: "The way we treat teeth today is not ideal. When we repair a tooth by putting in a filling, that tooth enters a cycle of drilling and refilling as, ultimately, each 'repair' fails...." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Why are women so unhappy?

Why are women so 'unhappy'? | Jessica Valenti | " . . . . It could be true that women report more unhappiness since feminism's gains of the 60s and 70s. Maybe the trade-off for having our eyes opened to inequality is feeling a little miffed about getting the short end of the stick. Dissatisfaction seems a fairly normal reaction to injustice. Buddhist Pema Chodron writes that constantly seeking happiness can actually throw us in a cycle of unhappiness and disappointment.
Instead of asking ourselves, 'How can I find security and happiness?' we could ask ourselves, 'Can I touch the center of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace – disappointment in all its many forms – and let it open me?' This is the trick.
While I don't mind being a little unhappy as a feminist, I admit there are downsides. The realization that there is so much work to be done is overwhelming. But the itch of discontent makes us better: we fix things, seek out new adventures, and think about new ways of living our life. Ignorance may be bliss – but it's not the truth." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Shingles, strokes, antiviral drugs

When Shingles Is Just the Beginning - "....The study found an even higher stroke rate among those whose shingles spread to their eyes, though most are spared that particular misery. It also found that the antiviral drugs given for shingles also reduced subsequent strokes — but only 55 percent of patients received them. Previous studies in Taiwan and Denmark have shown elevated stroke rates after shingles, Dr. Langan pointed out, so despite our differences from Britain, Americans also may face an elevated stroke risk after an episode of shingles. You have to think folks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are gnashing their teeth about this. For several years, they’ve been urging older Americans — those who aren’t immunosuppressed — to get vaccinated against shingles. The vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective, but it can cut the risk of shingles roughly in half and reduces postherpetic neuralgia by even more. Yet the latest data (from 2012) show that only 20 percent of those over age 60 have gotten it — paltry compared with the percentage vaccinated against flu (66 percent of those over age 65) or pneumonia (60 percent)...." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thousands of Toddlers Medicated for ADHD, Bad Medical Care?

When is medical care is a bad thing? --

Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries - "More than 10,000 American toddlers 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder outside established pediatric guidelines, according to data presented on Friday by an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, which found that toddlers covered by Medicaid are particularly prone to be put on medication such as Ritalin and Adderall, is among the first efforts to gauge the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. in children below age 4. Doctors at the Georgia Mental Health Forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where the data was presented, as well as several outside experts strongly criticized the use of medication in so many children that young...."

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Prebiotics, probiotics, digestive health

Dishes for Digestive Health - "...I’d never heard the word “prebiotics” until I attended a talk by the Stanford nutritionist Jo Ann Hattner, who has written (with Susan Anderes) an interesting guide called “Gut Insight: Probiotics and Prebiotics for Digestive Health and Well-Being.” Prebiotics are certain indigestible plant fibers that have been shown in studies to support the growth of probiotics in the gut. Ms. Hattner has looked at the scientific literature and created a table of foods considered by some researchers to be “prebiotic stars” as well as “prebiotic potentials” (foods that may have a prebiotic effect but require more study). The “prebiotic stars” are high in inulin and oligosaccharides, nondigestible fermentable carbohydrates that support probiotics in the intestinal tract. “The probiotics need to eat, and that’s where the prebiotics come in,” Ms. Hattner explained in her talk...."

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Google Glass, wearables, informatics, algorithms, clinical care

Glass Can Help When Seconds Count | MIT Technology Review: "....The limitations of the Glass interface also represent a new area for potential innovation. “The use of mobile devices and all the opportunities that that opens up in clinical care create new needs on the informatics and algorithms side,” says David Sontag, a computer scientist at NYU, who is collaborating with Horng. “Only a small amount of information would be visible to the clinician. There simply aren’t that many pixels to display on, and time is of the essence.” What will make Glass and other wearable devices more useful will be algorithms that can get the right data to doctors at the right time, says Sontag. “They are simply even more important now in the context of mobile devices.”" (read more at link above)

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Marlo Thomas: Never Too Late to Reinvent Yourself (video)

Marlo Thomas: Never Too Late to Reinvent Yourself: Video - Bloomberg:
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Actress, producer and activist Marlo Thomas discusses her new book, "It Ain't Over...Till It's Over: Reinventing Your Life--and Realizing Your Dreams--Anytime, at Any Age" and her work with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She speaks with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg, April 19)

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Doctor Coaches Athletes on Sleep

The Doctor Who Coaches Athletes on Sleep - Danielle Elliot - The Atlantic: "As Czeisler detailed the detriments of sleep deprivation at the conference, one particular effect caught the attention of just about every guy in the packed room—the lucky ones in seats, the latecomers kneeling on the floor, the ESPN analyst sharing the stage: After just one week of sleeping five hours or less each night, a man’s testosterone levels drop as if he’s aged about 11 years. In other words, a 22-year-old NBA rookie will have the testosterone levels of a 33-year-old veteran if he doesn’t sleep. Testosterone fuels muscle and impacts decision-making abilities. There’s no way a player is performing at his peak when testosterone is depleted."

