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When a woman is in labor, the appropriate time to give an epidural during childbirth is when she asks for it, suggests a new review in The Cochrane Library
My friend Jane is quite a perfectionist, at least usually. I was almost certain that if she was having work done on her kitchen, she would be getting competitive bids, asking for references and reviewing vendors. But not for her shoulder surgery. Perhaps we need a concise mantra for what it means to be a health care consumer...
A new study in Health Services Research
reveals that expanding Medicaid to cover more adults boosts health care access and use in rural populations.
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
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).
Pregnant women who felt pressured to have a labor induction or cesarean section by their obstetrical care providers were significantly more likely to have these procedures, even if there was no medical need for them, suggests a new study in Health Services Research
American health care has become a gigantic game board with players of all sorts strategizing to win. Winning, of course, means getting more money from payers...
The use of social networking sites like Facebook may have implications for accessing online health information, finds a new longitudinal study from the Journal of Health Communication
"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...
My new doctor and I clashed in every way. The short story is that I found another doctor who was a better fit for my "patient style." So what can you learn from my experience? First off, here are two questions you should ask yourself...
Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. It is a time when nothing is certain and the future looks dark. The new, free app 'AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis' offers a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks, providing concise information and trusted resources to help you regain a bit of control during this turbulent time...
You need a refill for a prescription that's about to run out. You've taken the medication for years without any problems and can't think of any reason why the prescription can't just be automatically continued. But the doctor won't order a refill unless you make an appointment and come in to be seen. Is this an unfair burden on the patient or due diligence by the doctor?...
The physical and mental well-being of people with cancer may be affected by how they feel about their relationship with their physician and by differences in attachment styles, finds a new study from General Hospital Psychiatry
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
I'm impressed by how much we struggle with seemingly simple health decisions when faced with sorting through too much information. Every week we view diverse arrays of products with health, convenience and cosmetic claims competing for our attention. Think yogurt, Gatorade, running shoes, breakfast cereal...Given the ubiquity of such products and the swirl of marketing and science- or non-science-based information surrounding each, I'm wondering three things...
A new study in the American Journal of Health Behavior
finds that women are more likely than men to use tobacco products after experiencing severe psychological distress.
To those of us who have had a loved one succumb to cancer, who had to negotiate the frightening choice between the rock and the hard place, always holding out hope for another round of chemo...we know that reining in health care costs will mean more than just raising co-pays and lowering drug costs and funding more effective interventions. It will also mean quashing hope. And learning to tell ourselves the truth...
A national survey of patients reveals that physicians don’t always fully discuss the risks and benefits of cancer screening, reports a new study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Media-fueled flip-flops and research breakthroughs on lifestyle and health behaviors are wearing down my usual patience with the provisional nature of science. Even simple dietary recommendations like lower fat/salt recommendations have become complicated as old truisms are overturned by new evidence. So I'm asking: To whom should I turn for meaningful guidance about modifying my risk for illness and boosting my health?
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
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?
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
When I was discharged from the intensive care unit in cardiology, not one of the nurses, residents or cardiologists asked if I'd be able to afford the fistful of expensive new cardiac meds I'd been prescribed. Not one asked if there was anybody at home to help take care of me there, or if there was anybody at home who needed me to take care of them. Not one asked if I'd be returning to a high-stress job, or even if I had enough banked sick time or vacation days to take sufficient time off. Such real-life issues are simply not the concern of most of our health care providers...
Poorer people of all ages are less likely than wealthier ones to follow recommended strategies for weight loss, finds a recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
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
Bewildered, panicked and disheartened, I watched my mother's eyes dart back and forth as she read the pharmacy's prescription cash price list, knowing she could not possibly afford her monthly medicines. We drove home, not saying a word, but I knew she was deeply distraught. When we arrived, she began cutting each tiny elliptical or rounded tablet into halves and quarters...
Between half and one-third of smokers presented with corrective statements about the dangers of smoking indicated that some of the information was new to them and motivated them to quit, finds a new study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine
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 recent clumsy mishap at the gym landed me in the emergency department. Lying in the hall, feeling hapless and helpless, I was in no position to make any important health decisions, had they been needed, or to remember anything important that might have been said. Later, I understood on a deeply personal level the need for a patient advocate...
