The other day a family member asked for my advice on treating heartburn. It’s a common problem and fortunately there are many lifestyle changes and simple products to try before spending money on doctors’ appointments and prescription medications.
For the occasional case of heartburn following a large meal, or eating too late at night, or being more stressed than usual, try a herbal product or one of the inexpensive over-the-counter antacids.
- Chamomile has a mild healing and protective effect on the digestive tract. Choose a good-quality tea bag and enjoy a cup after a meal.
- Peppermint also has
… Continue reading
I love John Oliver and his show Last Week Tonight. Maybe because he frequently comments on or makes fun of our behemoth and costly healthcare system.
Related post: John Oliver mocks Big Pharma tactics
If you missed it, here’s the video of his show lampooning “scientific studies.” You know, the research mass media loves to package into scary sound bites (everything causes cancer) and healthcare corporations use to sell us something we probably don’t need.
Especially funny is this skit that shows how those TV infomercials can beguile us into thinking their … Continue reading
A friend sent me a YouTube link to a hilarious comic sketch that parodies homeopathy: Homeopathic A&E.
It’s by a pair of British comics, David Mitchell and Robert Webb. A&E stands for Accident and Emergency, the British equivalent of ER.
To understand why it’s so funny, you need to know that homeopathy’s alternative-reality medicine is based on a belief that “like cures like,” with remedies prepared into extremely diluted solutions.
I love the pub scene at the end!
There are plenty of scientists and physicians who have spoken out against homeopathy and provided scientific evidence … Continue reading
Scary headlines sell news
Last week the media blitzed us with headlines that linked cell phones with an increased risk of brain and heart cancers.
Don’t believe everything you read in a headline!
That news story was based on a study out of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences that looked at the effect of cell phone radiation on rats.
Most journalists, if you bothered to read the entire article, did point out that the study was not perfect and it did use rats, after all, and not humans.
However, if you just read the headlines or skimmed … Continue reading
May is National Osteoporosis Month
I can’t let May and the NOF’s awareness campaign pass without giving a shout out to the best way to prevent bone loss or osteoporosis.
It’s not taking enormous calcium supplement tablets every day or occasionally choking down a couple of chalky TUMS.
It’s a combination of eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and exercising every day.
Actually, no one can prevent bone loss altogether. That’s like saying you can prevent wrinkles. As we age our bones lose strength and flexibility. But we can slow the process down and prevent it from turning into significant … Continue reading
Don’t take health advice from celebrities
I just finished reading a thoughtful, informative and thoroughly entertaining book that examines how our celebrity-crazy culture affects our healthcare and lifestyle choices.
In “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?”, author Timothy Caulfield makes it his quest to “analyze and debunk the messages and promises” behind celebrities’ overhyped and oversold health, diet and beauty products.
Indeed, celebrity culture has emerged as one of the most significant and influential sources of pseudoscientific blather….The popularity of juicing, cleanses, detox diets, weird exercise routines, and a boatload of beauty and antiaging products and practices can be
… Continue reading
I’ve been a fan of Peggy Girshman’s science and healthcare writing for a long time, so it was with great sadness that I read about her death in March at the young age of 61.
But in tribute to her award-winning journalism career, which included long stints at both NPR and Kaiser Health News, she actually wrote her own eulogy!
She wanted to share a few simple lessons she had learned from her years on the job of reporting healthcare-related stories. Because they resonate with my own view that we need more health and less medicine, I wanted … Continue reading
Knowledge is king
That’s the take home message from Professor (of pharmacy) James McCormack’s latest parody video, End of the Line, which takes a whack at healthcare’s increasingly pervasive and rigid medical guidelines.
If followed to the letter, these guidelines (often based on research funded by drug companies) would have everyone diagnosed with a disease and taking one or more medications. Medical guidelines may be great for the drug business, but not so much for individualized, patient-centric care and shared decision-making.
Chronic disease state guidelines (blood pressure/lipids/glucose/bone density) do not provide clinicians with
… Continue reading
The wellness blog in the New York Times had an article about brain health that has strengthened my resolve to exercise every day.
Walk, Jog or Dance: It’s All Good For the Aging Brain
It turns out that regular walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and even gardening may substantially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The author is referring to a recently published study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study looked at 10 years’ worth of lifestyle data, including exercise levels, on 900 men and women over the age of 65. Over the course of those 10 years, the … Continue reading
Shared decision-making makes better informed patients, and better informed patients use less health care.
…as many as 20% of patients who participate in shared decision making choose less invasive surgical options and more conservative treatment than do patients who do not use decision aids.
Which lowers health care costs.
…a 2012 study…showed that providing decision aids to patients eligible for hip and knee replacements substantially reduced both surgery rates and costs — with up to 38% fewer surgeries and savings of 12 to 21% over 6 months.
[It’s] estimated that implementing shared decision making for just 11 procedures would
… Continue reading