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Oakland Style, Antinormal (video)

Intersection: Oakland’s Style - Video - "Intersection: Oakland’s Style BY TAMIR ELTERMAN April 22nd, 2014 “People are antinormal,” Sarah Barnekow said of the style in Oakland, Calif."

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Circumcision, Benefits Outweigh Risks

Circumcision Benefits Outweigh Risks, Study Reports - . . . The authors conclude that the benefits — among them reduced risks of urinary tract infection, prostate cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and, in female partners, cervical cancer — outweigh the risks of local infection or bleeding. Several studies, including two randomized clinical trials, found no long-term adverse effects of circumcision on sexual performance or pleasure. . . .read more at links above

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Low-Dose Aspirin, Pre-eclampsia

“For every four women who would have gotten pre-eclampsia, one case is prevented,” said Dr. Ira M. Bernstein, the chair of department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Vermont. “The ability to prevent a quarter of disease is substantial.” (source infra)

Panel Urges Low-Dose Aspirin to Reduce Pre-eclampsia Risk - "Pregnant women should take low-dose aspirin daily to reduce their chance of developing pre-eclampsia if they are at high risk for the life-threatening disorder, an influential government panel said on Monday. The United States Preventive Services Task Force’s draft recommendation follows a growing scientific consensus that low doses may be beneficial to some high-risk women and their offspring. Low-dose aspirin reduced the risk of pre-eclampsia by 24 percent in clinical trials, according to a systematic review underpinning the new recommendation, which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Low-dose aspirin also reduced the risk of premature birth by 14 percent and of intrauterine growth restriction — a condition in which the fetus doesn’t grow as fast as expected — by 20 percent...." read more at link above

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mammography, Cancer, Overdiagnosis, False Positives, Overtreatment

One especially disturbing criticism is that screening mammography may lead to “overtreatment,” in which some women go through grueling therapies — surgery, radiation, chemotherapy — that they do not need. Indeed, some studies estimate that 19 percent or more of women whose breast cancers are found by mammography wind up being overtreated.(source infra)

Look for Cancer, and Find It - . . . Overdiagnosis is not the same as a false positive result, in which a test like a mammogram initially suggests a problem but is proved wrong. False positives are frightening and expensive, but overtreatment is the potential harm of mammography that worries doctors most, according to an article published last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association. . . .(read more at links above)

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dogs, Breast Cancer, Research

From Dogs, Answers About Breast Cancer - ".... Because dogs typically have 10 mammary glands and often develop tumors in several glands at the same time, they present a unique research opportunity, enabling scientists to study lesions that are at different stages of development — from benign to cancerous, and at transitional stages — all in the same animal. “The dog gives us the potential to answer the question: When did something go wrong at the molecular level?” said Dr. Karin Sorenmo, chief of medical oncology at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital, who founded the Penn Vet canine mammary tumor program in 2009. “We can also study the benign tumors and ask: What’s different in that one tumor that doesn’t change and become malignant versus another one that does change?”...."

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Doctor White Coats, infections

February issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, suggests that to minimize infection risk, hospitals might want to adopt a “bare below the elbows” policy that includes short sleeves and no wristwatch, jewelry or neckties during contact with patients.
Goodbye to the Doctor's White Coat? - ".... The authors also recommend that if the use of white coats is not entirely abandoned, each doctor should have at least two, worn alternately and laundered frequently. And even if they wear the coat at other times, they should be encouraged to remove it before approaching patients. The authors emphasize that the recommendations are based more on the biological plausibility of transmitting infection through clothing than on strong scientific evidence, which is limited. The lead author, Dr. Gonzalo Bearman, a professor of medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, said that hand washing, bathing patients with antibacterial soap, and checklists for inserting intravenous lines are all proven to reduce infection. “Apparel should come next in level of concern,” he said. “The more patients are aware that apparel may impact hospital infections, the more doctors will consider how clean they are.”"

