Monday, May 25, 2015

Fish Oil Claims Not Supported by Research

Do you really need to be taking supplements?--

Fish Oil Claims Not Supported by Research - "Dr. Manson says that although she recommends eating fatty fish first, she usually does not stop people from taking fish oil, in part because it does not seem to have major side effects in generally healthy people. “But I do think people should realize that the jury is still out,” she said, “and that they may be spending a lot of money on these supplements without getting any benefit.”" (emphasis added, read more at the link above)

Mark it down to the magical effects of Placebos?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Transgender Celebrities Nothing New -- London Newspapers 1770

 "... Jenner’s story reveals a complexity similar to that of d’Eon. Rejecting the oft-heard formula that he is a woman stuck in a man’s body, Jenner insisted to ABC’s Sawyer that gender identity is about the brain and the soul and has nothing to do with sexual behavior or the performance of one’s body. He told Sawyer that “as a woman” he would still be ready to “kick butt”. Just as there was a feminine side to his manhood, Jenner insists that there is a masculine aspect to his womanhood. While both stories defy simplistic narratives, what does tie d’Eon and Jenner together – along with thousands of others – is that their transformations occurred when they were fully mature individuals with little left to prove. Soon after I wrote my biography of d’Eon, I was invited to speak at an annual meeting in Texas of 200 transgender women, most of whom began transitioning only in their 50s. They saw d’Eon as one of their own. We are all on a journey towards working out our gender identities. As d’Eon taught us centuries ago, and Jenner today, it may take most of our lifespans to figure it out." more at: Transgender celebrities are not new... | The Guardian

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Monday, May 11, 2015

American Epidemic: Unnecessary Medical Care

America’s Epidemic of Unnecessary Care - The New Yorker: ".... An avalanche of unnecessary medical care is harming patients physically and financially. What can we do about it?... The one that got me thinking, however, was a study of more than a million Medicare patients. It suggested that a huge proportion had received care that was simply a waste. The researchers called it “low-value care.” But, really, it was no-value care. They studied how often people received one of twenty-six tests or treatments that scientific and professional organizations have consistently determined to have no benefit or to be outright harmful...."  (read more at the link above)

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Endometriosis, Ignored in Teenage Girls

Another medical problem where practitioners are part of the problem--

Endometriosis Is Often Ignored in Teenage Girls - "“Many times, we hear that girls are told they’re too young to have the disease, they’re trying to get out of school, or that they’re exaggerating. Add the misconception that pain with menstruation is normal, and you get a bundle of confusion. And not the least, most gynecologists are uncomfortable treating adolescent gynecological problems, and pediatricians don’t.”" (read more at the link above)

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

How to Get the Best Deal in a Billion-Dollar Divorce (video)

How to Get the Best Deal in a Billion-Dollar Divorce -

Source Financial Advisors CEO Michelle Smith discusses divorce finances and settlements. She speaks on Bloomberg's “In The Loop” March 25th.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Breast Biopsies, Misinterpretation, Unneeded Surgeries

Breast Biopsy + Physician Misinterpretation + Unneeded Surgery = a BIG problem for patients and doctors --

Breast Biopsies Leave Room for Doubt, Study Finds - Breast biopsies are good at telling the difference between healthy tissue and cancer, but less reliable for identifying more subtle abnormalities, a new study finds. Because of the uncertainty, women whose results fall into the gray zone between normal and malignant — with diagnoses like “atypia” or “ductal carcinoma in situ” — should seek second opinions on their biopsies, researchers say. Misinterpretation can lead women to have surgery and other treatments they do not need, or to miss out on treatments they do need. The new findings, reported Tuesday in JAMA, challenge the common belief that a biopsy is the gold standard and will resolve any questions that might arise from an unclear mammogram or ultrasound... (read more at the link above)

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Neural Addiction, Why Social Media Is Bad For Your Brain

Why the modern world is bad for your brain | Science | The Guardian: ".... Each time we dispatch an email in one way or another, we feel a sense of accomplishment, and our brain gets a dollop of reward hormones telling us we accomplished something. Each time we check a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird, impersonal cyber way) and get another dollop of reward hormones. But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centres in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake: email-, Facebook- and Twitter-checking constitute a neural addiction."

