Trust the Internet or Your Doctor?

Doctors were once the most trusted members of the community, but now it’s the opposite. Why are we so desperate for our doctors to be wrong? I don’t get it.

That was the beginning of an editorial in The Daily Beast that made my hair stand on end. The undisclosed doctor/author did a fine job of writing and defending his profession, but I found it obvious that he/she still doesn’t understand why so many people distrust their doctor. The rest of this is from the two comments I posted, along with links to related articles.

TIME magazine cover

COMMENT-1:

No, you don’t get it. Your sarcastic editorial, although interesting and well-organized, misses the point entirely. Americans pay twice as much on healthcare as other nations but still live sicker and die younger, according to the World Health Organization. Why is that? It’s certainly not because we now trust the Internet more than our doctor. It must be something else, and Steven Brill got closest to describing the problem in his TIME Magazine report, “Bitter Pill: Why High Medical Bills Are Killing Us.”

How has the Internet become a more trusted source of medical information than the family doctor? Maybe it has to do with the natural incentives of an industry that profits from illness and injury and spends twice as much on political lobbying as the military industrial complex to protect its obscene profits. Read More …

On Legacy Writing & The Gift of Remembering

memory tattooby: Jess Hagemann

Everyone has a story to share; not just presidents and kings. Preserving your memories is a gift to yourself and everyone who knows you, a gift to which I can personally testify. — Jess

EDITOR: I urge you to read this article and preserve your story while you can, because it will mean a lot to your family after you’re gone. This article reminds me of the memories my mom left in a hand-written book, Grandma was Quite a Girl.” And it reminds me to mention other articles on this site about preserving your legacy.

Why One Man Tattooed His Memories on His Body.

When director Christopher Nolan released Memento in 2000, the National Institute of Mental Health hailed the film as “a perfect exploration of the neurobiology of memory.” In Memento, protagonist Leonard Shelby suffers from anterograde amnesia, or the inability to create new memories following a trauma. (That is, Leonard’s short-term memory is completely shot, while his long-term memory remains intact). To make up for the fact that he can no longer mentally record the day-to-day events of his life, Leonard begins tattooing ‘clues’ onto his body at the end of each day, so that when he wakes in the morning the tattoos might trigger or reinform his daily experiences. Tattoos! A permanent, physical manipulation of the human body, just to remember something—that’s how urgently important memories are to the human race! Read More …

Transparency in Medicine

Dr. Leana Wen gave an important TED talk about transparency in medicine, but her campaign made other doctors angry and even generated death threats. Thankfully, however, a few hundred physicians have seen the light and joined in. Watch the video and notice the quotes.

“Being totally transparent is scary. You feel naked, exposed, and vulnerable. But … when doctors are willing to step off our pedestals, take off our white coats, and show our patients who we are and what medicine is all about, that’s when we begin to overcome the sickness of fear.” — Dr. Leana Wen Read More …

Patient Attitudes About Doctors and Healthcare

American Health Care is Snake BitPatients don’t like their doctors.
Why is that?

That was the topic of a recent article by Peter Ubel at KevinMD.com that mentioned a New England Journal of Medicine article and included the table below. Ubel explored patient attitudes about doctors and healthcare and the reasons why Americans rate their own doctors high (ranked 3rd worldwide) and rate our healthcare system low (tied for 24th, just ahead of Chili, Bulgaria, Russia & Poland). I responded with this comment…

Yes, consumers see most doctors as compassionate and hard-working, with their hearts in the right place. After all, they got into medicine to help people. But the “system” they work in is preventing them from doing that. Read More …

Top Ways Our Healthcare System seems Evil

America is Snake Bit“A Lot Of People In This Industry Are Just Evil”
(Jeff Kushner, founder Of Oscar Health)

That provocative quote from Josh Kushner at the 4th annual Clinton Health Matters Initiative, was aimed at the healthcare industry and reported by Forbes contributor Dan Munro. Josh was one of four panelists in a 90‒minute opening Plenary Session moderated by Former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton opened by lamenting that technology adoption in healthcare can take as long as 17 years and sarcastically said, “By all means let’s wait 17 years and let people die in the meanwhile.” He then asked Josh to begin a discussion of the issue. But what’s behind his claim of excessive greed or evil? I can’t speak for Josh directly, but here are the top 10 ways our healthcare system seems evil.

Excessive greed (evil?) is natural for an industry that:

Read More …

Helping Seniors Stay Warm in Winter

Click image to see related article at CareGiver Partnership.

Winter weather can mean dangerous conditions for older people, both inside and outside the home, so this infographic by Homecare Together offers helpful tips on how to keep sufficiently warm and keep the heat inside. Afterwards is a text transcript for people who use screen readers.

