Notes From the Fieldby Martin Weil

Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

March 3, 2015

Another Win for Coffee Drinkers

They have cleaner arteries, and thus lower risk of heart disease, according to recent research from South Korea. Guess I can keep at my longstanding addiction to Peets.

February 4, 2015

Yes, Hospitals Can Kill You

This is just crazy. The WSJ reports on how mortality rates are far higher for heart attacks that occur in hospitals than for those that occur outside. This from a study of cardiac event response at UNC Chapel Hill’s hospital. Part of this effect is explained by the older sicker patient population found in hospitals, but not all. The graphic showing the dramatic difference in treatment times for cardiac events is mind-boggling. I have always (half) joked that “being in a hospital can kill you” but here is scientific evidence.PJ-BZ842_HEARTB_16U_20150202173311

I do want to highly commend the researchers at UNC however. Most for-profit hospitals, one suspects, would not publish this data. This candor will help shine a light on, and hopefully improve, hospital care nationwide.


December 8, 2014

Being Mortal

I am sending Atul Gawande’s latest, “Being Mortal,” to all my doctors this Christmas. I suggest you do the same. I am a huge Gawande fan. And this may be his most important book yet.

October 22, 2014

Quote of the Week, Ebola edition

More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.

From Twitter, via The Big Picture

October 2, 2014

Ebola Talking Points

This post on the spread of Ebola, by a very credible group of economists, suggests the West will not see a major outbreak of the disease. They do believe that hundreds of thousands of Africans will die from it. I am no health expert, but this seems a credible enough analysis. I pass it along as people I speak with are starting to be concerned and a case of Ebola has been confirmed today in Texas.

May 30, 2014

To Age Well, Exercise

So says a new study in the medical journal JAMA and reported by the NY Times. The study found that exercising three hours a week in a combination of walking and light weight training significantly reduced disability rates for those aged 70-89. This is great news for anyone as disability is something most people would prefer to avoid. Most of us are going to live a lot longer than we expect and three hours of moderate weekly exercise seems a small price to pay to avoid the pain and cost of being debilitated.

Sadly, I know that many of our ingrained behavioral rationales “That’s not going to happen to me,” and poor longer-term decision making – failing to save today for great gains later – will cause many of us to stay on the couch.

March 5, 2014

What Should You Be Worried About? Health Edition

What Kills US? is an excellent short video on the real threats to our health and lives in the US. This is behavioral economics at its best – and explores how we obsess to our detriment on “headline risks” such as terrorism and airplane crashes when we would be far better off simply getting more exercise.

Thanks to The Big Picture

January 17, 2014

Train That Brain

Older adults who underwent a brief course of brain exercises saw improvements in reasoning skills and processing speed that could be detected as long as 10 years after the course ended, according to results from the largest study ever on cognitive training.

This is from an NBC News report discussing recent research in the field of “brain training.” These mental workout programs are demonstrating positive results in slowing or arresting the trajectory of cognitive function decline in aging adults.

I first became acquainted with this concept after a broadcast series on the topic on our local PBS affiliate. In addition to crossword puzzles, I added Lumosity to my own personal regimen two years ago. (Caveat: I have not seen any studies that compare the results of a consumer brain-training program like Lumosity with the results obtained by the more rigorous methodologies discussed in the research.)

January 21, 2013

Sitting is the “New Smoking”

We Americans sit an average of 9.3 hours a day, longer than the 7.7 average hours we spend sleeping. The lack of physical activity has substantial consequences, both to us personally and to the cost of our healthcare, according to this article from the Harvard Business Review. The death rate associated with over-eating and obesity is now 35 million in the US, compares with just 3.5 million for tobacco. Walk more, stand more, bend over – any amount of physical activity you can add to your everyday routine helps, the more the better.

January 19, 2013

Why Americans Are Fat, in One Picture

And the winner is … Bistro Shrimp Pasta from The Cheesecake Factory, which also has more saturated fat in this one meal than is recommended for the average person for an entire weekend.

From the Washington Post

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