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Reading the Modern Love essay in the New York Times Style section has become a favorite Sunday pastime. A widely diverse set of stories explore the paths that love and relationships have taken over the years. Funny, sad, deeply personal and evocative. I find myself connecting with the writers and their subjects in unexpected ways. This week's essay, Sweetest at the End, shared the story of a beloved and accomplished husband's decline and then death from an atrophy of the frontal brain lobe.
I was captivated this week by the PBS special Mind Over Money
. This show featured the contrasting perspectives and studies of economists about how we make decisions about our money thoughts of which apparently light up a deep old part of the brain that also glimmers when either sex or food is considered.
Yearly vaccinations aren't just for kids any more. While you hear a lot about the flu shot, you should know that a battery of other adult vaccinations might also become part of your health care routine.
Have you ever gotten one of those phone calls from your doctor the starts out I'm very concerned about what we saw in your mammogram/colonoscopy/echocardiogram?
Lifestyle May Not Prevent Alzheimer's trumpets a headline in Time magazine. The article goes on to describe a carefully conducted review of decades of evidence examining the hypothesis that exercise, social relationships, diet or vitamins can ward off Alzheimer's disease. The study concludes that there is not sufficient evidence to be able to recommend that the public take any of these actions to prevent or delay the disease.
The 10th Anniversary of the decoding of the human genome has prompted a whole new round of media coverage on progress toward 'personalized medicine i.e., approaches that use genetic information to prevent or treat disease in adults or their children. Not only will drugs be carefully tailored to our individual genetic profile, we will also be able to reduce risks and enhance our health by taking specific lifestyle-related actions that are determined by our unique constellation of DNA.
K-Mart, Medtronic, and a bunch of specialty medical groups are sponsoring a campaign called "Find the AAAnswers" - the AAA standing for abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Chris Gibbons, MD, CFAH Board Member, interviewed by CNN on using social media and web coupons for health care.
Two new books, examine the pseudoscience that created a controversy over vaccine safety, Dr. David Gorski, offers a review on science-based medicine, Andrew Wakefield's study linking autism to MMR vaccines continues to be dismantled and BMJ's Brian Deer compares diagnoses in Wakefield's study to hospital records.
Eight percent of fans who agreed to be tested after attending professional football and baseball games were too drunk to legally drive, a new study finds, and 40 percent had alcohol in their bodies.
The February issue of Prevention magazine has an article, "Surprising Faces of Heart Attack" profiling "three women (who) didn't think they were at high risk. Their stories are proof that you could be in danger without even knowing it." No, their stories are not proof of that.
Dr. H. Gilbert Welch has written a new book Over-diagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, with co-authors Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin. It identifies a serious problem, debunks medical misconceptions and contains words of wisdom. We are healthier, but we are increasingly being told we are sick. We are labeled with diagnoses that may not mean anything to our health. People used to go to the doctor when they were sick, and diagnoses were based on symptoms. Today diagnoses are increasingly made on the basis of detected abnormalities in people who have no symptoms and might never have developed them.
Nearly half of American teen drinkers would rather have a shot of liquor than a bottle of beer, a new study finds, and teens who prefer liquor are much more likely to indulge in high-risk behavior.
I am a poster child for why everyone who has had cancer needs to work with their doctor(s) to develop and implement a survivorship plan.
School prevention programs aimed at curbing alcohol misuse in children are somewhat helpful, enough so to deserve consideration for widespread use, according to a large, international systematic review.
Nearly forty years ago, President Richard Nixon famously declared a "War on Cancer" by signing the National Cancer Act of 1971. Like the Manhattan Project, the Apollo program that was then landing men on the Moon, and the ongoing (and eventually successful) World Health Organization-led initiative to eradicate smallpox from the face of the Earth, the "War on Cancer" was envisioned as a massive, all-out research and treatment effort. We would bomb cancer in submission with powerful regimens of chemotherapy, experts promised, or, failing that, we would invest in early detection of cancers so that they could be more easily cured at earlier stages.
Why does the manufactroversy that vaccines cause autism persist? There is no longer a scientific controversy; by and large, the question has been asked and answered. Vaccines do not cause autism, as far as we can detect. Yet the fear persists.
Will we - you and me and our parents and neighbors - be a significant force in quelling the tide of over-testing for the early detection of disease?
Single, middle-aged people who live alone spend more time sitting. A new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine discovered that men tended to sit for longer periods watching TV on the weekends while women sat for longer periods doing activities such as reading or dining out.
A few weeks ago, a letter arrived from the Life Line Screening company enticing me to come in for a 'simple, potentially lifesaving screening' to assess my risk for strokes and other vascular diseases.