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nutrients can lift your spirits

You are what you eat --

10 nutrients that can lift your spirits - The Washington Post: "If you want some pep in your step or a dash of good cheer, look no further than the grocery store’s shelves. Not only are foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids healthful, but studies show they can also increase happiness, lessen symptoms of depression and quell anxiety...." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sleep, the Mind, Creativity

Are you a creator? Better get your sleep --

BBC - Future - Health - How sleep makes your mind more creative: "... The experiment illustrates that combining what we know to generate new insights requires time, something that many might have guessed. Perhaps more revealingly it also shows the power of sleep in building remote associations. Making the links between pieces of information that our daytime rational minds see as separate seems to be easiest when we're offline, drifting through the dreamworld ..."

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bare-Bones Health Plans

The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Bare-Bones Health Plans - "What makes it possible under the health law: As long as companies offer at least one plan that complies with the law's requirements, they are free to keep offering ones that don't. That has enabled companies to find ways to comply with the law while minimizing increases in their health-care costs. The result has been an increase in lean insurance offerings such as "fixed-indemnity" plans." Starting in 2015, companies with 50 or more full-time workers must offer insurance plans that meet basic coverage requirements or face a penalty of $2,000 per employee. Other rules penalize companies for only offering plans that are too skimpy or too costly. Individuals, meanwhile, are required to have adequate health coverage as defined by the law or face penalties of up to 1% of their annual income, with a minimum of $95.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Obamacare may increase emergency room use

Expanded health insurance coverage for poor people may place a bigger burden on hospital emergency rooms--

"... The study’s authors report that in 2008, Oregon initiated a limited expansion of a Medicaid program for uninsured, low-income adults, drawing names from a waiting list by lottery. According to the report, “This lottery created a rare opportunity to study the effects of Medicaid coverage using a randomized controlled design. Using the randomization provided by the lottery and emergency-department records from Portland-area hospitals, we study the emergency-department use of about 25,000 lottery participants over approximately 18 months after the lottery. “We find that Medicaid coverage significantly increases overall emergency use by 0.41 visits per person, or 40 percent relative to an average of 1.02 visits per person in the control group. We find increases in emergency-department visits across a broad range of types of visits, conditions, and subgroups, including increases in visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings.” The New York Times reports that the study contradicts what President Obama said during a town hall meeting in Albuquerque in 2009..." source: ACA may increase emergency room use - South Florida Business Journal

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

High Blood Pressure Guidelines Eased

High Blood Pressure = Hypertension

Hypertension Guidelines Can Be Eased, Panel Says - "... Until now, people were told to strive for blood pressures below 140/90, with some taking multiple drugs to achieve that goal. But the guidelines committee, which spent five years reviewing evidence, concluded that the goal for people over 60 should be a systolic pressure of less than 150. And the diastolic goal should remain less than 90..." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Another Obamacare Lie, Pediatric Dental Care

The flawed implementation of pediatric dental care under the new health law could leave millions of young patients without access, experts warn --

A Gap in the Affordable Care Act - "... pediatric dental care is handled differently from coverage of other essential benefits on federal and state exchanges. These plans are often sold separately from medical insurance, and dental coverage for children is optional. People shopping on the exchanges are not required to buy it and do not receive financial support for buying it. Now experts are warning that the flawed implementation of this benefit on the exchanges could leave millions of children without access to dental care..." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Highly Engaged Employees, The Great Performance Secret

The Overlooked Secret to Great Performance - "...The differentiating factor among companies with the most highly engaged employees was an environment that supported people’s physical, emotional and social well-being. Companies that did this least well had an average operating margin of 10 percent. Companies that best supported employees had an average operating margin of 27 percent...." (read more at link above)

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Obamacare blew it on health cost transparency

Another way Obamacare blew it -- no transparency on health care providers' charges --

How much for a new hip or knee? Depends on the hospital - Miami-Dade - ". . . .“We don’t fully understand the reasons,” she said. “But we want people to know that, when they go to the hospital for something, there may be another hospital two miles away that charges significantly less. We hope [the new data] gives folks the information they need to do some selective shopping.” Jackson Memorial and the University of Miami Hospital are much less than two miles apart — they’re right across from each other along Northwest 12th Avenue — but they charge far different prices for the same procedures. Jackson’s average cost for a pacemaker implant was $127,000, about twice as much as the $66,000 that UM Hospital charged. Treatment for pneumonia cost about $32,000 at Jackson — and $60,000 at UM. Similar cost discrepancies are apparent throughout South Florida and the rest of the country. . . ."

