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News Behind the News

Where Has Exceptionalism Gone in U.S. Healthcare?

Posted December 3, 2013

As American households celebrate Thanksgiving it remains a good time to express our gratitude to live in a terrific country. America is a beautiful place. We have amazing heroes, charitable hearts to serve others, families and folks full of kindness with a great spirit to persevere through adversity. Americans are willing to work hard yet their independence breeds ingenuity and invention. We remain in awe of our forefathers’ courage and the brilliance of the plan they created to fashion a land of liberty and justice for all.

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Let the Light Shine

Posted June 1, 2013

Our healthcare system is enviable in many ways, the technology to diagnose and treat tragic injuries, surgical device innovations to make once deadly heart conditions treatable, and the ability to turn terminal cancer diagnoses into a chronic disease. Advances in medication therapy, immune therapy, and stem cells among other advancements have produced amazing positive outcomes for many patients. The price is not enviable-we spend more than any other industrial nation for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

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Drink your Drug?: Your tea and coffee likely have drug residues from the local water supply

Posted March 5, 2013

Business pages have increasingly focused on water as a precious resource as population growth, the lack of conservation methods, and climate cycles have provoked the need for more water with more reports of drought conditions in the news. Water has long been an oft-overlooked tool for optimal overall health. The correlation between aging and dehydration is rarely a focus for consumers and practitioners alike. We may wring our hands about dwindling sources of energy like fossil fuels but there is no equal focus on a finite supply of water.

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Choosing Wisely

Posted March 4, 2013

It may be a paradigm shift and for many, that would be welcome. For years many, if not most of us, have been culturally customed to think of medical decisions through the prism of “What did the doctor tell you to do?” Regarding not only medicine but legal issues and financial matters were also viewed as areas where we turned to the “experts”. We looked for experts in tax law, experts in investment, experts in joints, experts in gynecology, and the like when faced with decision making for ourselves. We all wanted the best cancer doctor, for example, when it came to the cancer of someone in our family or even ourselves.

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Inflammation, Pain, and Cherries ?

Posted February 24, 2013

According to journalist Bill Sardi, a peer-reviewed report in the Journal of Natural Products, published by the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, concluded that tart cherries may relieve pain better than aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

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The Way We Have Always Done It

Posted October 11, 2012

That’s not the way we have always done it. That’s new. We can’t change the way we have always done it. Where are the double-blind, placebo-controlled studies? Medicine is slow to innovate. While pharmaceutical drug reps may push the latest drug, in general medical doctors are slow to adopt any procedure or any therapy that is new. There are many reasons to explain this including the length of time doctors invest in medical school education, residency, and internship. You actually may hear a doctor say “I didn’t learn that in medical school.”

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Medicalizing Symptoms to Market Medications

Posted August 22, 2012

I am taking the liberty of using a phrase coined by John Abramson, MD, award-winning family practitioner, Harvard-based educator, and author of “Overdosed America”. Dr. Abramson memorialized this phrase as well did Dr. Jerome Kassirer, former editor in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, educator, and author, and Dr. Marcia Angell with nearly identical credentials when they began to question how medicine had evolved into pushing the sponsor’s product with over $20 billion spent annually by pharmaceutical companies to influence doctors’ prescribing habits. As Dr. Abramson mused elevated cholesterol levels had become a disease. New normals were created by medicine’s elite not to result in better patient care but to create new opportunities to prescribe medications to American consumers.

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Doctors Die Differently

Posted July 31, 2012

A 26-year history of show prep 3 hours a day for a 6-day a week, 3-hour syndicated talk radio program has left me with a lifetime habit of reading medical journals and scanning the popular media or “the lay home medical journals” for research, opinion pieces, and any article related to health issues. I remain intrigued today just as I was 30-years ago discovering doctors with stories about how allopathic symptom-driven health care failed them or their family, science-based lifestyle medical research, the politics of healthcare, and the wealth of information available through search engines online or trusted sites. Clearly, the American health system, termed a disease care system by some, while replete with amazing technology often fails to deliver cost effective care or the best care for that patient’s respective needs.

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Choosing Wisely

Posted April 10, 2012

Consumer Reports in conjunction with the American Board of Internal Medicine have launched a campaign they have dubbed Choosing Wisely. Their web site, www.choosingwisely.org, highlights a list of five tests or procedures compiled by each nine leading physician specialty societies they indicate are commonly used in their respective fields but may be overused or unnecessary. The groups include allergists, family physicians, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, oncologists, nephrologists, radiologists, nuclear cardiologists and members of the American College of Physicians. While many of us may suspect the coming of Obamacare is prompting this scrutiny, published research over five years ago from the Harvard U. School of Public Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15928282 found 93% of high-risk physician specialists reported practicing defensive medicine.

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The Myth of Catching It in Time

Posted July 3, 2011

Mass screening has been “sold” to American consumers as the way to catch life threatening diseases in time. Mass screening has been sold as preventive care when in reality it is early detection. And, unlike prevention, mass screening has its benefits and its risks. Gilbert Welch, MD, author of Should I Be Tested for Cancer, Maybe Not and Here’s Why, roiled the conventional medical community, the media, and the American public by presenting the fact that science fails to back up mass cancer screening.

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