Increasingly, children are losing their baby teeth not due to the budding of their permanent teeth but to the ravages of early decay and cavities. For some parents, this is a result of a lack of understanding about the importance of oral health, even at an early age.
Many of us have vivid memories of tying a thread to a loose tooth and wiggling it back and forth with our tongue all the time hoping for a profitable visit from the Tooth Fairy. Facebook is full of school and family photos of kids with cute, gap-toothed smiles. But increasingly, children are losing their baby teeth not due to the budding of their permanent teeth but to the ravages of early decay and cavities. There are a number of reasons kids and adults don't make it to the dentist regularly. For some parents, it's a lack of understanding about the importance of oral health, even at an early age.
If only there really was such a thing as a "preventive service." With all this talk about the Affordable Care Act these last few weeks, the inclusion in the law of "free preventive services" has been billed as a big plus.
Though I may want fast food health care when I'm healthy, I don't want it if I'm sick or have the potential to be sick. People want to have the opportunity for a dining-in experience, not just fast food.
We've all heard about well-baby visits, but if you're a healthy adult, you probably have no plan to see a doctor. When there's nothing to complain about, many of us go years without a comprehensive medical check-up.
We've all heard about well-baby visits, but if you're a healthy adult, you probably have no plan to see a doctor. When there's nothing to complain about, many of us go years without a comprehensive medical check-up, maybe to save money or time off from work or because we don't want to be lectured about our diet or exercise habits. But should we give up the time-honored tradition of the yearly physical?
On Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend three years ago, my doctor called to tell me that the pathology report from a recent endoscopy showed that I had stomach cancer. Maybe you can imagine what happened next.
Every year, over 100 million Americans don’t go to the dentist because they can’t afford it, leaving many in pain. How can people pay for dental care?
Of young women who start the three-part series of the highly effective human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, only half get all the necessary doses, according to new research in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Make use of immunizations and recommended disease screening tests to prevent illness.
Checkups are good for establishing a relationship with your primary care clinician and for screening tests. Here are resources with more on what tests you might need to stay healthy.
Want to know more about what vaccinations are recommended for you and your family? Here are some facts about vaccinations, including safety information.
If you're a heavy person, you probably dread medical visits that seem to center on weight, regardless of whether you come in for an unrelated complaint or a routine screening. Even so, don't let that stop you from getting the health care you deserve.
Almost half of older adults visiting a public health clinic where HIV/AIDS was prevalent were not screened for the disease in the past 12 months, finds a study in The Gerontologist.
Although most overweight adults agree that health insurance benefits designed to promote weight loss are a good idea, they don’t want to pay extra for them, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Establishing smoke-free policies for public housing would help protect residents, visitors and employees from the harmful effects of smoking and result in significant cost savings, reports a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Most sexually active teens don’t get information about sexual health from their health care providers, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health
Public health campaigns that stigmatize obese people by using negative images or text do not motivate them to lose weight any more than more neutral campaigns, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
A survey of men age 40 to 74 found that 54 percent said that they would still opt for a popular prostate cancer screening test despite recent recommendations that the test not be performed, finds a new study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Programs to address multiple health behaviors, such as diet and exercise, significantly lowered the risk of a fatal heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event in people with coronary heart disease, finds a new review in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
This week in health news: Men opt for PSA test, despite guidelines | Obesity an added burden for people with disabilities | Minorities not getting mental health care | Economic downturns affect preventive care
Health care providers are missing opportunities to improve teens’ vaccination coverage, reports a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that some cancer survivors do not always have the best access to primary care and that the type of health insurance they have—or don’t have—may be a factor.
This week in health news: When dieting encouragement goes wrong | What works for more walking at work | Vaccines: Not just for babies | Health insurance matters for cancer survivors
Seeing oneself as overweight or obese may be an important, independent predictor of suicidal thoughts, especially in young girls, reports a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health
Older women living in the most deprived areas of the U.S. Appalachia had higher rates of late stage breast cancer than women in more affluent areas, finds a new study in Health Services Research
Adding mood management strategies to smoking cessation programs helped people with depression or a history of depression quit smoking for longer periods than a standard program, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library
Advice for finding good dental care for you and your loved ones.
In this weeks health news: Group exercise alleviates college stress | Maintain your weight in a matter of minutes | Education may be the key to fighting obesity | Men who binge at risk for cardiovascular disease.
Talking about the flu vaccine used to be straightforward. But with the proliferation of vaccine options, it has become much more complicated. More options for consumers = better for everyone, right? Well...
A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health
finds that bisexual teens may be at risk for suicide even into young adulthood.
