Fear-mongering and clickbait
While sipping a glass of wine with dinner last night, my ears perked up when I heard a teaser for NBC Nightly News: “New report links even light alcohol intake with increased risk of cancer.”
Oh, boy, I thought. Here we go again.
I don’t like network news because of this kind of lousy health reporting (I just wanted to see local election returns). Again and again, research is taken out of context or blown out of proportion simply to use as clickbait. Argh.
My favorite health news website, Health News Review, agrees with me, and … Continue reading
Higher drug prices = higher health costs
Soon we’ll be finding out how much our health insurance will cost next year. Premiums are set to rise by double digits across the country.
Related post: Premium increases for 2018. Ouch
While uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is partly responsible, insurance companies put the biggest blame on the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.
Why are prescription drugs so expensive? To understand the problem in less than 2 minutes, watch this YouTube video…
As the video points out, Medicare can’t negotiate lower … Continue reading
Carbs vs fats in the news…again
A few weeks ago, a study was published that resulted in a lot of dramatic headlines, such as “Your Low-Fat Diet Could Kill You!”
The media always make a big deal out of these nutritional studies because they know we need to eat, we like to eat, and we’re already confused about what we should eat. Or not eat.
Headlines that the one above are great clickbait.
Nutrition studies are notoriously unreliable because they are usually observational studies, based on questionnaires and food diaries, rather than the gold standard randomized controlled trials. … Continue reading
I read a recent article that New York’s attorney general has ordered some drugs stores (Target, Walgreen’s, GNC and Wal-Mart) to stop selling their store-brand supplements because of quality concerns: Herbal Supplements Without Herbs.
Using DNA analysis, several products were examined in a university study:
Among the popular products examined were ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and ginseng pills. Four out of five of the products tested did not include any of the herbs listed on their labels. Even worse, hidden ingredients and contaminants could be dangerous to people with allergies to those substances.
I’ve posted about supplements many … Continue reading
I was happy to see the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) report that the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine does not increase risky sexual behavior in adolescent girls.
HPV, or the human papilloma virus, is a sexually-transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer. In some instances, it can also cause anal cancer or mouth cancer, in men as well as women.
An effective vaccine has been available since 2006 and is recommended for both girls and boys, ideally at age 11 or 12 before they become sexually active.
One of the arguments parents have had against the … Continue reading
Take time to read Elizabeth Rosenthal’s latest installment of her “Paying Till it Hurts” series in The New York Times: Insured, but not Covered.
If you are like many Americans struggling with high-deductible, narrow-network health plans, you might relate to the families she writes about.
The Affordable Care Act has ushered in an era of complex new health insurance products featuring legions of out-of-pocket coinsurance fees, high deductibles and narrow provider networks. Though commercial insurers had already begun to shift toward such policies, the health care law gave them added legitimacy and has vastly accelerated the trend, experts say.
… Continue reading
Isn’t Florida known as the “Sunshine State”?
Then why do they have so many tanning beds?
That’s what I learned in a recent New York Times article regarding the dangers of tanning beds: Warning: That Tan Could Be Hazardous.
Here in the Sunshine State, there are more tanning salons than McDonald’s restaurants, CVS stores or Bank of America branches, according to a 2014 study by University of Miami researchers.
Interesting. I would have expected my city of Seattle (and yes, it is just as gray and wet as rumors say) to have more, but it doesn’t. And for that … Continue reading
News stories like this make me crazy: Disneyland measles outbreak grows, sparks concern. Or this from my local newspaper: Measles makes it to Seattle from Disneyland.
At least 17 people have been infected in the outbreak, which occurred among people who visited Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Orange County, Calif….It’s likely that a person who was contagious visited the theme park during that period and spread it to others.
A 20-something young woman from Washington state was one of those infected with measles while at Disneyland. Judging by her age, she is most likely one of … Continue reading
US News & World Report published another one of their ubiquitous “Best of” lists this week. This one focused on diets. January, after all, is the month of diet resolutions 😉
For the fifth year in a row the winner was the DASH diet.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (or High blood pressure). It was a study implemented in the early 1990s and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
It’s really more dietary guideline than diet, and emphasizes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables (especially those high in minerals such as calcium, potassium … Continue reading
I read a disturbing article in MedPage Today—Metformin: A Great Lakes Disaster?
Metformin is one of the most common drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which is mostly a lifestyle disease (obesity), is epidemic in the United States. Seventy million prescriptions for metformin were dispensed in 2013. That year the cost of treating type 2 diabetes, just for the drugs, was $23 billion.
But the environment is paying, too.
Researchers have found high levels of metformin in Lake Michigan—and this is water after it has been treated in the sewage plants.
More importantly, according
… Continue reading