Monthly Archives: February 2011

A doomed and dysfunctional medical culture

Newborn babyJ.D. Kleinke is a medical economist, health information industry pioneer, and author of the forthcoming Catching Babies. In a dramatic, powerful, and beautifully written post on The Health Care Blog, he captures the essence of what’s wrong with modern medicine. “Who would not find great drama in a medical culture so doomed and dysfunctional, and so utterly driven by the conflict between patient preference and provider prejudice.” Read more


Misc Links 2/4/11

Child in imaging machinePicture This: The Average US Child Has Nearly 8 Imaging Tests by Age 18 (JAMA)
That excludes dental x-rays. First large, population-based study examines the use of radiography, computed tomographic (CT) scans, and other imaging procedures in pediatric populations. 42% of children get imaged.

Close Look at a Flu Outbreak Upends Some Common Wisdom (NYT)
A study of the 2009 swine flu epidemic found that children did not catch the flu by sitting near classmates, adults probably were not infected by their children, and closing schools had little effect. Disease spread through child’s network of friends. Read more


The absurdity of widowhood

Joyce Carol Oates and husband Raymond SmithThe New Yorker published a beautiful piece by Joyce Carol Oates on the death of her husband, Raymond Smith. Oates and Smith, who had been married 48 years, were in a car accident three years ago. The engine of their car was struck at high impact from the side, and their airbags inflated. Both Oates and Smith walked away from the scene, feeling lucky to be alive. Read more


Misc Links 2/3/11

Couple kissingThe mysteries of kisses (New Scientist)
Review of The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us. At its most basic level, an exploratory kiss offers a reproductive advantage, providing genetic and hormonal information to those who pucker up.

Virginia to seek expedited Supreme Court review of suit over health-care law (Wash Post)
In a rare legal request to bypass appeals and get early intervention, Virginia attorney general asks Supreme Court for immediate review. Read more


Are doctors tired of practicing medicine?

Dr. Ben Carson George BushIn the mid-20th century, physicians were among the most highly admired professionals, comparable with Supreme Court justices. … Depictions of physicians on television were overwhelmingly positive. Doctors were able to trade on this cultural perception for an unusual degree of privilege and influence.

Today, medicine is just another profession, and doctors have become like everybody else: insecure, discontented and anxious about the future.
Read more


Misc Links 2/2/11

Marion Nestle What to eat2010 Dietary Guidelines, deconstructed (Food Politics)
Marion Nestle digests the new 95-page “policy document.” Being a vegetarian is no longer high risk. Change the food environment. “Eat less cake, cookies, ice cream, other desserts, and candy.” That’s pretty explicit.

How Often Does the Oldest Person in the World Die? (Village Voice)
Every six months, more or less. The world’s oldest person in the world died on Monday at the age of 114 years, 195 days. The honor is now held by a woman 37 days younger. Eight out of ten of the last “winners” have been 114, with the other two living to 115. Read more


Buffness and beauty are arbitrary fashions

Exercising at the gymWhen exercise comes wrapped in value judgme When exercise comes wrapped in value judgments, does it wind up entangled in an anxiety that threatens the very resolve to get fit? As Mr. LaLanne was siring new methods for shaping up, he was fathering something else, too: a potent, and in some cases immobilizing, strain of contemporary guilt. Read more


Misc Links 2/1/11

Tiger gets hip replacementTiger, tiger, moving right: Pioneering hip operation gives Girl a new start (Guardian)
Eight-year-old Malayan tiger received world’s first prosthetic hip. Expected to live another 12 years. Malayan tigers are an endangered species, with only 500 living in the wild.

Better communication leads to better care (American Medical News)
Patients should speak up when they have concerns about patient modesty, and doctors should listen. Read more


Act now to prevent the economic meltdown of medicine

Hospital signThe widespread assumption that we should blame personal lifestyles for our health problems allows corporations and the governments who fail to regulate them off the hook. It’s not politically or economically comfortable to acknowledge the underlying causes of disease — poverty, inequality, air and water pollution, contaminated food, unsafe working conditions, an obesegenic environment — and take responsibility for them. Read more