Health care providers say that older teens often go to the doctor without a parent who can provide consent for needed vaccinations, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health
"Your biopsy is positive." None of us ever forgets when we first heard some version of that phrase. I heard it five years ago today...
"I have been treated for five different cancer diagnoses. Some would call me a survivor. I call me lucky," CFAH President Jessie Gruman observes in her lead post in the series, What I Wish I'd Known Earlier About Cancer Survivorship.
In this week's health news: Patient-doctor relationship affects diabetes care | Women in Appalachia at risk for late stage breast cancer | People with asthma need not fear exercise | Treating depression helps some smokers quit...
I see firsthand the sense of invincibility that accompanies youth. My students have little reason to believe the long days, the all-nighters, and the jam-packed academic and social lives they lead will catch up to them. It is easy to dismiss patients with chronic illness as the elderly — those who have lived long enough to acquire the inevitable diseases of longevity. This is an incomplete picture of the chronic illness population, however...
Lately it seems that more health care insiders are advocating for a "less is more" approach for some screening tests. Cancer, dementia and kidney disease are a few examples. But will we just say "no"?
The number of adverse events reported for the HPV vaccine Gardasil® correlated with an increase in the number of media stories about the vaccine, finds a study in The Journal of Adolescent Health
My ultrasound came back "likely benign" with the recommendation that I follow up in six weeks to be sure. Over the next few weeks, I received one bill after another that totaled $1,000. Unable to pay, I felt abandoned by the system to which I had committed my career and did not call to schedule a second ultrasound...
It isn't breaking news that exercising and eating a healthy diet can help improve your overall health and fitness, but that doesn't make it any easier for most of us to follow suit. These resources from CFAH's 'Be a Prepared Patient' can help...
In 2008, breast cancer deaths in women under age 50 cost the economy $5.49 billion in productivity and resulted in an estimated 7.98 million years of potential life lost, finds a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health
finds that pharmacy staff frequently give teens misleading or incorrect information about emergency contraception that may prevent them from getting the medication.
In part five of our series, we look at the yearly check-up and offer resources for people who are trying to decide which preventive care services are right for them...
Regular use of fluoride toothpaste containing triclosan, an antibacterial agent, reduces plaque, gingivitis and slightly reduces tooth decay compared to regular fluoride toothpaste, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library
People who identify as homosexual have several health disparities relative to their heterosexual peers, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Some African-Americans rate their health as good, despite being overweight or having high blood pressure, finds a new study in Ethnicity and Disease
Depression affects nearly one in ten Americans yet many people often go untreated. In fact, a recent study found that 70 percent of people surveyed with symptoms of depression received no treatment of any kind. Here's advice on how to get help...
People over age 65 who have been hospitalized are at significantly greater risk for dementia or depression, finds a new study in General Hospital Psychiatry
The Prepared Patient Blog published over two hundred articles in 2013 about what it takes for people to get the most from health care and how the system can be improved to make it feasible for us to do so. Here's a recap of what engagement looks like to us – whether we are sick or well, whether we are caregivers or loved ones: Engagement is not easy and we can't do it alone. Patient engagement is not the same as compliance. It is not a cost-cutting strategy, and it is not one-size-fits-all.
Is it our job alone to look after our health? Or do employers, insurers, for-profit companies and the government also share some responsibility to keep us healthy? One person's nanny state is another's public health salvation. There is no shortage of examples of opposing perspectives...
At my six-month checkup yesterday all was routine, other than my blood pressure being 131 over something when it's usually in the 115 range. Ten years ago I wouldn't have shared my fears at all, but thanks to early-stage breast cancer it's hard for my mind not to immediately go to the worst-case scenario...
Teens and young adults who are exposed to marketing materials for tobacco products, such as coupons and websites, were far more likely to begin smoking or to be current smokers than those not exposed, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health
My patient, Mary, was a 28-year-old woman who had completed chemotherapy for stage II breast cancer. After discussing surveillance, frequency of follow-up and ASCO guidelines, I recommended against further testing or imaging. Mary was well aware of the evidence, but she had different plans...
Perhaps due to a lack of or inconsistent insurance coverage, young adults age 18 to 25 tend to go to the doctor’s office less often than children or adolescents, yet have higher rates of emergency room use, finds a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health
Dedicated to promoting behavioral medicine research and the application of that knowledge to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities and populations, Society of Behavioral Medicine created this award to recognize an individual who has made a pivotal contribution to research, practice or policy in the field of health engagement.
If something is medically useless, does it still have value if it gives the patient (and perhaps the clinician as well) some peace of mind? To many patients, this is no small thing. Unfortunately, it's also often abetted by consumer marketing that plays up the peace-of-mind aspect of certain tests while remaining silent about the limited benefit, the possible risk and the clinical complexity that may be part of the larger picture...
