The power of positive thinking
I’ve been meaning for some time to write a post about the placebo effect.
placebo (from the Latin “I shall please”) is a fake treatment—such as a sugar pill—that is intended to deceive the patient. If that patient improves, or at least thinks so, that is known as the placebo effect.
Before a new drug can be approved by the Food and Drug …
read on How many are helped; how many are hurt
My son sent me a great link to
an article in about a physician and his colleagues who have started a website called Wired magazine TheNNT.com.
What is the NNT? It stands for “the number needed to treat” and it’s a pretty common measurement talked about in health care. Simply put, it quantifies how many people need to be treated for …
read on A banana a day?
We’ve all heard the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” (thank you, Benjamin Franklin!), but a potassium-rich banana might help, too.
recent study looking at stroke risk in post-menopausal women (ages 50-79) found that, overall, women with the highest dietary potassium intake were 12% less likely to suffer a stroke.
And women who didn’t have high blood pressure and ate a lot …
read on The debate continues
Aargh! Last month the media picked up on
three studies in the about the association between how much salt we eat and our health. New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)
Unfortunately, the studies didn’t do much to clear up the confusion surrounding how much salt we should be getting in our diets. In fact, popular reporting on the subject did little other than stir up
more fear … read on The latest stand on vitamin D screening
Over the last year and a half, I’ve written several posts on vitamin D, and here’s another one.
Last week the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its
draft recommendation statement on vitamin D screening. (After a short comment period, a final recommendation will be made later this year. Rarely do these differ from the draft versions.)
Screening for vitamin …
read on Will there soon be a blood test?
My father-in-law recently
passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s for several years. I also have an aunt who is currently living with some form of dementia, probably vascular.
Few diseases strike more fear into those over the age of 50 than Alzheimer’s. Needless to say, both my husband and I worry when we find ourselves saying:
“Oh, what’s the word I want?”
read on Nuts associated with longer, healthier lives Last November, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published the results of a huge observational study that showed a lower death rate among people who ate several servings of nuts (including peanuts) every week.
Previous studies have pointed to other health benefits of nuts: reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The NEJM is the first study that looked specifically at death …
read on For most, multivitamins are a waste of money
I’m always trying to do two things:
Save my money Be healthy
It’s not easy when everything about health care costs so much.
So I really don’t want to throw money away on expensive drugstore products that are poorly regulated (if at all) by the FDA, and whose benefits are not supported by the latest scientific research.
… Related post: The Quack Miranda read on The blockbuster drug
My husband has had mildly elevated cholesterol for years. At several points in time, his doctor has recommended that he start taking one of the cholesterol-lowering drugs, like Lipitor (atorvastatin), the best-selling prescription drug of all time.
In 2006, Lipitor sales peaked at ! $13.7 billion—that’s just one year
Because my husband has no other risk factors for heart disease—he is not overweight, he doesn’t smoke, …
read on One woman’s unwitting contribution to medicine
I’m always interested in medical ethics news, and a few days ago I saw
Henrietta Lacks’s name mentioned. Who is Henrietta Lacks?
She was a poor, African-American woman who, in 1951, died at the very young age of 31 from an aggressive form of cervical cancer. Sadly, she left behind five young children.
A research team at Johns Hopkins, where she was treated, collected …