In addition to helping seniors stay warm, keep an eye out for symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a type of depression that occurs during winter when there’s less natural sunlight, and keeping curtains drawn to keep in the warmth can amplify the effect. It’s often treated with light therapy using products offered by Intelligent Sleep. Read More …

Digital Health at CES … and other highlights

The Latest and Greatest in Digital Health from CES 2015

Digital Health at CESBy Beth Kelly

The 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held in Las Vegas, Nevada from January, 6-9th. It’s the largest expo of its kind. Every year, the event attracts an audience of approximately 150,000 people. Although there were many exciting displays across several different industries, the most exciting advancements on display this year where breakthroughs in telemedicine.

Certainly, there were innumerable trendy and novel products revealed this year that warrant mentioning. On the home automation front, local specialists from Las Vegas ADT were on hand to help explain their new carbon monoxide detector augmentation to their Pulse system, and there was also the Melomind — headphones that monitor your brain waves so they can attenuate the sound waves of the music you’re listening to jive with your mood. Read More …

Concussion Awareness

FallBy Thomas Barnet, Rehab Tech at Waccamaw Community Hospital

Concussion Awareness.
What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is usually caused by a sudden and/or forceful blow to the head or surrounding area. Concussions range in severity and are often described by their most blatant acute (short-term) symptom, unconsciousness. While athletes may be more prone to concussions, specifically those in contact sports, anybody can get one, including in “non-contact sports” such as baseball and soccerConcussions are also often seen in vehicular accidents, explosions in combat (military), or simple falls.

Symptoms generally associated with concussions include: Read More …

Find PURPOSE to Prevent Empty-Nest Boredom

Find PURPOSE to prevent Empty Nest BoredomThe kids are grown and out of the house, leaving you with more time on your hands than you’ve had in decades. While that feeling of freedom can be gratifying at first, after a while, it can also start to feel a little boring, especially if you’ve also retired. In fact, launching your children out into the world is considered to be one of the most difficult life transitions to face.

If your life has gotten rather mundane as of late, instead of sinking further into the doldrums, consider taking part in one or more of these activities that are sure to prevent empty-nest boredom, soothe your soul, and boost your happiness levels. Comment below to let us know about your favorite activity, even if it’s not on this list. Read More …

Music as Medicine

I’ll be home for Christmas

Henry has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home, and is mostly unresponsive and depressed, but watch what happens when he’s introduced to music. The part of the brain that recognizes music is usually one of the last parts affected by Alzheimer’s disease; but not only does the music awaken that part; it improves Henry’s communication and memory too. He remembers the words AND the artist.

Having seen this reaction before, I became interested in the healing powers of music and met Sean Maher, an award-winning musician and music therapist at Intelligent Sleep who uses vibration, sound and binaural beats to help people entrain their brains to reduce stress, focus, or improve creativity. I also discovered Lisa’s article below and got permission to repost it.

Music as Medicine

Bad to the Bone

Click on image to hear George Thorogood’s classic, “Bad to the Bone” on YouTube.

by Lisa Suennen

It happens every time. I hear “Bad to the Bone” on the radio and suddenly all is right with the world. I love music and I have learned that if I choose the correct genre and tempo  I can improve a depressed state or calm a hyper one. I have song lists on my iPod called Cranky and Stressed, F the World, and Happiness, all designed around my various moods. Music can have a profound affect on my state of mind. I think this is true for most people, actually.

The therapeutic value of music has long been known to the medical world. Famed neuropsychologist Oliver Sacks used music to engage his patients (this was dramatized in the movie The Music Never Stops, where a brain-damaged patient is able to recall memories otherwise lost when he hears the favorite music of his youth). And I saw an article this week, courtesy of my BFF, which stated this:

Doctor playing the violin“One hundred years ago, Pennsylvanian surgeon Evan Kane penned a brief letter to JAMA in which he declared himself a rigorous proponent of the ‘benefic [sic] effects of the phonograph within the operating room.’ To Kane, it was an optimal means of ‘calming and distracting the patient from the horror of their situation.’ Of course this was before effective anesthesia so anything would have helped.” Read More …

Curing The Holiday Blues

Ho Ho ChristmasEDITOR: We wish you all a Joyous Christmas, but in case your mood is just Ho Ho, this article may help.

A Long Slide Home

By Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. (Huffington Post)

That’s how a man in his 50s described his life to me: “It’s my long slide home.” He was feeling morose, anticipating the long holiday period from Thanksgiving through the New Year and what he knew it would arouse in him.

I often see the holiday blues strike people during this time of multiple holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas; as well as Ashurah, Bodhi Day, and Kwanzaa). The tendency to reflect and take stock of one’s life often triggers sadness, regret, or depression — especially during midlife.

Read More …

All Generations can use Xbox One with Kinect

How Multiple Generations Can Connect at Home
Using Xbox One’s Kinect

Family uses Xbox One Kinect

The learning curve of new technology has a reputation for widening the generation gap. However, some new tech toys, like Microsoft’s Xbox One with Kinect, are bucking that convention. All generations can use the Xbox One with Kinect, because it gives them some easier ways to be entertained and brings everyone together for family fun. Read More …

Sleeplessness in America [infographic]

Tossing and Turning: Sleeplessness in America

Tossing and Turning -- Sleeplessness in America This text, courtesy of Top Nursing Programs, is provided as a convenience for automated screen readers. Sighted readers will prefer the Infographic below.