A new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion
finds that, on average, a morbidly obese employee costs an employer over $4,000 more per year in health care and related costs than an employee who is of normal weight.
Having a good social support system may help prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in patients with heart disease, finds a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion
For seniors over the age of 65, taking a daily supplement of vitamin D with calcium—but not vitamin D alone—can offer some protection against the risk of common bone fractures, according to an updated review from The Cochrane Library
I have offered before a few reasons for eligible patients to consider not getting screened for lung cancer. I concede, however, that reasonable people might conclude that the potential harms are outweighed by the benefit of reducing one's risk of dying by one-fifth. The next critical question that needs to be asked is: one-fifth of what?
Adults tend to engage in less leisure-time physical activity after changes in both lifestyle and physical status, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Mental distress in people with disabilities is associated with increased prevalence of chronic illness and reduced access to health care and preventive care services, finds a new study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
What is patient engagement and what does it take to accomplish? With the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CFAH set out to explore this concept as it was viewed by various diverse stakeholders. Our interviews with 35 key health care stakeholders lead to an impressive unity of opinion...
The ED is convenient, it's open 24 hours, it does not require an appointment. So when the stomach bug or kitchen accident gets the best of you at 9:00 pm, and your doctor's office is closed, where are you going to go? And, yet, we still chide people – via reporting, casual comments and the communication of health systems – for using the ED for "non-emergent" needs. What I'd like to see is more hospitals flinging open the doors of their EDs and saying, "We'll take you, any time, for any reason, and you won't wait long or pay an arm and a leg"...
A federal screening program markedly reduced death and illness from cervical cancer in underserved, low-income women but reached just 10 percent of the likely eligible population, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
"When I think of patient engagement, I think of a partnership where people work together to figure out what the patient wants and how to support the process. Engagement is the knowledge base, working through the decisions and helping people to become full partners in their health outcomes." – June Simmons, MSW — Founding President and CEO, Partners in Care Foundation, San Fernando, CA
"Employers have an opportunity to reduce barriers and support engagement because they sponsor health plans and can provide access to information, tools, technologies, incentives, and more. Employers have more ability to influence engagement than they often believe they have." – Michael Vittoria, Vice President, Corporate Benefits, MaineHealth, Portland, ME
Poor oral health can have a negative impact on seniors’ overall health and well-being, but for many, there are significant barriers to visiting a dentist, finds a new report in the American Journal of Health Behavior.
A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that the sexual risk behaviors of young Hispanic people living in the U.S. vary considerably with their degree of acculturation.
Financial hardship, or feeling that one can’t make ends meet, may be more predictive of health risk behaviors than actual income levels for people with low-incomes, finds a recent study in the American Journal of Health Promotion
"Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it," Lily Tomlin once quipped. So it's no surprise, then, that one-half of the people in the U.S. have had a major stressful event or experience in the last year. And health tops the list...
"At the end of the day, there is a growing recognition that we need people to take better care of themselves. Too much money is being spent on the consequences of unhealthy choices and on health care. We don't think that patient engagement is just the flavor of the week. The concept of how we can take more responsibility for our health and health care is not going away." – Janice Prochaska, PhD, President and CEO of Pro-Change Behavior Systems in South Kingstown, RI
A new cross-sectional study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine
finds that only half of adults in the U.S. were screened for diabetes within the last three years, less than what is recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
As many as half to two-thirds of women who’ve undergone hysterectomies or are older than 65 years report receiving Pap tests for cervical cancer, despite recommendations against it, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Finding good health care and making the most of it is critical for each of us. Yet all too often, reliable, unbiased information is hard to find and understand. On the redesigned Be a Prepared Patient website, we have collected trusted resources and tips to help people navigate their way through health and health care decisions and experiences...
A new study in Health Services Research
reveals that expanding Medicaid to cover more adults boosts health care access and use in rural populations.
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
finds that foreign-born adult U.S. residents, who make up about 13 percent of the population, receive vaccinations at significantly lower rates than U.S.-born adults. This gap in care puts them at greater risk of exposure to several vaccine-preventable diseases.
Colorectal cancer, or CRC, is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. State public health programs could screen nearly eight times as many individuals and prevent nearly twice as many CRC cases by using fecal immunochemical testing, or FIT, instead of colonoscopies, finds a new study in Health Services Research
Young sexual minority women, including those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), were found to have higher elevated odds of adverse health conditions than heterosexual young women. They also have lower odds of receiving a physical or dental examination, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
The way medical doctors initially assess, treat and refer racial and ethnic minority patients may contribute to known disparities in their use of mental health services, according to a new study in Health Services Research