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Medicare Provider Charge Data, Medicare, Medicaid

At some point the data will create demand for real health care reform --

Medicare Provider Charge Data - Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: "As part of the Obama administration’s work to make our health care system more affordable and accountable, data are being released that show significant variation across the country and within communities in what hospitals charge for common inpatient services. The data provided here include hospital-specific charges for the more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals that receive Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) payments for the top 100 most frequently billed discharges, paid under Medicare based on a rate per discharge using the Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Group (MS-DRG) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. These DRGs represent almost 7 million discharges or 60 percent of total Medicare IPPS discharges. . . ."

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Happiness Feedback Loop

  • Limit your focus to small, manageable goals
  • Think of each component task as a small end in itself

The Happiness Feedback Loop at Work | Greentarget - JDSupra: " . . . . A recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report included some fascinating statistics: one-fourth of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives, and three-fourths of employees believe the average worker has more on-the-job stress than he or she would have had a generation ago. As the world seems out of our control these days and the stress seems about to overwhelm us, one of Achor’s seven principles to focus on is the “Zorro Circle.” Limit your focus to small, manageable goals, he says. Then expand the circle as you accomplish each small goal. Don’t obsess on what the end result should be or try to do a bunch of activities in a half-hearted way to reach the finish line quickly. Instead, think of each component task as a small end in itself. That’s the better strategy. . . ."

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Analysts warning, ObamaCare plans like Medicaid

The doctor won’t see you? Analysts warn ObamaCare plans could resemble Medicaid | Fox News: "Those signing up for private health care coverage on the ObamaCare exchanges may be in for an unpleasant surprise -- they'll have insurance, but they might have trouble getting the doctor to see them.  As hundreds of thousands enroll for coverage beginning Jan. 1, analysts are warning that the plans are likely to give them access to fewer doctors and hospitals. So much so, they warn, that the system could begin to resemble Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans...."

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dogs, Companions, Guardians, 99.9% Wolf

Stop coddling your dog—he’s 99.9% wolf - Quartz: "... Now, three years after he tried to kill himself, Millan is rebuilding. He is in a serious relationship, has a new TV show, and a new dog psychology center, where he is getting back to his roots by recreating his grandfather’s farm in Mexico—a humble place with livestock and adobe that is about as far from Hollywood as it could be, permanently occupied by the immortal spirit of his favorite dog, Daddy. Of the vital function that dogs perform, Eckhart Tolle says: + They keep millions of people sane. They have become guardians of being...."

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Anti-ageing compound, human trials, turns clock back

Anti-ageing compound set for human trials after turning clock back for mice | Science | "Australian and US researchers hope an anti-ageing compound could be trialled on humans as early as next year, following a key breakthrough that saw the ageing process reversed in mice. The study, involving Harvard University and the University of NSW, discovered a way of restoring the efficiency of cells, completely reversing the ageing process in muscles. Two-year-old mice were given a compound over a week, moving back the key indicators of ageing to that of a six-month-old mouse. Researchers said this was the equivalent of making a 60-year-old person feel like a 20-year-old...."

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sex and Intimacy After Childbirth

Sex and Intimacy After the Baby Arrives - ".... For the first three months, “my ‘sexual’ fantasy was for nobody to touch me,” she said. Though his interest had not flagged, Mr. Williams said he was in no rush and a little apprehensive: “It didn’t seem like an option for a while.” The couple did start to have sporadic sex at three months, although it was often painful for Ms. Williams. Setting some rules helped stoke her desire; one was no touching of her breasts, which had grown to an H-cup to his delight, and her discomfort. They kept trying, and more than a year after delivery, “now sex is great,” she said. “Women need to know it’s O.K. to be gentle with themselves and be patient,” she said. “If you have open, honest intimacy, it will come back.”"

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Grant Study Reveals Love is Happiness

Grant Study Reveals What Makes Us Happy - Business Insider: "Vaillant’s key takeaway, in his own words: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’ ”"

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

GMOs, Feeding the World

GMOs Could be an Important Tool in Feeding the World | MIT Technology Review: "...“It’s an overwhelmingly logical thing to do,” says Jonathan Jones, a scientist at the Sainsbury Laboratory in the U.K. and one of the world’s leading experts on plant diseases. The upcoming pressures on agricultural production, he says, “[are] real and will affect millions of people in poor countries.” He adds that it would be “perverse to spurn using genetic modification as a tool.” It’s a view that is widely shared by those responsible for developing tomorrow’s crop varieties. At the current level of agricultural production, there’s enough food to feed the world, says Eduardo Blumwald, a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis. But “when the population reaches nine billion?” he says. “No way, José.”" (read more at link above)

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