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 … read on
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 … read on
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
… read on
I don’t think anyone would be surprised to know that Americans are popping more pills than ever.
About 60% take at least one prescription medication. Even more take daily dietary supplements, herbal remedies or other over-the-counter drugs.
And the more drugs you take, the higher the risk of dangerous drug interactions.
A new study published this month in JAMA reports that close to 88% of older Americans over the age … read on
I just read a funny-not-funny post on the health care blog KevinMD: This doctor orders pregnancy tests on men. You’re probably doing it too
The author, a physician, laments that his hospital’s electronic health records system (EHR or EMR) makes it way too easy to make mistakes, such as ordering pregnancy tests on male patients.
Now this may sound funny to you, and I know the nurses love to read
… read on
A few years ago vitamin D was being touted as the latest and greatest miracle supplement. Low vitamin D levels were linked to all kinds of conditions—autoimmune diseases, heart disease, chronic pain, osteoporosis, some cancers, and more—so doctors started prescribing high-dose supplements.
Or people just bought vitamin D supplements at the store and dosed themselves. Sometimes way over the recommended upper limit of 4,000 IU/day.
Multiple research studies, however, have … read on
I’ve previously posted that Nexium and similar acid-reducing drugs, the PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), have been linked to an increased risk of heart attack .
Now, a new study has confirmed a connection between PPIs and dementia.
The patients receiving regular PPI medication…had a significantly increased risk of incident dementia compared with the patients not receiving PPI medication…
The avoidance of PPI medication may prevent the development of dementia.
… read on
Finally some good news!
I’ve posted many times about the problems of over prescribing antibiotics. Not only does it increase health care costs, but patients are at risk of side effects from the antibiotics, and overuse of antibiotics leads to drug-resistant bacteria—a big concern for everybody.
Many times the patient insists on an antibiotic and the doctor complies; sometimes doctors just over prescribe out of habit.
But I just … read on
The United States isn’t the only country that is burdened with too much medicine (and subsequent out-of-control health care costs).
I belong to a network of health care professionals around the world who are having a dialogue about overscreening, overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and what to do about it.
A physician from Spain shared this amusing YouTube video, “Así es la Vida” (It’s Just Life):
The … read on
PSA stands for Prostate-Specific Antigen. It’s a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer.
Doctors used to recommend an annual PSA test for men over 40. But now we know that the PSA is not a good screening tool. It results in a high number of false positives, and not all forms of prostate cancer need to be treated.
Too many men have received unpleasant, expensive treatment they … read on