Archive for August, 2010

Ann MacDonald
Michael Craig Miller, M.D.

Hitch on Cancer

Thanks to my friend and colleague, Christopher Lovett, PhD, for alerting me to the vivid piece that Christopher Hitchens wrote about his cancer diagnosis. It appears in the September 2010 issue of Vanity Fair. Hitchens is a banality-basher. The value of his piece is in his detailed account — the particularity of his experience comes […]

Michael Craig Miller, M.D.
Ann MacDonald

Alzheimer’s study on biomarkers generates debate

A study about a three-protein signature that might help identify people with Alzheimer’s,  published in the August issue of the Archives of Neurology, has generated quite a bit of discussion in the blogosphere.  I thought readers might want to follow the discussion, so I’ve shared some links to representative posts. (We will be covering the […]

Peter Wehrwein

Torn your ACL? Send us your story.

You may have heard or read about the Swedish study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that found no difference between surgical repair of a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and taking a rehab-only approach. Some of our favorite sports stars here in New England have torn their ACLs recently, including Wes Welker, a receiver for the Patriots, and […]

Michael Craig Miller, M.D.

Concussions in Football

I have to applaud today’s editorial in the New York Times that anticipates a new football season. Here is the first paragraph — The millionaire players of professional football are suiting up for the new season with a startling caution on their locker room walls. A poster headlined “CONCUSSION” warns players that lifelong brain damage […]

Patrick J. Skerrett

Could too much calcium cause heart disease?

Don’t throw out those calcium supplements just yet. Oh, the ruckus a single study can raise. A report about calcium and cardiovascular disease had people from San Diego to Caribou, Maine worriedly calling their doctors or throwing away the calcium supplements they were taking to keep their bones strong. Here’s what prompted the concern: New […]

Ann MacDonald

Mental illness affects the wallet as well as the brain

We often report about the psychological toll of mental illness, but while researching a story today I came across a study that documents the economic toll of psychiatric disorders–especially when they are not adequately treated. Researchers at Harvard collaborated with colleagues at the World Health Organization to survey individuals in 19 countries. They found that […]

Peter Wehrwein

Atul Gawande’s latest gem: Hospice care and our end-of-life wishes

Atul Gawande’s piece about end-of-life care in the Aug. 2 issue of The New Yorker is another gem by the surgeon-writer-health policy wonk and staff member at Harvard-affialiated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In an online chat after the article was published, Gawande said he had the usual preconceived notions about hospice before he started researching the article: Telling a patient […]

Peter Wehrwein

Are crabs and oysters good for your eyes?

Johns Hopkins researchers have a report in the the journal Opthalmology that sends a mixed  message about whether omega-3 fats protect the eyes. And if you like to eat crab and oysters, enjoy—and we’re with you. But don’t expect any special ophthmalic benefits. Fish and shellfish are natural sources of the omega-3 fats that are believed to pay all kinds […]