Monday, December 2, 2013

What I’ve Been Reading

- Anyone wanting to sample the full range of opinion (and emotion) about health care in this country need look no further than Jerome Groopman’s review of Paul A. Offit’s book, The Quackish Cult of Alternative Medicine, and the comments, 81 in all, that appeared in a recent New Republic: Dr. Groopman, who is Chair of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of many articles and books, seems to be generally in agreement with Offit in dismissing most forms of alternative medicine, though he also points out the need for greater transparency in the medical profession, especially with respect to conflicts of interest.

      - Noreena Hertz’s frightening ordeal with a mystery illness led her to ponder the decision-making process in “Why We Make Bad Decisions,” Here are a couple of salient quotes:

“If we are to control our own destinies, we have to switch our brains back on and come to our medical consultations with plenty of research done, able to use the relevant jargon.”

“One study of radiologists, for example, reveals that those who perform poorly on diagnostic tests are also those most confident in their diagnostic prowess.”

      - When it comes to staying healthy, which is more important, diet or exercise? This question is addressed in a short but useful article:, it depends on your goal: if you want to drop a dress size or increase your energy, diet is the way to go; if you’d like to reduce your risk of heart disease, keep your mind sharp, or increase your libido, exercise is the better choice. The article includes specific recommendations in connection with each objective.

- These days there are a lot of doctor/bloggers. The stories they tell are often poignant and eloquently expressed. One that I just started reading is “In My Humble Opinion” by Dr. Jordan Grumet, an internist who practices in the Chicago area:

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