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Make Love Last

"... focus of a new book by noted gerontologist Karl Pillemer, “30 Lessons for Loving: Advice From the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships and Marriage.” Dr. Pillemer, a professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., surveyed more than 700 women and men age 65 and older. Among his key findings: A willingness to share new interests in midlife and beyond is critical..." (source infra)
Forget ‘Gray Divorce’: Here’s How to Make Love Last - WSJ: (excerpt)--

DR. PILLEMER: Pay attention to and make a habit of small, positive everyday actions. Say it’s a cold, rainy morning, and it’s your partner’s day to walk the dog. You offer to do it instead. Or you surprise your partner by cleaning out the garage to give him a break. And don’t forget to give compliments. A major regret I heard was not expressing enough positive feelings, and of too often taking the other for granted. Marriage is made up of thousands of micro-interactions. If you can keep creating positive feelings in those small ways, that will have a major impact.

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Girls In A Bad Romance Risk More Than Broken Hearts

Girls who get caught in a bad romance risk more than just their broken hearts | Jill Filipovic | Comment is free | "....That's the conclusion of a new study from the University of New Mexico, which found that girls are more likely than boys to experience negative mental health effects when the reality of a given relationship doesn't match up with their expectations of it. "Romantic relationships are particularly important components of girls' identities and are, therefore, strongly related to how they feel about themselves – good or bad," the author of the study, Brian Soller, an assistant professor of sociology and a senior fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, said. "As a result, relationships that diverge from what girls envision for themselves are especially damaging to their emotional well-being."...."

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Love Hot Sauce? Personality As Predictor

Love Hot Sauce? Your Personality May Be A Good Predictor : The Salt : NPR: "More recently, a group of researchers at Penn State has shown that personality seems to be a significant player in our lust for heat or spice in our food. One study found that people who were most inclined to enjoy action movies, adventure-seeking and exploration were about six times more likely to enjoy the burn of a spicy meal." (more at the link above)

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why Chocolate Is Good For You (video)

The Economist: Why eating chocolate is good for you 

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Remember, Do Not Trust Your Memory

Remember Not to Trust Your Memory: "Daniel Schacter, a Harvard memory researcher, says that when the brain remembers, it does so in a way that is similar to how an archaeologist reconstructs a past scene relying on an artifact here, an artifact there. The end result might be informative and useful, but don’t expect it to be perfect. This is important because those who don’t know anything about how memory works already have one foot in fantasyland. Most people believe that our memory operates in a way that is similar to a video camera. They think that the sights, sounds, and feelings of our experiences are recorded on something like a hard drive in their heads. Totally wrong. When you remember your past, you don’t get to watch an accurately recorded replay." (more at link above)

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Mindful Breathing, Sleep, Stress

How I Learned To Fall Asleep In Under 1 Minute | "the “4-7-8” breathing trick. She happens to be a licensed wellness practitioner who studies meditation, stress, and breathing techniques, and told me it would change my life. You simply breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. She explained that the studied combination of numbers has a chemical-like effect on our brains, and would slow my heart rate and soothe me right to sleep that night. “It works,” she told me. “It’s crazy.” How it Works I couldn’t wait to put the trick to the test, and to my complete disbelief, I woke up the next morning unable to even remember getting to the eighth second of the exhale because it knocked me out that fast. For the next four nights leading up to the big day, even as my stress increased, I was able to fall asleep the minute I tried the 4-7-8 trick. I also used it to relax in the moments leading up to the speech.... Mindful breathing practices have been a part of yoga and Eastern wellness modalities for centuries, but aren’t as popular in Western culture. The most well-known champion of the 4-7-8 breathing technique in the U.S., who is somewhat responsible for the prevalence that the technique does have amongst integrative medicine practitioners, yogis, and those in search of stress reduction and overall relaxation, is Harvard-educated Dr. Andrew Weil ..."