There aren’t many people who are happy with their sleep: They get too little, they feel restless, they don’t wake up refreshed, they can’t stay asleep. In fact, most Americans admit to having erratic sleep patterns, especially through the work week. So what does lack of sleep actually do to the body? And if we can’t add more hours to our sleep, how can we make the sleep we do get better?

Sleeping Beauty?

  • 8 to 8.5 — Hours of sleep per night adults generally require (1)
  • 1 in 3 — Adults who have insomnia at some point in their lives (1)
  • 43% of Americans 13-64 say they rarely or never get good sleep on weeknights.
  • 60% admit to suffering some sleep problem every night (snoring, waking constantly, feeling groggy in the morning). (2)
  • 15% of adults 19-64 say they sleep less than six hours on weeknights. (2)

Read More …

Doctored, about Physician Disillusionment

Doctored - The Disillusionment of an American Physician

Click to buy on Amazon.com

Doctors are just as frustrated with our fee-for-service “sick care” system as patients are. Following on the heels of a related article from a few days ago by Dr. Stephen Schimpff, today’s post introduces an NPR article featuring an in-depth interview with cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar, MD, who wrote the book, Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician. It begins…

“As a young doctor working at a teaching hospital, Sandeep Jauhar was having trouble making ends meet. So, like other academic physicians, he took a job moonlighting at a private practice, the offices of a cardiologist. He noticed that the offices were quick to order expensive tests for their patients — even when they seemed unnecessary. It was ‘made very clear from the beginning’ that seeing patients alone was not financially rewarding for the business.”

Read the rest at NPR, listen to the full interview below,
or watch the Wall Street Journal interview below that. Read More …

Reduce Stress and Get a Better Night’s Rest

Reduce StressMore than half of Americans are losing sleep due to stress, according to Better-Sleep-Better-Life. Not getting enough sleep comes with a number of unwanted side effects, including some that are rather serious. A lack of sleep can cause motor vehicle accidents, injuries on the job, weight gain, and numerous health problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just to name a few. It can even contribute to greater stress, creating a vicious cycle. Fortunately there are a number of simple ways to help relieve stress so that you can sleep better at night.

Regular Exercise

Taking part in physical activity on a regular basis is one of the most important things you can do to relieve stress and get better sleep. Optimally, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises like brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous activities such as jogging or swimming laps each week. Take part in these activities at least two hours before going to bed, or it could have the opposite effect—keeping you awake. Read More …

3D Printing and Stem Cells Replace Bone

3D printed skull

Using 3D printing, researchers can create scaffolds to repair/replace bone tissue. Shown here: a 3D printed skull.
Photo Credit: © The University of Nottingham

A major cause for concern among the elderly, and those who love them, is bone degeneration. Particularly susceptible to malabsorption, osteoporosis, and nail fungus, which can eat away at the bone if left unaddressed, aging loved ones lean on their children and spouses for support.

In some cases, bone degeneration can be reversed. In most others, it cannot. In the latter, treatment options are limited, and often very painful.

One such treatment is replacement joint surgery. Replacement joint surgeries are performed to allow damaged tendons to heal, and to improve patients’ quality of life. Unfortunately, many replacement joints, including hips and knees, are constructed of metal. Too often, corrosion occurs, leading sometimes to blood poisoning. In many other cases, the body rejects the metal. When this occurs, patients must be rushed into emergency surgery to avoid further complications.

Fortunately, researchers have begun to hatch less painful, user-friendlier alternatives to joint replacement surgery, bone grafts and prostheses, using 3D printingRead More …

Stem Cells and Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Stem Cell Research Moves One Step Closer To
Curing Age-Related Macular Degeneration

By Troy Cole

The leading cause of loss of vision in people over 50 is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which causes damage to an area near the center of the retina called the “macula.” Primarily impacting central vision, this damaged area tends to grow as the disease progresses, causing blurred vision and dimness of sight. Read More …

Technology Must-Haves for the Over-50 Crowd

Using an iPadBy Dr. Alexis Abramson

When it comes to technology, businesses are realizing that the 50+ demographic — which has at times been overlooked in terms of the marketing of new technologies — is actually extremely interested in innovative “50+ friendly” technology.

As a matter of fact, the marketplace for technology to assist aging adults is expected to grow sharply from $2 billion today to more than $20 billion by 2020, according a report from Aging in Place Technology Watch — and boomers are going to be on the receiving end of the advancements and innovations.

I’m often asked about 50+ technology in my Dr. Alexis Approved blog — so I thought I would share a few of the most frequently asked questions.  I hope they help you learn more about the advanced technology (and fun gadgets!) available for boomers, caregivers and seniors. Read More …