Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winds of Medical Change

It appears that the winds of change are blowing through the halls of medical schools across the country. In a recent survey of medical school students at 126 schools they found a growing interest and acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The results showed 77% thought that patients would benefit more if their doctors knew about CAM along with Western medicine. In a show of support for Integrative Medicine 74% of the doctors-to-be thought that a blend of Western medicine and CAM is better than either by itself.

Looks like the CAM genie is out of the bottle and the AMA isn't going to be able to put it back any time soon. That's great news for all of us as patients and medical consumers and also for doctors who want to do a better job.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happiness Helps

I've written before about the importance of being happy to your health, there really is no substitute. In today's rushed, multi-tasked, even dangerous world it's hard to figure out how to add a little happiness to your life.

PARADE magazine had a very nice article on the subject last week so I wanted to share some of their tips.

1) ACT HAPPY - EVEN IF YOU AREN'T (yet) It will cheer you and everyone around you.
2) SEEK OUT POSITIVE DISTRACTIONS Think about what always gives you pleasure and just do it. Don't wait for the activity to come to you, go out and buy the tickets, make the call, whatever.
3) DO ONE THING AT A TIME Try for at least an hour or two each day to do just one thing because multitasking can make you feel tense.
4) SPEND MORE TIME WITH FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES There is no replacement for the enjoyment of close relationships. it's the No.1 predictor of our happiness.
5) TAKE ACTION Passivity can make you feel worse so choose to change, even if it's a small step.

I'll add one of my own too ... TAKE TIME TO UNPLUG. All of our modern electronic conveniences have an off switch, so use it once in awhile and enjoy the peace and tranquility.

Be happy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Exercise is Best Medicine

"No pill or nutritional supplement has the power of near-daily moderate activity in lowering the number of sick days people take," says David Nieman, director of Appalachian State University's Human Performance Lab in Kannapolis, N.C. in a Wall Street Journal article on Jan. 5th. There is a growing body of research clearly showing that regular exercise can boost the body's immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria. It can be done with just a brisk 30- to 45-minute walk five times a week. Regular exercise has also been shown to offer a wide variety of other benefits too.

Unfortunately the CDC now says that 36% of U.S. adults didn't engage in any leisure-time physical activity in 2008, in other words we continue to be a nation of couch potatoes.

Take charge of your health in 2010 and start with just a few simple steps ... literally.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Good News, Bad News

We begin the new decade with the classic "good news/bad news" on health care. The good news is spending on health care in America slowed dramatically in 2008. We only spent $7,681 per person or $2.3 trillion as a nation on health care.

The bad news is the 4.4% growth rate is still far ahead of the 2.6% growth in the GDP.

Health care continues to eat away at America's economy and is the primary reason health care reform is needed.