Archive for the ‘Family Health’ Category

Soft drinks are the new cigarettes

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Although 1 in 5 Americans continues to smoke cigarettes, many doctors and public health professionals are now setting their sights on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, which many consider to be nothing less than the “new tobacco.” Read the rest of this entry »

Vitamin D may be vastly overrated

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Vitamin D seems to be all the rage in medicine these days. A family physician colleague commented to me last week that the laboratory test for vitamin D deficiency is becoming the most frequently ordered test in his practice. This clinical bandwagon is likely a response to data from multiple recent studies that found low vitamin D levels in the majority of children and adults of all ages.

While vitamin D has always been thought to play an important role in keeping bones strong, researchers are suggesting that low levels may increase one’s risk for a variety of diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Read the rest of this entry »

Does one drink a day keep dementia away?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

A recent conference held at the National Institutes of Health on preventing Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia) found little evidence that medications or dietary supplements are any help in slowing cognitive decline in old age. Read the rest of this entry »

Does the type of birth affect postpartum health?

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Baby_and_MotherMy daughter, who turns two years old next month, is becoming something of a medical rarity. This isn’t because she is showing signs of a late-developing handicap or extraordinary ability for her age – it’s because she came into the world as a vaginal birth after Cesarean section (VBAC).

Although more than three-quarters of women who choose a trial of labor over a repeat Cesarean section (including my wife) successfully deliver vaginally, studies showing slightly elevated risks of rupture or infection of the uterus with VBAC, pressure from insurance companies concerned about lawsuits, and restrictive medical guidelines discourage most women from even trying. Read the rest of this entry »

Improving Your Understanding of Health Risks

Monday, May 10th, 2010

When there is a plane crash in the news, my mother-in-law, who dislikes flying anywhere but has driven coast-to-coast many times, says that she will never get on a plane again. But according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the odds of being in a serious car accident during your lifetime are a mere 1 in 100, while the odds of being in an accident involving a plane are 1 in 20,000. (And my mother-in-law did much of her driving in the days before seat belt laws and airbags.) Read the rest of this entry »