Black adults who reported feeling more financial strain also rated their health more poorly than those with less financial strain, finds a new study in the American Journal of Health Behavior
I don't know if it's growing older, or New England winters, or the meds I take, or watching Homeland and Downton Abbey in the same week – but my memory isn't as crisp as it used to be. My partner, Richard, has become part of my cerebral cortex...
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...
In boxing terms, this is completely literal, sound advice. As a figurative metaphor for illness, it's not bad, either. Because no matter how competent, how smart, how resourceful we may think we are before a catastrophic health crisis strikes, many of us may suddenly feel incompetent, ignorant and helpless when thrust inexplicably into the stress of such formidable reality...
I recently had breakfast with an aging cousin, Walter, who has become infirm in his senior years. I knew he had several doctors and took medicine. It wasn't until breakfast time, however, that I realized how many medicines Walter took – and I was bowled over...
A new parent’s health literacy can affect their ability to follow recommendations to protect infants from injury, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Expanded smoking cessation benefits offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should give more people the opportunity to quit, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
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...
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
Most days, I have learned to function pretty well. But take a few unexpected health challenges, no matter how minor they may seem to others, arriving at the same time and piled onto an already-full plate and you have an explosion of overwhelm that looms larger than the average healthy person could even imagine. I've become a non-compliant patient...
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...
The $800 bottle of meds in my bathroom cabinet is a powerfully expensive reminder of my (former) family physician's lapse in attention – and my own lapse in catching her error. She'd somehow accidentally doubled both the dosage and the number of times per day to take these meds. How is this even possible? Somebody is not paying attention...
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
Depression rates are increasing in the U.S. and under-treatment is widespread, especially among certain groups including men, the poor, the elderly and ethnic minorities, finds a new study in General Hospital Psychiatry
Exposure to conflicting news about nutrition often results in confusion and backlash against nutrition recommendations, finds a recent study in the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives
Relevant research and conventional wisdom alike suggest that, despite their irresistible perennial tug on our collective conscience, New Year's resolutions generally have about the staying power of Champagne bubbles. In contrast, the science of sustainable behavior change tips convincingly toward "don't go until ready."
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
finds that rural residents have experienced smaller gains in life expectancy than their urban counterparts and the gap continues to grow.
When we talk about a consistently clear pattern of news stories that exaggerate or emphasize benefits while minimizing or ignoring harms, we are talking about stories exactly like this one...
Lately, the public's faith in the safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs has been making me uneasy. Why do so many of us continue to purchase pills that are not effective in causing weight loss, swallow syrups that promise to cure diabetes, and fiddle with our medication-taking regimens?...
Only a quarter of U.S. primary care physicians surveyed are doing a thorough job of helping patients achieve and maintain a healthy weight, finds a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion
In the eighth and final part of our series, we explain who the various people are in your doctor's office, from nurse practitioners to lab technicians. Knowing their different roles can make your visit go more smoothly...
In part six of our series, you'll find out what key pieces of information you need to know about your new doctor's office. Keep it handy with your personal health records or household files...
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...
Medical offices have a lot of staff but one common goal—helping you, the patient. Here are some of the people you may meet during your doctor’s appointment.
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 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
Residents of Massachusetts saw small gains in health status following the enactment of a state-wide health insurance mandate in 2006, finds a new study in the Milbank Quarterly
Let's stop telling the public that exercising and eating blueberries are guarantees for avoiding frailty and disability. Let's start talking about how to maintain our quality of life as we age and inevitably encounter health problems.
Is your company one of the many that are now offering "wellness programs"? Our latest Be a Prepared Patient article, Staying Well at Work, looks at a few of these programs in action and offers tips for maintaining a healthy work/life balance...
It is challenging, in the years following a cancer diagnosis, to assemble health care that protects us from the lingering effects of the disease and its treatment and that alerts us to a recurrence or new cancer. I hope these reflections will help those who've been diagnosed with cancer live as long and as well as they can...
Coast-to-coast, stress is the norm for most Americans: 55 percent of people feel stressed in everyday life, and far more women feel the stress than men do. It will take a village to help manage stress, including but not limited to our doctors.
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...
Disorders related to the abuse of alcohol contribute significantly to the burden of disease in the U.S., finds a new study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
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...