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Detox Myth, How To Get Your Body Healthy

The Guardian"... Susan Marchant-Haycox, a London psychologist: “Trying to tie detoxing in with ancient religious practices is clutching at straws,” she says. “You need to look at our social makeup over the very recent past. In the 70s, you had all these gyms popping up, and from there we’ve had the proliferation of the beauty and diet industry with people becoming more aware of certain food groups and so on. “The detox industry is just a follow-on from that. There’s a lot of money in it and there are lots of people out there in marketing making a lot of money.” Peter Ayton, a professor of psychology at City University London, agrees. He says that we’re susceptible to such gimmicks because we live in a world with so much information we’re happy to defer responsibility to others who might understand things better. “To understand even shampoo you need to have PhD in biochemistry,” he says, “but a lot of people don’t have that. If it seems reasonable and plausible and invokes a familiar concept, like detoxing, then we’re happy to go with it.” Many of our consumer decisions, he adds, are made in ignorance and supposition, which is rarely challenged or informed. “People assume that the world is carefully regulated and that there are benign institutions guarding them from making any kind of errors. A lot of marketing drip-feeds that idea, surreptitiously. So if people see somebody with apparently the right credentials, they think they’re listening to a respectable medic and trust their advice.” Ernst is less forgiving: “Ask trading standards what they’re doing about it. Anyone who says, ‘I have a detox treatment’ is profiting from a false claim and is by definition a crook. And it shouldn’t be left to scientists and charities to go after crooks.”" (emphasis added, read more at link above)

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Traveling Patients, Traveling Disease, Ebola

Traveling patients, traveling disease, and Ebola | OUPblog: "... the terrifying truth is that Ebola is just the tip of the iceberg. Diseases have long traveled with patients, and as the phenomena of medical tourism and the more general globalization of health care grow, these problems are likely to grow as well. Medical tourists are very good targets of opportunities for pathogens. Many are traveling with compromised or suppressed immune systems to destination countries for treatment with relatively high infection rates, including the risk of exposure to multi-drug–resistant pathogens. Doctors typically distinguish commensals—the bugs we normally carry on our skin, mouth, digestive tracts, etc.—from pathogens, the harmful bacteria that cause disease through infection. But what is commensal for a person in India might be an exotic pathogen for a US population. Medical tourist patients are transporting their commensals and pathogens to the hospital environments of the destination countries to which they travel, and are exposed to the commensals and pathogens of hospitals and population at large in the destination country. These transmissions tax the health care system and the knowledge of physicians in the home country to whom the new microbe may be unknown, and diagnosis and treatment more difficult." (Read more at link above.)

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Obesity, A Worldwide Fight

How the world could better fight obesity | McKinsey & Company: "...The main findings of this discussion paper include: Existing evidence indicates that no single intervention is likely to have a significant overall impact. A systemic, sustained portfolio of initiatives, delivered at scale, is needed to reverse the health burden. Almost all the identified interventions (exhibit) are cost effective for society—savings on healthcare costs and higher productivity could outweigh the direct investment required by the intervention when assessed over the full lifetime of the target population. In the United Kingdom, for instance, such a program could reverse rising obesity, saving the National Health Service about $1.2 billion a year..."

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Overdiagnosis, Overtreatment, Your Biggest Health Threats

"Until tests can more accurately distinguish the rabbits from the turtles (not to mention the dodos — it’s now looking like some cancers detectable by screening may actually disappear or go extinct on their own), cancer screening may harm more people than it helps."(source infra)

The Case Against Early Cancer Detection | FiveThirtyEight: "....Early detection might remain a laudable goal if it caught some deadly cancers in time to make a difference and didn’t bother anyone. But it is bothering people. Tens of thousands of South Koreans have undergone surgical procedures for cancers that likely would never have threatened their lives, and the overdiagnosis/overtreatment problem exists to varying degrees for every cancer test. The problem gets worse, the more people you screen, as evidenced by the numbers for mammography and PSA [prostate] screening...."

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