- Antibiotics, are they the be-all-end-all? Dr. Fuhrman believes they’re over-prescribed, especially when it comes to ear infections. And according to The New England Journal of Medicine they might not be needed for treating bronchitis either. January W. Payne of The Washington Post reports:
Doctors can't help patients recover more quickly by prescribing antibiotics, said Richard P. Wenzel, chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. “There is probably some sense of a placebo effect, but that's short-lived,” he said.
- Here’s a heartfelt piece written for The New York Times by Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, the director of infection control at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Have hospitals grown so cold that doctors can’t shed a tear with patients during a time of grief? Read on:
Given the intensity and high-voltage anxiety of serious illness, public crying in hospitals — by patients or family or staff — is less common than one might expect. Sure, it goes on more frequently than, say, at a department store or a restaurant. But more often, people remain buttoned up, dry-eyed, determined to maintain composure.
- Africa, too, is facing an obesity problem. Clare Nullis from the Associated Press has more:
Africa, a continent usually synonymous with hunger, is falling prey to obesity. It's a trend driven by new lifestyles and old beliefs that big is beautiful. Ask Nodo Njobo, a plump hairdressing assistant. She is coy about her weight, but like many African women, proud of her "big bum." She says she'd like to be slimmer, but worries how her friends would react.
- According to Dr. Fuhrman there are lots of good reasons to maintain healthy body weight, such as disease prevention and increased longevity. But, as Will Dunham of Reuters reports, keeping a healthy body weight is even more important for cancer survivors:
Staying slim and fit is especially important for cancer survivors, because obesity raises the risk of cancer coming back, the American Cancer Society said in new guidelines issued on Wednesday.
- Guess what? More bad news for smoking—don’t act so shocked, this happens all the time. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports pregnant mothers who smoke might actually be priming their kids to pick up the habit:
Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were nearly three times more likely to start smoking regularly at, or before, age 14 and about twice as like to start smoking after age 14 compared to children born to nonsmoking mothers.
- Okay, how many of you belong to a gym? I do. Have you ever really looked at some of the trainers? A lot of them could use a personal trainer themselves—they’re pumped up, but a little doughy. So this begs the question, how qualified are they? Rick Callahan of the Associated Press investigates:
Virtually anyone can become a certified trainer because there are no national educational standards for the field. Numerous Web sites offer personal trainer certification after just a few hours of online training -- and a few hundred dollars.
- Apparently leafy greens, like broccoli rabe and escarole, are gaining popularity in the United States—sounds good to me! Beth Fortune of The Los Angeles Times talks about this growing trend:
And at this time of year, bitter greens are calling from nearly every other stall or stand at the farmers market or the grocery store; they're a boon of winter. Until fairly recently, bitter greens have been popular in this country only in the South, but more of them have become more widely available, though their names still can be confusing. Greens in the chicory and endive family include Belgian endive (also called French endive and witloof), curly endive (sometimes called chicory or frisée), escarole and several varieties of radicchio. Then there are dandelion greens, mustard greens and turnip greens (yes, keep the tops of your turnips).
- There shouldn’t be any real surprise here—more negative press for smoking. According to Reuters tobacco-related illnesses will kill 50 percent more than AIDS by 2015. I wonder how obesity stacks up against these figures. More from the report:
The study by World Health Organization researchers projects global figures for mortality and the burden of 10 major disease groups in both 2015 and 2030.
"According to our baseline projection, smoking will kill 50 percent more people in 2015 than HIV/AIDS and will be responsible for 10 percent of all deaths globally," said their study in the Public Library of Science Medicine.