More and more employers are offering workplace wellness programs-but do they work?
Quick tips for integrating healthy habits into your work day
Final scores, rankings and rivalries aren't the only fall football traditions getting news coverage this season. Rates, effects and what to do about concussions are in the spotlight too.
Blacks, Hispanics and Asians are less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to visit a health care professional, even with health insurance, finds a recent study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Failing to address the presence of other smokers at home limits the effectiveness of workplace smoking restrictions, finds a new study in American Journal of Health Promotion.
A new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion
finds that the lifestyle of veterans both pre- and post-deployment influences their post-deployment wellness.
Websites targeting veterans fail to provide information about the risks of tobacco products despite high rates of smoking in the military, finds a new report in the American Journal of Health Promotion
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...
"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...
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.
Don’t have health insurance? Here’s advice on how to find the right insurance for your needs.
It can be hard to figure out how much your health care will cost ahead of time. Here are some tips for preparing for the cost of your procedures.
Binge eating is a problem affecting both men and women however, obese men who binge are more likely than their female counterparts to have elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure, finds a new study in General Hospital Psychiatry
Higher education, rather than income, protects women in disadvantaged neighborhoods from obesity, finds a new study in American Journal of Health Promotion
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
This week in health news: For teens, fighting is bad for the brain | Skeptical elderly turn to home remedies | Bedwetting treatments offer help | Green light for eating and drinking during labor
Despite the longstanding, widespread practice of restricting women’s food and fluid intake during labor, a large-scale analysis in The Cochrane Library
finds it unwarranted and supports women eating and drinking as they please.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. When I brought up the topic of fertility with my oncologist, I was presented with a stark choice between life-saving treatment or a chance at becoming a mother.
A survey of older rural adults found a high degree of medical skepticism, the belief that one knows and can control their own health better than a medical professional can, reports a recent study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
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
In the most recent newsletter, I talked about wanting to trade bodies with someone...just for one day. This way they could tell you just how freaked you should be about the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Fluctuations in the unemployment rate affect people’s health care choices, finds a new study in Health Services Research
Black women with breast cancer are more likely than Hispanic or white women to experience delays in the initiation of chemotherapy or radiation after surgery, finds a new study in Health Services Research
That’s what journalist Seth Mnookin writes on Slate, stating, further, that it is “wrong, grandiose, and cruel.” He writes, “I haven’t found a single cancer researcher who believes this means we’re on the verge of curing cancer.”
Low-income women who chose to deliver their baby at a birthing center under the care of a certified nurse-midwife had the same or better birthing experience as women under traditional care with a hospital-based obstetrician, according to a new study in Health Services Research.
Being female and living in a rural area are among several factors that predicted whether an elderly person with depression recovered over the course of a year, finds a recent study in Depression Research and Treatment.
Among fibromyalgia patients taking either of two commonly prescribed drugs to reduce pain, 22 percent report substantial improvement while 21 percent had to quit the regimen due to unpleasant side effects, according to a new review in The Cochrane Library.
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.
Better health is more likely when we agree on a plan of action with our doctor and follow it.
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.
You and your doctor need accurate information from each other. Open communication with your doctor is one of the most important factors in getting and staying healthy.
Each year, almost 115,000 women in the U.S. will lose their health insurance in the months following a divorce, finds a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
One of the greatest risks I faced from surgery to repair a macular hole in my eye was from a hospital acquired infection. But when I tried to find data on the performance of various hospitals in New York City, there were no ratings for Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat where I would have my surgery.
Judy Norsigian is one of the founders of Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS), a nonprofit public interest organization practicing women's health education, advocacy and consulting, and has served as its executive director since 2001. This is the second in a series of interviews with patient and consumer group leaders about their experiences with and attitudes toward comparative effectiveness research.
“Rooming in,” keeping mother and her newborn in the same room 24/7 to encourage breastfeeding, does support the practice, at least in the short term, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library.
Doctors who believe that women have “atypical” coronary heart disease symptoms are less certain when diagnosing heart disease in women. As a result, women are less likely than men to receive treatments for an urgent cardiac event, finds a new study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
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.
A new study in Ethnicity & Disease finds that racial disparities in breast cancer treatment persist even when Black and White patients have the same Medicaid health insurance and similar economic status.
