Health & Medicine

A neoteric’s view

Page 3 of 9

My stethoscope is more than half my age and every year it gets proportionally closer to my age. It doesn’t have an expiration date and works just fine. In fact, not everything in medicine has a short expiration date or is consumable. Despite that, the traditional economy of healthcare is largely disposable. Healthcare materials are taken […]

My favorite smartphone word game app now tells me it can improve my memory and potentially prevent my dementia. This is a remarkable advance and a larger incentive to keep playing than just giving me points and emoticons. If only it were true. Unfortunately, mental ill health is quite complex and chronic, and the treatments […]

In the Western world, the festive season is in full swing and our focus remains on food and drink – most of which is not produced locally. Despite our best intentions, our plates around this time of year are crammed with highly refined cheap foods distributed by a small number of producers. Ten food processors […]

Every year around this time lettuce gets bad press. Since 1995 there have been 35 outbreaks of E coli infections related to leafy greens. Last year it was cos lettuce. This year it’s romaine. The problem isn’t with the humble leaf, after all, it is nearly all water,  It’s the water that’s the problem. The […]

You can measure almost every health metric on your wrist these days. And many Americans do.  One in six consumers in the United States now uses a smartwatch or fitness band. Footsteps, heart beats, and even ECG monitors are now integrated into wearables. If you are looking to wearables to help you relieve stress or achieve […]

Ecological doctors, like environmentalists generally, are conflicted about population growth. On one hand, in a crowded world, creating genuinely sustainable societies can be supported by medical practices that support limitations on population growth, such as first-class sex education, adequate contraception and access to termination of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. Conversely, clinicians with fundamental religious beliefs […]

It’s national breast cancer awareness month and a picture of a woman who has covered her mastectomy scars with an intricate and quite beautiful tattoo keeps on surfacing and being removed from Facebook pages. It is a beautiful work of art, suitable for exhibiting in any art gallery, but is it a health risk?  Is […]

There are still not enough women in high level leadership positions in healthcare to cement change which improves the health inequalities for women. Two contradictions hold back many women who try. These are encompassed in what I call reticence. The qualities of nurturing and maintaining harmony keep women feeling comfortable in the thinking of middle […]

Breathing is becoming increasingly dangerous, especially following accidents that release toxic fumes into the atmosphere. During the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral, at least 450 tons of lead were released into the atmosphere from the melting spire and roof. That is more than four times the yearly atmospheric lead emissions for the whole of France. […]

Should women use reproductive hormones? There is growing evidence of higher risk, yet little research is happening to study alternatives to oral contraception or HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Why aren’t researchers and clinicians talking about the risks of continuous use of reproductive hormones by women throughout their life cycle? More than a decade ago, a […]

Drugs are here to stay but the way they should be used is changing. It started with antibiotics – too many are unnecessary. Now many drugs are prescribed for courses that are too long. No ‘one-size-fits-all’ – neither for the choice of drug nor the duration of use. More than two thirds of antibiotic courses for acute […]

I was recently on a panel discussing Me Too in medicine at the Medical Women’s International Association Centenary meeting in Brooklyn.  A female cardiologist who has been seeing a male patient for the past 20 years (he is now in his mid 80s) shared her predicament. Until recently he was well behaved and understood the boundaries […]

From a young age we have been conditioned to believe that sleep is associated with a healthy mind. Most of the research around sleep looks at the negative effects of not getting enough sleep in the traditional way – lying down and in the darkness hours. Do we have unrealistic expectations of sleep? Sleep deprivation […]

What should a clinician wear when consulting with a patient? For many years the answer was simple: a white coat. A long one, if you were qualified, and a short one if you were in training. The white coat symbolized the clinician’s authority; until authority became a non-starter for some clinicians, such as psychiatrists and […]

Nonmedical drug use (NMPU) is one of the biggest health challenges facing the world today. The reasons for NMPU are highly variable, and to some extent differ according to the class of drug concerned, but the underlying cause is quite clear. The world is often not a happy place and consumers want easy access to […]

Worldwide, the health of refugee women is in jeopardy. Conflict and dislocation disproportionately affect women, who already experience proportionately greater challenges in accessing health services for themselves. Refugee women’s health care is still focussed on an antiquated view of women as child bearers and rearers. Most of the health problems of displaced women are intertwined with […]

In an environment where at least one in every two female clinicians has experienced some kind of sexual harassment during her working life, developing educational programs to change the culture don’t and won’t work. There just isn’t enough money or time or will. Besides, too much time and money continue to be wasted in exposing […]

Whatever the political divides, citizens worldwide agree that responsible government should provide adequate healthcare for the whole population. Unfortunately, both patients and clinicians often get too subsumed in the weight of immediate crises to agitate beyond their own current concerns. Healthy children can help inject our anemic healthcare systems with new blood. We need to […]

Modern healthcare is undemocratic, antisocial and thus largely unresponsive to its patients’ needs. Never before has healthcare been so far removed from the people it services. It is time to bring democracy to health care. Our fragmented systems of silos of clinicians, administrators, funders, policy makers and governments make it almost impossible for voters to […]

There is no opiate epidemic. We have a societal problem that isn’t going to be solved by restricting prescribing. Despite overwhelming evidence that the majority of opioid-induced deaths involves the use of non-prescribed opioids such as fentanyl and heroin, much of the focus has been on prescription opioids. Over the last two decades illicit fentanyl […]