Good sleep goes hand in hand with good health; after all, one-third of the day is spent in the state of non-wakefulness know as sleep. Whether this sleep is a peaceful slumber or ridden with multiple awakenings has great consequences for productivity, learning, attention and demeanor throughout the day. Thus, it is essential to maintain adequate sleep hygiene, and exercise can play a role in increasing restorative sleep — if done at the right time.
Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine’ said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The role of nutrition in health has been recognized since the beginning of medicine, yet somehow nutrition education has fallen by the wayside in most medical curricula. Given that 34.9 percent of Americans are obese and obesity has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer, nutrition should be a focal point of medical education.
This story revolves around a single piece of paper. Among those who use this piece of paper, and among those who benefit from it, there exists much confusion about the paper’s intention. Some of the providers suspect intentional misguidance by those who designed the form.
Today, a person’s zip code is a better indication of their health than their genetic code is. We know that physical communities experience shared sickness, whether linked to trauma, viruses or unavailable nutrition, and there are established biomedical consequences to poverty and segregation. Acknowledging these links, however, only gets us so far; successful intervention demands thinking deeply about the relationship between patients and their communities. Rochester, NY is home to an innovative attempt to combating these issues. It is one that challenges traditional ideas of what factors define health and consequently, what metrics define therapy.
In the past few weeks, there has been considerable press surrounding needle exchanges and the recently declared HIV epidemic in Indiana.
The first time I talked with my friends about needle exchanges, I had a visceral reaction. “Why would you give people new needles?” I asked, completely outraged. “Isn’t that enabling and therefore doing a disservice to the very people you’re trying to help?”
It is illegal to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater because it places the individuals surrounding you at risk of harm. Why then can someone demand that people not vaccinate their children when this puts not only their children, but others at risk as well?
A few years ago when I was working at a charter school in upstate New York, one of my students was caught “prostituting herself” to men she was messaging online. When asked, she said she was doing so for a 30-year-old man she claimed was her boyfriend. Word about this traveled quickly at school. Students talked about her behind her back and called her a “hoe.”
As medical students, we will encounter scenarios in which patients are seeking advice on the benefits of switching to e-cigarettes, or we may have patients, who were previously non-smokers, start “vaping.” To effectively counsel our patients and advocate for their health and well-being, we must stay current with the evolving research on e-cigarette use.
In the month of January, we have had more cases of measles in the United States than we typically have in an entire year. The reason the United States is able to keep cases of measles so low is because of MMR vaccination. In an ideal world, everyone would receive vaccines so that the entire population would be immune to measles. This way, when someone brand new arrived, their infected state would not have grave implications. The reality is this: there are some groups of the population who cannot receive vaccines.
It has been one month since ringing in the New Year, and already, the United States has racked up more cases of measles than it usually sees in an entire year. The current outbreak, thought to have originated in Disneyland, has expanded to at least 14 states and affected more than 100 patients. Last year, there were 644 reported cases of measles, more than the entire preceding 5-year period combined.
No one can deny the heavy price tag of health care in the United States — in fact, we have the priciest health care in the world. Some might jump to the conclusion that this would mean we also have the best health care, since increased spending means increased capacity to provide a higher quality of care, right? But according to the World Health Organization (WHO), we consistently fall short when compared to other nations in areas like life expectancy or speed of health services.
“Americans don’t lose weight.” This was the favorite tagline of a gastroenterologist I shadowed as a second-year medical student. In the few hours I spent with him, he seemed to have a defeatist attitude towards the potential that patients have in caring for themselves. Unfortunately, I do not believe this physician is alone in his thoughts. The allopathic medical education culture lends itself to treat people with medications and surgeries.