Physicians have great influence over whether minorities and women participate in cancer clinical trials, according to a new literature review.
A new evidence review from The Cochrane Library finds that cerclage, a procedure intended to provide support to the cervix during pregnancy, provides no clinically significant difference in the number of fetal deaths or newborn complications compared to women who don’t receive the treatment.
For women with symptoms of the most common vaginal infection, a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that an over-the-counter diagnostic test may be just as accurate as having a test performed by a clinician.
As more and more soldiers return from recent conflicts overseas, new research reveals that female veterans experience poorer health than other women.
A new study finds U.S. physicians are performing Pap smears far more often than needed to prevent cervical cancer.
A new research review suggests that the use of one popular method of fetal monitoring does not improve maternal and fetal outcomes and makes women more likely to have cesarean sections.
My wife and I are expecting our third child, and our new insurance plan requires us to pay 20% coinsurance for all non-preventive care. Given the rapid rate of health care inflation, we thought it prudent to find out how much it would cost this time around. So, we asked for an estimate of the charges. It seemed like a reasonable enough request'
We often give a chilly reception to the idea of going "cold turkey" when it comes to anything that has to do with changing behaviors and habits, even those that may be important for our health.
Patients with breast cancer report greater satisfaction when their cancer doctor co-manages care with other specialists, finds a new study in Health Services Research.
Few breast cancer news items irk some women I know more than those linking alcohol consumption to the disease.
October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and recently, breast cancer patients and survivors alike have shared their (sometimes disparate) thoughts and feelings about these four weeks.
Getting women to meet the U.S. federal government’s recommended level of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity remains a huge challenge. A large new study shows that where women live affects just how likely they are to exercise.
October is breast cancer awareness month. But October 13th is National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) argue that "awareness" should not be the only message ' or even the main message'of the month. Here are 13 facts they think you should know...
After breast cancer surgery, a follow-up regimen that includes regular mammograms offers a survival benefit over a follow-up regimen that does not include mammograms, according to a new systematic review.
A new study finds that women smokers who live and work where bans are enforced, even those had no previous plans to stop smoking, are more likely to attempt quitting.
After seeing the NBC Nightly News last night, a physician urged me to write about what he saw: a story about a "simple blood test that could save women's lives." Readers - and maybe especially TV viewers - beware whenever you hear a story about "a simple blood test."
Breast cancer survivor, Lisa Bonchek Adams, blogs about life-changing events including a cancer diagnosis, the sudden death of a family member, and having a child with medical challenges. She combines medical, psychological, and sociological viewpoints to these and other topics. You can read this post and follow her at LisaBAdams.com.
The women recounted how their lives had been saved as they pleaded for the Food and Drug Administration not to withdraw approval for Avastin as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. They did so even without evidence that it provides benefit and with evidence that it confers risks.
A new review says that oxytocin, a medication often used to quicken slow-paced labor in its early stages, doesn’t decrease a woman’s risk of having a complicated birth involving forceps or a cesarean section.
An updated review of studies confirms that compared to staying sedentary, strength exercises boost bone density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
A new study finds that young bisexual and lesbian women are less likely to get Pap tests than straight women, while young bisexual women face a higher risk of being diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases.
Teaching young women how to prevent sexually transmitted infections increases condom use and might reduce their number of sexual partners, but do programs reduce disease rates?
Ectopic – or tubal – pregnancies can be dangerous for mothers, leading to rupture of the fallopian tube and possible hemorrhage, and they appear to be on the rise, according to a new study.
At a time when access to prompt treatment might affect survival, a large new study finds that African-American and Hispanic women newly diagnosed with breast cancer often face delays in care of more than a month.
For women coping with obesity and depression, new research finds that improving your mood might be the link to losing weight.
Women who suffered sexual or physical abuse as children are more likely to abuse alcohol than are others, according to a new study of 3,680 women.
Forceps might be a better instrument than a vacuum cup for assisting a successful birth, but new mothers might experience more trauma and complications after a forceps delivery, according to a new review of studies.
A new study of nearly 70,000 women found a clear association between abuse in childhood and adolescence and the risk of type 2 diabetes in adult women.
A new study that looked at the effect of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to determine the effect on various birth outcomes found that the overall effects were only moderate.