Red Meat Is Not the Enemy

There are people in this country eating too much red meat. They should cut back. There are people eating too many carbs. They should cut back on those. There are also people eating too much fat, and the same advice applies to them, too.

What’s getting harder to justify, though, is a focus on any one nutrient as a culprit for everyone.

As with other bad guys in the food wars, the warnings against red meat are louder and more forceful than they need to be.

Americans are more overweight and obese than they pretty much have ever been. There’s also no question that we are eating more meat than in previous eras. But we’ve actually been reducing our red meat consumption for the last decade or so. This hasn’t led to a huge decrease in obesity rates or to arguments from experts that it is the reason for fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Aaron E. Carroll, New York Times, March 30, 2015

20 percent of patients with serious conditions are first misdiagnosed, study says

More than 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion at one of the nation’s premier medical institutions had been misdiagnosed by their primary care providers, according to new research published Tuesday.

Twelve percent of the people who asked specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to review their cases had received correct diagnoses, the study found. The rest were given diagnoses that were partly in line with the conclusions of the Mayo doctors who evaluated their conditions.

The results are generally similar to other research on diagnostic error but provide additional evidence for advocates who say such findings show that the health-care system still has room for improvement.

Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post, April 4, 2017

After Knee or Hip Replacement, No Place Like Home

It may surprise many to learn that, even if joint replacement patients live alone, the overwhelming majority recover equally well and may experience fewer complications if they go home directly from the hospital and get outpatient rehabilitation instead of spending days or weeks in a costly rehab facility.

Based on the findings of recent well-designed studies, Dr. Javad Parvizi, chairman of research in orthopedics at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, maintains that “we need to re-examine who, if anyone, should go to a rehab facility after joint replacement.”

Jane E. Brody, New York Times, April 24, 2107

Why are female doctors introduced by first name while men are called ‘Doctor’?

The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, looked at videos of 321 speaker introductions at 124 internal medicine grand rounds from 2012 through 2014 at Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona and Minnesota. The results showed that male introducers used professional titles for female doctors only 49 percent of the time on first reference, but introduced male doctors by their titles 72 percent of the time.

Female introducers used titles in introductions of both male and female doctors more often than male introducers (96 percent of the time vs. 66 percent of the time).

Janice Neumann, Washington Post, June 24, 2017

Get Off The Couch Baby Boomers, Or You May Not Be Able To Later

Being immobile like that for many hours each day does more than raise the risk of a host of diseases. DiPietro and her colleagues have good evidence that, as the years wear on, it actually reduces the ability of older people to get around on foot at all.

Safest level of alcohol consumption is none, worldwide study shows

To minimize health risks, the optimal amount of alcohol someone should consume is none. That’s the simple, surprising conclusion of a massive study, co-written by 512 researchers from 243 institutions, published Thursday in the prestigious journal the Lancet.

The researchers built a database of more than a thousand alcohol studies and data sources, as well as death and disability records from 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2016. The goal was to estimate how alcohol affects the risk of 23 health problems. The number that jumped out in the end was zero. Anything more than that was associated with health risks.

Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, August 23, 2108

 

 

 

Can Science Beat Jet Lag? Airlines Seek Help for 19-Hour Flights

A wave of ultra-long flights that will get you halfway around the world in one hop is pushing airlines to deal with the one extra you can’t escape: Relentless insomnia, debilitating fatigue and tormented bowels, better known as jet lag.

Qantas Airways Ltd., which will start the first non-stop service between Australia and Europe in March, is working with scientists in Sydney to discover ways to limit body-clock breakdown on the 17-hour flight. They’ve tried to make the color and intensity of the jet’s interior lights mimic dawn and dusk. Cabin temperatures and specially made meals will aim to put passengers to sleep or keep them awake—depending on the time at the destination.

Key to the problem is circadian disruption—messing with the internal body clock that regulates everything from brainwave activity to hormone production and cell regeneration.

The main cue for resetting that clock is light, said Steve Simpson, academic director of the Charles Perkins Centre, which is carrying out the research with Sydney-based Qantas. But there’s a baked-in biological catch: the clock can only reset by about 90 minutes a day, even in the right conditions. An ill-timed dose of sunshine or a badly chosen snack at the wrong hour can mean days of suffering, he said.

Angus Whitley, Bloomberg, February 5, 2018

Spending Time With Grandparents Makes Kids Less Prone To Ageism, Says Study

A new study published in the journal Child Development found that children who have good relationships with their grandmas and grandpas are less likely to show bias towards older adults.

“The most important factor associated with ageist stereotypes was poor quality of contact with grandparents,” says lead researcher Allison Flamion, a psychology graduate student at the University of Liege, in a press release. “When it came to ageist views, we found that quality of contact mattered much more than frequency.”

Annamarya Scaccia, Huffington Post, February 2, 2018

Long Sleeves on Doctors’ White Coats May Spread Germs

Long Sleeves on Doctors' White Coats May Spread GermsDoctors may want to roll up their sleeves before work, literally. A new study suggests that long sleeves on a doctor’s white coat may become contaminated with viruses or other pathogens that could then be transmitted to patients.

They found that, when the health care workers wore long-sleeved coats, 25 percent of the simulations resulted in contamination of their sleeves or wrists with the virus DNA marker, compared with none when the health care workers wore short-sleeved coats.

Rachael Rettner, Scientific American, October 14, 2017

Patients need rest, not antibiotics, say health officials

About to take an antibiotic

More patients should be told to go home and rest rather than be given antibiotics, according to health officials.

Public Health England (PHE) says up to a fifth of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary as many illnesses get better on their own.

Overusing the drugs is making infections harder to treat by creating drug-resistant superbugs.

PHE says patients have “a part to play” in stopping the rise of infections.

James Gallagher, BBC News, October 23, 2017