I’m not a gadget person, and I don’t embrace the “quantified self” movement, which seeks to keep track of everything measurable about the human body—weight, body mass index, blood pressure, heart rate, calories consumed, miles walked, jogged, biked, etc.
But ever since I wrote the post Why sitting is bad for your health I’ve been more committed to racking up 10,000 steps every day.
Now, the 10,000 steps a day recommendation is not an exact science, but it’s a reasonable goal for a healthy adult. Also, to reach that goal, I have to move a lot throughout the … Continue reading
I’ve posted before about the frighteningly ill-advised health tips I see perpetuated on Pinterest: How NOT to whiten your teeth
Another non-scientific and potentially dangerous home treatment that I frequently see pinned is ear candling.
Ear candling involves placing a specially-designed candle (or cone) into one ear and lighting a wick at the other end. Theoretically, the heat from the flame creates a mild vacuum pressure that draws “impurities” out of the ear.
By impurities, one would immediately think ear wax, but proponents of ear candling believe it does so much more. A short list of of the “benefits” of … Continue reading
Profits stay high, too
On Monday, the New York Times published another brilliant piece by Elisabeth Rosenthal in her series “Paying Till it Hurts.”
Testing has become to the United States’ medical system what liquor is to the hospitality industry: a profit center with large and often arbitrary markups. From a medical perspective, blood work, tests and scans are tools to help physicians diagnose and monitor disease. But from a business perspective, they are opportunities to bring in revenue.
And American doctors, clinics and hospitals tend to order lots of tests. “It’s one of the most lucrative revenue streams they
… Continue reading
Or whose best interests are being served?
It’s no secret that our health care system is filled with conflicts of interest.
That’s because, for the most part, the doctors, hospitals and insurance companies that are the framework of the system are for-profit businesses. Like any other for-profit industry, health care sells a product and encourages you (or your insurance company) to buy it.
A friend of mine had a recent experience with for-profit health care that she wanted to share:
In my opinion, anyone who has been told they “must” replace their orthotic inserts every year or every few years … Continue reading
The Doctor Mole skin cancer detection app
I was browsing through some smartphone apps last week and I ran across one called Doctor Mole. At first I thought it had something to do with the garden pest—I have an infestation of moles plowing through my vegetable garden every evening, so they are much on my mind.
I thought, “Yes! An app to tell me how to get rid of moles!”
Nope. Wrong kind of mole.
But I was still interested. I had heard of these skin cancer tracking apps, so I decided to take a look and see what … Continue reading
There’s no such thing as a “mild” concussion
Last week I posted about first aid for concussions, which is important because head injuries in kids are a growing concern in the medical and public health communities.
Of particular importance is avoiding the potentially fatal “second impact syndrome”; if a young athlete suffers a “mild” concussion and then sustains another within a few weeks, “diffuse cerebral swelling, brain herniation, and death can occur.” Luckily, it’s rare.
But even minor concussions need to be recognized and treated, and it can be difficult because symptoms are often subtle and most parents … Continue reading
I saw this Travel Humidifier on a pharmacist’s blog last week, and I’m thinking I might get one.
Normally, I don’t buy a lot of gadgets of any kind, but I’m kind of excited about this humidifier.
Just a few weeks ago, I arrived home from a plane trip and promptly came down with a cold that turned into a sinus infection.
I wasn’t as conscientious as I could have been with my hand sanitizer, I know, but I blame the plane’s low humidity for injuring my nose’s first line of defense.
What do I hate most about plane … Continue reading
Well, 2013 is ending and what a year it’s been in health care! I fear 2014 will deliver more confusion, cost and concerns related to health care and health insurance, but for now I’d like to end this year on a humorous note.
Like me, many of you will be old enough to remember seeing the Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life when it hit the theaters in 1983. Even though it’s 30 years old, there is a hilarious operating room scene that is still applicable today.
In it, the doctors are so obsessed with new technology, including the … Continue reading
The “Quantified Self”
There are thousands of apps and gadgets that help us record personal data—weight, calories consumed, steps walked, hours slept, and so on. Quantified Self is the name of the movement that seeks to improve daily life through the measurement and tracking of this data.
Someone I know said he would like to see sensors implanted in our bodies to automatically measure and record everything. Everything? Um, no thanks.
There is such as thing as too much information, and at what point does an obsession with personal data become unhealthy and counterproductive?
The iHealth blood pressure system
However, … Continue reading
Sleep cycle tracking apps
Have you ever been wrenched out of a deep sleep by your alarm clock? Or been in such a deep sleep that you slept right through the &#%!@ alarm?
When this happens to me, I wake up feeling groggy and sleep deprived, even if I slept “enough” hours the night before.
Other mornings when the alarm goes off I am full of energy, feeling well rested and loving life.
The difference is not necessarily how many hours I slept; it’s at what point in my sleep cycle—the light and deep stages of sleep—the alarm woke me.… Continue reading